I've noticed even more since getting engaged to the love of my life that people have different reactions when I tell them I'm getting married to someone with kids. Thought I'd share a few!
Notable reactions include the following:
1.) GASP! Sad/shocked/pity face. From most reactions you would think I just told them I have cancer and have 6 months to live... Being a step-parent is NOT a death sentence! Yes, it's stressful, and unorganized, and can drive you to a breaking point at times, but your life is not over. You aren't an idiot just because you fell in love with someone that has kids and an ex wife. Considering that more than 50% of marriages end in divorce...there are more step families out there than people realize.
2.) The "ready made family", or "insta-mom" comments. I hate when people say "oh, jumping into a ready made family" or "oh, insta-mom". If you are in the same boat you know it's hardly like that. First...you don't just jump into a ready made family. It's not like you are being adopted. It's like an on the job interview that never ends. You aren't really considered to be "part of the family" by this new "family" you just "jumped" into. The stepparent is always under fire, and left with no legal rights for protection. Insta-mom? How about insta-not-my-mom. It's the first thing everyone actually points out. Case and point...I'm pretty sure if I was having a baby, my family would be over the moon to visit and meet the baby...their grandchild. Step-grandkids? Totally different! 2 years later and they still haven't met the kids I will soon be calling my stepchildren. Even your own families don't see you as a "mom".
3.) The "you're a saint". I love these people. "oh wow, you are a better woman than me to take that on!" I don't know if sainthood is achieved by being a step-parent, but thanks for thinking that! I think that people who take in foster kids, or adopt older children, or save kids from dangerous situations are saints. People who dedicate their lives to taking in sick children or mentally ill children. Those are the real saints.
4.) The "I've been there" person. My personal favorite. Men and women who are step-parents. They have the best support, the best advice, and can have a really good laugh with you. I love my online stepchicks who always make me feel better if I've had a bad day/weekend, or helping a fellow stepchick you desperately needs to vent or get advice.
All in all, it's mixed reactions. Sometimes I wish that people would just be happy for me like I'm a young girl that met the love of her life that doesn't come with a few suitcases. 95% of the time I'm happy that I'm secure enough in myself and my decisions to know that no matter what baggage the love of my life has...he's SO worth it!!