“Family: DNA Not Required”

When I accepted my then boyfriend’s proposal to marriage -my mother sat me down. She wanted me to truly grasp what was going to happen. Marrying my boyfriend wasn’t just about us.

He had a child from his first marriage and my mom wanted to make sure I understood that I could no longer lounge around on Saturday mornings.

“You have to get up. Make breakfast and make sure he’s good. It’s not all about you anymore”, she would preach.

I assured my mom that I fully understood what it would mean to be a step-parent. I didn’t have to go far for guidance on this topic.

I grew up in a blended family.

I distinctly remember packing a bag and being excited to go to Yonkers with my older sister, Natalie to spend time with her dad and his wife. Ahhhh Sandra, the quintessential step-mother. My mother used to prepare me for these trips by grabbing me by my shirt collar. She would say over and over again: “Listen to Sandra. Respect Sandra. Always answer her with manners. Never back talk Sandra! If I find out you talked back to her I will beat you when you come home”.

I would roll my eyes to these warnings (all in my own head of course!).

I never needed coaxing or threats to respect Sandra. Sandra was amazing! She used to let us wear her make-up, her wigs, her fancy, sparkly dresses and high heel shoes! We played music in that Yonkers apartment and danced the day away. When it was time to make dinner- she welcomed me into her kitchen. Teaching me how to make the perfect pot of rice or how to hold a knife properly to cut vegetables.

Sandra was and still is a girly girl. She has impeccable style and she would not hesitate to buy us pretty clothes and nice jewelry. Sandra showed up and loved me like I was one of her own.

Years later she was there for me in the hospital as I battled my own demons-praying with me and praying for me-pushing me to get better.

So, today as a step-mom I just ask myself: What would Sandra do? I couldn’t have asked for a better child to be a stepmom to! To all the blended families out there, continue to lead with love. Peace and blessings.

6 thoughts on ““Family: DNA Not Required”

  1. Amazing! Accountability is key in a blended family. Way to step up to the plate because it’s not easy being a stepchild either. Patience is so vital in all relationships especially when the child is already being raised by someone else, but that’s the village that people often speak about. You are so loveable and I don’t doubt that you are a blessing to your stepson.


  2. Entering into a relationship with a child is beyond scary! You accept all the positive traits that new individual has to offer. However, anything else tends to fall by the wayside. To state things more clearly: Any suggested parental advice that your partner provides isn’t always respected (as of course it should have been). I have said it before, but I will continue to thank Anika, for allowing me to transform into a better parent. She isn’t afraid to go above and beyond her role of a step parent.The nurturing she provides for my son has transcended any beliefs ever fostered regarding step parents. I have been truly blessed by her presence in my son’s life. So, for anyone out there that is raising a child in a blended family: Please allow yourself to be open minded and fair. If you’re willing to accept the good they offer, don’t shut out their valuable input when things get rough. If they’re good enough to love, they’re good enough teach……



    1. Thank you for your insight. It’s not easy to get constructive criticism from someone else -and for parents it’s even harder at times to listen to someone that doesn’t have any biological kids.


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