I've been in a blended family for 13 years now and I am continually amazed at the judgement from some Bio Parents, a vocal minority(I'm hoping), expressing judgement over LOVE, specifically in reference to the Mom/child relationship I share with my Step Kids.
The notion that love between a parent and child is somehow wrong, disrespectful and/or disloyal to a Bio Parent if the love exchanged is between a Mom and kid has a Step or Bonus attached to it - drives me mildly insane! Insane because STEP or BONUS doesn't change the feeling of love or its legitamacy between the parent and child.
I could ramble on about my relationship with my Step Kids, specifically my two youngest and all the reasons why sharing the parent/child relationship is a good thing for everyone involved, but I won't! Instead I'll talk about my own daughter who was thrust into a divorce and blended family situation by no choice of her own.
My daughter Elle was just 5 years old when I moved in with Raylan and six when we married a year later. She went from an only child - only grandchild - only niece to one of six kids. Elle had every reason to complain - for five years she had a Mom that catered to her every need and then overnight she was sharing her Mom with 5 other kids - often times her needs taking a back seat to their needs.
Not once in 13 years has she ever complained about sharing me - demand that I ONLY love her because we share biology - accuse me of being disloyal to her because she was my only "REAL" daughter - or that I'm plain disrespectful to her in loving other children.
Elle never has complained because she knew at age 5 and now at age 18, something that a number of parents at 30 -40 -50 have yet to grasp. A parent/child, brother/sister relationship isn't determined by biology - it's determined by love and the feeling of love is limitless. There's always enough to go around.
There are plenty of blended family situations where the kids and the Step Mom don't like each other - SM prefers your kids never to be around and when they are make it absolutely miserable for them. Ultimately the kids would rather stay away. Why would any Bio Parent want that kind of rejection for their child?
Once the ink dries on divorce papers - it no longer matters how or why we divorced, who instigated the divorce, if one person cheated or if one of us never wanted the divorce to begin with - we BOTH willingly signed the papers to end the marriage. With our signatures we agreed to live our lives apart.
I divorced my Ex Husband 17 years ago, my daughter had a Step Mom for 13 of those years. Now as I look back I know some things for certain. A Step Mom will never replace you as a mother to your child (even if they call Step Mom - Mom) and her love will never replace or diminish the way you love them! Having a woman who loves and protects your child like their own is a comfort to your child and ultimately to you.
Three years ago, Elle's life was turned upside down when the family she shared with her Dad was torn apart. Today, I'm not sitting here thinking "Thank GOD" Malus(Step Mom) knew her place and treated my daughter as her "Step" daughter. Not for one minute! Her treating my daughter as such, although an warped ego boost to me - put my child in an extremely dangerous situation. Malus wasn't thinking as a mother protecting her child - she was thinking as a Step Mom orchestrating others including my daughter to take care of her needs.
I don't regret my divorce. Instead, I wish that Dick had fallen head over heels in love with someone who loved him like crazy. Someone who brought out the best side of him - someone who made him insanely happy! Happy parents - Happy home! A home that my daughter couldn't wait to get to every week.
Had Dick been blissfully happy in the life he chose to live without me, I know that it wouldn't have been a reflection on me, or the wife I was or wasn't - nor a statement about the life we once shared. It would have been just like his unhappiness is now - confirmation of the divorce decree we mutually signed 17 years ago - we were not right for each other.