Debunking the Myth of the Instant Mom
After two and a half years of being a stepmom, I still don’t always act—or feel—like one. When my husband and I got married, people congratulated us on our “instant family.” As a never-been-married single woman with no kids, I hadn’t planned for a happily ever after that began with three boys. But “just like that,” people would say, I was a mom! I got stamped with the mom label the moment I said, “I do,” but easing into parenthood—especially step-parenthood—takes time.
In The Smart Step-Family, Ron Deal points out that the process of merging two families into one doesn’t happen overnight. “Stepfamily integration hardly ever happens as quickly as adults want it to,” he writes. Some researchers suggest it takes anywhere from two to seven—seven!—years. And moving into the role of stepmother specifically, Deal says, may be one of the most challenging transitions of all. “Unguided ...1