If you found this site buried underneath all the fetish porn sites about naughty stepmoms, then you have found the only place on the Internet that deals with the genuine feelings of a Latina trying to sort out her feelings, cultural bumps and discomforts around being a stepmom to a young white girl.
There once was a Latina who dated through her teens and twenties and thirties until one day, she realized she was still single, aka unmarried, in her 40s.
She wondered if she would ever find a guy who wasn’t a narcissist douchebag with ADD, wandering eyes, low emotional IQ and suffered obsessive compulsive panic attacks. She looked in San Francisco, Denver, Miami, DC, NY, London, Brazil, Thailand…
And so one day she got tired and returned to her Latino parents’ home where she could stop attracting all the isms of the world and just sit still and remember who she was raised to be: a Latina Princess.
“Mom! I’m working here!” she yelled one day while her mother vaccumed around her desk.
“You’re ungrateful! That’s your problem!” yelled her passionate, hardworking and opinionated mother.
“Fine! Then I’ll leave!” The Latina Princess began packing her bags, as she always had, when faced with adversity. But she had already gone everywhere. And there was no place else to go except for inside herself.
“Yes. This is a correct assessment. I am ungrateful and entitled.”
And then, everything changed. The Latina Princess found her own little house, aka, “La Casita,” to live in where she could walk to the market and feed swans at the lake only two blocks away. It was a peaceful, idyllic existence for two weeks. But then she got bored, as Princesses often do, so one day, she rode her bike to the library, where she met The Gringo. Together they rode bikes until they fell in love. The Gringo moved into La Casita with all his baggage: a little brat terrier dog (El Perrito), an 8-year-old daughter (La Gringessa) and her iPad. And The Latina Princess, who thought she would spend the rest of her life alone, suddenly had a Full Casita.
“I am so grateful for all this love!” she exclaimed to herself as La Gringessa traipsed into La Casita three days a week, demanding snacks and a charger for her iPad without saying please.
This is the story of a Latina in her 40s, who fell so hard in love with a Gringo, she became his wife and a Latina Stepmother.
Chapter 1: The Transitions
When I go with El Gringo to pick up La Gringessa from ExGringa’s house, it’s never a good transition. La Gringessa is silent, moody and focused on her screen.
When I stay home and prepare La Casita for their arrival, it’s more often a good transition. La Gringessa comes upstairs and greets me before she pulls out her screen for the evening.
Chapter 2: Latina Princessas vs. Gringessas
By 9, a Latina princessa brushes her teeth every morning and every night without being told.
By 9, a Latina princessa is expected to scrub the toilet/bathtub, wash dishes and prepare her own breakfast and lunch.
By 9, a Latina princessa is babysitting other kids, doing homework without being told and without supervision from parents. She usually does these things because her mother will rip her heart out otherwise.
At 9, a Gringessa refuses to wake up, let alone brush her teeth without a fight. At 9, a Gringessa can barely use the bathroom by herself, let alone clean it or flush the toilet after using it.
At 9, a Gringessa won’t do her homework without a tantrum and without supervision from parents. She is this way because boundaries and rules are stifling for creativity and expression…and oh lord, does this child have some amazing talent and creativity to express.
I used to think La Gringessa’s mom was not parenting her “correctly,” but then I realized – dang. Parenting takes all different forms, and I only know the “Latina way.” When I was growing up, I always wondered why my white friends had so much more freedom. They also seemed to know a lot more than I did. I guess if you’re white you have no boundaries? If that’s true, does this mean I ran away from home to be free from boundaries and rules so I could express my creativity? Perhaps. If anything, La Gringessa’s mom is teaching me how to raise a successful artist. Just writing that makes me feel like I’m disrespecting my mom. I know my mom disciplined me specifically so I would be successful. And I am successful….I do well at my day job. But am I successful artist? Definitely not…yet. I’d still like to write an award-winning script for a Netflix series. I guess it’s OK to wonder if the “Latina Way” of disciplining is the “Right Way.” And it’s OK to wonder if no discipline results in children becoming self-centered assholes. A fellow Latina once said to me, “Bruh – Gringessas and Gringos are self-centered assholes, and they’re the reason our country is so racist. They are entitled and believe the world was built for them.”
