Blended Families: To Mom or Not to Mom…


Once upon a time I was a proudly single, childless woman, living the dream in my downtown Indianapolis apartment. Then I met this charming, laid-back, handsome man named Tim whose passion for life was contagious. I was smitten and we began to plan for a shared life together.

He was a dad to two adorable, internationally adopted kids. Early on, even as Tim and I began to talk about getting married, there was never any doubt that the kids would not call me mom. They have one mom. My role in their life would be different. In my head, that completely made sense. And my heart appeared to be on board.

Becoming StepMolly

When we told the kids we were getting married, they grinned, whispered to each other, and then asked if they could call me StepMolly. I melted. It was the cherry on my sundae of anticipation of our life together.

Of course, I didn’t realize all of the complexities in creating the role of StepMolly the New Stepmom. I mean, how hard could it be?

If you are a parent in a blended family, or the product of a blended family, you probably just rolled your eyes. Or at least you should have. I was so naïve. Not only is parenting hard, but parenting half-time is hard. Co-parenting is hard. And an introvert transitioning from living alone to living with three people is no easy task, no matter how great those people are. But we managed through the transition and began to find our “normal”.

Nobody Has Ever Called Me “Mommy”

Last summer, with a whopping 18 months of marriage and stepparenting under my belt, I finally gave in to the pleadings of my husband and the kids to adopt a dog.

Tim wanted a giant dog (which I define as anything over 60 pounds) and I wanted a purse dog. Our compromise was Fergus, a 10 year old Miniature Schnauzer we rescued from a shelter in Lafayette. It didn’t take him long to settle in to his new home. Our family made our own adjustments for our newest member and life settled into another new normal.

But one day an unexpected doggie interaction stopped me in my tracks.

Trying to cajole the dog to follow me, Tim said to Fergus, “Go see your mommy! Go get mommy!”

No one has ever called me mommy. And I take no issue with being a dog mommy. But it was the first time that I felt a pang of something I couldn’t identify. My stomach burned. Was it longing? Sadness? Or just surprise? I still don’t actually know.

Growing our family with biological kids is not in our plan at this time. I have noticed, thought, that when I tell God my plans, He has a way of turning them on their head. So I always leave the window open a crack. In the meantime, I will continue to love on the furry one who calls me Mommy and the kids who call me Molly.