The Top Five Things No Step-Parent Wants to Hear

A funny thing occurred to me as I was cleaning projectile vomit off of my step-son’s SpiderMan sheets, pajamas, and treasured stuffed animal at three o’clock in the morning – parenting is awesome! Okay, maybe not at three in the morning, but for the most part I love it.

For many people, the whole concept of loving being a step-parent is foreign and I’ve become the recipient of a variety of comments that have become quite irksome. Some have permeated my thoughts and occasionally made me question my very relationship with the Spider-Man loving, vomit-king. Here are my top five most disliked comments or questions:

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5. Are you two planning on having children of your own? This is not only bothersome to me, but also insulting to my husband. It implies that just because he has joint custody of our child he doesn’t really have a child. Furthermore, it isn’t really a question that I am all that comfortable answering. I have certainly spoken about having children with my immediate family and close friends, but I don’t talk about my personal life with everyone on the street. Rather than “are you planning on having children of your own?” the question should be, “are you two planning on having more kids?” The answer is yes, and our son is so excited to be a big brother. He recognizes that we are a family and wants it to grow as much as we do.

4. Are you ready to be an instant mom? First off, there is nothing “instant” about parenthood. My step-son isn’t coffee or oatmeal. Fortunately for us both, I have been in his life since he was two and a half years old. It wasn’t like I began a relationship with his father and said “sure you’re great but, no, honey, I don’t want to be involved with your child until after we’re married.” Seriously? I recognize that every family is different, but as a step-parent I feel it is important to have a bond with your step-child. To nurture that relationship as much as possible and show the child that there is a true partnership between you and your spouse. This doesn’t take an instant; it takes time.

3. Are you a wicked stepmother? Oh, you. That’s clever! The stigma of the “wicked step-mother” seems to have permeated our culture. Look. Any parent will tell you that you cannot be a buddy one hundred percent of the time. Just being a step-parent doesn’t automatically make you evil. Life is not a Disney movie. And it is just as hard being a disciplinarian as a “real” parent as it is being a step-parent. My husband and I assert the rules of the house on the days we have our son and he is very good about doing what he is told. Sometimes, however, he screws up, and it is important for us as parents to correct his behavior. Other times, I’m on my own. If my husband is working or running an errand, it becomes my responsibility to discipline our child on my own. I truly hope a time-out from his Spider-Man action figures, even if to him at that moment I am the worst person in the world, doesn’t make me wicked.

2. You don’t have kids… well, not reallyThis usually comes during conversations with other “real” parents who are discussing everything from bed-time rituals and educational toys to discipline styles and food choices. I found myself actually shying away from contributing to conversations like these, mostly because whenever the discussion turned to parenting I found those “real” parents usually turned away to chat amongst themselves, leaving me looking as awkward as a middle-schooler at a dance while the DJ plays “Faithfully.” Slowly, however, I began to make an attempt at adding to parenting conversations, giving my opinion, identifying things that I do that I have had success with, and offering suggestions. But too often I’m met with the comment that I “don’t have children.” The thing is, I do. I may not have physically carried him and given birth to him, but he is mine. Are parents who adopt not allowed to call themselves mom or dad? I do the same things “real” parents do, which leads me to…

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1. Just you wait. This usually goes hand-in-hand with those occasions when I put my two cents in regarding parenting but really? Wait until what? Wait until I have to change diapers? Wait until I have to feed or clothe a child? Wait until I’m woken up at 1:30 in the morning because someone wet the bed? Or puked all over Spider-Bear? Wait until I have to provide for someone else? I’m curious, what exactly do you think I do? Do you think that during our time together I set up my step-son with a season of Orange is the New Black and say “fend for yourself, kid, dad and I are going out”? No. Just, no.

What’s the worst thing about these comments? They often come from good friends, or even members of my family. But I’ve learned to take them in stride over the last three years. After all, the hugs and kisses that light up my day or the tears that wrench my heart are not imagined or someone else’s responsibility – they belong to me. For anyone else experiencing similar questions and comments, you aren’t alone! For anyone who may have uttered them, applying some deference and support is suggested and much appreciated. Step-parents everywhere thank you in advance.