This made me laugh. There are assholes all over the world, and yes, there is a concentration of them in the US. And yes, entitlement tends to be white. But isn’t that such a black and white way of thinking? I’m brown. In the in between.
And then I remembered what my mom told me at 43: “You’re ungrateful!” And, the truth is…I am American. I was entitled and thought the world was built for me. I was a self-centered asshole. Everything was boring. Everyone sucked. I wanted constant entertainment and I was never satisfied with anything. Here is a great diary entry showing how unaware I was of the normal balance between work and play…(I guess cuz I was a self-centered asshole kid).
My mom must have enabled that behavior while at the same time criticizing me for it, to which my friend said: “Well, then maybe you’re an upper middle class American and your mom was the Latina from the poor neighborhood. With privilege comes tantrums and a constant desire to escape mami’s and papi’s oppressive rules.”
“Yes. I must admit I did identify with Princesses Ariel, Jasmine…and more recently, Moana. They all had princess tantrums against the tyrannical rule of their fathers.”
“Entitlement can cross all cultures because it’s an issue of class.”
“But what about poor people who refuse to work and believe they are entitled to welfare and food stamps?”
“That’s not entitlement. That’s an assumption. And systemic.”
Chapter 3: Why does a 9-year-old need Instagram?
She doesn’t. And she’s already forgotten that she has it.
Chapter 4: Saying Goodnight
When I was growing up, my parents expected me to kiss them goodnight before going to bed. It wasn’t the other way around, ie, them in my room, tucking me in and kissing me goodnight. They would usually be sitting on the sofa, watching TV and at 9pm, I kissed their cheeks and went to my room and put myself to bed. So, now, I am a stepmom to a young girl. Things are drastically different. Both her parents tuck her in and say goodnight.
So…you can imagine the first time she brushed her teeth and walked past me and said, “Goodnight! I love you!” I melted. I couldn’t stop smiling for hours. I felt like I finally understood why people become mothers…or parents. Or whatever.
But you can also imagine the first time she brushed her teeth and walked right past me without kissing me or saying goodnight.
I was like, “Whaaatttt???”
So I went to her room, and hugged her and kissed her and said goodnight. Because I remember that day, when we were on the sofa watching Mulan 2, she said to me, “Hey, Latina Stepmom, come over here and cuddle me, don’t make me come to you.” It was a weird thing to hear from a 9-year-old. I don’t remember my parents ever coming to me first for hugs or for anything unless I was in trouble. Respect means the younger person always comes to the elders.
But then there are her other expectations that I think are completely nuts:
- Open her car door for her
- Make her lunch
- Bring her a drink while she sits on a sofa playing video games
- Pack all her clothes for a trip
All while she plays on her iPad. I mean…WTF?? Maybe that’s what her parents do. But why? What purpose does it serve for parents to do absolutely everything for a kid??? Are we the child’s butler? Maid? In response, I’ve said things to her like:
- This is not a hotel
- Don’t order me around
- Clean up after yourself
- Get your own drink
And of course, these kinds of responses make me seem like a mean Evil LatinaStepmom.
Chapter 5: Online Education Options in this Time of Corona
In addition to being LatinaStepmom, I am CareerTia. CareerTia helps young people figure out their career paths. My two roles seem to be converging as I think about this Fall and La Gringessa’s options for school during COVID. I am not a mom and I am not a teacher. I am a mentor and a guide, so what can I do?
Chapter 6: What It Means to Me to Be a Stepmom
A friend asked me the other day if I’m “officially” a stepmom. Well, I’m engaged to a man who has a child from a previous marriage. So, yeah, I’m “officially” a “stepmom.” But what does it REALLY mean? It means I’m not really a mom. I didn’t get pregnant and push out a baby. This is the rite of passage for all mothers. If you don’t go through this rite of passage, then you can’t be a mom. You haven’t earned your right, through all the pain and the suffering, to get that title. Right? Maybe this is a false assumption/belief I’m holding onto because pregnancy and childbirth do not a mother make. There are women who do these things and dump a child into a garbage can, or worse, keep the child and never look out for his/her well being. A mother becomes a mother by doing. Like the transwomen of “Pose.” Blanca was born a man, becomes a woman and finds her true purpose in life when she becomes a mother to the young gay and trans kids who are rejected by their biological families.
