Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Over the past four years, I have conducted polls, interviewed people, and discussed step-mom with numerous people. Progress has been made, but perhaps that progress only accounts for the strides I have been able to make with my book. I'm not so sure that the "progress" actually involves an evolution of thinking in people on the topic of step-mom. But, this is WHY I labor over the completion of my book.
I want YOU to understand me, my struggle, my plight. Don't we all? Isn't understanding and SIGHT what we all fight for? Freedom to exist and persist, to thrive--acknowledged and recognized by the sight of others as they truly SEE us. However, I may not ever get you to understand me, and that's okay. Because, I think that step-mom needs to understand herself, too. She has been mired in a mirror, frame, and language of misunderstanding for so long that she has become inscrutable to herself.
If you have been reading along with my posts for all these years, I hope that you continue to do so. But, I wanted to write this post in effort to accomplish two things: to articulate the oh-so controversial nature of the topic of step-mom, a controversy I have witnessed first hand as I have tried to entreat people on the topic. My pursuit of her has been revealing. AND, I want to formally announce that The Calling of a Step-Mom book is coming soon!
Conversation only effects/affects as it continues, so please tell me what you think. Share your thoughts, and know that I thank you all for journeying with me.
Humbly Pressing On,
P.S. Next week I will post an excerpt from the upcoming book. Tune in so you can be the first to read these revolutionary musings.
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
|Me and my family at Walker Stalker Con Charlotte, NC 2016|
Can you think of any other television shows that have done a good job of portraying step-mom and step-families? Women of color? And, perhaps I'll pursue this in another blog post, I'd like us to think about and TROUBLE the notion of what it truly means to empower women of color in pop culture. It is true that there are more roles for minority actresses, but more roles being offered and more exposure does not guarantee that such roles are nuanced and devoid of stereotypes. This is why I applaud Scott Gimple and Danai Gurira as much as I do.
Also, even though it's difficult for my little Richonne-heart to believe, I acknowledge that many people do not champion Rick and Michonne's romantic relationship. I will not use this blog post to delve into an analysis of why, etc. Yet, I implore everyone to use the depiction of Rick and Michonne's relationship and family as a new, current lens for viewing and reading step-mom, which is the main purpose of my blog.
Thursday, May 5, 2016
I haven't posted in awhile. Not because THIS isn't important, but because it IS IMPORTANT. No, it is not the most important thing. Of course not. I would be hard-pressed and bring much grief upon myself if I were to think so.
"Being in love is a good thing, but it is not the best thing. There are many things below it, but there are also things above it. You cannot make it the basis of a whole life. It is a noble feeling, but it is still a feeling." C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (Here, Lewis is discussing marriage, beginning from the premise of falling 'in love'.)
But, there is a word God has put on my heart and I would/will be consumed with Holy Fire if I did not share it. What is the important thing is that we think rightly about roles and the people in them. We each are flawed and ruined, though we can find favor in God's grace. This Mother's Day, every Mother's Day, is for every single woman who despite her flaws and insecurities and trepidations chose and chooses to stand up and be a parent, the best parent that she can be. That's it. It's about grace and love and forgiveness. Bio-Mom is not better than Step-Mom, and Step-Mom is not better than her. We are not better than Adopted-Mom or Lesbian-Mom or White-Mom or Black-Mom. We are all MOM.
If you are Mom and you are trying--you are mom. Everyday I try endowed by the grace God gives me. He has honored and blessed me. So, I pray away bitterness and contempt and jealousy and dissensions.
Thank you to all the parents who have worried and prayed and paid...and I'm not just talking about money.
And to the children, whose lives I was elected to influence, I hope you know simply that YOU ARE LOVED, first by God and after that know that you are loved and seen by many. And this matters. Yes, it does. Because this world is cruel and cold and calculating. But, LOVE--adults and children--is not dead.
"Being 'in love' first moved them to promise fidelity: this QUIETER LOVE [my emphasis] enables them to keep their promise." C.S. Lewis
Let's take this further. God is speaking always about this/that LOVE; love as a force, an entity, alive in our hearts as we entreat vulnerability and sacrifice.
