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:

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

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…

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

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.

From Around the Web


Michelle 3 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 3 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.

Jade 4 months ago

Excellent! I’m stealing this!

Elizabeth 5 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.

d 6 months ago

I Think The Word Amalgamation For You Should Be The Bomb! “Bo/Nus- M/om”

Kim 6 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 7 months ago

Saving power and cutting down on the electric bill are number one concerns these days for many people.

So steps are taken to add moisture to the air and to keep the soil moist prevent the
plants from becoming dry. Good product kits will feature Xlamp
high power LEDs, with at least 40 red ones and 16 blue ones, and a minimum power delivery of 100 watts with never a power consumption of
more than 125 watts.

Tracy 7 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 7 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 7 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 8 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.

marsha 8 months ago

Why can’t you just make peace and let the real mom be called mom and not both of you?

marsha 8 months ago

If you did not give birth to the child you are the step mom. Unless you adopted. What is sad and selfish and stupid is to degrade the mother of your new husband by encouraging the children to call you mom. And by not discouraging, you are actually encouraging. We have 1 mother and 1 father. Period.
If you are so offended by the word “step” maybe you shouldn’t have married a man with kids. Like the REAL MOTHER doesn’t miss HER child with ALL OF HER HEART when she is not with her. How cruel. Than to hear the child call you mom? Get over yourself.

Bree 8 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.

Kimberly 8 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 8 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 .

JM 8 months ago

I hate it too. Thanks to Disney (as much as I love Disney) and other social outlets “Step” has become synonymous with “evil” “mean”.. etc..

I’d never heard Bonus Mom. One day I just started calling myself that. In many ways I was more of a mother to my three kids than their bio Mom.

I HATE Step Mom but if you say “Bonus Mom” you get a blank stare.

And I hate that I always felt like other people didn’t take my role as their Bonus Mom seriously. That I felt like I had to qualify everything.

No one should be made to feel like that when they love and are caring for a child. Even if it’s not every single day.

JM 8 months ago

Madison Chrenshaw,
If I may?

I hope the right person is out there for you too! *smile*

That being said.. If he/she IS the right person for you he/she will accept you for you and accept your children. If not, then they aren’t the right one.

Secondly.. there is a LOT you can do to ease the relationship between a potential new mate and your children’s father. It’s how you present your relationship with their father. It’s how to speak about him. It’s how you interact. How you choose to have them meet. Etc. You will be the middle (wo)man for good or bad. So how you react and what kind of relationship you have with their father now will go a long way towards the new relationship between him and a new partner.

Just my two cents..

Cynthia Lyons 8 months ago

I’ve been reading these comments and it’s weird for me lol…I’m a mom (all 3 are my biological children and their dad / father and I have managed in this insane world, to stay together (happily for the most part lol) for 22 years. I’ll be honest; I could not imagine my kids calling anyone else Mom or Dad. However, that’s exactly how I grew up. At first, we had a few “daddys” before she married my Dad. He’s NEVER let anyone make us feel less anything than the 4 children from his previous marriage. He’s my Dad. It honestly broke my heart when he passed before my children were born because the first time I ever had to make the distinction of “step” and “real” parent to my children was upon meeting my biological father ….which btw, was when I was in my 30’s and he decided to show up on my doorstep to play grandpa even though that was also the 1st time I met him. I think it’s a matter of love. I have to admit, if my husband and I were to split, if someone is willing to step up and love mine as their own, I can’t see me caring what she lets my child call her. This world needs love, not titles. Just my humble opinion.

Cassie 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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.

Ash 9 months ago

Cheryl is not bitter about her children getting a strp mom. Cheryl is deeply hurt and heartbroken over losing a child. She gave her heart completely to her step daughter. I’m assuming they bonded as mother and daughter. She lost her because she had no legal rights to her as a stemom divorcing her Step daughter’s bio dad. This, Cheryl, is my worst nightmare. I have bonded probably too closele with my step daughter, and if anything happens to my husband, I lose her forever. Just like that. There’s nothing I can do about it because I am not her real mom even if I wish I were. It’s a hard reality for many step moms to face, and I’m so sorry you lost her.

jenny 9 months ago

I dislike the word step. My husband had custody of his 3 kids when we got together, I had 1 child. Being the primary female in all their lives I’m just mom and they are all mine whether I gave birth to them or not. Giving birth to them sometimes doesn’t make you a full-time mother…the oldest daughter rarely spent any time with her mom and the boy’s mom lived 14 hours away and had them 35 days during the summer and 3days at thanksgiving so I was it. People thought I was nuts for marrying in to that…I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Chelsea Lawson 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 months ago


Jennifer Perreault 9 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.

Cate Andrews 9 months ago

My family does not even remember I didn’t give birth to my oldest son. It just doesn’t matter, he’s one of us and that’s all. He’s mine and that’s all they care about. He has a VERY loving family. Hell, I have been told on more than one occasion that he has my eyes. 😀 That’s family when they can’t even tell he doesn’t remotely have any of m y features! LOL

Amanda Arney 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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!

Sue King 9 months ago

I agree, Nicole.. The parents are just splitting these poor kids in two.. They even act differently when with Mom than they do when with Dad. I fear personality disorders in their futures… If only both parents would put the welfare of their children first.. Dad in this case is a narcissist. As I’s hands are tied due to what court ‘agreement’ says. We’ve had 2 situations like this happen in our extended family. Quite ruined the moms’ lives..each had one of her children turn on fault of her own..and never reconciled… Both moms died too young..broken hearted..ya, it happens..

Mike Da Silva 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 months ago


Just saying 9 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 9 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 9 months ago

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

Rachael 9 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 9 months ago

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

Kristin Armstrong Orozco 9 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 9 months ago

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

Erin Ryan 9 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.

Nicole Osborne 9 months ago

Thank you thank you THANK YOU.

Lita Scott-Warden 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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.

Marissa Bamberger 9 months ago

I think people really need to check their egos at the freaking door! Who cares what yours kids call the other parent in their life, as long as they love them. My kids are 5, 4, and 1. My ex husbands girlfriend is great to my kids. I feel blessed for that. My boyfriend loves my kids. They call them by their first names now, but who knows if everyone gets married and down the road they call her mom. Will it sting? Yes. Calling the kids ours? I can only hope for that. The alternative is someone who loves my kids less. And I say this about a woman who my ex was cheating on me with, so Ya…you can move past shit in order to put your kids first.

Christine Shenkman 9 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….

Leanne Thompson 9 months ago

Ooh this one touched a nerve! I guess this is different for everyone. I felt uncomfortable reading ‘our’ as I would feel uncomfortable about ‘my’ children being called anyone else’s should relationships change in the future. I am a Mum and a stepmum, the kids are ‘the kids’, his, mine, ours, all depends on the context I suppose but ‘his’ children have 2 very loving parents who happen to no longer be together, whilst I love and care for them it would feel odd to call them ‘ours’ or ‘mine’ but they are very much my family all the same. There is no right answer here but it did feel strange reading that article! Shame the comments always get so nasty

Tanya Duggan 9 months ago

As a stepmother with full custody we do get it. Unfortunately bio mom calls and upsets the kids by badgering them for information. The kids now see her calling and immediately bring the phone to me. If I answer, I tell her it’s not a good time. This makes me the bad guy so that she doesn’t know they don’t want to talk to her, she would ultimately yell at them if she did. When she had custody she was terrible to us. I don’t have to deal with anymore. There are several reasons we have custody and this is one of them. Parental alienation is abuse. Not understanding the importance of a fathers role is ignorant and harmful. I hope you answer every time he calls when it isn’t “his time” and I hope you pay attention to how the conversation goes. There are both bad moms and dads but if a dad cares to call, it’s highly unlikely that he gives a crap what “mom” is doing

Holly Greif 9 months ago

Beautifully said. I couldn’t agree more.