Related post: 5 Good Reasons to be an Evil Stepmother

About the writer

Katelyn Botsford Tucker is a History teacher and Track & Field coach who enjoys writing and occasionally ranting. She holds a Master of Arts in Teaching and is completing a Master of Arts in American Studies because, apparently, debt from endless schooling is fun! She enjoys doing yoga with her cat and is a self-proclaimed future Iron Chef. Find her Exhibition Reviews and Lesson Plans in the Connecticut History Review.


Unknown 1 month ago

I absolutely love this!!!! I’ve been raising my step son for 2 years now!! I hate when people say oh you’re just a step mom…. no I’m far from a step mom until the pos egg donor decides to step up which will probably never happen but until then don’t say im a step mom cause im not! I’m a MOM!

Michelle 6 months ago

I’m new to the Scary Mommy family, and am not sure how old these comments are, but I feel compelled to comment. I’m a step-mom to a 10 (almost 11)-year old and I’ve been in his life since he was 2. My husband and I have been married for almost 4 years and we now also have a 2-year old and an 8-week old. I’ve gotta tell ya, the step-parenting gig is HARD. My husband and I met while waiting tables together. He was still with his ex. We developed a friendship and I saw him go through his break-up, which was brutal (aren’t break-ups always though?). All to say, my step-son’s mother used to HATE me. Seriously. And, I get it. I couldn’t imagine having to share time with my children. I couldn’t imagine having to watch them spend time with another woman and see her have a hand in raising them. However, life plays out regardless of plans to how it should happen. I have loved my kid from the time I met him. At first, it was because he was the adorable son of my friend. Then, the love grew because he was the son of my boyfriend-turned fiance. When we first got married, I struggled a lot with my role in my family, because my husband’s ex was horrible. When we were awarded majority custody, she would hold my (then 5-year old) step-son in her lap in my driveway sobbing all over him because she was dropping him off. She has said horrible things about me and my husband to him over the years. She’s thrown fits about me volunteering in the classroom, correcting any type of misbehavior, and just generally breathing too close (okay, last bit is an exaggeration, but it certainly felt that way, often).

However, along the way, we built a tolerance for one another that grew into an acceptance, which has currently become a (rather confusing and bizarre at times) friendship. One day, she and I finally had a conversation where I made it clear that we were not in competition. We’re just not! I’m a firm believer that children should be surrounded by people who love them and support them. Regardless of the relationship. I also strongly believe that the title of a person should be decided by the child. I will never tell my step-son to call me Mom. I also will never tell him that he cannot call me Mom. That’s his choice. He and I have a great relationship. His mother is not a bad mom, she is not absent from his life, and he loves her unconditionally. I can’t be upset about that. I’m not and I won’t be, because it’s too hard to go through life trying to fight something that can’t and shouldn’t change.

Adults need to be adults and show their children love. I look at my step-son and tell him that he is my child. He is a member of my family, regardless of how his mother feels about that. But guess what? It turns out, his mother is also a member of my family. I see her regularly; at school functions, baseball games, birthday parties, hell – inside of my house! – I see her more than I see my own mother. We have to communicate about what is going on with this child. Is he going to play an instrument? Who is going to get him to and from baseball practice? When can we all get together to meet with his teacher? We both have to be okay with it because it’s not about us. It’s about this little person that we both have a hand in raising, and he shouldn’t have to care about the “step” title. And, as a step-parent, I shouldn’t have to care about that title either. This is my house and my family, and as the years have gone by, I have found my role in my family. I found it even before I had babies! Once I found it, it was a giant weight released from my body. Don’t be an ass to step-parents, communicate with them. You’re an adult, that’s your job. Figure out how to make it work rather than be jerk or be miserable. Parenting is tough. Co-parenting is tough. Act responsibly and figure out how to work it out so that you can spend your time doing the important things!

future step mom 6 months ago

To all those mommy dearest real moms especially if you asked for divorce: You say you’re the better parent but yet you deprive visitation and phone calls , you ask your kids to spy on dad and his new wife. You uses wellness checks like eating candy you cant stop calling police 5 weekends in a row. You attempted restraining orders the judge see right thru. Not to mention after all your attempts to destroy dads attempts to pay child support any way you can. Go to court lets say 3-4 four times a year to make claims the judge throws out and still say I cant make it. Talk bad about us to your kids. Call his new soon to wife she or it. Then have the tenacity to say dads the reason they see a psychiatrist. Let me say my piece, the day you compare your mothering to mine is the day is when he double ll freezes over. My 2 oldest went on to serve their country graduated with honors sending my 3rd to college all as a widow. to be jealous because my husband afforded me that right and your narcissistic behavior continues. You’re the perfect parent yep Id vote for you.

