When I became a mother, I planned on being the Cool Mom - you know the MOM my kids told me everything! They of course don't find me very cool, let alone share everything! So I've settled on trying to create an atmosphere where they can share anything even though it isn't everything.
This past weekend I was in NYC with my girls and Mom to celebrate Elle's birthday - GIRLS TRIP! We've been doing girls trips for 12 years now. When I say my girls I'm referring to my two daughters - one bio and one step.
I've been extremely lucky that Greta, Little Hart's Mom, has willingly given her permission for Little Hart to join with us. I've been hopeful that I have created a climate where Little Hart feels comfortable not only in communicating with Greta on our trips, but sharing how she's feeling about being away from her Mom.
Tuesday marked day six since Little Hart had seen her Mom in person. The four of us were out exploring the City when Little Hart looked at me and said "I miss my Mommy!" I smiled - " I get that!" When we got back to our hotel room she Facetimed her Mom to share our NYC adventures- I could see the smiles on both Mom and daughter from ear to ear. I found myself with a smile all my own.
Like a lot of Step Mom's, there were many times early on where I was fixated on the mistaken belief that if Litttle Hart was with me - having a good time - she wouldn't miss or need her Mom. The truth is that missing or needing her Mom was never a reflection of how much she loved me or enjoyed our time together. I realized that really loving my step daughter meant loving the way she loves her Mom.
I was an extremely happy Step Mom last Tuesday when Little Hart felt comfortable enough to share not only her feelings about missing her Mom(Mommy) - she didn't worry that there would be any negative repercussions for doing so. It wasn't a slip of the tongue that she immediately felt guilty for saying nor that she needed to do damage control - smooth my ruffled feathers so she could go on another girls trip.
Little Hart owned it, knowing that it wouldn't ruffle my feathers - it wouldn't hurt my feelings - be a reason for me to inflict punishment or that I would somehow consider her ungrateful. She knew before uttering a syllable that I would understand what missing her Mommy meant - she missed her Mommy!! it really was as simple as that. No hidden meanings or a cleverly disguised slight to me.
As a Step Mom, all I heard was "Mom I can tell you anything." Little Hart may not tell me everything, but at least I know that she feels comfortable to share anything!