So back to the main question: what does it mean to be a stepmom? Just because you are fucking a man who has a child, this certainly does not make you a mother, especially after only one year. But when he proposes, he has indeed decided you are more than just a fuck. And so, he is the reason you are now a stepmom. Choosing to say yes, and to be his wife, means choosing to raise his daughter with him and his ex-wife. In a way, being a stepmom is like being a sister wife.
Or a foster mom. Or an adult who rents/borrows a child. I borrow my niece from my brother on occasion. Like yesterday, I had my niece come over because La Gringessa adores my niece. And my niece is the daughter I wish I had myself. My niece loves me. So I did the math:
If La Gringessa loves La Sobrina
And La Sobrina loves me
Then La Gringessa loves me.
The previous math that used to work:
If La Gringessa loves El Gringo
And El Gringo loves me
Then La Gringessa loves me.
But that’s not true anymore. Ever since I took her screen away when she wouldn’t listen to me, everything changed. And now, all this loving by association is NOT sustainable. I need to change the math to: I love La Gringessa and La Gringessa loves me.
How? I’m not even able to hug La Gringessa without feeling fake. Like I am forcing it. Why? I still feel guilty about taking her screen away from her when she wouldn’t listen to me. Also, I am used to being Fun Titi, who attracts children to me naturally, who does not need a kid’s love. I can just play with them and be like them… and then they love me because they want to – not because I need them to. I am not a needy, insecure Fake Adult, who tries too hard.
According to La Therapista, my block seems to be that I am still grieving the children I never had…which explains why I have transferred all my mother energy toward El Perrito. Imagine that. When I first met El Perrito, I didn’t like him. I actually wanted to get rid of him. But after El Gringo posted a foto of him on some dog adoption web site, I felt so guilty and realized I should try to radically accept his existence in my life. So I went to the pet store and bought him a bed. And some treats. A new collar. I started walking him regularly and everyday. I bathe him regularly now. I even let the little rat dog sit on my lap. And now? Motherfucker is like my shadow. Never leaves my side, it’s kind of annoying, but I’m also so annoyingly attached to him that I think of him when I am not home. I worry about him staying in the cage too long when I go swimming or to the therapist or to CVS. And even my parents treat him like the baby I never had. “He’s so cute!” my dad says over and over.
So, if I could become a mother to El Perrito, can I become a second mother to La Gringessa? And why would I play this role when she has a perfectly loving mother already? Is it just to fulfill my selfish need? Besides, how can I love this child when she told me yesterday to “go get coronavirus?” Apparently this is the new insult among kids her age…that’s what she told me after she said it…and then admitted she hadn’t heard any other kids say that. She is the one who came up with the insult. And isn’t it quite the insult? It’s basically telling someone to go die. Does she want me to die? There was a time she confided in me that she was afraid her parents and I would die and leave her all alone. It was one of the moments we connected at night when I tucked her into bed. Maybe she hates her bed here. Maybe her room, aka a closet, is too small for her. Maybe it’s impossible to have unconditional love for a child who is not your own. But my neighbor, who is a foster mom, seems to have unconditional love for the kids who come into her life for one year at a time. Maybe I am just judging the “real mom” and believing I can do better because I’m petty and competitive and so insecure deep down inside I would NEVER go through all the labor pains of pregnancy and breastfeeding and getting fat. I wrote the other day I could understand why mothering could be worth something when the child kisses you goodnight and says, “I love you,” before going to bed. I also told my sister I felt “called to” this position…this mission…this purpose. Work cannot fulfill the hole in my heart. Giving to a child seems to fill it up.
Looking at my journal from last year on July 11, 2019, I emphasized that I was La Gringessa’s “big sister.” Then I declared I was her Titi on July 22. And then I switched to being her “spiritual mother” on Oct. 10. Eventually I became “Latina Stepmother” and “Career Tia.” As La Therapista pointed out: I am confused about my role with this child. My love for El Gringo has triggered my desire to be a mom. Well, turns out, I got my desire without pregnancy and childbirth. Through this whole process of defining “What is a Stepmom,” I remembered that when I was swiping through Bumble profiles last year, I was intentionally swiping right on men with children. I literally wanted to be a stepmom. It seemed like the ideal kind of mom. I could get all that mothering energy out of my system on a part-time basis without going through pregnancy, childbirth or the adoption process. I got myself a built-in family. Even La Gringessa’s mom, who I’ve been calling “ExGringa” here, has been nothing but warm and welcoming toward me. I’m actually in the most ideal expanded family situation that ever existed, I think….soooooo different from all these social media stepmoms I’ve been finding online since I started trying to define my role.
