I’ve been a stepparent for over three years. My husband has 50/50 joint custody of his 10-year-old daughter. She and I get along well and have grown to love one another. My husband and I have a loving marriage, a shared spiritual practice, thriving careers, and a peaceful home. He is a great dad. His daughter is a great kid. He works amicably with his former wife in the business of taking care of their child. My situation is pretty much as good as it can get.
And yet…being a childless stepparent is the most challenging thing I’ve ever done.
I hope this blog becomes a place where childless stepparents can share their experiences. If (like me) you want children but it hasn’t unfolded that way, or if you choose not to have children – being a stepparent without children of your own brings unique challenges.
Read more about why I’m writing about childless stepparents.
We exist in an in-between world. We may co-parent with our spouses, but we are not parents. We may take on the day-to-day caretaking of our stepchildren, but in most states in the U.S. we are still considered “legal strangers.” We may grow to love our stepchildren with full hearts, but we will not receive the kind of unconditional love a child has for a parent. If we’re lucky, we will receive something else.
Here’s what my experience has helped me understand: we can be a kind, caring presence in our stepchildren’s lives. We can embrace abundance and create a loving home. And at the same time, we can remain true to ourselves.
My spiritual practice (yoga and meditation) has been essential to me on this journey, so I will share some of my favorite teachings and practices. I trust that we childless stepparents can take empowering steps on a path from childless to childfree.
In the words of Eckhart Tolle: “Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment.”
I invite you to share your experience in a comment. We childless stepparents can create a community – a place where we can find gentleness, support, and understanding.
I send you many good wishes on your journey.