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The Hardest Job

Photograph by Getty Images

“It’s the hardest job you’ll ever have. It’s the most thankless role you’ll ever take. There are going to be days where you feel like you want to quit.”

Whatever that quote is pertaining to, you don’t want to be a part of it, right? It sounds pretty horrible. But, that is a direct quote I heard from several people when they found out I was a stepmom.

And did I mention that some of these people had only met me in the grocery store checkout line?

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We’ve all heard it a thousand times—being a stepmom is hard work.

But you know what? Just being a mom is hard work.

Yes, being a stepmom can bring its own set of unique challenges like tumultuous relationships with your stepchildren’s mother, battling custody arrangements in front of a judge, and watching your husband cry on Christmas Eve because he misses his kids. It’s tough, but I’m here to tell you, honestly, that the basic “warnings” everyone gave me are the same ones they should give a brand new mom.

I don’t have biological children of my own yet, but I love my two stepchildren like they are my very own. If I take the "step" out of "stepmom," and focus on how hard it is just to be a mom, it is the hardest job I’ll ever have. Period.

Who doesn’t sometimes feel like they want to quit the hardest, most thankless job in the world?

Taking care of kids is not for the faint of heart. Raising them to be good, productive members of society while your heart is literally breaking (because who wants to send them out into society?) is hard. Feeling like your heart is walking outside of your body, constantly worried about another human being (or two, or three or more) before you even think of yourself is hard. It’s second nature, sure, but it’s hard.

It is the most thankless role I’ll ever take. While they tell me “thank you” for pouring their milk, are they going to remember all of the other little things I do for them? Starting baths, fixing dinner, making lunches, washing clothes, packing picnics, throwing birthday parties, wiping their snotty noses, cleaning up their accidents, scrubbing their bed sheets at midnight thanks to the flu? All of those things are part of being a parent, and it means I have to do them, no matter what. Kids will drain you of your resources without a second thought, but it’s OK. You want them to need you. And you know what? It really doesn’t matter if you get applause every time.

There are days where I feel like I want to quit. There are days where I want to soak into a hot bath without someone coming in to ask me to get out and find her lion cub. There are days where I’d like to eat lunch without constantly reminding someone to chew with his mouth closed. There are days where every punishment, every time-out, every lecture has done absolutely nothing and I just want to cry because I have no idea what else to do.

Who doesn’t sometimes feel like they want to quit the hardest, most thankless job in the world?

RELATED: Can I Call You "Mama"?

Being a stepmom has prepared me for being a mother in the best possible way, but not in the way people would think. Sure, my patience has tripled, I’ve already learned how fast these days go and how hard it is to preserve them. But being a stepmom, the hardest, most thankless job I’ll ever want to quit, has taught me that being a mom isn’t any easier.

And I can’t wait.

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