I do not remember whether or not I was one of those kids who had trouble sharing when I was younger, but I certainly have found something I do not enjoy sharing as an adult: my kids. My husband had full custody of his three children when we married. We raised our oldest son, Derek, with little (if any) intervention from his biological mother. She and the kids have maintained only minimal contact with one another over the past several years, as a result of the combination of choices made by all of us.

I was more than happy to fill the role of Mom and never gave a thought to how different it could be if I would have to share the mothering duties or if their mother had taken the opportunity to have a more active role in the kids’ lives. When the kids’ bio mom moved to Oregon and away from Boise, where we were all living, our family moved to New York (we stayed in Boise so that the kids would have those rare opportunities with their mom; when she left, we were free to be where we wanted to be).

Living in New York for nearly four years really spoiled me. Even though the custody arrangement would have required us to pay for travel for their bio mom to come visit, she chose not to do so. The distance made it more possible for all of us to live as though we were a complete family unit without any missing pieces. Circumstances brought us back to Boise to care for my mom a few years ago – it came about so quickly that little thought was given to how my illusion might be impacted. We knew that the kids’ biological mother had also returned to the area, but other than brief conversations regarding health care and child support, there had been infrequent contact.

Suddenly, though, the opportunity existed for my step kids to have a relationship with the woman who gave birth to them. After nearly eight years of being the main mother figure, I was not sure I knew how to share, and I knew I would prefer not to. I did not want Kira, then 15, to suddenly start having our mother-daughter experiences with another woman. I did not want our 15-year old son, Kyle, to suddenly want to spend a holiday with her instead of us. I certainly did not want our son, Derek, who had joined the Army, to spend his leave with her and not me.

In the end, I did what was best for the kids – they deserve to know their mother, to spend time with her, to develop a relationship with her if it is possible to do so. I hid my jealousy and insecurity at the suddenness of having to share our oldest children with someone who did not really know them yet had a right to them. Most of all, I remembered – and reminded myself regularly – that a heart has room enough to love everyone. The kids do not have to replace their feelings for me with feelings for her, just make room for one more.

Get  Shadra’ s book, Stories From a StepMom, available on Amazon Kindle. Read more or request a review copy.