"If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing." 1 Corinthians 13:2
"Let all that you do be done in love." 1 Corinthians 16:14
Sunday, August 3, 2014
Response number one lands step in a place where she is robbed of lamenting the challenges specific to being step-mom. Various psychological studies support the fact that the ambiguous nature of being STEP and the "outsider" effect the role often spawns incites depression and anxiety in a large number of women in the step-mom role. http://www.theguardian.com/eduction/2010/mar/23/stepmothers-psychological-effects-research This particular article is written by Lucy Tobin, psychologist and step-mum. For some reason unbeknownst to me, this particular link may be broken. I will correct it soon, but in the meantime I suggest you Google it :)
Friday, June 20, 2014
Friday, February 28, 2014
"Oh, yeah, I totally forgot! Can't leave your kids waiting...you're a great mom!"
In my stepmother mind:
Yes, that is correct. I certainly have to pick up the kids but they are not my kids--even though I have interactions with them that mirror interactions I would initiate with my own progeny.
I go out of my way to say "THE kids" as opposed to "MY kids." The difference is subtle yet difference still remains. Some people might protest and charge me with being absolutely ridiculous: What difference does "the" or "my" truly make? On the other hand, several bio-parents might be thinking, "Damn right! She better say 'the' kids; they're not hers!"
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the STEP language game.
There's a subtle yet powerfully effective double standard weighing on the shoulders and mouths of step-moms everywhere.
Mom, Judy, is sitting on the bleachers at Timmy's soccer game engaging in a bit of girl talk with the other moms. Judy proceeds to say that Timmy needs to be a bit less like his father and quit procrastinating with getting his homework completed after game time. A ways down the bleachers, step-mom Jane comments on how stepson Tommy probably needs to devote a bit more time practicing soccer so he can improve at goalie position.
Mind you, I have created fake names, but the framework of the scenario is indeed a real one. I have witnessed Mom Jane's comments be received back within the circle of parents with understanding and camaraderie. Even if one or more of the parents think Mom Jane's comment off-putting, her statement is still one that CAN be made. On the other hand, step-mom Jane's constructive criticism of Tommy is admonished. She is met with the statement, "Um, he is not your son; you shouldn't be so rude or critical." (Moreover, most steps probably wouldn't say anything at all. The STEP language motto becoming, "Keep your head down and your mouth shut!")
Incredulous? Disbelieving? Sound ridiculous?
As soon as I say, "Oh, my stepdaughter..." I immediately become marked and ultimately discredited in a certain way (the marking being polarizing). Then my statement is followed by a series of questions: Do you have any kids of your own? Do you want to have kids of your own? Are you planning on having any? AND I am thinking: So, can I finish talking about my plans with my step-daughter this weekend now? Or can I not talk about that until I pop out a baby? And what if I do not ever have kids of MY OWN? So what?
"That's my girl."
"He looks just like me."
Step-mom cannot say this, especially CHILDLESS steps; this language of possession as it concerns another human being(s) can never be broached by step-mom. What can step-mom say? What is her field of statements?
"She doesn't look like me."
"His mannerisms are nothing like my own."
WHAT CAN BIO AND STEP SAY ALIKE?
"I love her!"
"I enjoy his laughter."
I may not be able to claim my step-kids in a very literal sense of claiming: I was outside of their conception and birth, outside of their naming, and still I exist outside of seeing myself reflected back in their faces. Yet I love them and enjoy them and celebrate them. Language has coloured me evil, but my language NOW is LOVE. A pure love when considered that the deeds that I perform in honor of these children are indeed for them, having literally STEPPED into a situation overwrought with complexity, complication, and strife. A situation that requires courage, bravery, and selflessness.
Step-moms be encouraged in your magnificent ascent to LOVE. Love, simply. And for those who know step-mom, spur her on in her bravery in order that she may continue to thrive through a role that has long been entrenched in a site of isolation, limitation and misunderstanding.
Do you have any experience with the STEP-language-game? If so, please share your experiences for the edification of us all.
Humbly Pressing On,
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Beginning today, I am going to post a prompt which I will leave up for one week. I would like each of you to respond to the prompt either in the comments section or via email. Keep in mind that responses can be as brief or as extensive as you'd like for them to be. An answer may consist of a word, a phrase, or an essay with beginning, middle and end (I will never discourage someone from writing an essay).
Week One Prompt: Who is Mother? In other words, what do you think of when you see the term "Mother?" (If you were explaining "mother" to someone who had no prior knowledge, what would you say?)
Humbly Pressing On,