The Awkward Question for a Childless Stepmom
In case some of you don’t already know, I am fifteen years younger than my husband and at the time of this article, I am thirty-one years old with no biological children. My husband’s two children, teenagers now, have lived with us for over three years.
I started my own business in web development and design and I very happily work from home. So, I take care of the kids, the house, the errands, the cleaning, the shopping, and so on and so forth while my husband brings home the big bacon.
I am extremely happy with this set up. I love it. I get a flexible schedule, my choice of clients, I make my own decisions and I get to satisfy my maternal itch by helping to raise the kids. I use stepchildren and my children interchangeably, depending on the context, but the here is the truth in my own mind and heart: THEY ARE MY CHILDREN.
Of course, I don’t ask them (or expect them) to call me mom or think that I am replacing their real mom, that would be ridiculous. I’m here as an additional adult, perhaps more like a crazy aunt who lives in the house. They still treat me with respect because I am an adult (most of the time) but they also know they can share things with me that might be controversial for their dad to hear. I encourage this communication because I have a better understanding of what makes them tick. Think of it like a “man on the inside” or “woman” in my case.
So, what is the question that I hate answering?
“When are you going to have kids of your own?”
Let me be clear, I don’t get mad or upset having to answer this question, nor do I blame the inquisitor for be curious. After all, we are expected to grow up and start a family of our own, right? It’s what’s expected. So, it’s understandable that any deviation from this path is (gasp!)… hard to comprehend for some.
Why do I hate to answer this question, you ask? Here we go…
- “Why don’t you plan to have kids?” My husband had a vasectomy over seven years ago. It’s expensive to get it reversed and since it’s been so long, there is a high probability it won’t even work.
- “A reversal could work, though, so why not?” My husband is forty-seven, we need to focus on saving for retirement at this point.
- “You work from home, it’s the perfect opportunity for you.” I want to spend quality time with my husband unencumbered and with the freedom and flexibility with our schedules. We gave up our newlywed years for the kids that moved in with us.
- “You’re still young, you could make it work.”I want to focus my effort, time, energy, and resources on the various things I want to do when I grow up. Write a book, for example.
- “You have to go through the miracle of birth! It’s such a beautiful thing to bring another life into this world.” I like my body. I put myself through the wringer enough as it is, I don’t need another person inside me helping me along.
Ok, so these are mostly little things that, if my husband and I wanted, could overcome. It would be tough, but we could do it. But, those aren’t the main reasons I don’t want to have a “child of my own.”
Most Important Reason: I already do have children of my own. Granted, I started later in their lives, but hey – they are mine. I take them to school, feed them, cloth them, help them, listen to them, clean up after them, discipline them (only if I have to), and do all of the things a parent does. I worry about their health, make sure they have a balanced meal every night for dinner, I know their friends, how they are doing in school, and I look out for them physically and emotionally. So, yeah, I already am a parent with kids.
A majority of the time when someone asks me this question, I ask, “Well, do you have any teenagers at home?”
“No. My kids are under the age of ten.”
My answer: “Ok. Ask me that question when they are going through puberty, boiling hormones, and the whole world is either wrong, dumb, or against them… then we’ll revisit this issue. Trust me on this.”