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Stepdad

Last year, I wrote a post and I called William “ours”. I can’t remember what post it was, or what it was about anymore.

But some people, at the time, said it was out of order. That it wasn’t fair because my son is not Mark’s. And he has a dad of his own.

I think I made bad judgement at the time, in letting these people in my life, and sometimes, I admit, I have tried to avoid using words like “ours”, because I don’t like the confrontation that comes with being ‘different’ at all.

But actually, what I’ve realised, is that we’re not actually that different.

Stepparents are not reserved for fairy tales. They aren’t evil. And they certainly do love the children that they choose to love.

I have met three stepparents in my lifetime so far. At least, three that have stood out to me. And I think that they are all brilliant people.

The first was actually the man that helped to raise William’s dad. William’s granddad who lives in Lincoln. And while he’s no longer a part of my life, he is a part of my son’s. And I’ve always admired how it just didn’t make a difference to him. He loved his son, regardless of how he arrived in this world. And that was that.

The next two I met around the same time. One of which is obviously Mark. But the other is his sister. Who I think is absolutely amazing. She has helped to raise two amazing kids – the sort of kids I want my son to grow up to be like – and she’s just so inspiring to me.

And I think that, maybe, I owe her a thank you. Because there’s a man in my life who has literally walked into this role and he’s just so natural.

I remember, in the early days of us, we had discussions about the future because both of us knew that this wouldn’t be easy. I had to be firm and make sure that it was right for us and William. And Mark had to be happy too.

And he is.

And we are. Even more so than ever because we have him.

I think that stepparents don’t get enough thanks in this world. It’s one thing to have a child, biologically your own, and deal with the ups and downs or parenthood. But it’s an altogether different thing to deal with that when you really don’t have to stay, and when you are constantly reminded that the child you love, isn’t ‘yours’.

But Bill is ours. As much as he is his dad’s. Because the person he is growing up to be isn’t about genes. It’s about the people in his life, teaching him, supporting him, in person and financially, guiding him, being there for him, and loving him.

They aren’t out to steal children. Or damage relationships. If anything, they strengthen them.

And, honestly, I’ve had to think about this a lot recently. William’s dad has a partner. And, while I’ve not been able to meet her yet. And I feel jealous. And insecure. And my heart breaks at the thought of another woman giving the goodnight kiss I would usually give, I have to step back and think.

Because if there’s a person in your child’s life, willing to love them in the same way that you do, you have nothing to be but grateful.

I think it takes a special kind of person to that.

And when I see my son, look up at his stepdad with a mixture of awe, respect and that desperate sort of love that only a child can give, I feel so lucky.

Mark has such a good heart. He deserves to know that he’s brilliant.

And he, along with so many others, deserve a thank you.

They don’t just step-in. They step-up. And then some.

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20 Comments

  • Reply
    Lauren W
    2nd February 2015 at 8:30 am

    It would be odd to live as a family and to be a family and not refer to William as 'ours', in my opinion anyway.
    It is clear that Mark adores William and he has naturally fit into your family and taken that role without pressure. It's not like he is replacing Williams dad, he has his own role.
    Anyone who thinks you are wrong to say 'ours' is pretty heartless, because what a wonderful thing it is that William has these people who love him and want to help raise him…and call him their own xx

  • Reply
    sophiecliff
    2nd February 2015 at 9:37 am

    This gave me goosebumps reading this. What a lucky little boy William is.

    sophiecliff.wordpress.com

  • Reply
    Jodie
    2nd February 2015 at 10:56 am

    Hello πŸ™‚
    I can't understand why anybody would critisize you for saying what you did in the first case. I have a step-mum myself and I totally agree with you, credit where credit's due.

    "Because if there's a person in your child's life, willing to love them in the same way that you do, you have nothing to be but grateful."
    I think that line is beautiful and shows the real love you have for your boy.

    Jodie x
    what-jodie-did.blogspot.com

  • Reply
    Lauren W
    2nd February 2015 at 10:59 am

    It would be odd to live as a family and to be a family and not refer to William as 'ours', in my opinion anyway.
    It is clear that Mark adores William and he has naturally fit into your family and taken that role without pressure. It's not like he is replacing Williams dad, he has his own role.
    Anyone who thinks you are wrong to say 'ours' is pretty heartless, because what a wonderful thing it is that William has these people who love him and want to help raise him…and call him their own xx

  • Reply
    TheL'sMum
    2nd February 2015 at 11:15 am

    Amazing post. I'm a step mum, and it's not an easy role to fill. I wish my step sons mum was a little more like you in the way she thinks, but that's just our situation unfortunately. But like you say it's not just about genes in this situation but the influences. Me and my step son haven't had it easy but I came into his life at 7 and he's now 10 and at a difficult age but I'm there, I keep trying and I do my best because it's just a phase. You are very lucky to have such a wonderful and civilised situation. And long may that continue. My hubby is always reminding me that he's ours, and it's true, he's a part of me and fills a void in my life I never realised I had. Xx

  • Reply
    Louise Gleeson
    2nd February 2015 at 2:20 pm

    What a lovely post and so very true. x

  • Reply
    Alex Bumptobaby
    2nd February 2015 at 2:54 pm

    You already know how much I love this post, but leaving a comment to say it again. Such an amazing post, you always get it so right. xx