Tanya Duggan 9 months ago

How’s this for size. My husband and I have 7 children. I had one, he had four and we have 2. We have full custody of “his” children. They call me Tanya but they are my children. Sometimes I have other names but rarely mom. I make appointments, call the school, go for icecream and I say “my son” regardless. Their mother hates this. Where I can embrace the importance of a good relationship with her, she continually puts me down during her, very minimal, visitation. That’s the difference between an ok parent and an extraordinary one.

I’m their parent in every way, she’s only their parent in name.

Amy Baker 9 months ago

I find the whole “they’re mine, not yours” thing a little weird. I have a step-parent, and two of my four children have step-parents. When I introduce my step-father to people, I don’t say “this is my step-dad”, I just say “this is my dad”. Do I have a “real” dad? Yes. Does it matter? No. My step-father loves me just as much, if not more, than my dad does. My kids call him Papaw, and they are his grandsons, not his step-daughter’s kids. He introduces me as one of the kids, not one of the step-kids. To be honest, I would be offended if he made that distinction.

My husband doesn’t refer to my boys as “her kids”. They are “our kids”. Just like the older two don’t call the younger two half-brothers, they call them brothers. My ex doesn’t get bent out of shape when people mistake my husband as THE dad, just like I don’t freak out when people mistake their step-mom for THE mom. It’s just not that deep, y’all.

But that’s what is normal for us…which is apparently not normal. Oh well!

Jo 9 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 9 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 9 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.

Kelley Cathcart 9 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 9 months ago

We call our family a patchwork family@

Cindy Challis Orr 9 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).

A 9 months ago

That is beautiful! We say the same thing. I wish there was an actual term besides qualifying the relationship with the word “step” when it’s necessary to convey my daughter has an actual mom (our social circles overlap).
My husband’s name is Adam, and my boys have taken to calling him “Dadam” which I think is super cute. My bonus daughter just calls me by my first name, which is why I wish there was a better term for “step”.

Amanda Segit Jones 9 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 9 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.

Anna 9 months ago

Not always true. Saddest moment ever was when my oldest thought my youngest would or could replace her. I love all of my kids, I also dislike all of them equally at times.

Karen 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 months ago

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

Miriam Lokelani Smith 9 months ago

Yes!! I mean, really this just hearkens back to thinking about what you’re saying before actually saying it. And maybe even just shutting up and being happy for whoever you’re talking to. :)

Anna 9 months ago

I am a bio mom, and a step mom. I have always call all 4 of my kids, MY KIDS! We are a family, yes I only gave birth to 3 of the 4.
My oldest daughter calls me Anna, but she is still my kid. I have 2 boys who have had a Mom that wasn’t me, yes it was okay. She choose to love them and they loved her.
My boys have a Dad and a father, they choose to call my husband Dad and it’s okay! If you are lucky enough to have someone willing to LOVE your child that much, respect your child’s choice to give that person a title of their choosing.
My only input to my kids (all of them) was whatever you choose to call me or a step parent make sure it is respectful.

Staci 9 months ago

Ugh. So sick of articles like this with stepparents gushing about how much “love” they have for children they “parent” by default for marrying someone who has children.

No one will ever love your child as much as their actual parent. No one. Period.

As soon as that new sibling enters the picture, guess which one gets bumped to favorite status? It’s human nature. You will love your own kid more than someone else’s.

I have been on all sides of this issue and it’s like the dirty little secret no one mentions. Stepparents at best do a reasonable job of supporting their spouse in the raising of said child. At worst stepchildren can suffer horrible abuse because they are percieved as an inconvenience. More times than not, stepchildren are treated with indifference.

Shawna Marie 9 months ago

My only comment besides kudos for embracing this young man & your marriage. Drop the “step” and then the questions go away. I think it’s unnecessary to call a child “step” or “adoptive” being that I know both well the words in certain situations make you feel inadequate & insecure. I’m speaking from experience as a child. I am not passing judgement because society put titles on these scenarios not you or I.

Jessica H 9 months ago

Another one that gets me is Mother’s Day. I had been a second mother to my step son for 3 years before my husband and I had “one of our own”. It wasn’t until that child that I recieved any Mother’s Day acknowledgement. Getting comments like, “Happy first Mother’s Day!” Like I wasn’t considered a mother before.

Stefanie Weber 9 months ago

I am a mother and a step mother but the fact is if you should get a divorce or separate from their mom/dad the reality is you will probably never see that child/children again so they are really not yours.

Frederick Schroeder 9 months ago

The important part of the word “step-parent” is “parent”

Lisa 9 months ago

I have a family that includes half-siblings, birth-children, step-children, and an adoption thrown into the mix. My husband and I refer to them as “our children”, and they refer to us as their “parents”, period. They get truthful answers to any questions they may have about our family, but it never changes how they view the status of each member. There’s a mom, a dad, a brother, a sister, a son, a daughter, etc. The children are very open minded and quite capable of simplifying the whole situation; if only we could say the same for adults.

cyndee 9 months ago

Unfortunately, the only person in our life that refuses to understand the concept of family is the mother of my youngest son. We do not use the term step. He has brothers from another mother and they do not correct anyone about step or half or whatever. Because we are family. Nor does he or is required to call me mom. My oldest son from another mother says he loves having two moms. It amazes me that love…period…doesn’t permeate and must be segregated. Children understand the simplicity. Sigh.

Julie Crabtree 9 months ago

I didn’t mind hearing any of these things. I was a BONUS-mom before I was a mom. Asking a married couple if they’re going to have children is not insulting, it’s a perfectly sensible question. How is it insulting to wonder if you’d like your own children? Yes, I wanted a child with my husband, a child of my own. It did not mean I didn’t care about my BONUSchildren any less, I wanted to be a mom. They have a mom and it’s not me. Becoming a parent for the first time is instant period, I don’t believe anything prepares you for it. But carrying your child is when you begin to bond, unlike with a step-child, as in my case, I see only a few times a month. I always took instant mom to mean I was about to be a mom without all the new mommy preparing, never bothered me at all. Wicked stepmother, come on that’s just funny!! I always laughed and said yes! My stepdaughter played along, if I asked her to help with the dishes, she would say I was such a wicked stepmother!!! Your stepchildren are NOTHING like your biological children. When my stepchildren go back to their mother, I do not feel a pit in my stomach. I do not feel sad that I will not see them for a week. I do not feel the need to call them every hour. I love them, I miss them, I would give my life to protect them but I do not feel pain when we are separated for days at a time. It is different, very different. I am not included in the “no stepparent wants to hear” group. Being a stepmom prepared me for my own children, like the firstborn prepares you for a second child. Subsequently, having my own child has helped me become a better stepparent.

Dana Bosgieter 9 months ago

The word “step” was never a part of our vocabulary. . period

Kayla Ross 9 months ago

It’s disturbing to me that she keeps referring to her step son as ‘our child’ ‘our son’ that child has a mother and it’s not you
He’s not your child he’s hers and the dads
I’m glad you’re a great support person in his life and you love your step child and he loves you but you will never be his mother and he will never be yours

Tiana Colesell 9 months ago

Its even worse when the “step” parents family doesn’t accept the children like they do their biological grandchildren. It really hurts.

Amy Stencel Post 9 months ago

I love this. I have been in my “step” son’s life since he was 1 1/2 years old and have heard all of these. As far as we’re concerned, he is my son and I am “his Amy”. Our love is just as real as the love I share with my biological daughter.

