Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Being a Real Mom and a Bonus Mom

I didn’t even know that term “Bonus Mom” existed until months after I had become one. I was searching for the right title, something, anything that didn't have step in front of it.   

You see, from the beginning I just didn’t believe that “Step-mom” was a term that applied to me. It implies a distance, space between the kids and me. I’ve always thought that if I really love Greg  (which I do)How could I only “kind of” love them? How could I love them with space between us?

The day I became a Mom, is day I married their Dad. It wasn’t just Greg and I. It was all four of us. From the moment I fell in love with him, I loved his babies.  

But I couldn’t call myself “the mom.” They have a mom, a great one. I don’t want to take her place; I’m not even tempted to try. I respect her too much.

Those first few months were the hardest. Where did I fit in? Why had God decided to make me a part of this plan? Even for a moment I wondered why I couldn’t have it easier.  Why did these amazing kids feel like a heavy blessing at times? It was the strangest feeling, to carry a heavy blessing.  How is a girl like me supposed to know how to be a mom, the extra mom; the Bonus Mom. I didn’t know. I cried a lot those first few months. It all seemed so overwhelming, so impossible. How was all of this supposed to work?  Poor Greg, I’m sure it seemed that I needed constant reassurance. How was I supposed to know what was best for someone else’s children? Someone who was doing such a good job?  What was my role supposed to be?

As the time passed, the heaviness of the blessing began to lighten. These sweet babies were becoming mine in a way; our own special way. No longer was I wondering how we fit in with each other, we just found our groove. I found my spot in their lives. My own special spot that includes loving them in my own way, having our own special experiences; horses, cows, four wheelers, I couldn’t be like their Mom.  We aren’t the same person. I can’t fill that void for them, and I don’t need to. What I could do is add more love. More adventures. We are raising children as a team of four, children that have many opportunities.

Then PJ was his own special spirit, my first born but not my first child. I cried over the thought of never having one child, never having an opportunity to discover what just one felt like. Then I cried because it was such a blessing to have more than one.

My biggest fear was that I would feel differently about J and E than I did about PJ. How was I going to treat them the same, but love them differently? How would I keep them from knowing? I just didn’t know. I cried and prayed and cried some more, for months. When PJ was just a few weeks old, I realized something. I didn’t feel any differently about him than I did about my other children.

No different. I love them. All three of them. Love them, worry about them, miss them.  They are my children.

The only thing that has changed since having PJ is that I now KNOW what I am missing while J and E are not with us. I don’t know how or if I will ever be able to forgive myself for all the things I am missing out on. All the things I just won’t be there for because of the distance, because of the circumstances.

Being the Bonus Mom is hard work. I won’t ever know, so I’m only speculating, but I bet the only job that is harder is being The Mom and sharing with a Bonus Mom.


  1. I totally can relate!! Good job putting it into words!! Donelle Echols

  2. This is awesome lady! We still struggle because unfortunately I am placed as the step mom. When we where first married my step was 2, loved me, wanted to hang out with me more than dad. Wanted to sit on my lap at church etc. But after a few years of "coaching" there is a space between us. Mom to this day tries to act like I do not exist. Such as sending valentines and Christmas presents for everyone but me etc. Maybe its easier for her that way but in reality my step son is the one its hurting. We cant find our groove, because our relationship is down played. I am "just the step mom" in her eyes. I am with you, I love all 3 of our kids. Its a choice to love them equally. Not only is it a thing of its my husbands child, but its my childs sibling. Our life isn't the same when he isn't around. But I do have to say you have done an excellent job finding your groove. And from what you have told me, you are dang lucky to have a good ex relationship. Because when its makes like hard!

  3. You have such great perspective for those two "bonus" kids! I have an older half brother, and this article reminded me a lot of my mom. I think that J and E are so lucky to have a "bonus mom" and a bonus friend that will always be there for them.