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The evil stepmother of fairy tales is just that – mostly a myth. Women trying to bond with children from an earlier marriage can be just ordinary moms!
In today’s evolving world, relationships are fragile. It is complicated to build a relationship when the very start is from hesitation and distrust. Unfortunately, these are the only ingredients provided to a stepmother when she steps into this role with negative connotations.
I recently met a couple on a vacation. The family had a young teenage girl going through her regular tantrum display. However, it was evident that she was particularly nasty towards the mother. Post getting friendly with them, I realised that the girl’s resentment basically stemmed from that fact that the mother was her new stepmom. She saw her as a replacement of her mother in her father’s life and hence hated her. The efforts made by the new mother were basically in vain and this strain obviously got transferred on to their marriage. She bore the burden and still made her best efforts to make the situation work for her. Though the dark shadows under her eyes conveyed her fatigue.
In a family, a woman by her very nature is the main nurturer. When she gets married, it’s not usually just to the man, but to his entire family. She makes adjustments, compromises and walks a fine balancing line most times to make her marriage work. This entire process becomes further complicated when it is a second marriage and there is a child involved.
Sometimes couples decide to spilt due to various reasons. The children are always adversely affected and torn between their parents. In this tumultuous time, if one parent starts to show affection to someone else of the opposite sex, the child is bound to feel insecure and threatened. A girl child is especially threatened by a new mother. Not only the woman in question is a replacement for her mother, but may also replace her as her father’s princess.
It is not easy to love another woman’s kid, especially if it’s a constant reminder of that fact that she is the ‘second woman’. Every relationship has its share of adjustments and negotiations. When a child is involved, it needs a lot of understanding and patience on the new mother’s part to ensure she manages to get the child to trust her. With young kids its usually easier. But, if the child is in the teens they are already set in their ways. They are also emotionally raw after the disappearance of one parent and are resistant to change. The only way to get them around is through love, compassion, understanding and a lot of patience.
It does not help that stepmothers are always portrayed in negative light. Right from our fairy tales, to our movies and daily soaps, the step mothers are usually a cruel, cold-hearted gold digger with questionable intentions. They are mainly shown plotting and strategizing ways to get rid of the children. The truth is far from it.
The path for the new moms is not easy and the society puts further hurdles by gossiping about them. These vicious rumours usually get channelled to the very children these moms are trying to connect with. As a society, let’s be more accepting of new relationships that have developed. Let’s be more trusting, let’s be less judgemental.
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