Stop Competing with Your Stepchild’s Mom

by childless stepparent

spouse's former spouse

“The people who repel us unwittingly show us the aspects of ourselves that we find unacceptable, which otherwise we can’t see. Other people trigger the karma that we haven’t worked out. They mirror us and give us the chance to befriend all of that ancient stuff that we carry around like a backpack full of granite boulders.” 

~ Pema ChodronStart Where You Are

My husband told me recently that he thinks I’m competing with his daughter’s mom. He’s right. I’m humbled to admit it, but he’s right. My ego has driven me to do things that I know will “show up” his former wife.

“Look at me,” my ego says, “Look at how amazing I am with my husband’s daughter. Look at how well I take care of her. Look at how close we are. Look at all the enriching experiences I’ve brought into her life. Look at how much better I am at this than her mom.” It’s destructive, this ego-driven competition of mine. It doesn’t benefit any of us.

But competition explains only part of it. The more powerful driver is an aching desire to be the mom I always thought I’d be.

“See,” my ego says, “THIS is the kind of mom I would be. This is the wisdom I’d share with my child. These are the experiences we’d have together. This is how I would love her. This is the kind of mom I am.”

But I am not a mom. It’s time to find a way to be a loving presence in my stepchild’s life – without thinking of myself as a parent.

It’s time to let go. Let go of the competition. Let go of that part of myself that has nowhere to go. Let myself grieve a little. Put my heart and energy in other places where I can be of benefit.

Manifesto #3 | I am not a mom. The part of myself I thought I would give my child – as a mom – has nowhere to go, and that’s okay.