Sometimes the term stepmother engenders all kinds of negative and nasty images, thanks to childhood fairy tales like “Cinderella,” “Hansel and Gretel” and “Snow White.”
Some of the adjectives stepmother’s get branded with include wicked, manipulative, jealous, unloving and of course sometimes those descriptions are accurate, but others times the opposite occurs and a stepmom is loving, kind and supportive.
That’s how the singer LeToya Luckett seems to be since she became a second mother to a little girl named Madison after she married Tommicus Walker in December 2017. In a heartfelt Instagram post, Luckett said she was nervous about taking on the role but had an epiphany and developed a whole new perspective.
“As I recently walked into this new chapter of my life as a wife and a mother in love of a beautiful little girl, the worry began to knock at my front door,” she wrote. “Am I built for this? I’ve never been a mommy. My cooking skills are so-so. My fresh smoothie game is aaiiiight. So I gotta share everything? Will he still love me if? These are all the thoughts that started to flood my mind, overwhelmed with worry instead of seeing the blessing that God had actually giving me far and beyond what I’ve prayed for all of these years. Welp, today I choose to stop the worry and put on my new crown as a warrior.”
The singer also posted a separate message directly to Madison that mentioned how excited she is to be in her life.
“This little face brings me so much joy,” wrote Luckett. “Madison, you’ve made me a better woman and I’m grateful to God for that. I want to be my best for you. As God holds my hand through this new adventure, I’ll hold your little hand tighter in mine. Funny thing is, my closest family and friends know that I’ve always dreamed of having a little girl and naming her Madison. I have the vision board to prove it and when your dad revealed your name in one of our first conversations it almost brought me to tears because I knew God heard me … I’m blessed I get to spend the rest of my life watching you grow into a beautiful woman.”
This little face brings me so much joy. Madison, You’ve made me a better woman & I’m grateful to God for that. I want to be my best for you. As God holds my hand through this new adventure, I’ll hold your little hand tighter in mine ☺️ Funny thing is my closest family and friends know that I’ve always dreamed of having a little girl & naming her Madison!! I have the vision board to prove it , & when your dad revealed your name in one of our 1st conversations it almost brought me to tears because I knew God heard me 🙌🏾…and that he has a sense of humor 😉 This has taught me to trust him even more. Welp baby girl – This is US! I’m so overjoyed to celebrate the ” big girl 6 “and many moooore years with you. 🎉 I’m blessed I get to spend the rest of my life watching you grow into a beautiful woman. I know God has great things for you & I will be there to Love you through it all! I will consistently remind you to keep God 1st, that there is power in prayer, that you can do ANYTHING you put your mind to , that you are beautiful inside & out , that black gurl magic is real 💁🏽♀️ & that you’re blessed beyond measure. You are a BRIGHT light ✨ Your mom & dad have done such an amazing job with you & I want to do nothing but add to that. I will do my best to lead by example , & though I might mess up at times, please give me grace. I love you Madison & I celebrate you not just on your Burfday , but EVERYDAY!!! HAPPY Burfday my little sweetheart!!! See you soon! Love, “ Ma Toy” 😘😘
Luckett joins a huge number of Americans who become stepparents, and that number is constantly growing.
According to figures released by the US Bureau of Census, 1300 new step-families are formed each day, and 50 percent of families in the U.S. come from second marriages or new relationships.
Among those numbers, it’s safe to assume there’s a good number of horror stories when it comes to stepmoms and step-children since many women have talked about how challenging it is, like Gabrielle Union, who’s helping to parent her husband’s Dwayne Wade’s three boys.
“Being a stepparent is incredibly difficult. You never quite know your space,” she said on the “Rachael Ray Show.” “No one ever thanks the stepmom no matter what you do … It always feels like if they get an “A” it’s in spite of your terrible step-parenting, and if they get an “F,” well it’s your fault. But it’s also awesome knowing, even without any outside validation, that you’re a consistent, compassionate, loving adult, who puts the kids joy and their piece of mind and their innocence first.”
Wendy Malinda, who’s a certified step-family coach with Living in Step Africa, also talked about the difficulties of becoming a mother to someone’s else’s child and said the support a woman gets from her mate during that time is crucial.
Malinda also said the new stepmom isn’t the only person who’ll have to make some life adjustments along the way, the husband or guy in the relationship will have to do the same thing.
“It’s important for you to let her grow into unconditional love,” Malinda explained. “Love between a stepmom and a stepchild does not happen automatically and it takes time to grow. Therefore, she needs time and space for her to get to learn your children, for her to be able to form that relationship and bond with your kids in order for it to grow. Don’t force her on the children, and neither should you force the children on her. Let them build their own relationship in their own time and whichever way they seem fit.”
Parenting expert Julie Freedman-Smith also said it’s important not to rush things between a stepmom and step-child, because children take longer to process a new change. Obviously, that’s different from the adults in the relationship since they receive a head start in getting used to the new situation.
“Often times adults know what’s coming in a relationship and have time to get used to [the change] way before the children do,” explained Freedman-Smith. “The step-parent may have been in a relationship with the parent for a long time before the kids ever meet that person. So the relationship might progress faster than what the children are anticipating.”
Those who are step-parents themselves might’ve been clueless on how to discipline their mate’s child and have asked, “Should I join in on the punishing? Is it okay to spank?”
According to Dr. Patricia Papernow, a psychologist and a member of the National Stepfamily Resource Center’s expert council, step parents shouldn’t involve themselves in disciplining a child at all — mainly because it can cause more resentment than anything else.
“That kind of firm but not loving parenting is almost always very toxic in a step parent and child relationship,” Papernow told Parents.com.”[Step parents] should be [trying to make] a connection before correction.”
But that was hard for the rapper Eve to do when she became stepmom to her husband Maximillion Cooper’s kids in 2014. In a past interview, she talked about how disciplining the children has been a point of contention between her and her husband, due to their different upbringings.
“Discipline is a big thing,” she stated. “If I maybe want to do something a little different, if one of the kids did something wrong, than he does. We grew up differently; my mom was very strict … So I have to kind of step back when it comes to things like that. That’s a hard one.”
As far as Luckett, it’s clear that she’s embraced her role as stepmom, despite her feeling nervous about taking on the task, and it’s easy to tell that she’s extremely happy. You can see some of her wedding photos below.
My Vows 1st I want to thank you for seeing me…. Thank you for being kind, Consistent & Caring I couldn’t have designed a better mate, partner and friend, and I must thank God for giving me a gift that is exceedingly abundantly above all that I can imagine. It’s crazy how you came into my life and fit in a way that only God could orchestrate. Love is unbelievable acts & in inconvenient times. You are what I prayed for In my silent whispers to God I couldn’t put you into words if I tried He knew the desires of my heart Even the ones I couldn’t put into words He knew just what I needed At times I felt overlooked, picked over and dismissed, But now I Know that like Adam, God made everyone else unconcious, while He was molding me into the woman I was called to be just for you. You’re The 1st & only man my mommy ever liked for me Real talk ! & though she’s not here with us physically… My granny would’ve loved you. I low key think she set this up ☺️ Tommi, I will love you beyond your flaws I will listen When you’re weak, I’ll pray for your strength I will honor you & our marriage at all times I will respect you I will hold your heart with integrity & love I will stand with you I will be honest I will be kind & understanding With patience & grace I will Keep God in the center of this marriage I will walk in love & let love permeate everything I do ” I can’t imagine anything I couldn’t love you through ” I love you Tommi ❤️