Nicole Kennedy 9 months ago

Ugh! HATE HATE HATE The word “Step” in this context!
My child & myself are not something to be stood upon! He’s my son. & we leave it at that unless we feel the need to explain more.
I tell people ” he’s not mine by blood, but he is mine by love. “

Marie Lawson 9 months ago

#2 always drives me nuts! So what I didn’t give birth to them they are still mine! Don’t treat me like I’m clueless because they’re not biologically mine! Actually all of these things bug me a lot… Yes I know that carrying a child and giving birth is a special experience that no one who doesn’t go through it wouldn’t understand but after that, anyone can be a parent… And just as good a parent (sometimes better)… Biology isn’t everything thank you!!

Sue King 9 months ago

It’s so impossibly difficult and heartbreaking for a mom to ‘give over’ her children when it’s ‘Dad’s turn’. So glad to know there are caring step moms as you. I pray it is the same for my precious grandkids.. I do hope all you step moms are in constant contact with their moms when you have them.. Dads don’t ‘get it’. Mom is lost and on pins and needles until her babies are back in her arms…

Clara 9 months ago

My stepdad is more my dad than my real dad. Biology is just biology.

Janelle Gerrits 9 months ago

I’d love to hear from a man on being a step parent :-/ lots of things I find are women’s views.
I’m a single mom with 3 wonderful kids, I can’t have anymore. People always say things like “what if you meet a man and he wants kids of his own?” Like my children won’t be accepted as his own. And I’ve heard a lot of “you’re an instant family no man in his right mind would want that”
Sometimes people say things that they don’t think are hurtful, but are.

StaceyandAdam Chakur 9 months ago

I love this. I am a step mom. My son was just under 4 when he came into my life. I always say he not mine but he’s always been mine. Step parenting is ALWAYS a hard road but at the same time the most rewarding. It’s a balancing act of parenting/trust/friendship. How amazing is it that you get to love/guide/lead another Human into his/her life. My son is now 19
Almost 20 and joined the USMC. We had our rough patches throughout the years. who doesn’t, with kids in general but today I am his biggest supporter. I am honored that he choose me to be his Mom.

Tracy Yaste Tisdale 9 months ago

My husband became a step dad when we got married. My son was three at the time. When we became pregnant with our third child, and we found out he was a boy, people actually commented “now you’ll have a son”. He already had a son, who was nine at the time, his step son. It irritated the heck out of both of us, how people would just automatically discount the boy we already had just because we were having another one, one which he contributed genetic material for. Ugh. Our oldest is just as much his as mine. He’s been dad for as long as the kid can remember. Why does he not count as a son to some people??

Gillian Brennan 9 months ago

Always been asked. The other question I got was how is your relationship with your stepson?

Beatrice Leavens Brown 9 months ago

I am not a step parent, but I have even had the daughter of a friend live with us for quite a long time. Loving a child that you did not give birth to is as easy as loving a child you did give birth to. When the child was in my home, she was MY child. My responsibility to hug, love and discipline. Being a Mom, part time or full time is being a real Mom. Giving birth does not make you a real Mom, the care and love you give freely is what makes you a Mom.

Jayne Mather Crosby 9 months ago

Being an adult that had step-parents growing up, I know that the more love a has, has the better. Add to it I had LOTS more grandparents, all very different!

Stephanie Christopher 9 months ago

LOVE THIS. Love love love this.

Nikko 9 months ago

I was raised by my “step”mommy (we only use the word step for outsiders when necessary. It’s not a word we use in my family!) AND I’m a veteran and a current military wife.

Lemme just say that the military has a lot of resources and support that my mommy never had. Every day, every holiday, every milestone… she had to reinvent the wheel to accommodate everyone. That is a lot harder, in my eyes. So yeah… same degree of rough as hell, just different types of rough as hell.

Nikko 9 months ago

I have heard so much of this crap directed at my mommy. Look, my issues with her have nothing to do with the circumstances of who gave birth to me. Anyone who denies her role as my mommy is in for a hell of a talking to!

And you know what? He’ll be the first to jump to your defense when he is old enough to do it.

Lisa 9 months ago

My “step”dad was amazing. I still tear up thinking about how much he loved my kids and how he would sit with them for hours playing with playdough or cars or watching cartoons (tears are rolling now!). I love hearing good blended family stories. Isn’t that what parents want for their kids? To be loved and cared for?

Jordan 9 months ago

I came into my daughter’s life when she was 18 months old (she just turned 5 two weeks ago) and I love her just as much as my 5 month old. Many friends of ours that we have acquired over the last couple of years have no idea that I didn’t give birth to her. It isn’t until I say “she’s with her other mom this weekend ” that they have any idea. I hate when people say she isn’t really mine. She may not be the child of my body but she is the child of my heart. I’m the proud mommy of 2 beautiful girls!

megnstarr 10 months ago


even if I disagree with you, I feel that you were making your point well and eloquently (until that last part where it all sort of got away from us all…). And even though I do disagree with your basic premise, I agree to some parts of what you have said. I have been stepping since my oldest daughter was 2, and it was my husband who taught me that there is no ‘step’ in our house, just daughter and mother. He calls my son his son, he calls his own (step) father his father and his (step) mother his mother. and right around the time she was three, she started calling me mama, like the other kids. it made me proud, it made me smile, and it made her mother furious.she was self-serving, worried only about how SHE was affected, where my goal in all of it was to never have my daughter feel LESS. i wanted her to know that her family is her family, she is not an outsider, she is entitled to all the same perks and consequences as the rest of the kids. that was where my motivation came from. but last year, her mom got remarried and moved across the country with her, and i learned how little i really did matter in the eyes of the law. Now, all I can hope is that those eight years of raising her part time, doing her homework with her and talking about bullying at school, making her clean her room and helping her do her hair, calling her my daughter and being her mom, that all that time can carry us through the next eight years of only seeing her in the summer. I ache for the loss every day, and no less because she is not ‘mine’.

Sophie 10 months ago

Hi, I don’t know your situation but as a mum whose kids spend some time with their dad and his girlfriend I just wanted to give my feelings on this post. My husband had an affair with a much younger woman and left me and his children for her. This woman appears to consider herself a better parent than me ( she’s told me this) if I found out that she was referring to my children as ‘hers’ I would be very unhappy. I don’t mean to offend anyone here but it is very difficult to know that another woman is playing ‘ mother’ to my kids,

Sarah 11 months ago

I think I love you.

heather 11 months ago

i have a step daughter and I that is what i tell people if they ask me if i have kids. Nope just a step daughter. Ive only had one person tell me i shouldnt say they i should just say I have one but i dont. i only see her on weekends and neither DH or i get to make any real decisions in her day to day life. Im not taking the blame for her mothers poor parenting. maybe if she lived with us id feel different

Tia 12 months ago

Question. What if we have 50/50 custody? Our kid is with her mom the same amount of time she is with her father and me. I am a nanny as well so I know the difference of caring for children who aren’t yours and children who you are a mom too in every way. Other than giving birth and being blood related so my rights can’t be taken away, what’s the difference between what I do for my daughter and what her bio mom does for her? I’ve been in her life as her bonus mom since she was 10 months but I’d been around her since she was 3 months. No I was not involved with him while he was married I just knew the family since I was a kid. My bonus daughter started calling me mom without any pressure from anyone but her bio mom put a stop to that real quick. In my situation I feel she was just being jealous and possessive. What do you think?

