Being a step mother is not an easy task. We all remember the saying that “mama wa kambo sio mama”. To many, stepmothers are not capable of loving and raising a child that is not hers. What happens if this mother also has her own child? In such cases, it’s assumed that she will love her own children more than the other children.
But being a stepmother should not always be about sad stories of meanness, ill-treatment to the children by beating them or trying to let them be in the background. A stepmother can be cool and raise both children in a loving and caring way. It’s not always about a cinderella enduring evil twin sisters and a diabolical step mother.
The first thing to consider is to know more about your blended family. It is important that a stepmother knows what really happened to the real mother. Did she die, are they divorced or they are just separated? Knowing what really happened helps the stepmother know where she stands with the children. If the mother is deceased, it will be insulting and hurtful to try and replace her. The children will be hurt and feel that you are intruding into their personal space.
If they are divorced, it is better to have a cordial relationship with her and ask her how she feels about certain issues. For instance, a certain stepmother had the habit of posting her child and her stepchild on social media and calling them her twin princess. The real mother was not amused and felt that she was trying to take her place as the child’s mother.
Stepmothers should also not force stepchildren to accept them. Most stepmothers complain that the older stepchildren never call them mother. Most children may not even like their stepmothers and that’s perfectly normal. A stepmother is a still mother and thus still show them kindness and love. The mothers should not be angry and can always ask for more advice from other stepmothers.
An ideal stepmother should give both children love and attention. Stepmothers have the difficult task of loving the other children just like she loves her own children. When they do well in class, it’s imperative that they are all rewarded. Mistakes should be corrected on the spot and no exceptions should be made. However, Alice, a stepmother of two children talks of how it was challenging to correct her stepchildren: “My husband and his relatives felt that I didn’t love them that much or I was just bitter with them” she says.
While Alice had a challenge punishing the children, many stepmothers insist on a hands off policy in terms of punishment. Karen, a stepmother of two children has never punished her stepchildren. She only punishes her own children to the dismay of her children and husband. “I prefer talking to them and letting them see they are wrong, punishing them will ruin our relationship” she says.
Balancing the stepmother task and being genuinely interested in the children is difficult for some mothers. Some stepmothers raise the children just because they have no option. They don’t care whether the children love them or not. Mary Emuria is such a stepmother. The mother of her stepchildren was her co wife who ran away because their husband was not supportive. “I just wish their mother would return or come for them. It’s hard providing for my stepchildren children and my children “Mary says bitterly.
Balancing step motherhood and being a perfect mother remains a task not printed on many family walls. Stepmothers like real mothers make mistakes. It is always a learning curve and all that is needed is a willing heart and patience. Stepchildren will never forget the stepmother who is a mother figure and was always there.