Elizabeth 8 months ago

I became a stepmom to a tween, and good lord is my husband’s ex one crazy [insert whatever word you’d like here]. Her BIGGEST pet peeve was god forbid someone think that I was the child’s “mom”. Granted, we paid for everything and showed up to every school/sporting event, and she didn’t, but that didn’t matter, she was the MOM.

I get it, I really do. I don’t feel bad that my stepdaughter calls me by my first name. Frankly, I’d feel a bit awkward if she started calling mom as she’s running through the grocery store. Do I like her mother? Absolutely not, she’s a terrible woman and mother. However, whether I like it or not, she IS her mother. She gets the card on mother’s day, I don’t. There were days in the beginning that I used to bang my head against the wall like what the hell, how come I get NO…ZERO credit for anything that I do. Then one day it dawned on me, it is what it is. Do I love my stepdaughter? Absolutely. Do I try to be there for her and give her what she needs/wants? Absolutely. Do I introduce her as my stepdaughter? Absolutely. It’s also been drilled into her by her mother that I am NOT a mom, and she knows better than to even make EYE CONTACT with me if all 3 of us are somehow in the same space together.

I imagine that’s rough for her, and I do feel badly about that. But then I remind myself that I’m not the psycho, and I can only do what I can do, and that means relinquishing the “title”. At the end of the day, that’s all it is.

We have a good solid relationship, and I have an amazing husband who has always stepped back and let us figure out exactly how we wanted to work with each other. Would things have been different if I became stepmom when she was a baby or toddler? Maybe, but who knows. For all you stepmoms that refer to your stepkids as “your kids”, great. For all you moms that would become a rabid bear if you found out that a stepmom was calling your kid “theirs”, that’s your right. Personally I think the term bonus mom is a little ridiculous, but hey, that’s me.

Do what makes your family happy.

My biggest pet peeve is the “real” kid thing, the high and mighty “I birthed it, I get special privileges”. Yeah, go eff yourselves if you’re one of those moms. The rest of us are doing the best that we can and you don’t get a gold star just because biology happened.

Kim 9 months ago

It makes it a lot easier when the bio parents put “their” kid first. A lot of step parents get a bad rap because one, or both, of the bio parents are being selfish! My husband and the mother of his child have always put their daughter first, making it super easy for me and her step father. The step dad entered in her life when she was just a month old. She refers to him as dad. My husband has never been jealous of it, saying he is happy she has a man that loves her like his own while she is at her moms.

Luca 10 months ago

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Tracy 10 months ago

We have never made the distinction between step and biological. My grown step daughter says I’m more of a mom to her then her bio mom. My step-grandsons call me Grandma. My husband stepped in to act as a father to my son at age 8. I just wish that sometimes teenagers would wake up and realize how special it is to have 4 parents rather than only 2. My son chose to live with his bio dad at the age of 18 because he didn’t like living under our rules anymore. He feels my husband was heavy handed with his expectations. I also wish that the grown ups in the world would recognize that being a step-parent is truly hard. You make a choice to love when you don’t really have to. I love that my husband has always treated my son as our son without distinction between his mine and now our child. Someday I know my son will recognize the gift he’s been given. That day is just not today. :(

Ashley 10 months ago

How about this one: “You are so lucky that you only have the kids half the time. What freedom!” OK dumbass, have you ever thought about how difficult it is for us NOT to have his kids on half the holidays. How Christmas night is spent in a morose veil of sadness and feeling that something is missing. How about the challenges of juggling a half-time schedule. People are insensitive and I find it amazing that so many still think that step-parenting is a horror. I adore my stepchildren and we are a FAMILY.

Amanda 10 months ago

I have heard horrid things from both my family and my husbands family about my relationship with my step daughters. At the end of the day all that matters to me is that they love me, and they cherish our relationship as much as I do. Everyone else be damned.