Emily 12 months ago

Cheryl, I agree with you! I am a stepchild, and it would make me furious that my stepmother would try to pass off as my mother, or if we were out around strangers she’d tell me to “just pretend” and would introduce me as her daughter. She and I didn’t get along very well back then and I didn’t want anyone to think she was my mother. She’d tell me that step was a dirty word. Step is not a dirty word. It is a fact. And it was so insulting her trying to claim me as “hers” when I didn’t come into her life until i was a pre-teen, and only spent every other weekend there. How exactly was she a mother when I spent 4 days a month with her! My mother sacrificed as a single mom and my mother is the one that raised me. Stepmom and I get along okay now, but I still hate when she tries to play “nuclear family” and try to hide the truth. There is nothing wrong with being a stepfamily. I wish she didn’t see shame in the word step cause there’s nothing wrong with being related by step-relation. I will never stop using the words stepmother and stepsister, cause that is how I am related to those family members. Her insistence to pretend we were a nuclear family and take away the word step is actually a major reason we didn’t get along. Not every child wants or will accept 2 mothers, especially in circumstances like mine where I was already a preteen when she entered my life and had a very active mother who was raising me. Something my stepmother is super sensitive to is that she thinks of herself as my parent. I do not, not even now as a grown woman think of her as a parent even though she’s been my stepmother now for more than 20 years. We do not have a parent-child relationship despite the fact we are on friendly terms. She is family, but I have 1 mother and 1 father. Her insisting that she is a “parent” and trying to force me to feel that way is what has caused major arguments.

And while many stepmothers find the word step insulting, I bet a lot of mothers find the term “biomom” and “birth mom” insulting. Especially in cases like mine where my mother was a full-time mother except for every other weekend. Biomom or birthmother to me is implying that a mother is a mother through only birth, and not the mom who is raising her children. Many divorced moms are very present in their children’s life and are the mothers who raise their children on a daily basis. Referring to them as a “birthmother” is insulting to those moms. When I hear “birthmother” I think of a teenage mother who placed her child up for adoption, not a divorced mom who is raising her children.

Mandy 12 months ago

Bless your heart. I am with the other girl that commented she didn’t understand why people got mad. It WAS weird. Just know, some of us understand you. I have not had to deal with said issue, but I am not sure how I would feel if my kids called another mother. I suppose it would depend on her. The day I married my husband, my children started calling him dad. Their bio father wasn’t thrilled at first and it took some getting used to for him, but he was hardly ever around due to a meth addiction so he didn’t really have a solid argument as to why it shouldn’t be done. It wasn’t my idea. It wasn’t my husband’s idea. It was the children’s idea. My daughter was soooo excited the day she got to start calling him dad. He is their dad. HE takes care of us. HE is there for us. Bio dad has been sober for a year and is doing wellish, but he still doesn’t take responsibility for his part. He sees them MAYBE once a month when I call and say the children want to see him. His newest fiance actually called to set something up without me calling first and I was flabbergasted. But that happened once. I sometimes wonder how long he would go without seeing them if they didn’t ask for him. Anywho, I digress…… I don’t blame you for wanting to see if she is going to act like a mom before she gets the title. I also have a bit of a MINE complex with my children. Yes, more people to love and be loved by, but I am the only mom they have ever known or had. It is a title that must be earned and not thrown around. To get a parental title, you should have to say No 1,000,000 times per day for one week straight. Wipe 24 poop butts in 12 days. Feed them 3 meals and 5 snacks a day for, oh, EVER. Wipe tears, calm hearts, and get another animal you really don’t want. Homework. Ugh. Shouldn’t they have homework duty for 60 days first? Laundry. Pick up their toy off the floor for the millionth time. Don’t get me started there. Pitch. IN. If they don’t actually help in the raising of the child…… then NO. They DON’T get to call her mom. I’M MOM. I’M the one that does it. Until she is putting in 1/4 of the work……… No. Just NO.

Tia 12 months ago

Question. What if we have 50/50 custody? Our kid is with her mom the same amount of time she is with her father and me. I am a nanny as well so I know the difference of caring for children who aren’t yours and children who you are a mom too in every way. Other than giving birth and being blood related so my rights can’t be taken away, what’s the difference between what I do for my daughter and what her bio mom does for her? I’ve been in her life as her bonus mom since she was 10 months but I’d been around her since she was 3 months. No I was not involved with him while he was married I just knew the family since I was a kid. My bonus daughter started calling me mom without any pressure from anyone but her bio mom put a stop to that real quick. In my situation I feel she was just being jealous and possessive. What do you think?

MrsJones 12 months ago

What a lovely article! It is a very tricky situation – for all involved! I do feel like a parent and consider myself one, despite not having my ‘bonus child’ with us all the time. I love the time we have together, I love being a part of his life.

I have been around since my bonus son was 2. He has always called me Andra – not quite my full name but close! We gave him the choice of what to call me, and that is what he came up with. He knows that he has ‘two mums’, his actual mum and me, his stepmum and loves telling his friends that I am his ‘other mum’. I think overall, we are doing well with blending our families, my parents consider my bonus child as their grandson and he calls them his own version of grandma and grampa!

I have never tried to replace his mum, as I like and respect her and am lucky to have a good relationship with her! However, when he is with us, I am the mother figure and so I treat him as I would my own child.

I leave work early on certain days to pick him up from childcare, and arrange play-dates with my friends that have kids of a similar age. My life really is centred around being a part-time mum, which I don’t believe negates the influence that I have on his life and he on mine.

He is looking forward to having a little brother or sister, and doesn’t think that they won’t be any less his sibling than one who shares both the same parents!

I guess all I wanted to say, is that I love my little boy, and I would never wish my life to be different! He has changed me in so many ways and brought so much love and joy to my life.

Jennifer 1 year ago

Please say you have 4 kids. Please. It’s none of my business, and you can totally ignore me, but my stepmom still calls me her husband’s kid. They’ve been married since I was in grade school. It hurts like hell when she does that. Call her your daughter unless she asks you not to.

Jennifer 1 year ago

I have both a stepfather and a stepmother. My mom remarried when I was 3, and my father did when I was in grade school. As an expert step-kid, I have only one thing to say:

If you don’t allow children to think of the stepparent as a “real” parent, you will damage them for life. This can come from any side–sometimes the bio parent doesn’t want the stepparent to be considered “mom” or “dad.” Sometimes the stepparent doesn’t consider him- or herself a “real” parent. Either way, it’s permanently damaging. Families aren’t about blood; they’re about love and unconditional support. If you fracture a family into “real” and “step,” you force children to take sides. That’s cruel.

When parents split up–for whatever reason, no matter who is to blame–it becomes their job to make this new kind of family a safe place for the children involved. It’s the responsibility of every adult. So stop whining about your kids calling the new wife “Mom,” because it isn’t about you. They aren’t confused as to who is their “real” mother. They’re going to have two REAL mothers, but that doesn’t mean they see you the same way. They’re not traitors, and they still love you. The sooner you accept that, the less heartbreak and guilt you’ll cause. (And this goes for fathers, too. I’m just using Moms as an example,)

It’s not about you. It’s about your kids. If you aren’t ready to be a “real” parent, don’t marry in. If you don’t want the new parent to be “real” parent, get over it. That’s the only option that doesn’t end in tears.

