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Will I Love My Own Children Enough?

Photograph by Getty Images

When I became a stepmom, I used to worry about having more kids. I definitely want more, and so does my husband, but those first few months of my new life scared me. I was worried that my stepchildren would feel less loved if we gave them a sibling. I was worried that Chloe, my 6-year-old stepdaughter, would feel replaced because there was a baby at daddy’s house when she wasn’t there. I was worried that this all-consuming love I have for Chloe, and her 4-year-old brother, Trey, would waver when I realized what it’s like to have my “own” child.

Now, those feelings don’t really bother me as much, especially because my relationship with the kids, and their mom, has become so natural. I no longer worry about Chloe and Trey being upset or feeling less love from me.

Instead? I worry about my own biological child feeling less loved than his or her big siblings.

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That sounds insane, doesn’t it? The thing about having my stepchildren is that when they’re here I am full-on, 100 percent in mama mode. I answer every question that comes out of Trey’s mouth with a full explanation or Google search. Every time Chloe asks to help me cook dinner, I say yes, no matter how much more of a mess it makes. When they want me to play Barbies or watch them ride their bikes or carry them? I say, “Sure, baby” and leave the clothes in the dryer for an extra 30 minutes.

I know why I’m like this—it’s because we only see them every other weekend. So when they’re here I feel like I need to give it my all. I want to give it my all. Sure, there are days when I have to meet a deadline or when I’m just too tired to scratch his back until he falls asleep, but I always end up feeling immensely guilty. I tell myself that they’re only here until Sunday—can’t the dishes wait until then? I missed them like hell, and I know they missed me, too. So, is sweeping the floors really that necessary this weekend? It can all wait until they are at their mama’s.

Will every moment I spend with my own child be as cherished as the much smaller moments I spend with my stepchildren?

But what happens when I have a kid here with me 100 percent of the time? Things can’t wait until he/she goes to his/her mama’s because I am the mama. When I let my future little girl spend the night with her grand-mommy, will I be as excited to pick her up as I am to pick up her older siblings? When my future little boy asks me seven thousand questions SEVEN days a week, will I have the same patience as I do with Trey and his questions every other weekend? Will every moment I spend with my own child be as cherished as the much smaller moments I spend with my stepchildren?

My husband, David, says I’ll be fine. He tells me that, while he knows I love his children like my own, I really don’t have any idea what that love is like yet. He tells me that the love I have for my own child will be different—not better or less—than the love I have for Chloe and Trey, and everything will be fine. “It will definitely be an adjustment,” he says, and I believe him, but I’ve never been very good at adjustments.

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I know that I will love my own biological child like my whole being depended on it, because that’s how I love my stepchildren—but will I be as good of a mom? Will I spend every waking moment thinking about my kid, even if I get to see him/her every single day? Will I be as patient, as loving, as eager to make every day with him/her a memory when I never have to say, “See you next week”?

Any stepmamas out there who have their own children and can relate? Did you feel like you were a better parent to your stepchildren than your own? I’d love to hear your stories!

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