This election season has been one of the most salacious, petty, lowbrow Presidential contests that I’ve had the displeasure of witnessing since adulthood. The Obama Administration (2009-2017) was a perfectly orchestrated symbol of change and hope. Two Ivy League-educated African American people with no scandal, a traditional family, and crystal clear, yet relatable backstories were the perfect front for what America needed to represent to the rest of the world at that time.
Like most, I was not surprised when Donald J. Trump earned the Republican nomination and became the 45th POTUS. He was the perfect person to restore the balance of America’s true founding principles.
This election season, I’ve gotten quite a bit of press because Democratic Vice Presidential candidate, Kamala Harris and the First Lady hopeful, Jill Biden are both stepmothers. I am a very vocal stepmom and I run a business that helps millions of girls like us overcome common obstacles that accompany our roles. I sat down with Vox.com to chat on “Biden, Harris, and the national embrace of stepmothers.” NBC News also reached out to me to pen a think piece on “How Kamala Harris and Jill Biden are subverting the stepmom stigma in America.” While I appreciate the opportunities to speak on the behalf of stepmothers, no outlets have asked me to write about the elephant in the room, Melania Trump. The current FLOTUS is a also stepmother.
Note: Going forward, I need you to put your personal feelings and political bias aside.
Admittedly, I was at a loss when I was tasked with writing about Harris and Biden because their stepmom experiences appear to be quite pleasant! My own experience, along with the women that I represent have been riddled with hardships, dissapointment, and struggle. My tribe is quite content with no promise of a happy ending and we have managed to carve out a beautiful existence despite not having a picture-perfect blend. Kamala Harris’ stepkids call her “Momola”! Her stepkids mom worked for the Presidential campaign! Jill is credited with putting Joe Biden’s family back together. There are tons of happy stepmom photo-ops circulating the net and these two women are exhibiting the pretty side of stepmotherhood.
My personal and professional experiences couldn’t be more different.
When the big media brands reached out to me, I knew I needed to be able to connect with these stepmoms so I began searching for writing inspiration. I was able to find commonalities with Jill and Kamala. Kamala loves Converse sneakers, as do I. Jill does not let anyone mess with her man! Remember when she bodied the protestor that charged on stage toward Joe Biden!?! I too would go to bat for my Husband.
They’re both All-American born and bred girls. Both were educated here in the United States of America. Jill holds a Doctorate in Education and Kamala is a well-decorated attorney that has set many records including being California’s first Black Attorney General and the first woman. She is also the first Black woman to run on a major party Presidential ticket.
BUT My personal and professional stepmothering experiences are the direct antithesis of theirs.
Que Melania. Unbothered, staying in her lane, just trying not to snap! That’s ME (and it’s probably you too)! Although my commonalities with Melania Trump end here, I see her.
Melania, I see you girl!
Melania is a stepmom of 4 and a biological mother of 1. Her husband has had two high-profile divorces and an ex-wife that is still out for blood.
While promoting her new book, Raising Trump, first wife, Checksolvakian-born Ivana, credited herself with being the true First Lady as the mother of his 1st three children, Ivanka, Donald Jr., and Eric. She also pointed out that unlike Melania, she could “write her own speeches, read a teleprompter, and negotiate contracts”. In their highly publicized 1991 divorce, she was awarded $14 million, a 45-room Greenwich, Conn., mansion, an apartment in the Trump Plaza, and the use of the 118-room Mar-a-Lago mansion in Florida for one month a year. She was also awarded $650,000 annually in child support. This settlement was never fulfilled due to Mr. Trump filing for bankruptcy.
He began dating Marla Maples during his first marriage and married her 3 months after their first and only child was born. Maples did not fare so well and only received a $2 million payout from Trump. She then moved to California with their daughter Tiffany to “find a quieter, more spiritual existence.” She’s actually pretty quiet about her ex-husband.
He met FLOTUS a year before he divorced his second wife and Trump and Melania got married in 2005. It is pretty safe to say that Melania’s road to stepmotherhood was fraught with drama, stepkids in loyalty binds, a high conflict bio mom who still finds ways in which to taunt her ex-husband, and the shame and undeserved scrutiny that millions of women that marry men with kids experience. In fact, it is more likely that Andy Cohen will book this family on a Bravo special than to see the past and present Trump clan in a happy blended family press photo.
Melania, who first moved to America to model was raised in the Yugoslav republic of Slovenia. According to the media, she and her eldest stepdaughter, Ivanka have a complex relationship due to her unprecedented position in her father’s Administration. However, in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar, the first lady shared about her relationship with Donald’s children. According to her, she doesn’t feel like a stepmother to them. She sees herself more as a friend because they were all grown-ups when she became part of their family.
“I don’t see myself as their mother. I am their friend, and I’m here when they need me,” Melania said. Ivana, Trump’s first wife, shared in one of her interviews that her daughter Ivanka has no problem with Melania. “She likes her fine, because she didn’t cause me to break up the marriage like the other one—I don’t even want to pronounce her name,” Ivana said.
Party preferences aside, the First Lady’s life has been heavily scrutinized because of her husband’s past and present life decisions.
Nude photos from the FLOTUS modeling days have resurfaced and circulated online, her heavy accent has led people to comment on Trump’s penchant for non- American women, and her claims of having a college degree have been found to be untrue. Her life is now public fodder and none of this is what this woman signed up for.
Some speculate that she does not enjoy being the First Lady of The United States of America because she has had to abandon the life she anticipated, one of wealthy obscurity. This certainly may not be the existence that she planned for when she married the real-estate mogul who is 24 years her senior. However, considering what life has handed her, she is navigating as best as she can.
And to me, that’s what all of us are doing. As we navigate tough times, remember we are even tougher!
You got this Stepmom! We got this!