Kamala Harris's Win Was A Monumental Victory For Stepmoms And Blended Families Like Mine

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Kamala Harris

I never wanted kids of my own. It’s not that I don’t like kids — for me, the biological drive was just never there. 

That all changed when I first met my wife, Miley. We fell in love almost instantly. She was adventurous, hilarious, and adorable. Oh, and she was also a single mother to two kids, Reese and Jordan.

I would be lying if I said this didn’t make me question even going on that first date with her. I wasn’t sure what it would mean to date somebody who had kids, and what that would do to a new relationship.

What if I couldn’t mesh with her kids? What would the kids think of me? I suddenly went from not wanting kids to wanting to do anything to win these kids over. 

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It was almost like I was going on a first date with three people instead of one.

For our first date the week before Halloween, she had invited me over to carve pumpkins with her kids, who were 4 and 7 at the time.

I knew I needed to make a good impression on the kids, so I decided to carve a poop emoji pumpkin. It was a hit!

Reese and Jordan ran around the neighborhood, gathering all the kids to show them my creation. They took pictures of it and next to it. They placed the pumpkin in the center of their porch, in between their own pumpkins.

A little pumpkin family was formed.

Shortly thereafter, I became Reese and Jordan’s stepmother — their Gine Gine. I told you we moved quickly!

There aren’t many role models for stepparents in this world. 

Honestly, our media representation as stepparents can usually be traced back to the Wicked Stepmother in Cinderella stereotype.

We are depicted as mean, selfish, and definitely unable of caring for children that are not our own.

If we aren’t being depicted as the Wicked Stepmother, the next obvious choice is the Brady Bunch. The blended family with two halves making a whole family also doesn’t fit my family since I don’t have kids of my own.

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The Wicked Stepmother stereotype persists, and this just rings even more true if the stepparent does not have children of their own.

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In a world where every woman is expected to reproduce, where do the women who choose not to have kids of their own but still parent with love and compassion go? Who do we have to look up to?

I was thrilled when I started learning more about Kamala Harris’s historic nomination to be the first woman, child of immigrants, South Asian, and Black Vice President of the United States. 

Kamala’s nomination and subsequent inauguration is undeniably momentous. I know many people that can see themselves in Kamala and can now see so many more possibilities for our society and for their dreams.

I know that somebody with so many “firsts” cannot be the one for everything we have been dreaming of politically, but being first is just that — a start.

However, as I dug more deeply into her story, I realized that we have something very special and very rare in common, but I wasn’t seeing it anywhere in the media: we are both stepmothers who do not have kids of our own.

And to me, this is even more moving. While it is not uncommon to be a stepparent in a world with so many types of blended families, I am hard pressed to name another famous stepmother who does not have any of her own biological kids. 

Is there a stepparent glass ceiling? I’d say so.

We all know that shattering glass ceilings is only the beginning.

Now that we have a stepmom in the second highest seat in the nation, can we start by recognizing that stepparents are legitimate parents, who care deeply about their children, and do not need to have biological children of their own?

These things seem pretty basic to me, but we still have a long way to go. Small things, like leaving more than two lines for parents’ names on school and doctor’s forms will help us feel less invisible. But on Jan. 20, just seeing Kamala with her stepchildren on the National Stage was enough.

The inauguration of Kamala Harris is significant, but that fact that she has created a family of her own through love and choice, just like me, stands out for the simple fact that there hasn’t been much talk about it at all.

Kamala is like me, and I don’t see many other women representing this life path. Watching her kids walk up to the National Stage reminded me a lot of when my kids attended my graduation from my PhD.

And while I haven’t been there for the kids’ whole lives, they are now my whole life. 

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Gina Lawrence is a witch and English professor based in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Follow her on Instagram or visit her website for cute cats, virtual tarot readings, and artisan sourdough bread.