My fellow coaches’ wives who are also stepmoms: I see you.
I see you filling the gaps in the absence of a husband and father who is momentarily away from his family as he serves others through his life’s mission.
I see you holding together the pieces of a family impacted by brokenness.
I see you spending your precious time off in your car, in traffic, driving across creation to make sure your bonus kids get to see their dad this week.
I see you planning outings and meals for your bonus babies to reassure them they are welcome, they are home, and their dad will be home as soon as he can.
I see you scheduling outings with your friends and family around an “every other weekend” agreement.
I see you bearing the brunt of the meltdowns.
I see you buying them little surprises and their favorite treats to show you care and build a relationship with them.
I see you loving these precious little ones as your own.
I see you doing all the work of a wife and mom without the instinctive adoration, respect, and recognition that you rightfully deserve.
I see you parenting under a microscope, questioning every decision you make, and rehearsing your defense in case that decision does not align with the ‘real parent.’
I see you navigating the uncharted territory of discipline with children who are dealing with the trauma of divorce, as you attempt to stand in their parent’s shoes while he stands on the field.
I see you going to games for the sake of a father’s relationship with his kids, where time is already limited because shared custody is always in season--when you just want to…rest.
I see you worrying whether you are enough for them without a biological parent around.
I see you trying to figure out your role in their lives.
I see your sacrifices, even when no one else does.
I see your devotion to those kids, but even more, I see your love for their dad.
I know that sometimes it feels like it's 60-0 in the second quarter, and he is the only reason you are still standing.
You are valued, Step Mom. You are not alone. This is not a thing you “signed up for.” This is YOUR mission field and it is who you are. You were hand-picked for this role by God long before you ever even met your husband. So have courage, Step Mom, because your strength and resilience will be a testament to your faith and a beacon to those who follow your same path.
Let me be the first person in line to tell you, in case you haven’t heard it in a while, you are AMAZING. Speaking from the other side of the struggle: it’s not going to be like this forever. You will emerge better than you ever imagined you could be.