Admittedly, becoming a step mum is something I thought would never happen to me. Growing up you picture a set plan, going to university, falling in love, marriage, children. Little did I know that falling in love would bring me that entire life in one moment. In 2015, at the age of 20, one Tinder swipe (yes, Tinder works!), led me to meeting the absolute love of my life, moving to a different city and having an instant family with his then two-year-old daughter Lily.
A bit about me, born in the north of the UK, I had a pretty standard upbringing, both my parents have always been together (and still are), I have a younger (and taller) brother, and have always loved that family unit. Living next door to my grandparents, my childhood was full of baking, reading and games and I was always surrounded by love. I have always wanted a family, a marriage and the strong unit and teamwork that comes with that – and I think that is something I instil in my family now.
When I met Chris for the first time, in a coffee shop in my home town (over an hour away from him – I wasn’t meeting him for the first time away from home – what if he was an axe murderer?!), it really was love at first sight (cliché I know!), but it was! At that point, I didn’t know he had a daughter, being the amazing dad he is, he didn’t want to share that kind of information until we had met in person, which I respect him for.
A little about him – He works as a camera operator, and when we met was freelance, working on some incredible projects which saw us work together, team up with my investigative background, and travel to places I could never have imagined visiting! He now works at a college, inspiring young people to develop their camera and industry stills and I honestly couldn’t be prouder of the work he does and we make a great team.
However, I am not going to say everything was easy to start with in our relationship, I was still at university, Chris was working a lot and I also worked in a bar, meaning our time together was limited – an instant family was a lot of responsibility to take on at such a young age but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
It did come with challenges – when a child is involved I realised there are certain paths in which you have to take, certain rules to follow – none of them I really knew, I mean, I hadn’t ever met anyone in a similar situation, so many thoughts crossed my mind on endless occasions, even before I met her. Would she like me? Would she accept that I am now with her Daddy? Would her mum approve of me? Do I call myself Daddy’s girlfriend? Do I try and build a relationship with her or do I let her open up to me in her own time?
Now, I am a worrier, it’s something that in some ways held me back growing up, always thinking of the what ifs instead of living my life and doing what makes me happy. Maybe other ‘step mums’ don’t think about these things when getting into a relationship with someone – but I did, and honestly? I think that helped shape what we have now as a family almost five years on. I have the most amazing fiancé and little girl who sees me, alongside Chris, her mum and step-dad as idols, and it is the most incredible feeling.
In this blog, my aim is to share the steps I took in becoming a ‘step mum’. – Note. You may wonder why I keep putting ‘step mum’ in inverted commas, technically, I am not a step mum, as usually this indicates I am married, and I am not – legally, I am not a step mum, and I have not until very recently even called myself a step mum. In fact, I only started calling myself it when I overheard Lily speaking to her school friend, who was questioning why Lily called me ‘Sarah’ and not ‘mum’. – To which she replied ‘Sarah is my step mum’. I am not going to lie here, that made me cry with happiness that someone who I had dedicated a big chunk of my life to saw me as more than just Daddy’s girlfriend.
But anyway, you will notice I go off on tangents – apologies! There’s a lot of stories I want to share, and I will do my best to tell them one at a time! What I was saying, is that this blog will hopefully give other step mums, and dads, advice on building that relationship, respecting those involved, and sharing the amazing life we have together.