*This article is a work of nonfiction based on actual events recounted to me by a friend who witnessed them firsthand; used with permission
Starting a family with a new partner is not always about having kids and a new home. Sometimes, you get to move in with a partner who is already a parent while adjusting to your new role as a stepparent and learning your way around their home.
And if they're opposed to you seeing yourself as a new parent when you're excited to fill in that role, disagreements will easily show up when least expected.
My friend Miranda has been married to Jack, her husband, for six years. This is his second marriage, and he was already a dad when he met Miranda and started going out with her.
"I had no problem with him having a daughter. I actually got excited to meet her and see if we'd get along. It was wonderful to know he was a family guy right from the start. That made a difference to me; it felt like our relationship could last if he was so dedicated to his little girl," Miranda said.
She met his parents, and he visited her parents and siblings as well. They also had mutual friends and loved making big meals for everyone.
"I loved how we got similar ideas and enjoyed the same things. Having many people around the table and cooking was something we both had fun doing, so we included our families and friends when we got some free time. His daughter, Mia, was always there too, and she liked to ask me questions, or we looked after the flowers in the garden together," Miranda said.
After dating for about five months, Jack proposed to her, and they set the wedding date three months after that.
"We had a small party with friends, family, and some coworkers. It was a special day we will always remember. And I particularly loved how Mia wanted to have her dress made the same shade as mine, and she was the flower girl," Miranda said.
Julia, Mia's mom, also came to the wedding. The bride didn't mind since Julia had been visiting them frequently while the wedding preparations were going on.
"She often came to see Mia, and they're very close. I'm happy for them because I know what it's like to miss one of your parents. My dad hasn't come to see me for over ten years, and I think about him every day," Miranda said.
After the wedding, Miranda moved in with Mia and her husband. They had fun cooking together, sharing chores, and thinking about interesting places to discover during their vacations.
Through it all, there was just one point on which she and Jack couldn't agree.
"I truly wanted to be a parent, and having Mia close every day made me think I could be a mom to her, even though she still had Julia. Like a second mom, not a stepmom. So, I encouraged her to call me mom, and she did a few times. My husband got annoyed when he heard her. He thinks I'm confusing his daughter, and she won't know who her mom is," Miranda said.
Unfortunately, Jack doesn't want his wife to think of herself as Mia's mom. He's more comfortable with them just being friends. He doesn't get along with his former wife at all, but he still believes Mia should only call her mom.
"He's upset I asked his daughter to call me mom; he doesn't even like his ex, so I don't know why he reacted that way. I'm not trying to take away her part in Mia's life. I just want to avoid being a stepmom myself. I can be her second mom. I'm sure a little girl would be very lucky to have two moms; why not?" Miranda said.
Jack isn't that flexible, and he's specifically asked her to stop doing that and to just wait until they have kids so they can call her mom.
"He only wants our kids to call me mom, but then why wouldn't I include Mia in our family; she's not just his daughter. I live with her every day; that makes her my child, too," Miranda added.
Things are tense for now, while the little girl occasionally calls both Miranda and Julia "mom." Julia doesn't mind it, and she thinks it's an indication that Miranda treats her daughter very well.
How do you think this should be handled? Is it fair for Jack to ask his wife to avoid telling his daughter to call her mom? Is it fine if the little girl's mom has nothing against it?
Comments / 54