4 Maddening Things People Say When You Aren't A 'Real' Mom

by Jane Doe
Mike Harrington / Getty

When people tell me I am not a “real” mom, I get the look of rage in my eyes so quick they know they need to back up ten steps. Not only is it ridiculous to say I am not real, but it is incredibly condescending to suggest one must push a child out of your body to be considered a real mom.

I think my amazing adoptive moms will back me up there – motherhood is both biological and action based. Sometimes you have mothers who are only biological – somethings only action based. If you file under both, congrats, I’ll get you a trophy.

Here are some things I hear as both a stepmom and a foster mom.

1. When are you having one of your own?

*blink blink*

I am not sure if you are able to see, but in case you can’t, let me politely explain that I have 2-4 children at any one point in time. Legally and biologically, they may not be my own children, but I can promise they are 100% mine in my heart. Hell, I have some kids I don’t even see anymore that are still 100% in my heart every day. If you are sighted, then no excuses, and please get out of my uterus. Kthanksbye.

2. Oh, Come on. I didn’t mean it like that…just you know…don’t you want your own?

So you just really like to be rude, I guess? I mean, sure, let’s just pester someone about their family planning situation. Oh! Here, you want to see my period tracking app to see when I had sex with my husband? Maybe I’ll even rate it on a scale of one to ten for you – since you clearly like being way too involved in my personal life. Biology does not make a child any more or less loved.

3. Why do they call you mom? I mean, you aren’t their real mom.

What do you mean by real mom? Really think about what definition you are using for that. No, I am not their mother. I don’t pretend to be. I am their stepmother. I am their foster mom. The children choose to call me mom (of course, I’m not sure what future foster kids will call me). They are all assured they can call me whatever they want – whether that be my given name, a nickname, or mom. They see me as a mom to them – whether or not I am the mom is not really something they are concerned with. I am not sure why people get so caught up on this one. Who am I to take that security away from them?

4. You will understand ____________ when you have one of your own.

Okay, so let’s get this straight. I am not capable of understanding this because I did not push this child out of my vagina? So can adoptive parents also not understand? Why do you think you love your child more? Why do you think I wouldn’t more heaven and hell for all of my children – now and future ones? I love all my children – step and foster – with fierce, fierce love. I will support, love, fight for, and do anything I need to for them. I spend hours researching medical things for my foster children. I spend days researching how to help them with their specific trauma. I spend hours (well…more like years) researching ways to help my stepchildren with their trauma, emotional needs, and academic needs. I have and will continue to move mountains for them.

This is just a sample of my daily life with strangers and friends and family What can I possibly do to make people understand that I love these children as if I did personally push them from my womb? I didn’t. I won’t act like I did. I won’t pretend I am better, worse, or even the same as their “real” mother.

I am me. I am their stepmom. I am their fostermom. I am their fierce advocate. I am their rock, their support system, their shoulder to cry on, and I will never stop loving these children with everything my heart can give.