When I was a little girl, and I was just starting to get to know the women who my Dad was married to for some 20 years. She laughed at the idea of her being the "STEP MOM". She actually made a big deal over the years how she was, jokingly the evil step mom. In most of all the stories that we read, or watch, the step mom is there to suck the vitality out of the young beautifully tom boyish/hyper intelligent daughter. I am not sure if this "joke" fueled some of our conflict resolutions circles, but what I do know now was it was us up against labels.
I AM. I am Rachael Lanehart Vaessen, daughter of divorced parents Linda and Robert Vaessen. I spent the majority of my life as a step daughter, step grand-daughter, and a step sister. For a long while I really disliked all of these labels. I really did not even like my name until I was 20 years old. Family was confusing to me as a child. Relationships were something that you forced, and made happen for the betterment of the whole. All I knew was, I had a bunch of adults in my life who were as far as I could see bat shit crazy!
Now I AM a mother. My oldest daughter is 5 at this point, and these labels have become very important to her. My "partner"/"playmate"/"baby's Daddy" who we live with, is not ok with any kind of labels. He is very much against labels, at home or outside of the home. Here is my 5 year old who watches movies at her Granny's, who reads stories at school, and talks to her class mates about all things regarding, gender roles, step families, being married before having a baby, and a bunch of other enlistments that I choose not to subscribe to! Please help me High Source of Love and Grace navigate this one! It can be very confusing when we are receiving all kinds of messages from the people who we are surrounded by.
I do my best to explain to her the flavor of our family, and we can have our own unique phrasing for who is who. I do not want to create a resistance or power struggle. I also do not want to jeopardize my own personal beliefs just because it is easier to keep up with the Jone's. I have my own identity that exceeds, the limitations of confiding in one or more labels. I AM FREE! However I do like I AM MOTHER. It feels good. It also feels good to teach my daughters that each family has its unique flavor.
I can share that the most helpful tool in putting the pieces together for our family has been to stay in communication and create family experiences for us to do together. My oldest daughter and youngest daughter's fathers together with me, and of course we throw a Grandpa, Omi, Granny, Sue Sue or long time friend in the mix. One thing is for sure, it always taste good when we are allowing ourselves and each other to be their own unique flavor of love. Try that on for size!