Betsy 11 months ago

While I sympathise with good step-parents who do care for – and do much of the care-giving of – others’ biological kid(s) without due credit for their love, alas, my particular instance is full of malice, dishonesty and just plain meanness. In a recent meeting with a social worker (held because the step-“mother” had struck my son and dragged him out of the house for having the temerity to tell his father to “just shut up” during a lecture), the step-mother had the gall to look at me and say, in response to the social worker’s question of “how many children do you have?” “I have four … I have cared for the youngest (mine) since he was 9 months old” … uh yeah, I was forced to leave on a work trip in order to support my family rather than stay on maternity leave as I wanted, and then you came to “help out” (i.e. sleep with my husband) while I was away. And in the meeting, it comes out this is not the first time you have struck my son. In addition to the physical violence, you show favoritism to your own daughter and are emotional abusive. Such rotten apples do still exist, giving everybody a bad name. And no, sorry, she does not deserve my children or their love.

Kimberly 11 months ago

#1 and #2 are my favorite…I love when people say you don’t have children or just wait til you have your own!! I’m a woman with motherly instincts and I have also nursed a fever in the middle of the night, changed diapers, stripped sheets and underwear while potty training and many other things that mothers go through! I have also had my heart broken multiple times and worried endless about my stepson! Being a stepparent has a lot less perks then a biological parent and not a lot of appreciation for what we do, but that’s what we do….because at the end of the day we love our spouses and love our stepchildren!

Kayla Cude 11 months ago

I also hate when people say oh where is there real mom… Or the parent says I’m not there mom. I’m am just as much as there mom as there mom the only thing I didn’t do was push them out .

Cassie 11 months ago

I truly do hope my boys step mom sees them as her children too. But I’m not so sure.. she doesn’t cuddle them, give them hugs & kisses, or even sit down and read a book with them. It’s important to me that she has a similar bond with them, that I do, when I’m not around. How do I encourage a closer relationship between them?

Jamie 11 months ago

My cousin sent this to me because I have been going through this with my sister. She is older than me and was my best friend until my, now, fiance and I started getting serious. I actually quit speaking to her, I always thought she would have been the first person I called to share the joy of my engagement. However after a conversation where she said I would never be a mother to my babies until I adopt them and that just because I was dating someone with babies didn’t make them my babies. My fiance and his ex made two beautiful little twin girls and I have been in their lives since they were 15 months old. I am as much of a mother to them as their birth mother. I can’t stand that, just yoy wait. Sure if it is a wait for pregnancy issues, but if already been wiping vomit off of blankey before throwing it in the wash with all her bears at 3am when my daughter woke up sick. I’ve changed diapers, I’ve been peed on. I’ve done potty training and teaching the alphabet and I will be there through everything. I may not have carried these angels in my belly for 9months, but I am their mommy.

Monica 11 months ago

One of the things I’ve respected the most about my mother-in-law is her banning of the word “step” from her house. She raised my husband’s brother from age 2 on, and after her and my father-in-law split still kept him. And when my father-in-law remarried and he brought his youngest son up to see his brothers, she treated him exactly the same as the other boys. They had problems (my father in law is a real piece of work) but she never let that affect how she treated the kids or how she allowed them to treat each other

Heather Peters 11 months ago

I’m happy any parent feels so vested in their step kids, but having kids 24/7 is a different experience.

Sara Creecy Price 11 months ago

I never use the term “step mother” to describe myself. When I married my husband I vowed to love our joint kids and his kids as my own along with him. There is no difference. We have FT custody of one of my “step” kids but it shouldn’t matter. I think the majority of people who have problems with that are the “real” mothers who need to take a step back and realize that I am not trying to step on your toes as a mother. I am simply loving my children… All of them. At the end of the day there is no such thing as a child with too many people who love her.

Chelsea Lawson 11 months ago

That’s great and all… but my stepmother is not synonymous with my mother. My mother is my mother, I call her mom. My stepmother is my stepmother and I call her by her name. They have different places in my life. I am not my stepmother’s child. And it drives me crazy when she claims me as her daughter.

Dawn @ The Momma Knows 12 months ago

Yes. Thank you. Yes. I have been a stepmom for 22 of my stepson’s 23 years. I hugged and read to him, cleaned up that 2am vomit, redirected his sleep walking, answered his questions about the colors poop comes in, enforced naps, homeschooled him for 2 years when his mom didn’t want him in school, taught him to read and write, drove him and all of his high school friends around, and fed that army every weekend. I love my stepson! (I also have a stepdaughter whom I also love and am close with ). Being a step parent is the hardest job I ever had to do OJT for. There’s nothing instant about parenting someone else’s child, and it takes a lot of time to establish your own relationship with those kids! And when someone would ask, I always said yes, those are all our kids. It’s nobody’s business how the family was formed.