Chapter 7: Bonus Family
I binged a Swedish series on Netflix called “Bonus Family.”
The main couple is pretty sloppy in the way they have dragged their kids and ex-spouses into their new life together. Not even six months together and they’re already expecting a baby. As it is, their 10-year-old boys don’t get along, the teenaged daughter is pretty much a compulsive liar and their exes hate them. I don’t think I could be in my bonus family without the warmness of ExGringa and El Gringo’s easygoing style of managing La Gringessa’s schedule. So I guess I have a lot to be grateful for!!
Chapter 8: Latina Stepmom Job Description
La Therapista says I should write a job description for my new role and ask El Gringo to refine it. So, I wrote this:
Help Wanted @ Rad Dad, Inc!
Latina Stepmom for growing 10-year-old Gringessa whose needs/awareness are changing on a daily basis. This is a “supporting role” to Rad Dad, Inc’s “star role” as parent in La Casita, but there are times when Latina Stepmom is expected to take over, like when El Gringo is at work. There are times La Gringessa only wants ExGringa, which is totally expected, but Latina Stepmom can step in to fill in that void in most cases for the next 8 years @ Rad Dad, Inc.
Duties (keep what u like and/or edit/delete)
• Have an overall positive and loving attitude so she feels safe and loved in our home – sometimes. With work I have been stressed, but try to always play when she wants to.
• Hugging/physical contact is very important for my daughter so please offer hugs often – starting to feel more comfortable with hugs
• Hugging/physical contact is very important for my daughter but try to read her vibe so it’s not forced
• Instill your own ideas/opinions/values as a teacher/mentor would in a show don’t tell style – starting to
• Feel free to instill your own ideas/opinions/values verbally – starting to
• Disciplining – Rad Dad, Inc is in charge of that department but appreciates back-up when needed
• Disciplining – while I am at work or not present – preference is for consequences and choices rather than authoritative “because I said so” style
• Disciplining- because I said so style works fine
• Disciplining is a form of love – say no because you care
• Sharing fotos/videos of our lives with my family and not saying anything weird in front of them or on FB or IG
• No sharing fotos/videos on FB or IG to maintain our privacy
Responsibilities (keep ones you like and add/delete what u don’t or designate some “optional” or “at-will)
• Managing homeschool 2x per week – in reality, I’ve been doing 1 day/week: Fridays
• Checking in with me once/week (Sundays or Wednesdays) to discuss issues, make plans for her schedule – we don’t do this regularly
• Buying her favorite groceries before she arrives at our house – yup
• Cooking healthy meals and not letting her eat whatever she wants – nope
• Letting her eat whatever she wants – she is a kid and should have fun experimenting! – yup
• Enforcing no screens during dinnertime – meals are for connecting with each other – nope
• Allowing screens at dinnertime – forced convo is not necessary – default
• Saying gratitudes before meals and/or bedtime – haven’t enforced
• Enforcing no food after a certain time – dinner is at 7/8, not 10pm – sometimes
• Understanding I will stay up late with her on occasion because my time with her is limited – yes
• Babysitting when I am at work – I can do this but not 2 days in a row. I always need a day in between to re-charge. Is that realistic?
• Organizing playdates – so far, only with Jason. Haven’t been successful with Ruby and Amelia because of coronavirus
• Communicating with playdate moms/dads – yup
• Driving to/from playdates/sleepovers – yup, a few times
• Coming up with a list of chores for La Gringessa before screen time – nope
• Enforcing my list of chores when I am at work – did this once and hated it.
