After a some months of having become a bonusmamma, I loaded my library with lots of books on the subject (I really don’t know why it never occurred to me to read these books before I actually ventured into the whole thing, but that’s another story), some good, some bad, some actually worse. There were many tones of voices in them, good advice sometimes, good anecdotes, and the occasional advice to “relax and get a glass of rosé. However, one thing that they all had in common was the well-intentioned advice to accept that “the kids will always come first, and you, the stepmom, the second wife, the second mom, will always land on, well, the second place”. Sounds like some sort of doom.
In a traditional family, formed following the traditional process (ie. girl meets boy, boy charms girl, girl and boy get married and a lovely little mini-them is born), you will frequently hear things like “oh we always put the kids in first place”. Fair enough. The cute little creatures are, to a big extent, dependent on their parents. They are small and wild enough to need lots of attention and care, and really that is what parents are for. Kids are kids, and they demand a lot, regardless of how old they are. I know I still do – ask my mom.
However, when it comes to not-very-traditional families, the statement “we always put the kids in the first place” is not always met with sincerity and a big smile. And why not? Simple. No one wants to have a permanent second place. Not even the “real” mom (come on, real moms, confess!).
The idea stayed in my mind for days and even weeks. Did I really sign up for an eternal “second place”? Are there any no hopes, however tiny, of ever being “first place”? (What!? but I’m a princess!). I just could not just accept the idea of always, all my life, for ever and ever, I would be put second place in my own house, by the man of my life and his kids.
After a while, the idea started to drive me insane. It instantly brought me down to having a big knot in my throath. It even made me a paranoid freak. I started to see myself being put in second place – at least it was that way in my mind – at every occasion. I even saw “the evil” whenever we were planning what we were going to have for dinner, ie. no one cares you don’t want to have fatty, frozen köttbulkar with bland pasta and ketchup, that’s what we are having because we are putting the kids first.
Then after a while, I decided that this is not the way I want to live my life. Not in the shadow, but neither on the spotlight. I want to be on both, at different times, and have the best of both worlds. Why not? Marrying a guy who has kids does not mean signing your sentence to forever being second best. I did not have a revelation, a ray of light illuminating me, not even an “a-ha” moment. I just simply and slowly realised that stepkids and stepmoms cannot compete. Why? because they play on two different fields.
Sassy bonusmammor in the world, read this sentence:
You cannot compete against your bonusbarn (or stepkids) no matter how high your heels, toned your legs, plump your lips or sweet your voice. In the exact same way, your bonusbarn cannot compete against you. Why? because you are playing on different courts.