You love your man. He makes you laugh, he lights you up. But he also comes with permanent fixtures. His kids. And, of course, that makes you – The Stepmother.
According to the Brothers Grimm, you entice Hansel and Gretel into the forest. And abandon them in the dark, dark woods. To lie down in the swirling snow, and slowly starve.
For Disney, you don a swishy, sinister black cape, and cackle like a psycho in front of a magic mirror. Then, you command a huntsman to slice out sweet Snow White’s beating heart.
Sometimes it feels as if that’s just how your step kids see you.
Their Evil Stepmother.
When you tell them what to do, they look at you as if you’ve stomped a puppy. Their eyes well up with reproach. “We don’t have to do that at Mom’s place” they say. “Mom doesn’t make us eat our greens.”
They’ll look you square in the eye and insist that “Mom” never, ever makes them brush their teeth, take a bath, or go to bed before the start of PG television.
And then they wheel out the real killer. “You can’t make us. You’re not our real Mom”.
But you’re onto them. They’re gaming you. It’s their job. They’re kids. Even if you do get it right, they’ll never admit it. At least, not to you, and not before they turn thirty.
Okay. So, where do you go for a reality check?
“Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the most evil stepmom of all?”
1. Evil Moms embarrass their kids. They give humiliating, uncool displays of support and enthusiasm. Do you insist on going to their school sports days and concerts, and clap like a mad thing? Do you cheer them on from the sidelines? How could you? That memory of being encouraged and supported will stay with them until they’re grown and gone.
2. Evil Moms force their kids to learn cruel and unnatural behaviour. Such as, manners. Do you make them sit up to the table and eat with a knife and fork? Say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’? Even though they’ve told you, over and over again, that their ‘real’ Mom only ever feeds them pizza from the coffee table? Thanks to you, they’ll be able to handle any event with a tablecloth.
3. Evil Moms flagrantly impinge on their kid’s privacy. They have to know where they’re going. Who with. When. Who’s driving. Do you force them to introduce their friends? Meet their parents? And then … exchange phone numbers? So you can, like, text their friend’s parents? O.M.G. Unbelievable. You’ll do anything to get all the information you need to keep them safe.
4. Evil Moms gang up on their kids. They collude with coaches, teachers, anyone with license to boss those poor little lambs around. Did you check with their ‘real’ Mom, and send them to bed at the same time as she does? Before PG? How can they trust you now? You conspired against them. Just so they can live with consistent routines and rules.
5. Evil Moms brutally strip their kids of computer access, and forcibly subject them to boring family events. And then take photos. And post them. Do you drag them along to your family gatherings? Insist on them receiving love and connection with even more weird people? You are unspeakably cruel. You’ve created a community that will always be there for them.
Yep, it’s time to look for that cape.
And next time you wait for them at the school gate?
Swirl it with pride.
Related post: The Top Five Things No Step-Parent Wants to Hear