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From Stepping Out to Step Mom

I was a single woman for a long time, enjoying a great lifestyle with dual careers as a recruiter AND travel writer. Free time and evenings were
often spent with my small and  offbeat family or good friends and good drinks. Ok, maybe I didn’t have that many drinks and I did spend many
nights at home alone, but I promise I was happy doing nothing ALONE.
I rarely subscribed to the modern day single woman’s ideology and statements. Statements such as : “I don’t need a man to complete me, and I
can take care of myself.” It was a given to me that I was self-sufficient and probably have been since a very young age, enhanced by the fact
that my parents divorced when I was 8.

Alhough I considered myself a happy and independent woman, I still wanted a husband and family. When I finally met the man I'd fall in love with
and marry, I didn't anticipate he would come as a package deal which meant instant stepmom status for me, yahhh!
And I had no idea what I was doing. Or did I? Did I learn from my mother who raised us in large part on her own? Did my training as a clinical
social worker help me understand the needs of both children from divorced families as well as the needs of woman who gets married later in life
and seeks balance as not to lose sight of her past completely?

I only had a few friends who were mothers, let alone step-mothers. Single friends were realistically clueless when I came to them with questions
about whether I should confront my pre-teenage stepdaughter about looking at my papers and jewelry without asking me, or how I should start
enforcing some household responsibilities, like insisting my then 9-year old stepdaughter help wash dishes or set the table. My single friends
looked at me and gaffed and said “have a drink,” it will make it easier to deal with. Good answer, thanks!!

If any of the stereotypes of step-moms are remotely real, how can our lives with our new families ever have a shot at being happy and
successful? I reached out and started talking with other new stepmothers in my community. And it turns out most of the step-moms I've met are
nice, normal people.

Another dilemma of being seemingly single forever and then married and step mom overnight, is how to explain to my still single friends that
there is NOTHING wrong with being single and that I am NOT a different person simply because I now have a different last name (well in my
case I still haven’t changed it yet- it’s the only thing from singlehood I can still hold onto haa).
Many decided to think of me differently or perhaps I had a change in attitude in their eyes. I “sold out” and no longer felt the need to hold onto
singlehood status just to prove I could do it all on my own. Guess what? That is bs, and NO ONE can or needs to do it all on their own. THAT
attitude only serves to maintain unhappiness and frustration while looking good to others. Who cares about how you look to others. Inner peace
and happiness is what matters, and that should be the focus of singlehood, because even when you get married, you still live in your own darn
skin. So you better wear sunscreen, or in my case, SON screen.
Ten months after my love and I were married, our son was born. What the…? Yes,

10 months later, and I promise you he was not a honeymoon baby.
He was and is a dream come true, the best heart, old soul and lively personality that a little being could have. Lucky is not the word to describe
me. Faithful is.

I always had faith in love and in myself. I always did things against the grain and all at once. People often told me I was notorious for putting
10lbs of sh-t into a 5lb bag! Excuse me for using that correlation but it is what comes to mind. I guess I wanted to throw it all in at once, marriage
in 10 months, baby 10 months later and instant stepkids in between.  I tortured my mother who probably started to think I would never get
married yet she knew that I was happy either way.

That is the key, marriage does not make you happy. It makes you happi-er.
If you are looking for someone to MAKE you happy, you will remain unhappy, period.
And even when you feel you have looked everywhere for mr/ms right, rest assured he/she is probably right in front of you. Trust me…I will tell
how I know that, in my next article.

Ciao for now and love with your heart, not your head.