“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Lao Tzu.
We’ve all heard about the wicked stepmother in fairytales — poisoning Snow White or making poor Cinderella scrub the floors while the other daughters are treated like princesses. There may be some awful stepmothers out there, but let’s be honest, there are some awful biological mothers as well. Most of the stepmother’s that I meet, talk to and research, are working towards a common goal — to create a happy, harmonious blended family.
Unlike the wicked stepmothers of fairytales, in real life, you can’t tell the difference between us. We tend to hide our warts and brooms really well. We walk among the people like everyone else, even regularly venturing out after dark! I have never felt ashamed about being a stepmother; if anything, I’m proud of the role I have taken on.
I recently saw the film Cinderella and felt compelled to write about it, since I am a stepmother too. One of the things that really struck me, was when Cinderella’s mother told her, to always “have courage and be kind.” These words were what Cinderella lived by, even when her stepmother and stepsisters treated her so cruelly. The Stepmother played so perfectly by Cate Blanchett was a character that was jealous of her stepdaughter and her relationship with her father. Thinking how difficult it was for the stepmother to be kind to her stepdaughter. I don’t believe she was evil, or wicked, I just think she had her own issues, and couldn’t see past herself. If only she did work on herself, and focus on having courage and being kind, everything would of worked out for her in the end. Instead she ended up bitter and twisted, and resentful and lost everything.
This is not an easy thing to do, to have courage and be kind. But, the irony of the whole film, was that out of everyone in that movie, the second wife and stepmother will need to have those traits the most. She is the one that needs to find the courage to take this role on, and she is the one that needs to be kind, even when others are not kind to her.
Once again, it comes down to the fact that these are not easy roles to play. Dr Phil says, “Being a step-parent will be the hardest role as an adult that you will ever assume.” That’s why we need to do the ground work upfront, so when feelings of resentment and bitterness come along (and they will!), we’re better equipped to cope with them.
I do consider myself a wicked stepmum, because I’m wicked at being a stepmum but “wicked” is just another word for awesome!
In my book the Second Wives’ Guide I talk a lot about working on your self esteem, having the courage to be the hero in your blended family. Being kind to your stepchildren, and everyone in your family.
It takes a lot to have “courage and be kind” but if your in this for the long haul, isn’t better to have joy and happiness then be bitter and hateful?
Always remember – You are Second to None!
The Second Wives’ Guide