Being a step-mom can be challenging; being a Pagan step-mom has its own unique challenges. You need to tread lightly when it comes to your partner's ex. What you say and what you expose your step-child to could potentially be used against you and your partner in regards to faith, beliefs and holidays. It is not just a case of dealing with an ex who will at times (hopefully not all the time) allow jealousy and bitterness to take full control of her actions; spewing venom in all directions and putting an unnecessary burden on the children. It can be a rarity to find a woman who is actually happy that their ex has moved on and found someone. So in the midst of the emotional tornado that must be dealt with, you must also figure out how to tread the waters of sharing your faith with your step-children.
So how do you deal with this situation?
First, know your legal rights for the area you live. A good organization that can help you find out is the Lady Liberty League. The LLL is an international religious freedom and civil rights organization who help Pagans, Wiccan's and other nature religion practitioners with legal issues regarding their chosen faith and/or spiritual practices. Don't wait until something happens to find out about your legal rights, do it now. Some states/provinces are not as open as others and you and your partner need to know if an ex could potentially try to bring some kind of trumped up legal action against either of you. It is unfortunate, but the safest answer to this challenge may be to keep your religion secret.
Second, once you know your legal rights sit down with your partner and discuss how you want to incorporate (or not) your step-children. You have a right to your religious and spiritual beliefs, but we also know that sharing them openly is not always a safe thing to do. Discuss how you will be able to practice your beliefs in the home when your step-children are present. Do you have children of your own who practice with you? How do you incorporate them? Can the same be done with your step-children? Or, is there a way of lessening some of the ritual aspects of your celebrations and practices when your step-children are present to make it more comfortable for everyone?
Hammering out these details in advance will make the home situation much calmer. It will also put you and your partner on the same page so if the ex tries to do or say anything you know your partner has your back. But if the ex is absolutely against her children having anything to do with your spiritual or religious practices (be prepared for this reaction) then you and your partner should come up with a plan for how that will be accomplished. It will most likely be unrealistic that the children not know what your faith is, but you and your partner can be the bigger people and work around this challenge no matter how unfair the demand.
Third, take it slow. Introduce your step-children (if you decide to) slowly. Start with celebrating the changes of the season without incorporating any religious or ritual practices. Allow your step-children to see your practices as a natural extension of nature. No cackling, green skin or warts for them to report to their mother. And if that goes well than continue to introduce a little more each holiday.
One of the more difficult aspects to contend with for any step-mother (or bonus mom) is ensuring that their partner's children feel included when they are with you. A sure fire way of making sure they do not like you is if they wind up feeling like their father went out and 'found' a new family. It shouldn't feel like an 'us and them' situation when they are visiting. You and your children are now a part of their family, and families stick together no matter how many different homes they are spread throughout.
An interesting and enlightening article to read whether you are the bonus mom or the biological mom, (especially if you are the biological mom), is '7 Reasons Not to Hate Your Child's Stepmom'. You don't need to be seen, nor should you be, as 'the competition'. You are not there to steel another mom's children from her. As a bonus mom, you are just that. A bonus. One more person who will unconditionally love these children. Who only wants the best for them. Hopefully there will be a time when the ex can let go of past hurts and mistakes, forgive for their own sake, and be happy that you and your partner are giving the children a stable and diverse home for them to grow up in. It can be done.