Judi 1 year ago

Amber and Cheryl……I do understand both of your positions. I became a step-mom when there were no books on how to do it, no computers yet, nothing to give me guidance on how to go about being a step-parent. My son (and yes he IS MY SON was 18 mos and his brother was 3 when their dad and I married) I had two older sons. Their mom didn’t exactly abandon them, just left them with a babysitter no one knew and left with another man. I can honestly say, I didn’t have a clue what to do. Suddenly without a clue I was pregnant, thinking I had horrid gastritis. So I did the only thing I knew how to. Love them as mine, teach them as mine and do the best I could to keep us all alive by the end of the day. The youngest had some issues from alcohol syndrome from his mom. I simply refused to let him go into special ed. Being an RN I knew what to do. so I took classes on teaching him and had counseling on how to train him. To catch him up. Their dad? I’m sure you wonder…..basically dumped it all on me and worked on his career. Oh he played with them for sure. So to them I was mom. That was it. I was there 365 days a yr. NO matter what. I took leave from work to help the youngest. Their mom would drop in like an old abusive bf once every 3 yrs (she was 6 minutes away) and say how she missed them, we took them from her and blah blah. But refused to see them when they needed to see her. I am my moms daughter….I became her friend. I didn’t want my sons to feel torn between the two of us. Because NO matter what anyone says……….no matter how bad a parent is? That child still loves them. She hurt them many times and many times as her friend I backed her to the wall. to help her. To this day I’m her only friend. But I loved my sons and I wanted them to understand they needed to love her, no matter what. I didn’t hire babysitters, I took my 5 kids with me everywhere. I spent my young adulthood with my butt on a bench. BUT my sons that were older? now had a NEW STEPMOTHER. I ddn’t know her at all. But during treatment for brain tumor she told my sons I didn’t love them or i’d be at their games. She told them so many lies it was unreal. Since he had 4 wives between us, why she hated I still do not know. MY younger sons, grew to teens…….and suddenly omg all hell became my life. No matter what they did I wasn’t backed by their dad. I was making them unhappy. The youngest had a teacher that told me and his dad, he can lie so well, he can almost convince me I didn’t see what I saw. Now you try to live with that as a teen…..and a dad who is determined to be the good guy. I would choose to do things based on what was the right thing to do and the best for their future. My older sons, stayed with their dad for a summer to go to a soccer camp, they came to me and told me their dad was getting a divorce. And what had been going on. I went to him and said….OK if you love her stay with her….yes I think she’s horrid but our sons have been torturing her because she is always bad mouthing me. They are graduating…..stay with her if you love her or you will be alone. They are still together and yes she is still horrid…….not just to me my younger sons……………I stayed until the youngest was graduating….then I left. Because no matter what… matter how long you have had the children…….TEENS WANT THEIR WAY. And they will do what they have to do to get it. But they called me mom and their bio mom they called moma lynn. I left their dad the day I found out I had cancer. The boys were grown and I took my daughter and left. so to all you steps out there….I TOO DESPISE THE WORD ATTACHED TO A CHILD STEP-KID. Whether they have a wonder other parent or not they are your children. TO STEP THEM IS TO PUT THEM ON THE OUTSIDE. REAL MOM? DO YOU REALLY WANT YOUR CHILD TO FEEL NOT PART OF THE FAMILY AT HIS DADS? Be thankful your child is guarded and loved by their other parent, whether you gave birth or not. JEALOUSY DOES NOT HELP A CHILD GROW TO A MATURE ADULT. They learn what they see and hear. So chill. love the kids. take part in their lives all of you. BE their parents. YESTERDAY we celebrated a graduation and new granbabies…………..present were my husband, me , my EX and the dad of my older sons. Also included were the gf’s and wives of said ex parents. So you see WE gather and surround them and support them so they know……….THEY ARE LOVED AND THOSE BABIES ARE BLESSED TO HAVE SO MANY GRAND PARENTS ADORE THEM

Anne 1 year ago

Amber: I understand that you want credit for the work you do and the love you provide, and “Mom” is the word generally paired with “Dad,” when describing adults who love and care for children, but surely you can understand that a woman who is an active involved loving biological parent might object to you ending up with her honorable title as well as her child and husband? Being a step-parent IS different from being the biological parent, because the CHILD’s family includes both biological parents and step-parents and you do not get to start brand new simply because you did come second in your spouse’s, and child’s, chronology. The polite thing to do would have been to acknowledge your child’s usage of “Mom” then suggest a term different from the one his biological mother uses, particularly if there is shared custody.

Cheryl, I totally understand where you are coming from, too. You brought the child into being and have invested your entire body and being into loving and caring for that wonderful being. Someone else introducing herself as “Mom” is just not right. At the same time, acknowledging the care and love given by a step-parent is probably good for your child. I agree that temporary adults in your child’s life — girlfriends or boyfriends of your ex — should not be being called “Mom.” Parents should be permanent in a child’s life, not just passing through. If the person is married to your ex, and is a good parent, she deserves to be acknowledged as more than a nanny to your child.

Bess 1 year ago

People really say this shit? OH GOOD LORD.

Juliette 1 year ago

Any person who can take on and love another persons child -hats of to them. There are times in all honesty that I dont like my kids and I am tied by blood. I have known them since they were a tiny fragile heartbeat so to do it when you dont have that is amazing. Well done

Jill @ Do Try This at Home 1 year ago

I didn’t meet stepdaughter until she was 19 and it was a very complicated start. She lived with my husband and I didn’t realize how much parenting she still needed at that age. The evil stepmother definitely has a life of its own (the book “Stepmonster” gives a great history/reasoning, although in all honesty I had to stop reading the book, because it was beginning to get me all worked up about things that I previously had let roll off my back). Anyway…

The one I get so confused about is when people ask me how many kids I have. Do I have three and one “bonus child” as Emily put it above, or do I have four kids? Step parenting always comes with so much confusion.

In any case, I liked your post! I haven’t gotten many of those particular questions (I already *had* kids when I met my husband, and we were really too old for the one more we did have so no one was really expecting her!) Plus no one (least of all me) would have thought I’d have such an active role in the parenting of a 19 year old. And yet, here I am, in your same boat more or less! But as you point out, it’s a really nice boat!

Leida 1 year ago

I’m an adult stepkid & this post warmed my heart! Having a stepmother & stepfather who were all in and unwilling to allow distinctions between any of us kids made things so much easier and made me feel very safe amid all the upheaval. Thanks for loving your son and your husband so well!

Rachel Mcpheron 1 year ago

Or my favorite “she will hate you when she’s a teenager”. Don’t all teenagers hate their parents?!? And telling the future is an awesome talent. Can you predict lotto numbers for me?!

Trisha Wood 1 year ago

we have 6 children … I had 3 before my fiance and I were together and he has 2 from his previous marriage we have one that we created together….my “step kids” may only be here on Wenesday and every other weekend and two weeks in the summer but they are MY children I love them I miss them when they are not here and i think of them when buying things for “the kids”…I have a unique situation I am sure but I do my best and I ignore all the stupid comments

Karen 1 year ago

Yes. Yes yes

My Least favorite thing to hear:

wow, she’s not your real daughter? You two look so much alike. I wouldn’t know shes not yours.

Right. Because kids love to be discussed like a stuffed animal. To their faces. About a parent that they might look like, that isn’t here to defend themselves.

Look, i drove her here and clothed her, so she clearly is something i am responsible for, regardless that we both have brown hair and glasses…..

Helen Ghosheh 1 year ago

I have two very wonderful stepchildren and they decided years ago to call me mom.
I don’t think I’ve ever been asked any of these questions as my husband and I have 2 beautiful children together and my stepchildren consider me just like there mom. We have an amazing relationship together and are extremely close.
My husband and I are very fortunate and blessed to have our family and to have 5 great, amazing, smart, intelligent, sweet and loving children together!