• Talking about puberty and helping manage first period, bras, etc – a little bit
• Managing teeth brushing, showering/bathing – always
• Letting me manage teeth brushing, showering/bathing – nope
• Enforcing bedtime – always
• Waking up/teaching her to set an alarm for morning – dad
• Packing lunch for school/outside activities – sometimes
• Weekends and Sleepovers are for fun, no restrictions and to be a free kid, aka, no rules on this list apply – yup
• Weekends are more loose but morning and bedtime rituals should remain enforced so weekdays are not so difficult to resume – nope
• Making sure she packs her clothes, iPad and charger – and carries them herself to and from the car – did everything for her before SoFla because her mom was here
Skills: Patience, Empathy, Ability to listen, Ability to remain silent when disagreeing with my parenting style, Ability to remain silent when disagreeing with her mom’s parenting style, Ability to intuitively know when to take over parenting, Animation, Video Editing, Hand Slap Clapping Songs, Flexibility, Open Mind, Open Heart
I think the description is pretty awesome! I would never expect you to have to pick her up or school her or do anything you do not want to do. I think you have a commanding disciplinary tone and way of getting her to do things that is better than me. I think we should enforce the fam dinner as early as we can when we have her. And start getting her to be more independent.
“Helping Dad evolve as a parent. Making decisions together.” That is something I think I love and that we do, and that you help me with. You shouldn’t stay silent, if you have what could be a better way to handle a disciplinary situation. Again you are helping me already.
I think I have more but I hit the ground running today!!! So busy!
I love you!!!!
Chapter 9: House Rules
La Therapista suggested we come up with a list of House Rules so La Gringessa is aware that things work slightly differently at La Casita than they do at ExGringa’s. So, here’s a few I came up with…I asked La Gringessa to come up with a couple. Hers were super funny:
- In our house, always be kind and try to be positive.
- In our house, when you feel angry or negative, take a walk outside or draw how you feel. Then when you are calm, talk honestly about your feelings and how we can work through them together.
- In our house, dinnertime is our chance to connect with each other. We can turn off our phones, tablets and all technology.
- In our house, bedtime is 10pm. That means teeth are brushed, showers are done and PJs are on!
- Love me or die (La Gringessa’s contribution).
- Ear drops before bed, noob! (ditto)
- In our house, hugs are always welcome.
- In our house, creativity is everything! It can solve problems (like Math), It can cure boredom (when wifi is down) and it can save the planet…
- In our house, we listen when someone is talking.
- In our house, we balance screen time with exercise.
So far, I’m the one who has violated the most important one: take a walk when angry. Completely lost it when El Gringo assumed I would be managing La Gringessa’s virtual coronavirus school. He didn’t ask me like he usually does, and I assumed she would be at her grandparents’ house that day. We both assumed and made an ass out of each other in front of La Gringessa, who got scared and was reduced to tears. El Gringo was so mad at me for arguing with him in front of her he said it was one of the most embarrassing moments of his life. I royally screwed up. He punished me for 24 hours after that. Or was it me who punished myself?
I was determined, though, to make up with him in front of La Gringessa in a mad attempt to showcase healthy conflict resolution. But El Gringo wanted to hold on to his contempt for me as long as possible. Why? I guess not because he “wanted to.” He was just processing how that could have happened. “We don’t do that,” he told La Gringessa afterwards, while I was like, “Humans do that on occasion.” It puts me on edge knowing that I can’t argue with him or disagree with him without him acting like it’s the end of our relationship. But it could very well become the end if it’s a reoccuring thing, so La Therapista recommended coming up with a “safe word” for when things start to get too heated, especially in front of La Gringessa or anyone else.
“Georgic” is now our safe word. It was a Word Genius of the day and it means rustic, pastoral. Completely neutral and innocuous is this word. The visual I came up with for it is the meditation spot by the Mennello Museum of American Art overlooking Lake Formosa.
Chapter 10: Expanding from La Casita to La Sista
La Gringessa is outgrowing her little bunker, aka, the closet. Her legs are stretching out and her creativity requires more space. Moreover, there are rats running inside the walls and she can hear them at night. This makes me feel like a bad Latina Stepmom. So we are in process of renovating a house my parents have owned since 2013. They have never rented it or sold it because it’s in dire need of renovation. But my dad has not had the energy or motivation to finish it on his own throughout the years. So, on the first of the New Year we started scraping the popcorn ceiling. And we have created a plan for renovating the whole thing so we can move in come April. And if we don’t want to move there then we will help my parents rent it out and move somewhere else.