Being A Stepmother Has Made Me Want To Be A Biological Mother

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being a stepmotherI met my husband’s children about a month into our romantic relationship. It was a bit soon, in case you’re wondering. They’d never met any of the other women he dated and viewed me with the kind of suspicion that either rendered them rude or mute in my presence. As empathetic as I felt, “Why are you always here?” is not a question that endears a child to anyone, especially when you’ve only met them three times and have taken care to make sure they’ve seen their dad alone in between those visits.

When I met their father, my main priority was not motherhood or even getting my career into some kind of order. It was being OK on my own.

I was a lonely, bullied kid who turned out needy. The kind of person who went out every night, no matter how tired I was, or how little I liked the company I was keeping, in order not to be alone. I had entire relationships, both sexual and platonic, simply so I did not have to spend time on my own. Such is the long-term effect of victimization and relational aggression at a young age.

At 28, I thought it was about time I learned to be happy in my own company. That summer, I returned to Dublin, where I’d been in grad school, and took a room in a shabby house that during the school year was rented to students. Apart from a high-speed Internet connection and a local stray cat that had turned the backyard into his boudoir, I was alone. Romance, marriage and children (biological or otherwise) were not even a footnote on my agenda. I was gearing to be a long-term single lady, complete with the dance moves that I practiced in my roommate-free living room.

It was great. I cooked for myself, reconnected with old friends, took a lot of walks and did extra work at home in the evenings. I was fulfilled, challenged and generally happier. It was inevitable then that I’d quickly succeed in meeting not one but two clichés about love. The first: “It’ll happen when you’re not looking.” The second: “Most people meet their partners at work.”

Reader, we met on the kitchen on my first day in the office, worked side-by-side for two months, stayed in touch when my contract expired, dated and married about six months later.

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