As childless stepparents, we must simply cultivate our own garden.
1. I am a childless stepparent. My husband’s child has two involved parents. I don’t need to take on a parenting role. I am creating a unique and important role for myself in this child’s life.
2. I am a wife first and a stepparent second. I will enjoy being with my husband and his child. I will enjoy being childfree. I will create time and space for myself.
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. I will allow myself to grieve, let go, and be grateful for my life – as it is.
4. My husband chose his former wife to be his child’s mother. The consequences of that choice – for himself and for his child – are his responsibility. My responsibility it to myself, my marriage, our happy home.
5. My husband and his former wife must work together in the business of raising their child. They should do so in a way that respects healthy boundaries between their child’s two homes. I will support my husband in building and maintaining these boundaries.
6. I will be kind to my husband’s child and will treat her with respect. I will expect the same from her. I will support my husband in his role as her dad. I will allow my relationship with my husband’s child to unfold. I will contribute – on my own terms.
The commitments in this manifesto may seem commonsensical, but they are hard-won realizations, the result of over three years as a childless stepparent searching for peace.
I hope they bring you peace, too. I welcome your comments.