  • Reply
    Deborah Patrick
    2nd February 2015 at 3:39 pm

    I hear you on this 100%! It truly does take a great man to be able to step-up and become a role model for the child {or children} to the person he loves. My children have a stepdad too and I love their relationship. I love their trust in him, their love for him and his love and trust for them. Its a true gift. x

  • Reply
    Donna Wishart
    2nd February 2015 at 4:01 pm

    Great post. I was raised by my step dad after my own dad left when I was 18 months old and I didn't meet him again until I was 17. My step dad was everything to me, even more so because he chose to be my dad – he didn't have to be my dad. I chose for him to give me away at my wedding and he is as much a grandparent to my children as their biological grandparents. Stepparents definitely don't get enough recognition – it's a pretty thankless task and a pretty hard one too. It's hard enough being a parent but sharing that responsibility with someone else and choosing to be that person is an entirely different thing. Mark sounds like a good man x

  • Reply
    Leah Nicole
    2nd February 2015 at 5:50 pm

    Lovely post hun to the point im abit teary haha, very close to home. Nothing like having a step daddy who loves them just as much as we do xx

  • Reply
    Charlie Walker
    2nd February 2015 at 5:56 pm

    i am a full time step mum it is an amazing gift not given by you or anyone else but by your child because only they can choose who they trust with such a gift and you must have one very special man that your children accept him like this.
    http://norwichmumma.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/step-mum.html

  • Reply
    Charlie Walker
    2nd February 2015 at 5:58 pm

    i am a full time step mum it is an amazing gift not given by you or anyone else but by your child because only they can choose who they trust with such a gift and you must have one very special man that your children accept him like this.
    http://norwichmumma.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/step-mum.html

  • Reply
    Kads Life
    2nd February 2015 at 7:38 pm

    Thought provoking post.
    http://Www.kadslife.blogspot.co.uk

  • Reply
    newcastle familylife
    2nd February 2015 at 10:12 pm

    Such a well written and lovely post. I have three children and my oldest is from a previous relationship but my partner loves her and treats her the same as he does with the two children we have together so this post hit home to me how special he is. Your son is lucky to have lots of people in his life who love him so much. x

  • Reply
    Jenna Richards
    2nd February 2015 at 10:43 pm

    Beautiful post – Mark sounds like such a wonderful stepdad.

    Jenna at Tinyfootsteps xx

  • Reply
    Jess | Just Jesss
    2nd February 2015 at 11:20 pm

    Well this has really made me miss my ex's little ones :') being a step parent is definitely an underrated role and it's lovely that you can recognise that about William's Dad's new partner as well as Mark πŸ™‚
    I only have good wishes for you all, love your posts Charlotte <3

    Jess xo
    http://just-jesss.blogspot.co.uk

  • Reply
    someones mummy
    3rd February 2015 at 11:41 am

    Lovely post. I'm a step mum to a lovely 4 going on 5 yr old girl who my husband and I have 50% of the time. Our circumstances are perhaps a little different as I don't view her as 'ours' due to the influence her own mother has and I have often felt as a step mum I have to maintain certain boundaries and not 'cross a line' of thinking of her as anymore than what she is. Nonetheless I had a very close relationship to her as I've been in her life since she was 2.5yrs. In recent months since the birth of my own daughter that relationship has been challenged and the dynamics have shifted a bit which I have really struggled with – I have felt guilt and all sorts of emotion while adjusting to become a natural mum as well as remaining someone's step mum. I love her for being a part of my husband, I love what she has brought to my life and I love that she is an extension of my family and I hope she will grow up viewing me as a benefit in her life and a friend. It's not always easy to be a parental figure in someone's life yet not be their parent. I don't want praise or thanks for the role I play, as it's a role I chose; but sometimes it's nice to hear someone speak up for step parents and see things from that angle.

  • Reply
    fritha strickland
    3rd February 2015 at 8:05 pm

    Just wanted to say I completely agree, my older brother is biologically my 'half brother' which sounds bizarre and something I would never refer to him as. Our dad raised him from the age of 2-ish and he thinks of my brother no differently than he does his biological children. Loves him now less, is proud of him no less. In many ways my brother has the best deal as he gets two dads to give him that rather than one! xx

  • Reply
    Katie @mummydaddyme
    3rd February 2015 at 11:21 pm

    I just want to say I completely agree Charlotte. I have a step dad and a step mum in my life and I absolutely love them both to pieces. Because I have my biological parents in my life but I also have the added extra of two more people to love, two more grandparents to dote on my girls and two more people to call my family. They don't take the place of my parents, they never will, but they enrich my life just as much. x

  • Reply
    Collette R
    5th February 2015 at 12:29 am

    I just read this again and it made me tear up. Again. You really just get it. It's completely amazing to find someone that loves your children as much as you, and it shouldn't mean any less that they're not related biologically. Tommie is closer to Caelen than his biologically dad, and has been the one to be there for him for over a year. I never know what to say when we're all out together, and people comment that Caelen doesn't look like either of us. We're getting there though!

    Best wishes to the three of you, lovely

    xo

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