Sara King Dowdy 1 year ago

Parents that say that step parents are glorified babysitters are what make people say what they do. People may say otherwise and I hate that people say that. They’re are still a parent they still deal with the same trials and tribulations that a “real parent” does. It’s the “real parents” who say that we are glorified babysitters are the ones that taint their children’s view of the step parent. It’s parents like that who need to get there head out of the clouds/storybooks and open their eyes and take a look the hell around. There’s more blended families now then there has ever been. Maybe it’s because there are so many people who look down their nose at the parents that are there who didn’t help to make or give birth to those kids, but none the less they are THEIR kids too. Yeah, I’m a step mom would I change it? HELL NO!! I’ve been here since they were 5 and 1 and guess what I do everything that their “real parents” do and then some. I’m the one who gets up when they are sick, I wash their clothes, make sure they eat, brush their teeth, do their homework, make sure they get to school on time. I do it all and I’m a “REAL MOM” no matter what anyone else says. I have 4 kids and guess what they are mine and ours not mine and his. Open your eyes people and show some respect. Would you tell a foster mom that her kids that she brought home from the hospital that they aren’t hers? I don’t think so they are hers no matter what, she may not have given birth to them but they are hers. Would you say that to the woman that had to adopt because she couldn’t carry a child in her womb? HELL NO!! I hate the stigmata of the double standard in this country. Regardless if we have a child or children if we carried them in our womb or not they are ours, no matter what!! Family is family bottom line, no matter how they got there!

Peter P. 1 year ago

The ignorant comments from friends and family about my status as a step-parent have been easy to deal with. It’s the stuff coming from the kids, who get it from their father, that really chafes. He forbade them from calling me “Dad” because he told them he was their only dad.

This bubbles up through the kids when I tell someone that I’m their dad and they say, “You’re not my dad. You’re my step-dad.” Besides being tough to repeatedly hear, it has been somewhat embarrassing when done in public with strangers.

Thanks, “real” dad…

Dee 1 year ago

Beautifully said!

Dee 1 year ago

I’m very glad I came across this article :) It was much needed after the experiences I’ve had with some of my DH’s family who believe that no matter what terrible things my SD mother has done, I’m not a real parent and shouldn’t be involved in her life and that her birth mother should have full access to our lives because she gave birth to her. I’ve been told that I shouldn’t act like her mother, that I shouldn’t treat her like I gave birth to her. It’s sad. If I was the “wicked step mother” that was indifferent and ignored her, I’d be hearing the exact same negativity! Sometimes you can’t win, but you must always remember that it is background noise. You love your family, you protect them and care for them, and you focus on what’s best for ya’ll. If an outsider doesn’t like it, well that’s tough boobies for them. They don’t pay the rent, they don’t provide for the kids, and they don’t make the rules. Don’t let them dictate how you love your kids and don’t be guilted or shamed into not giving them 100% of your heart. It’s not about “mine” or “yours”, it’s about family and love.

Dee 1 year ago

I believe every family is different and what works for your children is what’s best. It also depends on the relationship that the child has with their birth parent. I never set out to replace my SD’s birth mother and made that clear from the time her father and I decided to start a family together. Her birth mother is a piece of work whose domestic violence and child abuse got her custody of the children (she has another child from another relationship who, we later found out, she lost custody of for child abuse and for stabbing his father) removed. Even then, I never tried to replace her or force/ expected my SD to call me mom. I wanted to be there for her in whatever way possible to help her heal from the trauma of seeing her father repeatedly attacked by her mother and from an indifferent and neglectful mother who scared her. I allow her to call me whatever she wants to associate me with and that has varied from nicknames to mom. She is aware that she didn’t grow in my belly, but that doesn’t change how much she loves me or that she sees me as a parent.

Before her birth mother was out of the picture, I tried so hard to work with her when my DH and I decided this was forever for us and to start our family. I made sure not to infringe on his time with his daughter so that their bond didn’t suffer and spent time with her and worked around her comfort levels before she and I started spending more frequent time together. We started slowly and when we had established a nice strong relationship and bond I wanted to work with her birth mother to make things as smooth as possible for our new family. I tried but was met with nothing but opposition. She was bitter and started lies and rumors with his family that blamed me for him leaving which was absurd as their problems started years before I even knew my DH existed and he left her before we’d even become good friends, but still I tried to work with her until she hurt my SD and lost custody.

After that, I simply focused on loving my SD and providing her with a safe and loving home. Her father and I shielded her from the dangerous and unstable actions her mother started doing after that which resulted in him getting a restraining order to protect them. Her birth mother wouldn’t even buy her a pint of milk or a pair of shoes. She refused to help care for her or support her in anyway. She told my DH that she shouldn’t have to pay for anything or support their child when he had “my money”. Still, I focused on my SD. I never once spoke ill about her mother in front of her, never demanded she call me mom, and never pushed her past her comfort level. I sacrificed many things while her birth mother spent her time trying to punish my DH for moving on. I ignored her because as long as this child was taken care of and protected, I couldn’t care less what her birth mother did, but I am the one who has helped her father provide for and care for her all these years. Her mother barely did a thing before losing custody and then flat out stopped doing anything for her because she was no longer legally bound.

Regardless of the nasty things that have been said to/about me and the not so polite advice I’ve gotten from people who say “well you’re not her real parent” or “she’s not yours why bother?” I will ALWAYS love her as my own and when her dad and I have more children I will be a parent and mother to all of them, not just the ones I gave birth to. This is our family and our home.

Shilo 1 year ago

This is the best thing I have read. I am a “mommy#2” and I love my role in his life. I treat him as if I am raising a man and he treats me as if he is growing up. He and I are mom and son and I wouldn’t change a thing. Often times I tell “real” parents ” my love is stronger than they will ever know for my son, it is a different love, I got to pick him and he chose me.” He could have told his dad that he didn’t like me and his dad would have had no problem doing whatever he wanted but he wanted me and I fell in love right away. I am unable to bear children of my own and often times find the most awkward questions come from my family. Well thanks for this post I don’t feel like “the only one”.

Angie 1 year ago


Sarah 1 year ago

That is not the norm. My point still stands. How another family unit addresses members of that unit is none of your business, and you have no right telling a parent what they can or can not call their ex’s new mate.

Angie 1 year ago

I am both a Bonus Mom and Birth Mom. I understand your struggle with this if the ex’s new wife tries to take over. However, if she truly chooses to love them like her own then, yes, she does get to call the kids hers also.

I took my husband’s birth children on willingly but know that they have another Mom. Just giving birth is not what makes me a Mom to all 4 of my kids, its my willingness to truly love and take care of all of them. My bonus daughter has now had 2 children and I am definitely their Nana.

Angie 1 year ago

I love that one too! I tell mine I’m their Bonus Mom. I’ll never take their birth mom’s place, but I’ll still be the one to come pick them up at crazy hours when they need me. I have 4 children – 2 I gave birth to and 2 bonus children that I willingly took into my heart and responsibilities.

Stacy Hebein 1 year ago

People so easily forget that family is more than blood. In my case, the family I chose is more loyal and caring than the family I was born into!

Jessica Donohue 1 year ago

Giving birth to a child doesnt make you a mom or dad. Just like people that adopt children rather than giving birth to them. It does not take “giving birth” to them to make them your child. It takes being in their life actively and teaching them right from wrong. Being a mom or dad isnt buying them things or taking pictures of them to show people. Being a mom or a dad is waking up all hours of the night to fix bad dreams or change sheets. Im a mom but one day i may have to share that title. She will have to EARN it and be it to be called it but if she does than she does and you can not harbor ill will towards her or anyone else. This is a tough world we live in no reason to make it any harder.

