I have always adored Jada Pinkett-Smith and the entire Smith Clan. They exude love, creativity and a profound sense of self-love and acceptance. Their approach to life and family is inspiring. That being said, I don’t agree with Jada’s response to a stepmom friend of hers and it is something that we must critically avoid doing. Below is her letter to a friend and after that is my response.
Jada: “A letter to a friend: Blended families are NEVER easy, but here’s why I don’t have a lot of sympathy for your situation because… we CHOOSE them. When I married Will, I knew Trey was part of the package…Period! If I didn’t want that…I needed to marry someone else. Then I learned if I am going to love Trey…I had to learn to love the most important person in the world to him…his mother. And the two of us may not have always LIKED each other… but we have learned to LOVE each other.
I can’t support any actions that keep a man from his children of a previous marriage. These are the situations that separate the women from the girls. Your behavior is that of an insecure child who needs to recognize her own weaknesses that MUST be strengthened to take on the task at hand. We can’t say we love our man and then come in between him and his children. THAT’S selfishness…NOT love. WOMAN UP… I’ve been there…I know. My blended family made me a giant… Taught me so much about love, commitment and it has been the biggest ego death to date. It’s time you let your blended family make you the giant you truly are. J” Source: Uptown Magazine
TMF: I love these kind of stories but I must caution people that this isn’t everybody’s truth! While I admire Jada’s response, she’s leaving a lot out. For example, it not only took her to release those insecurities and ego trips for it to work but it took Sheree to do the same. It will not work the way they are describing unless both women put aside their differences and put in the effort. Too often stepmoms and second wives are seen as temporary or disposable and you can’t build a long-term relationship like they have if you continually assume that the stepmother is only going to be there short-term.
Their family is one reality but it certainly isn’t everyone’s and we (stepfamilies) need to stop criticizing other stepfamilies and stepmoms based on our reality. It’s the reason many of my stepmoms are reaching for antidepressants!! Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the sharing of experiences that leads to this; it’s sharing your experience and then preaching that if you have not achieved “best friend with the ex-wife” or” love the ex-wife” status in your stepfamily, then you have somehow failed altogether. This is not true. We [Today's Modern Family] offer advice and support based on your reality because we must stop assuming that there is a one size fits all approach to making a stepfamily work. There just isn’t!