Thirteen years ago I met a bubbly five-year-old girl with long pigtails that bounced when she walked. She loved her daddy, and I did too. Three years later, on a perfect October evening, she became my bonus daughter. Now she is a beautiful young woman who is beginning to navigatethe complicated world of adulthood. It has been a beautiful journey and privilege getting to be a mom figure in the life of another woman’s child, but a journey nonetheless.
Three non-negotiables have kept me anchored along the way:
1. Honor the Mother.
Being the bonus mom meant the Golden Rule was law. I asked our child about her mom. When she asked for advice, I gave it, and then told her to ask her mom and dad. I made sure our extended family knew who her mom was, and said hello with a smile when we were near each other.
If we baked brownies and had extras, we sent some back to her mom. If some time had passed during her visits with us,
I asked if she had talked to her mom. This took intentionality, but was absolutely necessary to keep our roles honored and intact.
2. Be Your Best.
Getting good at being the bonus mom left no room for my insecurities, or a haphazard approach to my self-care. I wasn’t perfect at this, but I worked on it piece by piece, inside and out. Simply put, I dealt with my issues. There is no silver bullet for being your best self.
My journey to self healing was (and still is) a blend of exercise, church, time with friends and family, chiropractic, talk therapy, medication,
laughter, fun, prayer, good books, travel, massage, writing, a great hair stylist, and an amazing nail tech. Being confident with you, comfortable in your skin, and sure of what you bring to the table is key.
3. Keep it Together.
We have the most amazing son and daughter to whom I gave birth to, but I have three kids. I birthed one from my heart and one from my body.
Our son and daughter are very aware that they have a sister even though she isn’t with us everyday. She had her room in our house decorated with her in mind.
When we make plans I’m mindful to at least ask if she’ll be joining us. Our extended family knows to include her too. She is ours.
Being the bonus mom means you live with the reality of your spouse having a connection with another person that you will never have with him, and that takes guts. Being the bonus mom also means that you learn to break the ice with humor and think of the details of life less selfishly.
Most of all being the bonus mom means that you’re influence is powerful, and you get to add value to your family life in a very unique way.
Bonus Moms are needed and important. If you’re lucky enough to become one: be brave, embrace the challenge, and move through life with confidence.
Amber Blakes is Bonus Mom to Ayana, mom to Isaiah and Amina, and wife to Irving.
Everything With Amber, ©️2019
The book that helped me overcome postpartum depression: https://amazon.com/dp/0578960915
The book created to equip my children with wisdom from my past: https://amzn.to/3JmFtAj
Praying Your Children Through the School Year: 30 Prayers for a Safe and Successful School Year https://a.co/d/4zNVAhAhttps://a.co/d/4zNVAhA
Connect with Amber on all platforms: https://linktr.ee/AmberBlakes
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