With stepmom of three Joslynn Flowers.
Joslynn Flowers is a bonus mom, bio mom, and second wife with a platform dedicated to supporting stepparents. Her podcast, The Daily Stepmom, covers co-parenting, developing realistic expectations, adding an “ours baby,” and more. Today she’s chatting with Raise about her beautiful blended, mixed-race family and five myths about being a stepmom.
Myth 1: I am responsible for my husband’s divorce.
That couldn’t be further from the truth. There are many reasons marriages don’t work, and the idea that the stepmother is responsible for the divorce is so over-played.
Myth 2: I don’t get along with my stepchildren’s mother.
Actually, I do, for the most part. It’s not easy. We’ve had to work through a lot of resentment and other issues, but we do the work. We are two individuals, who parent differently and approach things differently, but we understand that getting along is in the best interest of our kids.
Yes, I said our kids.
Myth 3: Children should never call their stepmother “Mommy.”
For a long time, they called me “Mommy Joslynn,” until they didn’t. One day, it transitioned into Mommy and stuck. I never forced it. I always allowed them to call me whatever they wanted to.
Myth 4: I am trying to take my stepchildren away from their mother.
I believe each parent should have equal access to their children. Most stepmoms have their kids every other weekend or 50% of the time. In our case, I have them every single day. Even on the days they see their mother, they’re with me that morning or evening.
I never thought I would be sharing a life with my husband’s ex. I never thought I would have to co-parent, but this is our reality. I believe there are many ways to be a mother figure, and I hope people know that I am not trying to replace my stepchildren’s mother.
Myth 5: Being a stepmother is not rewarding.
It’s the most rewarding role you will ever be given! But I’ll be super real with you – it’s not easy. It’s important to have healthy and realistic expectations. Knowing the children are not biologically yours can cause you to second guess yourself or wonder if their mother approves of your decisions.. Our kids were young when I came into their lives – 2 1/2, 4 and almost 6 — so it was easy to establish myself as a nurturing figure. But sharing your life with your husband’s ex is not normal, no matter which way you spin it.
My biggest advice is to trust your instincts and be careful who you vent to. Not everyone is a safe space.
Winter Is Coming: Navigating the most stressful time of the year as a blended family.
For Which You Have Been Created: Developing healthy expectations for your role as a stepmom.
How Did I Become The Evil Stepmom: Discussing the media’s negative portrayal of stepmothers.
Jessica Butler is the co-founder of Raise, stepmother of two, and adoptive mother of one. Prior to Raise, she was a writer on USA’s "In Plain Sight" and TNT’s "The Last Ship." She and her husband, writer/producer Warren Bell, co-created the Nick at Nite series "Instant Mom," based on her life as a stepmother. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and six-year-old son, Levon.