“My real mom would be fine with it!” he said.

Being compared to the “real mom” is not a fun thing. Yet it happens. That doesn’t have to be the end of the story with our stepchildren, though.

It’s been almost a decade since it happened to me. But I remember the incident well. My stepson compared me to his mom.

And not in a positive, complimentary way!

At the time, his mom had been gone for more than five years; she passed away after a short battle with cancer.The wounds were still raw and the pain manifested itself almost daily.

The words he spoke pierced my heart. I wish I could say it didn’t matter to me, but it did.

At the time, I had been an active mom in his life for almost 15 years. I wanted to believe that I had positively influenced him. But he made it clear to me that my opinion of the choice he was making didn’t matter because his “real mom” would have been fine with it.

My stepson turned 20 years old that summer. I believed he was making a choice with negative, long-term consequences. I just couldn’t sit quietly and let it go without expressing my thoughts on the subject.

During the exchange, my stepmother mantra immediately came to mind.

“Lower your expectations for now.”

In other words, get off your pity pot and let it go. If he chooses to ignore your advice, it’s okay. You cannot control his reaction but you can control yours.

The challenges of stepparenting seem to ease up at times, only to resurface at other times. It’s not uncommon to take one step forward and two steps backward. It felt like my stepson and I took a step backward that weekend.

But I was thankful for the opportunity to start again, continually striving to be a positive influence in my stepson’s life.

I didn’t quit.

I didn’t give up hope.

I continued striving for a relationship with my stepson.

And it eventually happened. Read the rest of the story here.

Have you experienced hurtful words lately? How do you cope with it? Are you struggling in your relationship with your stepchildren?

Leave a note in the comments and let’s chat.

And if you would like to read more encouraging thoughts on stepparenting, you can find them in my book

Stepparenting with Grace by Gayla Grace

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