My Story
Leave a Comment

My Bonus Mom Journey

my momish moments, the diary of a bonus mom, bonus mom journey

If you look at me and my life it’s unmistakable that I am a mother, that I’ve always been a mother. Ask any of my friends and they’ll chuckle—my tendencies to parent and take care of the people in my life have been around long before I met my boyfriend, James and his son, Austin.

Motherhood is an identity I now wear, and wear proudly. But it’s been an interesting journey.

The Beginnings

I met James in early 2016. It was one of the ironic moments where you go out with friends never thinking about stumbling on your forever person. I was dressed in yoga pants and an oversized t-shirt. I think I even wore converse gym shoes to the bar!

The details of this night are crystal clear in my mind. My girlfriend, always thinking of my happiness, asked if I thought anyone in the room was cute. I did a quick scan and my eyes locked on a tall, tattooed man across the bar. Seeing my gaze she bounded away, only to return with him in tow, face as red as mine.

The rest, I often joke, is history. We talked, we danced, we went for sushi the next night and walked around our little beach town for three hours. Flash forward a few months and I was meeting his son, Austin, a tenderhearted, quirky then nine-year-old who would inevitably become my own.

Becoming a Bonus Mom

“Someday, but not today,” was what I’d jokingly say when someone asked if I wanted kids. Which was true. I wanted kids, yes, but on my own terms. In the middle of building a business, and making waves in my career, I didn’t have time to have a baby.

What I didn’t realize is that God was preparing me for a journey of motherhood that was completely different than what I imagined—and yet exactly what I needed (and unconsciously wanted all along).

My journey of being a bonus mom has been crazy. When you date someone who has a child, your relationship automatically becomes something that’s far more complicated. It’s beyond simple ‘dating’ or ‘being casual,’ it’s real. You realize, pretty early on, that either you’re in or you’re out.

And I wanted in.

The Honest Truth

There was a lot of pushback from people whose opinions and friendship I thought I valued. I had quite a few lonely nights as I apartment-searched and made plans to officially start a new life with James and Austin. There was moving into a new home, learning how to balance three schedules instead of one, new roles and chores to delegate and do, new schools and special education programs to navigate, and there was a lot of stress.

But there was a lot of beauty too—pure moments of laughter, the first ‘I love yous,’ nights singing Austin to sleep, days at the beach with our dog, Styles. And countless more that happen every single day since I said ‘yes’ to this journey.

Why I Share My Bonus Mom Story

Since I met Austin, I’ve felt so much passion about wanting to write to mothers: to biological mothers, to the bonus mom like me, to step-parents, and to people who are loving on other people’s children, and the ups and downs that come naturally with that sort of role.

My goal in creating this site was for it to be a resource, a welcoming place, and a home for anyone who’s walking along or struggling with their motherhood journey. I hope these words, stories, and posts give you encouragement. I hope they guide you. And I hope they remind you, most of all, that you are doing an amazing job. And I am proud of you.

Please feel welcomed to read, browse, laugh, cry, and connect with me.

Featured Image Credit: Brett Brooks Photography

[Home » Blog » My Story » My Bonus Mom Journey]

This entry was posted in: My Story


Marisa Donnelly, M.Ed., is a writer/editor, credentialed teacher, proud bonus mama, and CEO of Be A Light Collective, a coaching and content creation business and digital marketplace. She is the Director of Donnelly’s Daily Apple, a flexible learning/tutoring and educational resource platform, and the lead voice for Momish Moments and Step by Step Parents, verticals dedicated to sharing and advocating for non-traditional parenting journeys. Marisa currently resides in San Diego, California, with her fiancé, kiddo, and their two rambunctious Pitbulls. ❤️

Post a comment