I don't know of any girl who grows up thinking, "I really want to be a stepmom when I get older!"
And it's not just the "wicked stepmother" stereotype that is deeply engrained in our culture.
It is missed firsts.
It's coming second.
It is balance and compromise like nothing else.
It is a risk.
Ah, but life is full of risk. And if you don't risk anything, you risk even more.
In 2015, in the course of 4 weeks, I moved from a small trailer in the middle of nowhere, where I lived only with my dog and my ever-growing baby bump, to a home in the city with my fiancé, his son (every second week) and, shortly after, our newborn baby. Less than a year later, our niece moved in with us.
It was (and still is) a life of huge adjustments, daily learning, and uncomfortable growth.
It is more laundry in a week than I used to do in a month. It is structure and routine and sports practices, when I, not so long ago, could binge-watch an entire Netflix series in a weekend. It is conversations at midnight about our parenting and whether we're doing a good job.
Fellow stepmoms - if you are feeling overwhelmed (or know that you will feel those feelings again) - hang in there. It's not easy, but you are strong and capable.
Our family is built on risk and change and growth. It's not perfect, but it is worth it.