Thursday, March 1, 2007

Mother's Day - Step-Mom!

'Grown-ups never understand anything for themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them'. Rightly said by Antoine De Saint-Exupery in 'The Little Prince' there's nothing like an ideal parent. It is the children who make them what they are.

'She kept me in her womb for nine whole months going through enormous pain and sufferings. When the umbilical cord was cut and the offspring emerged, life changed for the woman for now she had become a mother, the creator of another life...'

As a natural mother, her rights over the child and all her actions owing to them are justified. The situation becomes dicey once the parentage becomes foster or step or adopted. Life as a step parent especially a step mother can be extremely difficult and challenging. Although there isn't the umbilical cord connection with step mothers but a soul stirring inkling is reason enough to consider this bonding as a Godsend. Life with a single parent is tough, not to forget those who live as orphans. The love that a parent bestows upon his child is more precious than a zillion dollars!

'Cindrella worked day and night,
Her stepmother was the cause of her plight.
She had to sneak off to the ball,
Lucky she had her Fairy God Mother to call!

Over these fairy tales some stepmothers grieve,
Even though they are only make believe.
Because these stories among others,
Are what gave a bad reputation to stepmothers.

I'm sure the authors didn't know,
How their tales of long ago,
Would effect stepmothers of today,
In sort a harmful kind of way'.

Indeed it is the so-called fairy tales that have spoiled the reputation of a stepmother. Not all of them are like Cindrella, Snow White or Hansel and Gretal's evil step mothers. More than often stepmothers are more caring and loving than a biological mother. It is tough to be the best and most successful stepmother but it is not impossible. On a very positive note, here are a few tips on successful parenting as a stepmother-

1. Communicate effectively.

2. Have patience, patience, and more patience.

3. Have an attitude of gratitude. Don't take anything for granted.

4. Forgive & Forget.

5. Don't expect and fantasize about the fairy tale relationship.

6. Let the biological parent discipline.

7. Go with the flow.

8. Have a sense of humor.

As a parent, life is tough and as a foster parent or single parent even more. As a mother who marries twice one's own biological child too deserves to be loved and be taken care of. Hence these tips for a widowed or divorced mother may help her relationship with her child go a long way-

1. Show love - tell your child, as often as possible, that you love him.

2. Chat - talking together gives the message that you enjoy your child's company.

3. Listen - show your child you find him interesting and worth listening to.

4. Play - join in your toddler's games, or if you have household chores to do, ask him to help, to show your child you enjoy spending time with him.

5. Praise - not just for succeeding but for efforts and attempts too.

6. Encourage - managing buttons or putting on his own clothes gives a great boost to self-esteem; be ready to step in if he gets into difficulties and gets too frustrated but don't solve every problem.

7. Emphasize good points - concentrate on the positives and try to ignore any annoying behavior as much as possible.

8. Celebrate family life - morning chats in bed or particular ways of saying goodnight not only celebrate family life, but also help your child understand that he has a special place within it.

Life is all about ups and downs and at these times the guiding force has always been and will always be a mother for whom her child whether biological or adopted is still the most precious asset. Here's to the ray of hope in all our lives-our mothers!


Kristen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kristen said...

Not to be a naysayer, but the reason that those fairytales came to be in the first place is that step-mothers of yesteryear married for money, and were shouldered with the responsibility (often unwanted) of children who are not their own - especially if they already have children of their own.

Though not really for money anymore, step-mothers today still face the same problem - they're in love with the man, but not his offspring. Yeah, some of them step up to the plate, but others don't. They sometimes even resent the love the children receive from their father!

My step-mother is a horrible woman. She has children from a previous marriage who are neither as smart, nor as successful as my father's children, and subsequently acts terribly toward my father's children.

I'm glad that there are wonderful, caring, and responsible step-mothers in the world. I have met a pretty even ratio of both kinds of step-mothers - good and not-good. Every time a bad or uncaring step-mother comes along, though, she reinforces the fairy-tale stereotype in the minds of everyone around her.