2 May 2022 | 5 min Read
Author | 1053 Articles
“When I wanted to be exclusive it was difficult to love my stepchildren. When I became inclusive I began to embrace all as my own” – Gayathri Natarajan Dileepan
Parenting is never easy, it comes with anxiety, worries, and sleepless nights and requires endless patience. From dealing with colic nights, tempers, and tantrums, to monitoring screen time and the friends they make, parenting is a mammoth task, even though it is a beautiful journey.
Being a stepparent is all the more difficult. Firstly, it comes with a lot of negative cultural baggage, thanks to all the age-old stories about cruel stepmothers. It takes a lot of hard work, consistency and most importantly a whole lot of love to be a stepmum.
But Gayathri Natarajan Dileepan makes it all look so easy. Gayathri is a mum to four wonderful kids, two of her kids are from her husband’s first marriage, her own daughter from her earlier marriage, and a son she has with her husband Dlieepan.
Gayathri, her husband Dileepan, and the kids, Swapan, Aarushi, Nandita, and Swaanand share a wonderful bond. In a heartwarming conversation with BabyChakra, Gayathri tells us how she manages to keep her family of six happily together and this ‘stepmum’ who doesn’t like to be called a stepmum busts the age-old myth of the ‘evil stepmother.’
My son was 12 and my daughter was five.
Initially, they did not like me and it was mutual. They liked my daughter who was seven years old. That time I used to visit them in Pune from Mumbai. One fine day while my man was making our breakfast, my daughter and his son giggled and asked us ” Why can’t we be a family”? I was surprised and then shifted.
I had huge rifts and then took some therapy with Dileepan and was able to empathise with the fear and insecurity of all these children. That realisation helped me to start my bonding with them by sharing snippets of my own childhood stories and now there is no looking back.
Yes, I was, to gain their approval, and this made my own child feel left out. Again thanks to Dileepan, I began to work on my own differences with my own daughter.
When I wanted to be exclusive it was difficult to love my stepchildren. When I became inclusive I began to embrace all as my own.
Yes,I am in touch with her and we have a relationship independently too.
Sharing stories, sharing our personal pain and struggles, freedom to express anything under the sun…. got them together.
A bond of any genuine sibling. In fact many who met us for the first time always saw us as one thick unit.
I opened up by learning their mothers cooking styles from their fathers. At times they would seek the help of their own mother to bring them the exact taste of their mother’s love. Being a vegetarian I learnt to cook chicken for them. Was actively present and represented at all school events.
Yes, I have and they follow it with respect.
The rules are mainly to listen to reasoning and follow. For example, if I ask them to finish their homework by 6 pm today, but their submission is for the day after tomorrow, they need to negotiate a committed time and will do it without my push.
In that sense, our communication is always open and they also get an opportunity to take their own decisions and work on their set goals. In this way, they follow their rules and do not try to break them. We as a family are always open to listening to another’s perspective and working as a team
I welcome those people to my abode, there is nothing to prove.
My husband has seen my daughter as his own, there is simply no other way as he believes in inclusivity
Never saw myself as stepmother. So I pass on this question
My advice to women like me is to seek counselling before getting into that role. It is important to understand and embrace your own intentions and accept what you have.
As Gayathri says, “Life is beautiful when you remain open to uncertainty,” for all mums out there accept the uncertainties and live life one day at a time!
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