Help for Stepmothers and Stepparents

The Cinderella Story Gives Step-Mothers a Bad Name

We’ve most all heard the story of Cinderella. Her father passed away and Cinderella was left to be raised, used by her wicked’ step mother and cater to her 2 step-sisters wishes and needs. This childhood story has left a bad impression on millions of children over the years. The reader is left with the thought that all step-mothers are the same, wicked.

You can read hundreds of books, articles, and reports on how to succeed at being a good step-mother. The fact is with the increase in numbers of divorces and second marriages there are all too many children who have read Cinderella finding themselves with a step-mother’. The best thing in my book is to provide both children and step-parents with an example that is positive rather than negative.

Step-mothers of the world I commend and encourage you to be a positive influence and part of your step-children’s lives. If you are not an active part in these children’s lives for whatever reason there is a good chance they will merely think of you in terms of the Cinderella story. I speak from experience; I was a step-child with a step-mother and from the very beginning thought of her as the wicked step-mother’. I even had 2 younger sisters although they were half-sisters.

Looking back now I was blessed to have this woman, whom I never refer to as my step-mother now as an adult, come into my life. This woman, my Mom, raised me from the time I was 7 and to this day, nearly 50 years later still my Mom. Although my father was in the house it was my Mom who nursed my wounds, cared for me when I was sick, taught me to be a lady, and helped me through many broken hearts.

My Mom did not try to be my mother or replace her in any way. She didn’t try to be my friend or even attempt to make me think she was either inferior or superior to anyone. Mom was there for me. She made herself available when I wanted or needed her and set an example for me in all her ways. She didn’t demand respect as an adult she earned my respect through daily showing her love for both me and others.

Our mother daughter relationship didn’t develop over night. It took years and years but the most wonderful thing about my Mom is she never gave up. I am thankful of that now because I can look back now I’m past the Cinderella syndrome and see she was and still is a wonderful mother and in no way at all relates to the wicked step-mother’ label.

After 21 years of marriage my Mom divorced my father. I was all for it. Not because I didn’t want her as my step-mother but because I felt she deserved much better than my father had given her emotionally (he provided financially but was abusive otherwise). I was very concerned about what would happen to Mom and I’s relationship but true to course she came through for me. In her words, “You’re my daughter and will always be my daughter.”

A few years after the divorce Mom went to see a card reader for fun. I don’t set any store in those things but the lady hit the nail on the head when she said Mom had 3 daughters; one of the heart and two of the blood. We both knew I was that one of the heart and that is what made our relationship one of the most special in the world she loved me as a daughter for myself, not because she gave birth to me, not because I came with the marriage certificate.

When Mom decided to re-marry I drove her to the church the day of the wedding. Her second husband became my step-father’ and grandpa to my children. Mom has never introduced me as anything but her oldest daughter’ and her new husband introduces me as her daughter or his step-daughter even though legally we are not related. Neither they nor I make a distinction other than what is in our hearts they are my parents.

If I were to give any advice to step-mothers or step-parents I would have to say, “Follow the example set by my Mom. Don’t try to force a relationship just let it develop and don’t expect the children’ to do anything that you won’t or don’t do yourself. Set an example in all that you do including how you feel about them. Don’t expect to be accepted over night, any relationship takes time to grow and so will this one.”