By Susan Wilkins-Hubley
Little League Baseball is a fairly simple concept right? Your step/son or step/daughter plays baseball with the team, you trudge to every game or as many as you can muster, with toddlers or siblings in tow all spring, summer, and fall. You sit in the bleachers or stand at the fence (unless you are clever enough to coach or keep score) and scream your bloody head off cheering. You eat your dinner, your lunch and sometime your breakfast at the field, and sometimes you are brave enough to try the canteen food.
For a stepmom, especially a non-custodial stepmom, it can get complicated. Sometimes you will have more than one child at an activity at a time and hence the need to taxi to and fro, from one field to another, trying to keep track of the score at each game. Hopefully you don’t miss the important parts to each game! Sometimes your husband is at one and you at the other. Sometimes biomom is there too. Sometimes that is a problem for you personally. Unless you are on good terms with your stepchilds’ “mom”, things like these can be dicey. Sitting in the “team bleachers” can be like sitting amongst “the cool girls” – but your not one of them because they’ve already formed their opinions about you. Who said peer pressure and the whisperings you heard behind you were just for kids?
As a non-custodial stepmom of two children and a mom to two more, this has been my experience. It wasn’t pleasant, I really wished that the biomom would have respected our “time” with the kids, but I didn’t act upon my feelings and it all went well anyway. For me it was like having a lot of fun, and taking a lot of responsibility, but having to be conservative while doing so because as far as the rest of the “team moms” were concerned, I wasn’t entitled to be an important part of Little League.
Well, I wasn’t there to be a “team mom”, I was there to support and encourage my stepchildren and my husband as a father to his kids. I was there because I cared about them all and I wanted them to know that. I wasn’t there because it was “cool” or it was the “in” thing to do. I wasn’t there to take any credit for my stepkids’ talents, I was there because we were and are proud of them. It was very difficult to spend our time trying to be supportive, when we had everyone around us, giving us body language that said we shouldn’t be. Sure we received a lot of polite smiles and hello’s, but the atmosphere felt very discouraging.
One stepmom even came over and SPOKE to me. She told my husband and I she thought it was great that we were able to be at some of the games this year and that she admired us for our efforts. She said that she could relate to our feelings of not really wanting to be there sometimes because of the … ahem… social atmosphere on the bleachers. I felt much better after that, relieved actually, so did my husband. The pressure I was under as “stepmom” was almost unbearable. I felt like I really didn’t belong. She had four children (two step) as well, and her ex-husband didn’t take one game in all season, she commended my husband and said she wished her ex would do the same. Ironic isn’t it?
We tried very hard not to allow the social aspect of Little League get in the way of why we were really there.It was hard to do that, but we did it and we survived it. I will not forget the moms that sat above me in the bleachers being catty and cliquish, whispering and gossiping about what I wore or said. Perhaps we’ll meet on another bleacher in a few more years when I am a biological “team-mom” with our sons’ team and perhaps they will be polite or even kind then. What is that saying…. what goes around… comes around?
By Susan Wilkins-Hubley
Stepmom to two, biological mom to two more..