Jen 12 months ago

My stepson calls me by my first name. But it makes my blood boil when people imply that a step parent is not a parent, or worse that they shouldn’t do any parenting. Should I apologize to his mother for all the knees I bandaged, the midnight nose bleeds cleaned up, for the vomit covered lovey I rescued? Should I be sorry I didn’t let him play on the street, that i found an open library on a Sunday so he could complete that research paper he “forgot” until the last minute? For helping him make papier mache science projects? For proof reading his college application? For teaching him to cook?

I’ve clearly been over stepping my bounds for years, sorry for any actual parenting, I’m just a step mother.

Liesl Cronjé 12 months ago


Jennifer Perreault 12 months ago

Thank you much for this. Our oldest was 3 when I came into her life, and she into mine. We weren’t married until she was 8, and didn’t have her full time until she was 9. She is my parent’s first grandchild and they have always treated her as such. Parenting is the hardest job there is, even if you aren’t dong it 24/7.

Amanda Arney 12 months ago

My SO and I aren’t married, but we each brought a child into the relationship and now have a child together. So, my BIGGEST pet peeve is when people tell me that my step-son is “not really my step-son” because we aren’t married. In a sense, they’re right. He isn’t my step-son, he is my son just like the two I gave birth to. I have been in his life since he was 2yrs old, he is now 6 1/2. I love him just as much as I love my biological children. Just because I didn’t give birth to him doesn’t mean that he doesn’t hold a piece of my heart. If anything were to ever happen to my SO and I (Lord forbid), I would probably find out if there were any legal visitation rights I could have because I couldn’t live without that little boy! My other pet peeve, regarding my oldest son’s step-mom is “doesn’t it bother you that someone else is parenting your child?” or “isn’t it awkward around her/do you have a problem with her/etc?” NO. I don’t have any issues with her. She is a wonderful person and I am so glad to be co-mothering with her. When my son is with his dad I take comfort in knowing that there is someone there to provide the softness that only a mother can. Being a step-parent and having a child with a step-parent are very hard concepts for most people to grasp and many parents make it an awkward or tension-filled situation. But if every parent involved is mature, patient, and understanding then it can be a beautiful co-parenting relationship.

Amanda Arney 12 months ago

I have to disagree. I am a step-mom and my son has a step-mom. Also, my SO and I have a child together. So we are a completely blended family and living it from all angles. I call my step-son my son. Because he is. His father and I moved in together when he and my older son were 2yrs old, they are now 6. I have been there for years of mothering. I will never replace his mother, nor will I ever attempt to. She is a good mom. She and I have minimal interaction, but that is due to angst on her end. My step-son loves me and we have a special bond. I never treat him differently from my biological children and love him the same as well. My older son also has a step-mom and she is wonderful! She and I get along very well and when we communicate I call him our son. Because she is a mother to him as well. She cares for him as a mother should when he is with his dad. I am very grateful for my son’s step-mom and hope that my step-son’s bio-mom can feel the same way about me someday. I think it’s all circumstantial on whether or not a step-parent can call their step-child their child or not. I would honestly feel offended and concerned if my son’s step-mom didn’t call or treat him as her own. And I would never want my step-son to feel that he means any less to me than his brothers.

Rita Childress Heisey 12 months ago

I hate the term “real mom.” The “real mom” is the one who takes care if you. I know we aren’t talking about adopted kids here, but my husband is adopted and if someone were to say that his mom wasn’t his “real mom” I would want to slap them. Just saying….

Emily 12 months ago

I have a step mom who I lovingly refer to as my other mom. I don’t want people to look at her with the stigma of the evil stepmother. She is amazing and I love her. She has been my other mom since I was 5 years old and my step sister is just my sister. When they refer two us with colleges and friends they simply say, “our girls. ” between my sister and I they are just mom and dad. My biological mother had custody of me and we have an extremely close relationship. I think it bothers her that I don’t say step – mom. But I have had the dreaded evil step-dad and heard tale of the evil-step mothers and just would never want anyone to make that mistake about her. Sad that the step parent has gotten such a bad rap!

