Pediatric Safety and Stepmother-hood: New Beginnings

Hello dear readers. I am Clara Ember and I am the new Junior Editor for Pediatric Safety. I am a newlywed at 28 and in addition to gaining the companionship of a handsome and intelligent young man, I also found myself suddenly in the role of stepmother to a seven-year-old boy. As someone who never planned on having children of her own, the change was a significant one. I have always liked children and I am aunt to three beautiful little ones, all of whom I love dearly, but see rarely.

I put a lot of thought into motherhood before marrying my husband. His son does not live with us, (he stays with his grandparents) but that didn’t mean that I wasn’t going to have a significant part in his life. The first few times I met him I was a nervous wreck. What happened if he didn’t like me, or if I didn’t like him? What if I was just terrible at being a responsible adult and ended up being a bad influence on him? What was I supposed to talk to him about?

When he first met me, he called me by my husband’s ex’s name. Over and over and over again. Awkward right? As it turns out, five-year-olds don’t understand breakups and to him, I looked like her. I was a short girl with short hair, that’s the same right? I was so shy that I had no idea how to handle it, so I just stayed very quiet.

Then we went hiking around my husband’s parents property. We had been hiking for about 20min when we came to a pile of logs we had to climb over. He jumped on top of them and turned around with sparkling brown eyes and held out his hand. “Here Clara!” he said, “Let me help you.” My heart melted and with it, went all of my fears about how being in his life would play out. Suddenly it didn’t matter that I didn’t have any idea what I was doing, I would simply love him the best I could and figure out the rest.

He’s too young to really understand what my role in my life is now that I’m married to his father. He sees me as a friend, someone to play transformers and trains with, someone to cuddle. Truthfully, I’m just figuring it out as I go, but what a beautiful journey it is…

I am amazed by parenting, by the balance it requires and the subtle (and not subtle) guidance required to direct and teach a little human. One must be firm and gentle, challenging and comforting, and constantly engaged.

But I’m not telling you guys anything you don’t already know. You are more than aware of the hardships and beautiful moments of having a child and I salute you for all of the work you are putting into it. That being said, if you more experienced parents have any advice you’d like to pass along to a new stepmom, I would love to hear it! Mostly we play outside and build things with legos, but I would like to start teaching him more and building a more solid relationship with him. I want to be a mentor as well as a friend, but I know that’s something you can’t force.

I am really looking forward to working with our authors and staff to continue to bring you intelligent and useful content to help you all on your parenting journeys. After all, it takes a village.

And if you have any questions you would like to ask me, my inbox is always open and I will respond as quickly and honestly as I can. Have a wonderful weekend!

About the Author

Clara is a lifelong writer who recently became stepmom to an energetic seven-year-old boy. She has a BA in journalism from the University of Alabama and has written on a variety of subjects including social issues, politics, and music. A yoga practitioner and foodie with a deep passion for health and wellness, she seeks to use her education and experience to help individuals create better lives for themselves and their children. Clara is currently living in Atlanta with her husband and her 80lb ridgeback mix. Clara is a member of the PedSafe Team

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