Single Stepmom Carol Fronduto

By Allison O'Connor

carol frondutoAsk any child who they run to when they have a problem or need a comforting shoulder to cry on and nine times out of ten they will say “mom.” But not every child is lucky enough to have a biological mother to sheppard them through to adulthood. Often times, that role is filled by a stepmom.

But as divorce rates continue to remain steady at 50% for first time marriages and even higher for second time marriages, we are seeing a new crop of single step-parents who are just as involved and influential in a child’s life as the biological parents. Sometimes even more so.

Carol Fronduto is one such mother. Ater her divorce, she found herself a single-stepmother who has raised her stepdaughter Kristina from the time she was ten. Today Kristina is nineteen and the bond they share as mother and daughter is just as strong as if they were related by blood. Here’s Carol’s moving story of how her unwavering love and devotion saved a child from abandonment.

SMW: How old was your step daughter when you first came into her life?

Kristina was ten when she moved in with me and her biodad. Her biomom immediately moved to another state, therefore allowing two things to happen: one – I automatically became the defacto ‘authoritative’ stepmom, and two – she didn’t get shuttled between two homes, allowing for a ‘normal’ life to ensue and roles were established immediately.

SMW: What were the circumstances that lead to your role as primary care giver for your stepdaughter Kristina?

As Kristina and I got closer, my relationship with her dad began to unravel. We had been married five years when his construction business began to fail. He began drinking, had an affair, and walked out the door one Monday after I returned from the hospital visiting a dying friend. Kristina decided she wanted to live with me. She was fifteen at the time, a sophomore in high school. We all agreed that this would be the least disruptive situation for Kristina. I relished it, as it gave me purpose.

SMW: Were her biological parents involved in the day to day decision making and her upbringing?

Kristina’s parents were dealing with their own personal problems, and were not involved at all in her life during this time. When Kristina was fifteen, I went to court to get ‘legal guardianship’, and Kristina even asked if I would adopt her.

SWM: Why did Kristina make the decision to live with you and not her biological father after your divorce?

In a word – need. She needed me and I wanted and need her.

SMW: What needs did you fill for Kristina that her biological parents could not?

I gave Kristina a sense of family, love, traditions, values, kindness, and taught her about faith, obligation and right and wrong. Neither of her parents were able to provide her with any of these ‘basic needs’.