Mike Da Silva 12 months ago

What drives me up the wall, across the ceiling, and straight down the other wall, is when some bonehead says to my now 20 year old daughter (I met her when she was 6) “Oh, so, like….he’s not your REAL Dad?” No, I’m not. I’ve just been the only Father figure she could remember, and a constant and available male role model in her life ever since I met her. But I guess that since we don’t share that DNA part, I’m not her REAL Dad. Moron.

Candace Liggett 12 months ago

I have kids of my very own, I am a good mom, and I acknowledge our 3 kids(yes mine and my husbands) have a good mom and dad within my exhusband and his wife.

Theres a big difference in being a mother and a mom and there is nothing wrong with acknowledging having two of each. Our kids know they have one mother and one father, but two moms and two dads. Its rude to say “wait until you have some of your own and then youll understand”, because some of us have children of our own and still give credit where credit is due.

Alaina Danielle 12 months ago

In my opinion, if the mother is involved, active, and a good parent… And ESPECIALLY if the mother has the child the majority of the time.. You, as the girlfriend or second wife, have NO right to call her child yours. Women who do that when in the situation I described come off as sounding looney. AND many courts will enforce an order to forbid another woman from calling herself mom to the step children, or encouraging them to refer to her as such. Because it’s delusional.

And for the record, I’ve been the girlfriend, second wife, and bio-mom who shares custody. So I’ve walked in all shoes. I never called my stepson mine. He wasn’t. It’s a fact of life ladies. If mom is around and active, she’s mom. Not you. You can assist with guardianship. Co-parent. Participate actively. But if you want the mom title, you need to have your own or legally adopt. Period.

Just saying 12 months ago

If you are the “step parent” of the non participating weekend warrior parent then you are at best a 50% percentage of a 20%. So yeah. Sorry. But you don’t really have kids. Get a reality check.

Kahlia Piil 12 months ago

I’m about to have my second baby. And I’ve literally just inherited my 3 step-kids full time overnight. So full time carer of 5 kids under 10. Any advice? I’m not in the place where I love my step-kids as much as I love my own, my own I can’t even describe with words how much I would die for them, what it was like giving birth and being hit by this tidal wave of love that turned my whole world upside down. That did not happen when meeting my partners 3 kids. How do I move from unintentionally seeing this as a burden (and a shock) to treating them all the same? My emotions for them will simply never be equal, but I want to treat them equal, it’s so hard.

Ana Galvano 12 months ago

Love this….I’m a step mom and I love it!!!

Rachael 12 months ago

I have been lucky to be in my stepsons life since he was two and married to them both for 3 months. I call my five year old my prepared child because I didn’t actually participate in the nappy change time. Plus it gets everyone off my back when they ask when we are going to have OUR kids. Being a step parent has opened my eyes to a lot, firstly I’m two years behind on this child rearing thing (having met him when he was two), secondly no matter how much I love him and treat him as my own, I am not his mommy (& I am constantly reminded of this fact). Also there are often decisions made that I have to support but may not agree with (but I am not his mum, so sometimes I don’t get a vote). I get all of the responsibility of a parent but none of the credit or the thanks. & his mother will always be in our life’s (its like planning around a third person who sometimes does everything in her power to cancel out our plans). Being a stepparent can br difficult, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Kelly Graves 12 months ago

Um ….. Well, just you wait! ……from a step mom turned full time mom….. They are right!

Kristin Armstrong Orozco 12 months ago

Actually, none of these bother me. I’m a stepmom to 4, with one of “ours” on the way. Our family works. It’s perfect. It’s ours. I’m not so thin skinned as to be offended by these perfectly normal questions. I think having stepchildren has prepared me to raise my baby, and the baby will bring the entire family unit together and bring a new bond to our household, bringing me even closer to my step daughters.

Lisa Cronin 12 months ago

I hate the title step mom and step kids. It’s just kids and mom

Erin Ryan 12 months ago

This article was a waste of time. The author is SO naive! I’d like to see her do an honest revision after she does have children of her own.

    Just saying 12 months ago


Nicole Osborne 12 months ago

Thank you thank you THANK YOU.

