Ever since Cinderella, Snow White, and all the other Disney cartoon movies, the young girl’s mind has been conditioned to believe that stepmothers are evil creatures who are out to deprive their stepdaughters of any bit of enjoyment in life. I have never really paid attention to the phenomenon of blended families until I entered one myself.
But before I relate my own experience, I would like to scare you a bit and tell of a story that agrees with the dogma Walt Disney movies, as based on the Brothers Grimm stories, have put forth.
I have a dorm-mate, let’s call her Star, who is a member of a blended family. Her father had remarried after her mother’s death. He remarried his high school sweetheart and first girlfriend. A classic case of “two old friends meet again”.
She told me that in the first year, all was well. Her stepmother was seemingly loving. It was only in the latter stages of their living together that her stepmom showed her true colors.
Financial deprivation, emotional, verbal, and physical abuse, you name it, she got all that from her stepmom. All these experiences evolved her from a relatively quiet girl to the vocal, assertive woman that she is now. How could she not grow strong, when her own stepmother is the one who spreads poison about her? I tell you, you would be appalled if I told you the worst example of this “poison”.
But let us not dwell on that. Let’s just say that despite this sick, sad story, I have hope that the quality of blended family relationships are not dependent on the established stereotype. I believe that if there are open communications, established boundaries, basic respect, close monitoring (on the part of the stepmom’s own feelings), and most of all.. Most of all, love, blended families are going to work.
I have no statistics on this. I only read a piece, reportedly based on research, that says that blended families tend to be less close-knit than nuclear families. That there are so many downsides to blended family relationships. That stepdaughters view their stepmothers as rivals. Of course I cringed. Because this reinforces my own fears.
Why, you ask? I might marry a single dad, you see.
Well, the kids and I have bonded. The eldest confides in me, and the youngest is very sweet and affectionate towards me. She is pretty attached to me, too.
But when I went to my boyf’s place, while I was showing my affection for Porky (my pet name for my Jay), I noticed that the youngest showed signs of jealousy at some points.
Which is absolutely normal. Though she has been the most intense and the most affectionate towards me, it is also a fact that she’s been daddy’s little girl and has been spoiled rotten at some points. And I did tell Porky not to spoil her anymore, because he is reinforcing the Electra complex that I think she already has. Another reason is that the eldest feels left out a lot of the time with the two of them being as thick as thieves.
I am all for giving the kids all the attention they want. I know my place, that I am the addition, and that I should give them all the space they want and not dominate. The only things that I want to happen are: that the kids be introduced to Jesus by Porky himself, that the eldest would be given equal attention and be made to feel as special as the youngest, and that the youngest would be weaned off Daddy.
Well, it’s hard to be fair, as the youngest is one of the most adorable and sweetest creatures on earth. It’s hard not to melt in the hands of such a sweet, sweet girl.
But the eldest is a precious young lady too. She may be more quiet, but there is something enthralling in her quietness. She has inner light and beauty that I am fascinated with. And that is what I want to bring out in her.
As I said, it’s a matter of boundaries. And love. What I seek to do in this family is to bring out the best in all of them, and to keep being nurturing. I do not aim to replace their mom. I only aim to mold them into women who heal other people, through their inner strength and beauty.
So is the monster stepmom a reality? Hell yeah! I only need to park my butt in our dorm’s lounge area and I will be constantly reminded. But is the happy blended family an impossibility? Definitely not! I know that with God guiding me, I will become a healthy addition to these three’s lives. As I said, we only have to let love rule.