Kimberly Paradis 1 year ago

I never thought twice about step-parenting. one is either a parent or your not. the last 10yrs have been a trip and a lesson in life on ‘oh yeah..there is a difference between parent and step-parent’ a very unexpected / hurtful difference. with that said it really depend on EVERY adult in the family situations that make it work or ruin the experience. I love my extra 2 as if my own and will be mine til I die…anything happens to this relationship I WILL NEVER take on the step-parent roll again. well in the sense of raising a child / dealing with ex’s. I must admit I will run for the hills once a man says he still has minor kids.

Sonja 1 year ago

I’ve heard all those things and still do-even from my therapist! I don’t think she understands the amount of love and work that goes into my children. And when we have to deal with their biological mom I am just as pleasant as I can be while not smacking her upside the head for being stupid. But hey, her stupidity made it so that they are my children and I wouldn’t change a thing about my kids.

Nicole Aprea 1 year ago

My daughter calls me mom and her stepfather “dad” since he’s the only one she’s ever known.
My stepson calls me ‘Cole. Works for us.

Nicole Aprea 1 year ago

I’m a bio mom and a stepmom. It’s hard. But I was a single mom when I met my now husband so I was used to raising a kid.

Kimberly Paradis 1 year ago

I have 2, a boy and a girl, by different mom’s that I raise. I feel the same way about ‘all or nothing’ we are family!! but GeeZ one of the ‘bio’ mom’s does not feel that way and makes a huge drama fit/trouble every time our girl says ‘my sisters’ god forbid she slips and call me mom. the world ends cause to her I am the epitome of an icon evil stepmother. and the girl is to feel the same way to prove her love and loyalty to real mom. just crazy!! LOL I have raised the girl daily since she was 17 month old,she is 12 now, and never asked or told to call me mom, always just my name. however she was always told how lucky she was to have 2 mama’s that loved her. the boys mom and I are good friends have been since I met her…so much last year she gave him to me in paperwork instead of his dad when she needed help and a place for him to live. LOL

Mandy Teigland 1 year ago

Those parents who find issue with your bio child calling their stepparent ‘mom’ or ‘dad’ should use that as an opportunity to work through your issues, because, yes, it is YOUR issue. Notice those feelings, figure out why you’re feeling them, and figure out a way to work through them. If your child feels close enough or trusting enough to call someone ‘mom’ find a way to embrace that. If you don’t, you’re only doing your child or more yourself a HUGE disservice. Children and adults can never have too many people with whom to show and receive love. Learn to grow.

Michelle 1 year ago

I have two stepdaughters who are adults now and have children of their own. They’ve been with me since they were 9 and 11 and I love them fiercely. I love their children fiercely. But I have heard the same things… aren’t REALLY a grandmother. Really? I just do ALL THE THINGS a grandmother does. I get the same affection showered on me that a real grandmother does. I am TOO a grandmother.

Kristin Berry-Walters 1 year ago

When I date a guy people comment on how lucky I am too have someone who is good with my kids, gets along with my kids, etc. I used to think it was a compliment until it dawned on me. I’m kind of a package deal. If you have a problem with my kids, I wouldn’t be with you…

Chrisbee 1 year ago

I am a step-parent of 3, been married to my husband for two years and pregnant for the first time. I don’t call them my stepchildren; I call them my children. I have bathed, clothed, fed, diapered, etc for 6 years. When people ask us how many children we have, I say 3 and one on the way. I hate the insinuation that my relation with them “is not real” but I’ve never had anyone say that to me. Thank you for this article and giving us “extra parents” a voice!

Caroline Langan-Minca 1 year ago

How did a thread that originally start out as a high five to step parents, turn I to a whole lot of bitchiness ans slandering of the roles step parents play? For crying out loud ladies, grow up and stop making every fucking thread on this site a reason for you to hate on someone!!

Linda Mendonca Spisak 1 year ago

never thought of my step daughter as a step she my daughter 😉

Cathy 1 year ago

That’s actually untrue. My husband has nominated me as my stepdaughter’s guardian, on his behalf, so that should anything happen to him, I take over his role in her life. This protects both me and his daughter. I do have legal rights to her – and her mother would have to take me to court to have any of the parenting/custody arrangements changed, citing very compelling reasons for doing so.

Julie 1 year ago

Amen! There is a difference in step-parent types and some people just don’t get it. If the “real” parent is absent, dead, deadbeat, etc, and the step-parent steps in, then yes, that person deserves to be called “Mom” or “Dad”. But like a few others said, my step-daughters have a mother who is perfectly fine. She is their mother, acts like their mothers, etc. In our situation, I am just the step-mother, their dad’s wife. We’ve been married 16 years and the kids were 9 and 1 when we got married, so this isn’t some new thing for us. And it’s true — unless the “real” parent is absent, dead, deadbeat, etc, — you DO need to wait until you’re a real mother in order to experience things. Sorry, but it’s true and you’ll figure that out once you have your own children. Once I had my own kids, things totally changed. I became a real mother at that point. Just my opinion, coming from someone who has a step-mom, step-dad, and step-children.

Lizard 1 year ago

My “step” father has been in my life since I was 3; he married my mother shortly before my 5th birthday. We walked down the aisle together holding hands (I was their flower girl but didn’t want to walk alone), and during the ceremony he knelt down so he was at eye level to me, put a little pink ring on my finger, and said “Today I’m not just marrying your mom, I’m marrying both of you.”

He has stood by that statement every day for over 20 years now. He was there for the good and bad, from the father daughter dance in Girl Scouts to the teenage attitude that would have probably driven some non-step parents away. You said “they are not mom or dad and never will be”- I completely disagree with this. Do I have a biological father? Sure. I saw him for a few hours once a month or so growing up. He’s a nice enough person; I see him as more of an uncle – figure in my life. Related but not a parent. DNA and occasional trips to the mall don’t make a dad. My dad is the man who taught me how to ride a bike and put together a tent, who did his best every single day to help me become the best person I could be, who stayed up late into the night talking with me- but mostly listening- even when he had to get up early for work, because he knew how important those conversations were.

I got married last year, and I’m just now putting together the photo album. I’d challenge anyone to see the look in that man’s eyes when he walked me down the aisle and, this time, watched someone else give me a ring, and tell me that’s not a father’s pride. Or see the tears in his eyes when we danced to “The dad he didn’t have to be” and tell him he’s “arrogant, needy and selfish” for calling himself my dad.

I doubt I’ll change your mind and that’s perfectly fine, but please don’t undermine relationships you know nothing about with blanket statements like the ones you made. To all the loving parents (of every kind) who might see this- keep loving your kids, bonus kids, whatever they are to you. Family doesn’t end with blood.

Lisa Creson 1 year ago

What I don’t understand is the need for constant validation from strangers. So often in many parenting articles, it’s about how you explain yourself to a curious stranger/acquaintance. Why does anyone care what said random person thinks? Who cares what is being said? ‘The top 5 things no one wants to hear’. Yeah I get it, it’s annoying. But once you stop caring what crap comes out of other people’s mouth, well…it’s the day these articles stop being written.

Becca Evans 1 year ago

Step parents rule! My fiancé is to my daughter what her father can never be, since he’s not even alive. And he loves her so.

Tosha 1 year ago

A daycare worker and a “step” parent are two totally different things and the fact that you can compare the two saddens me!

MILF Runner 1 year ago

I love each and every one of my step-children, but my relationship with each varies. I never got bothered by any of the things you mention. It was the vicious, angry, malevolent treatment I endured at the hands of their mother that made things hard. And truly the top thing no stepmom wants to hear is that her biological child is being molested by one of their half-sibs (one of her step-children). All that stuff you posted is small potatoes compared to that.