Lita Scott-Warden 12 months ago

The actual top thing no step-parent wants to hear is “you’re not my mother/father!” But we all hear it sometime

Kathy Hodge Freeman 12 months ago

It makes my skin crawl to have to refer to my daughter as step-daughter. She has been mine for 21 years and there are some folks that still cannot understand that the only steps in my house is the ones we climb!

Elizabeth Dale 12 months ago

Instant parent lmao, doesnt that happen in labor? One minute your free the next your a mom. I would be concerned if a parent did just move someone in, without introducing them to the children or telling them what was happening

Eve 12 months ago

This is awesome. You’re awesome! I’m relieved to hear how nice you talk about your stepson. Hopefully my kids will have a good relationship with the person my ex marries and hopefully that person accepts them. Sane goes for me.

Kimberly Paradis 12 months ago

a parent is a parent…there is no such thing as STEP. The word carries so much stigma attached to it and it is used as a weapon in almost family. I feel that being a step parent is the same as adopting…you chose them and committed self to making a family.

Jessica Pannell 12 months ago

I started dating my husband when his daughter was 2. We were married when she was 3 and she doesn’t remember life before I was in it. She’s almost 6 now and she still calls me her bonus mommy. I completely agree with this post. I just had my first biological child two months ago and my parents keep getting asked how excited they are to become grandparents… They were already grandparents! Also, I received comments about how I would raise this baby different because he is “mine”. Um…she is also my child. Her baby brother has an awesome big sister and I wish people would think before they speak.

Gina Seip 12 months ago

So true. As a mother and step mother myself, the term step is hard for me to use. I am my kids’ mother. One, not by birth, but in everyday responsibility and love and care I embody “mom” just like the one I actually went through labor for. If “step” is meant as I stepped up to care for, love, discipline, teach and raise my oldest, then yes. I stepped up. Just like stepping up for the baby I carried for 9 months and take of care of and love. Both if my boys love me like mom and I love them like sons. Our love is not defined as step mom and step son. It’s real and true and tangible. Thank you for writing this piece. I’m glad I read it. ☺️

Amie Clingman 12 months ago

As the biological parent, you have to step aside from your own feelings a bit. When my oldest son’s father told us he was getting married, my first thought was “Will she love my son as her own?” Your child wants and needs to feel like they belong, that they ARE they’re step parents kid too. Especially when more children are added to the family. You wouldn’t want your child to feel they’re step parent loves their “own” kids more! My son has two moms and two dads who love him. We parent together! His step mom loves him, supports him, and takes on a role with him that is wonderful. He KNOWS who his mom is, and his love for her doesn’t change that. I’m am so grateful to his other mom! My husband says he has 2 sons and a daughter, not one step son and two kids of my own. I never would have been able to marry him if he would have thought any other way. Set your own feelings of jealousy and “ownership” of your child a bit and be thrilled that these other parents feel so connected to the kid(s). The more adults your child has unconditionally in the corner, the better!

Stacey Smith 12 months ago

I have been a parent to my daughter since the moment she was born, literally. My husband, her mother and I were teenagers at the time and made the best out of a sticky situation. 12 years later I am the active mom that takes our daughter to all her practices, programs ect. My husband and I have choose not to have any more children, one is enough for us (her mother has 2 other children that we are very close with). I am so incredibly sick of people telling me I should have my own children because you can never love someone else’s child as much as your own. Not only is this a ridiculous statement it is incredibly insensitive. I couldn’t imagine loving anyone or anything more then I love her.

Christine Shenkman 12 months ago

Omg #2 and 1! I used to hear those all the time!!! I am a ” real ” parent now and while I have a different love for my son, I would have done anything for my then at the time step sons. Where else would I allow someone to steal from us and still bail them out of jail at 3 am or allow and watch my childhood home be destroyed from careless young adults that didn’t care about our home the same or drag an addict to NA meetings even if he didn’t care -it was a matter of trying anything-just like a “real” parent would?? Meanwhile did I ever say one word about my sadness over these things while dealing with them? No.(later I did but when it was happening I didn’t talk much about it and kept it in to immediate family only because that’s what families do-protect each other and the weak). I told these boys-young men that I didn’t HAVE TO love them but that I chose to and did. Even through the tough times. I shared when I was proud of them even in their darkest moments. Why? Because that’s what parents do. We find ways to shape bad choices to use the lesson to bring out the good men inside. So anytime my ex told me I didn’t really get it because I didn’t birth these boys, it hurt. And now having my own, I can say for certain that being a step parent takes “more/something different” because the relationship doesn’t start at birth. It takes more work and more understanding and different love.

