The word “real” never had any significant impact on my life until I became a stepmom 17 years ago. It was then when the word actually became a label and part of the native language of the typical blended family.
Is that your real mom?
Do you live with your real mom or your real dad?
Do you have to ask your real mom?
Are they your real kids?
Is that your real daughter?
It was a tough association to have to worth through because, after all, this was my “real” life and the love I had for my stepdaughters was absolutely real. So why did it seem like an acceptable form of reference for people to consistently use? Think about it. Here are a few antonyms for the word real: false, uncertain, fake, and imaginary. If I wasn’t real, was I false, uncertain, fake, or imaginary?
Early on, as a stepmom, there was a real hurt behind the reference of real. I would cringe or take personal offense to it. I would wonder why people lacked sensitivity when they would use the reference “real”. Then, alas, I had a breakthrough.
When people ask if something is real, they are generally in the state of admiring. “Wow, your ring is gorgeous, is it real?” “Is that your real hair color, I love it!” “Is that a real pearl?” People want to validate what is right in front of their eyes as factual, actual, and genuine. Therefore, I started to enjoy the question or the association because it meant I was standing out as a true parent that unquestionably loved my stepdaughters.
I was the real deal. BOOM!
A blended family is real. The relationship takes work. The relationship doesn’t magically appear, in fact, it can be more fragile than a traditional family unit. While there should never be any attempt to minimize or dishonor biological parents, there should also never be a doubt that a blended family is real. The love is real. The stepparents are real. The values within their homes are real and the desire to love unconditionally is absolutely real.
So what does a real relationship mean to you?
How authentic, valid, and unquestionable are your relationships?
How real do you want to make them?
Define real and you will then rebirth your current relationship or you will have clarity around the ones you are searching for today.