I posted about Sandra Bullock and her role as step-mom to Jesse’s kids here.  I read a GREAT post about the role of step-moms on the blog The Psycho Ex Wife.  As a step-mom myself, I can really relate to the important and sometimes thankless job that step-moms perform.

I’m “just” a stepmother.

I’m a stepmother that helps my stepchildren, in some way, every day:

◦I helped try to teach them to ride a bike
◦I helped teach them how to tie their shoes
◦I help them get exercise and learn about health and fitness
◦I pick out books for them
◦I take them fishing, sometimes even when Dad can’t
◦I take them on walks and hikes
◦I sign them up for sports, on my time and with my money
◦I teach them how to make and try new foods
◦I introduce them to different cities and cultures, my time, my money
◦I teach them how to speak with respect
◦I help them with homework
◦I buy them new clothes
◦I buy them Christmas presents
◦I made an area in the woods for them to play behind our house, decorated it with  them
◦I play board games with them
◦I introduce them to new music
◦I keep the craft cabinet stocked so they can continue to make art
◦I make sure they brush their teeth appropriately
◦I make sure they wipe the toilet seat off when their aim sucks
◦I help take care of them when they are sick
◦I help clean up their vomit
◦I cut their hair
◦I come up with events like SmoresFest and outdoor movie night so they can have fun
◦I help teach them about respect for themselves and others
◦I help teach them the importance of education
◦I do this with no desire nor intent to replace their biological mother
◦I do this because I care about them and love them
◦I treat their father with care, love, respect, and dignity so they may experience what a healthy relationship really looks like

(That’s the short list) AND YET:

◦I get no consideration on how custody changes will affect me or my children
◦I get no consideration on how child support will affect me or my children
◦I get no consideration for activities I believe they should or should not participate in
◦I have no say in their medical care
◦I have no say in their education
◦There may be more…
 

And… you can bet your last dollar I’m dragged into nearly every court proceeding to answer questions that affect me every single day, while no one gives a crap how the outcome will affect me or my children.

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Photo of Michelle O'Neil Michelle O'Neil

Michelle May O’Neil has 27 years’ experience representing small business owners, professionals, and individuals in litigation related to family law matters such as divorce, child custody, and complex property division. Described by one lawyer as “a lethal combination of sweet-and-salty”, Ms. O’Neil exudes…

Michelle May O’Neil has 27 years’ experience representing small business owners, professionals, and individuals in litigation related to family law matters such as divorce, child custody, and complex property division. Described by one lawyer as “a lethal combination of sweet-and-salty”, Ms. O’Neil exudes genuine compassion for her client’s difficulties, yet she can be relentless when in pursuit of a client’s goals. One judge said of Ms. O’Neil, “She cannot be out-gunned, out-briefed, or out-lawyered!”

Family Law Specialist

Ms. O’Neil became a board-certified family law specialist by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 1997 and has maintained her certification since that time. While representing clients in litigation before the trial court is an important part of her practice, Ms. O’Neil also handles appellate matters in the trial court, courts of appeals and Texas Supreme Court. Lawyers frequently consult with Ms. O’Neil on their litigation cases about specialized legal issues requiring particularized attention both at the trial court and appellate levels. This gives her a unique perspective and depth of perception that benefits both her litigation and appellate clients.

Top Lawyers in Texas and America

Ms. O’Neil has been named to the list of Texas SuperLawyers for many years, 2011-2018, a peer-voted honor given to only about 5% of the lawyers in the state of Texas. In 2014-2018, Ms. O’Neil received the special honor of being named by Texas SuperLawyers as one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Texas, Top 100 Lawyers in Texas, and Top 100 Lawyers in DFW. She was named one of the Best Lawyers in America for 2016 and received an “A-V” peer review rating by Martindale-Hubbell Legal Directories for the highest quality legal ability and ethical standards.

Author and Speaker

A noted author, Ms. O’Neil released her second book Basics of Texas Divorce Law in November 2010, with a second edition released in 2013, and a third edition expected in 2015.  Her first book, All About Texas Law and Kids, was published in September 2009 by Texas Lawyer Press. In 2012, Ms. O’Neil co-authored the booklets What You Need To Know About Common Law Marriage In Texas and Social Study Evaluations.  The State Bar of Texas and other providers of continuing education for attorneys frequently enlist Ms. O’Neil to provide instruction to attorneys on topics of her expertise in the family law arena.