So I did have children before -just not my own. But that doesn’t make the struggle of parenting any less real….

Holly Greif 12 months ago

Beautifully said. I couldn’t agree more.

Jo 12 months ago

I raised my oldest son from the time his mother left him and continued to love, take care, and support him after I divorced his dad. Even stayed close to him so i could ensure he was cared for. When he graduated and became homecoming king. I wasnt allowed to participate because I wasnt his real mom. It almost completely deatroyed me. Left me devastated for the entire year. Ruined his senior year for all of us. Especially when i had to explain to his younger siblings why we werent able to sit in the family section at graduation. His mother finally showed up and started making some effort when he became self sufficient and it was more conveinent for her. I only gave him what I wished my stepparents would have given me. I’ve also heard other stepparents say,” They’re not my real kid, not my problem.” Those kind of people give the rest of us a bad name.

Amber 12 months ago

Love this article. I am a step mom o a 7yr old boy. My husband has full custody of him and works out of town for weeks at a time. So for the most part it is just my stepson and I. N i can relate to all 5 of these! All though i never got wicked step mom, my sister convinced my step son at age 3 that a step mom was someone who was going to step on his mom all day long.

Karlee 12 months ago

When you have kids of your own, you’ll understand why people say these things. A step son, even if you take care of him every other week, is just different than having your own. How you ask? It just is. You’ll know as soon as you have your own. I do understand where you’re coming from though. I can see how people’s comments would he annoying. A step parent, is too, a lot of work.

    Bree 11 months ago

    I find it HILARIOUS that on a list of ONLY FIVE things, you managed to turn one bullet point into pretty much your entire reply. I can’t stop laughing at the irony.

Kelley Cathcart 12 months ago

I think the funniest thing I ever saw was a mom I know waiting for her kids after school. Her sons raced into her arms and hugged her “I missed you mom!” They both said. Another mom comments “aren’t you their stepmom?”

My friend looked at the boys and winked, the boys hugged her again and yelled, “I love you Evil Stepmother!”

Judith Jasper 12 months ago

We call our family a patchwork family@

Cindy Challis Orr 12 months ago

I loathe the term “step-daughter”. Tiffany is my heart-baby. I do not introduce her as my “step-child”, but as my daughter. When I started doing that, people stopped making these comments (and yes, I heard them all too).

Amanda Segit Jones 12 months ago

I hate the word step-mom and step- child. It’s not my step-husband. I married my husband and I married his son, I am his mom and he is mine.

Suzanne Z Davis 12 months ago

As the parent of 3 biological and 2 adopted children (now all grown) I was always frustrated by the question, “how can you have enough love for them?(meaning the adopteds) They are all my kids and I love them all with every thing that is in me. My heart does not distinguish between them. Besides, love is a self-fulfilling prophesy…. the more you give it out, the more you have to give.

Karen 12 months ago

I have my “own” kids and step kids. It is different in many ways but you love and care for them as part of your family. I’m not going to pretend it’s the same as being their real mom. I think the only universal theme here is that we dislike being judged and invaded by strangers.

Jessica Trainor 12 months ago

I have a friend who calls her husbands daughter her bonus daughter, the daughter 14 and stepdaughter is just too cold of a term, I love this idea!!

Lindsay Nell 12 months ago

My daughter was two and a half when she came into my life. I don’t refer to her as a step daughter and I’m not her step mom. She’s my daughter and I’m one of her two moms. I hate the question “oh so she’s not really yours?” Of course she is mine, as much as any child can be mine, yours or anyone else’s! I wash pukey sheets, kiss boo boos and give her crap when she does things she isn’t supposed to do. Blood may make you a biological parent but it certainly isn’t an requirement of parenthood!

Kt Smith 12 months ago

Brava! I am not a step parent, but have watched my husband struggle with these with our oldest just because he is not biologically his father. And we have a child 18 months younger than him. But my husband had been my friend for the pregnancy and after until we just decided, “hey, why don’t we just do this together?” He’s not been a STEP-parent, just a parent to both of OUR boys.

Roberta Vasquez 12 months ago

I get the same irritated feeling when someone has to point out “half” siblings. Oh they’re only my “half brother”.


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