Mother – Stepmother – Friend

Mother – Stepmother – Friend

Mother love comes in many forms – here, Priestess Sadie shares her experience as a stepmother and how Cerridwen’s story helps her to understand this particular motherhood dynamic. 


I always knew I wanted to be a mother. I always wanted a big family like the Brady Bunch.  I loved that show when I was a young girl, I mostly loved how the siblings did things together, got into disagreements and how they always ended up as friends at the end.  A stepfamily in a Hollywood show is never the real life story.  I loved that show because I grew up as the only daughter, and I always wished for a sister; stepfamily, what was that? My mother was a single mother until I was 12 and ¾ old.  That three quarters means the world to me, and I will always hold on to that as I loved being my mother’s only daughter, her one and only, her friend, her snuggles in bed, her travelling buddy. I got so many kisses from her in my first 12 ¾ years of life with her, I cherish those moments. 

Nine years later, I would become a mother for the first time to a son, then seven years later a daughter and two years after that a second daughter.  Sadly, soon after my third child was born, I was faced by a marriage falling apart.  It ended.  Dating was not on my radar, not at all, I had to raise these precious three children and give them my all as I worked full time and any spare moment was spent with my children.  Well, the universe had other plans for me.  You guessed it, the Brady Bunch Hollywood film would become my own story years later. 

I married my dream man, and he had four children of his own.  The Brady Bunch had 6 kids, I managed to have my own Brady Bunch family plus one.  Score! 

Motherhood suited me well however, I had no choice but to work full time, so I did not have the joy of being home with my young children after my divorce.  I knew marrying my dream man came with some different responsibilities and challenges, and that, I had plenty of in my life. 

Welcome to my world of being a step-mother;  two boys, a ten-year-old autistic boy with a heart full of love, the mentality of a four-year-old, and he came with his own challenges in life and struggles, yet, I loved him from the day I met him.  

Second son is a teenager, going through all the things young teen boys go through as well as figuring out life after divorced parents, and having to share time between parent’s homes.  Luckily for him, his school friends were mostly in our neighbourhood as our neighbourhood shared the same school district as his full-time home with his mum.  He loved music, surfing, pizza and he was a teenage boy looking for acceptance,  just like I was in this family as the stepmother, yet, we never spoke of it, or better yet, we did not know how to speak or ask for what we needed in this new family unit.  

Two daughters, a teenager that was full of life, a bookworm, a vocabulary that you would think she had already completed a doctorate degree in university (just like her dad), she was quick witted and very set in her beliefs (whatever it was at that moment).  She was a busy teenager, and loved all things crafty (sewing, polishing nails and hair) which she learned from her mum.  

The youngest of the two girls was in grade school, full of life, the attention seeker and she got it; she was cute as a button and a delight to be in her company, a happy child.  She was the talented one with great moves in dance, and a beautiful singing voice.  Many times my living room turned into a grandstand, my stereo on full blast for her to sing and dance, she was funny and so much fun, and I was her biggest fan in the room shouting more, more, encore, and clapping until my hands turned red.   

These were the first few months and perhaps the first year and a half of marriage, all was well, I was easy going and I loved the noise in the house.  Until I didn’t.  My kids were younger and they would just follow alongside their new siblings. 

Things became more challenging; a lot of different emotions, moods, exhaustion, feelings that were like a storm in the night, I didn’t know which direction it was coming from or when.  I was on high alert 100% of the time when my step kids came to visit our home from Friday through Sunday. After a year, I decided to seek a counsellor with experience on step families.  I was seeking the “genie in the bottle,” with all the answers and the potion to make it all better.  

After eight long months of counselling on my own, on a weekly basis, I asked my husband if he would join me because at that time, my marriage was starting to be affected by all the stress.  He did.  We went together for several months.  We tried different strategies with the kids’ visits to our home. I tried my best, yet, sometimes I would become very annoyed by them for seeking all the attention from their dad, and leave me behind or excluding me.  Were they really excluding me, or was this what I imagined they were doing?  

I mentioned emotions and moods, the storm that would come with no announcement or warning, it just came without notice, this was my experience the first few years.  My marriage was important to me.  My husband was also very engaged in trying to make things work out.  At first, I thought it would just be easy to go our separate ways and not look back. Then, the thought of not being with my step kids or my husband would bring me an immense amount of sadness.  Running away or giving up was not a choice, for me as a mother, step-mother and a wife. 

I was not the disciplinary type of stepmother; it was not my place, in my opinion.  I wanted to be a family and be my stepchildren’s friend.  I never expected them to say I love you or to fill my heart like my own children did, however they filled my heart with joy and love, and I loved that feeling.

As the years continued and they became adults, I realised as I too, matured in age with a little more experience under my belt, that what we all wanted was to be accepted, to be considered and included in the family.  We were not always friends, and sadly, some of those relationships were never healed.  The relationships that I currently share with my step-children is a bonus- friendship, a bonus in my life that truly fills me up with joy.  Three out of the four bonus step-adult kids and I understand each other’s feelings, we are considerate of each other and respectful.  

To get to this point, it took a lot of effort with dedicated time for counselling, my husband and I communicating in a loving manner, being honest with my bonus step-adult kids and giving them the opportunity to express their feelings without me taking things personally.  Giving them the space and time to express what they needed to with my heart open to receiving their words fully, made a difference in my relationship with them.  

I know the rage that Cerridwen went through when Gwion received the drop, because looking back at my rage of not having that perfect blended family, I was often angry and very sad.  The chase in Her story was my learning lesson in life as I aged with wisdom, understanding, consideration, and witnessing the transition from children to adulthood in my bonus/step-kids.  I’m glad I chased the lessons; that I didn’t give up on this family, and I am grateful that Cerridwen let me see Her story as my own transition from mother, step-mother to adoring my bonus step-kids as friends. 

Giving up was never a choice.  I am grateful to have my family and enjoy my bonus Grandchildren! 

Sadie Laurenti-Whitley

Sadie Whitley - Priestess of Cerridwen

Sadie Whitley, Priestess of Cerridwen

Pacific NW, USA

I am a heart-centred inspirational life coach, metaphysical ordained minister and holistic counsellor, spiritualist and a shaman priestess that works mostly with women to find their joy after grief.  As a Priestess of Cerridwen in Avalon, I assist in healing modalities within the cauldron of Her loving heart.  As a professional cook, I personally love the metaphor of the cauldron brewing healing essences to bring you love and joy to your heart.


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