The Bonus Mom
May 05, 2016 | Marilyn Bradford
God places a very high value on family and taking care of and supporting each other. Charity begins at home. Everyone desires a happy household and loving family. But let’s face it, the family dynamic can be complicated these days. Divorced, widowed, and unwed parents marry and remarry. No matter how complex the system may be with its court decisions, scheduled visits, baby-mamas and all its drama, God never changes. His views on family values remain the same no matter what our families may look like. Mother’s Day is a good day to remember how hard mothers work to maintain good family values. The many faces of motherhood can be seen in the foster-mom, adoptive-mom, god-mom, grand-mom, and of course the birth-mom. Some may even have a play-mom in their life – that individual who simply and unofficially assumes the role because of a loving bond that cannot be denied. But let us not forget the unique role of the step-mom.
Meet Dominique, mother of four and step-mom of three. Add them all together and you will find that there are seven youngsters around her breakfast table on alternating weekends. Her kitchen is stocked with large family-sized snacks and cereals. Her wash room is overflowing with enough detergents to clean for an army. She’s a Groupon groupie and a coupon queen! I asked Dominique to tell us what it means to be a step-mom.
DOMINIQUE: “Caring for children can be a challenge. However, taking care of 7 is really not that different from taking care of 4 – a house full of kids is a house full of kids. One of the things that I admire about our kids is that they look out for each other and try to take care of each other. I must admit that it was a challenge in the beginning. Getting my own children to follow the house rules is not always easy, but now with other little people in the house it is even more challenging. Because of the different rules in our different households, adjustments had to be made with a little pain and a lot of patience, love and understanding.”
Step-moms, sometimes unfairly, get a bad rep, like being identified with that evil stepmother that wouldn’t let that poor little Cinderella girl go to the party. It’s one thing to love your children, but is it possible to love someone else’s children as you love your own?
DOMINIQUE: “Yes, by the power of God. I’ve learned how important communication is but consistency is also critical – being the same mom week after week with the same discipline, same care, and same love every day. God created me with a nurturing personality and a passion for teaching children the difference between what’s right and what’s wrong. If a child is in my house, they become a part of my household, and I will take care of my household. My household is my first ministry.”
What is your biggest challenge as a step-mom?
DOMINIQUE: “Taking care of my step-children is actually the easy part. I would have to say that my biggest challenge is connecting with their mother. Jade Pinkett said something that really resonated with me. She said, ‘…to love [my step-son]... I had to learn to love the most important person in the world to him...his mother. And the two of us may not have always LIKED each other... but we have learned to LOVE each other.’ That was deep for me.”
What brings you joy as a step-mom?
DOMINIQUE: “The different personalities of the children are the most enjoyable part. Laila is quiet and subdued, but when she is with my stepchild, Kelsey, she lights up like a Christmas tree. Aaliyah is artistic, and my stepdaughter, Kristie is inventive and high-tech. Stepson, CJ, maintains his protective shell hiding behind a smile but interacts with the other kids all wild and free. They are all great kids – all 4 plus 3.”
So often, moms do a lot of giving with little reward. Do you feel appreciated? What keeps you going, or have you ever just wanted to quit?
DOMINIQUE: “I feel very appreciated. As a single mom after the divorce, I thought I could conquer the world all by myself. Through prayer, my heart was softened to marry a man that I least expected. And my heart said, yes, I need this man! He is my partner and the love of my life (oh and he’s a great cook too). We are a team, so I never feel like I have to go it alone. The Lord has brought us a long way. My husband led us to church. He is the leader of our household. We pray together and study together. Being a step-mom is really like any other mom, lots of work, and plenty of pains and joys. So, I watch love grow by the grace of God.”
Yes, it takes a village to raise a child. Praise God for the Concord Church and the support that it provides to all of our families through the unconditional love of our Father God. Thank you for sharing Dominique, and may God bless you and your blended-family household far beyond your wildest dreams!