Geraldine Bastidas 1 year ago


Sherlolly Watson 1 year ago


Jessica Aliff 1 year ago

My step-father always treated my sister and I like we were his “real” kids and I have always thought of him as my “real” dad. I was lucky enough to have two dads that loved me growing up and they are both “real” to me. Thank goodness for men and women that don’t shy away from a relationship just because kids are involved. Amazing families can be created and they are very real!

Kathleen Browning 1 year ago

Good read.

Suzanne Adam 1 year ago

Let not forget all the mothers days when you don’t have kids of your own that you are forgotten because you are not a real mom….

Suzanne Adam 1 year ago

I don’t agree that a step parent saying “our children” is wrong. If the step parent is worth a damn they will consider that child theirs and treat them as such. By excluding or differentiating between our kid(s) and his or hers makes the step kid feel different and not a part of family. Now divorced I still find myself having to think about how many kids I have and it makes me sad. I was with my step daughter for 11 years, she never called me mom nor did I want that, I wanted her to know that she was loved, what she called me made no difference and she had a mom. She would have felt terrible had we ever differentiated between her and her brother since he was ours and technically she was just his. Ours means they have been included and welcomed and are a family imperfect as it may be, it is not taking away from anyone.

Sue Towle 1 year ago

Well..isn’t that just the truth!

Christian 1 year ago

I have been in my stepdaughter’s life since she was 1 1/2 (just turned 3). She is beautiful, smart, funny, fun affectionate and super outgoing. I credit her mom with a lot of that, even though her mother would rather bite her tongue in half than say anything nice about me. I never wanted kids but she and her dad are a package deal. She is more fun (and work) than I ever imagined but I wouldn’t trade her for anything. I know one day she will know what she means to me and how much I love her. I am so very blessed to have her and her father.

Sarah 1 year ago

I understood perfectly what you were saying throughout this thread, Cheryl. And I’m not really sure why people felt defensive but the barrage of comments toward you with increasing defensiveness was weird (but maybe this is because I am also a bio parent and not a step/bonus parent). Maybe we need a list of things not to say to biological parents about/from step parents. They also need to realize there is a certain amount of sensitivity there now and respect that. Not only do they have a hand in raising our bio children but they also have our bio child’s father, which completes a family and may make bio parents feels left out of their own child’s life. I don’t believe that the step-parent always understands the nightmare that it is if your child picks their other family over you. It’s heartbreaking. Although, some step parents, like Amber, would probably understand that feeling. It really is a case by case basis.

There needs to be a respect between the two families out of love for the child.

mum in AU 1 year ago

I love your Comment. I think this is the best reply in this whole feed. I think you have totally nailed it on the head. There are two sides to every story and i think your comment got the balance just right.

Shandy Allen 1 year ago

I think to have a good family dynamic you have to also adress the parents’ concerns. And I’m laying that out on the table for them to avoid any possible conflict. It’s just my view on this. No reason for anyone to get upset on this thread. My dad is a step parent to my half-brother. And I respect step-parents. I doubt I will ever have to face that conflict. But I have come across step parents who push their step kids into calling them “mom”… That’s not okay. I’d be willing to bet daughter would never voluntarily call someone else “mom.” Call me selfish. I am a little. We all are.

Andrea Davis 1 year ago

My sdaughter does call me mom. Her choice. It’s not been encouraged or denied. She is the one who got zero say so in her parents divorcing. If her calling me mom makes the adjustment easier for her then so be it. Does my daughter suddenly forget who birthed her nope. Does she suddenly have to stop calling her bio mom, mom because she now also calls me mom? Nope. Is a child capable of loving multiple people. Yes. I understand why it’d be hard for a bio parent to hear their child call someone else mom or dad but ultimately these children are the ones forced to adjust and should be allowed to do so as they need to and bio parents need to put their own insecurities aside

Megan Mercer 1 year ago

We have never asked my stepson to call me “mom” and I’ve always been Megan. Sometimes he calls me by my name, sometimes it’s mom, sometimes he refers to me as his other mom. He’s figuring it out and I’m okay with that. Does this make me selfish, errogant, and needy as Kimberly put it? I don’t think so. True, I didn’t birth him, and I am more active and present in his life this his birth mother, but I’ve never tried to push her out of his life or demand to be called “mom.” When strangers compliment me on his behavior when we are out in public and refer to him as “your son,” I don’t feel the need to correct them and point out he’s my step son. First, because that’s personal; and second, because my step son has said that it makes him feel like he is worth less than he would be if he was a birth child when it is pointed out. It is his decision and it is how he feels about his own family dynamics.

Alison Foley 1 year ago

Bonus Mom is nice.

BradandMichiell Tucker 1 year ago

My middle daughter calls me by my 1st name but introduces me and refers to me as her bonus mom. This is a very touchy situation to be in and I think whatever the child feels comfortable calling you should be fine. I have a friend who’s bonus daughter calls her ‘smommy’ and it works great for them. It is a case by case….but as long as the woman is nurturing them and loving them unconditionally and treating them as if they are her own….she is a ‘mom’ regardless.

Erin R Hickman 1 year ago

I am a mom of one and step-mom of two that live with us full time. I am not ashamed to be a stepmom. I am their stepmom and I say it proud. They have a mom that loves them and they love her and they have me…their stepmom…and they love me! They call me mom(occasionally), they call me Erin(mostly), and its all cool with me! I had to stop thinking of the word “stepmom” as a bad thing! Yes I am a mom and a stepmom….and I rock at being both!

Amberiellamaria 1 year ago

Lol! While evil stepmothers may not be the majority, they are by no means a fairy tale. I have encountered plenty of women that attempt to monopolize their husband’s attention and money for themselves and their (bio) children, while the men are absolutely clueless because any conflicts between the stepmom and stepkids are automatically assumed to be adjustments/defensiveness (on the part of the children)/children just being defiant. Saying it’s just a fairy tale that society tells people really sets up children to be mistreated, and their grievances ignored.

BradandMichiell Tucker 1 year ago

I married my husband when our daughters were slightly older so instead of using the words ‘step’ we say ‘bonus mom’ and ‘bonus dad’ because it made it easier for them to distinguish the difference to friends at school. My husband and I however, never said anything. When people ask us how many children we have we always say 3. We are often asked if our girls are twins because they are the same age but when we say no….only a few have been willing to ask the question. This is our answer “He gave me an awesome daughter and I gave him and awesome daughter and we gave each other an awesome son.” That usually shuts them up fairly quickly. My middle daughter even now will introduce me as her mother to people. When I fell in love with her father I fell head over hills in love with her. She knows 100% that I have her back and will ALWAYS take care of her regardless of the situation. She knows my love is unconditional. She is MY child. Our oldest feels the same way about my husband. Blending families when children are older takes more patience but the love you receive more than outweighs the troubles. The bottle line is…if you love your child….they are your child…period. There should never be another question about it from nosey, unkind, uncaring, unkind people. Love is love plain and simple.

Rebecca Carey Dyer 1 year ago

Can we all just agree that every situation is different and that nothing is going to make everyone happy on here? Just do whatever is best for you and yours and don’t worry about what other families are doing. No reason to have more mommy wars :-/

Bobbie Lawhorn Kirk 1 year ago

I felt much like you when my oldest boy got a step mom. Over time,I came to accept and love her. She always treated him well,loved him,fought some of his battles. In today’s world,it’s really awesome to have someone else be a champion for your child. I happily share the title mom with her. