Stevens Firm May 2018

What Matters Most

THE Stevens Firm, P.A. Family Law Center

Navigating the Role of “Stepmom” Biological or By Marriage, I Love My Children the Same 349 E. Main Street, Suite 200, Spartanburg, SC 29302 • • (864) 598-9172 April 2018

As most people know, I have six children — three who are mine biologically and three who came into my life when I married my husband and law partner, Ben. When I was younger, I never imagined I’d be a mom — and certainly not to so many children — but I wouldn’t give up my life today for anything. My relationship with each of my children is unique because they all have such different personalities and needs. Our kids range in age from 8 to 21, so my role in each of their lives can be wildly different. As a mom, I’ve learned how to meet each of their individual needs based on their ages, maturity levels, and chapters in life. I learn something new from them every day. Although I technically have three “stepchildren,” that word is rarely used in our home. All of our kids know they have three parents in this world who love them and do everything possible to care for them. Our youngest, Dexter, really has no memory of his life before I was his stepmother, so my relationship with him has never gone through the typical adjustments stepparents often experience. However, my older stepchildren were 10 and 12 when I married Ben. While I’d be lying if I said there weren’t occasional hiccups in the blending process, I was lucky to have their mom as a supportive co-parent during that time, and that continues to this day. Our children know

without a doubt that they are loved from all sides, regardless of biology. Being a stepmom is one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever tackled, but it’s also one of the most rewarding. It takes time to earn a child’s trust, especially when you haven’t been there from the beginning. However, with patience and consistency, it can be done. The best advice I can offer other stepmoms is that regardless of what the children call you (stepmom, bonus mom, Mom, Dad’s wife, your name, etc.), you just have to meet them where they are and love them unconditionally. They will respond to your love far quicker than they will respond to strict rules about how they should treat you and

what to call you. All of my stepchildren have had their moments when they took out their anger or frustration on me, but over time, after they saw that I loved them and I was going to take care of them no matter what, I gained their trust. We will never share the bond that a biological mother has with the child she carried for nine months and gave birth to, but we can build our own bonds that are special and treasured in their own ways. Above all else, I love watching my children grow into productive, successful citizens of the world. I can’t guide them forever, so being able to stand back as they get older and watch them make good decisions or fix mistakes they’ve made along the way always brings happy tears to my eyes and a tug at my heart. Years ago, I learned that there’s really no way to perfectly balance motherhood with anything else that demands even a fraction of my time. I just have to get up each day and meet the challenge head-on, aiming to do better than the day before. I ask for patience when it’s possible and extensions of deadlines when feasible, but ultimately, my kids will always come first in my universe.

Jenny Stevens

Reminder About Our Firm’s Communication Policy Our promise to you is that while we are working on your case, we don’t take inbound phone calls, faxes, or emails. Our senior partner, Ben Stevens, takes no unscheduled inbound phone calls, as we have found this makes him much more productive and enables him to focus on getting your case resolved faster. You can always call our office at (864) 598-9172 and schedule an in-person or phone appointment with any of our attorneys, usually within 24–48 hours. We believe this approach is much better than the endless game of phone tag played by most businesses today. Email is also an efficient way to communicate with us, but please

be advised that emails are not typically checked more than twice per day. If you need something quickly, don’t email — call our office and speak with one of our assistants, who will be happy to help you. Disclaimer: This publication is intended to educate the general public about family law issues. It is not intended to be legal advice. Every case is different. The information in this newsletter may be freely copied and distributed so long as the newsletter is copied in its entirety and proper credit is attributed to “The Stevens Firm, P.A. — Family Law Center (”

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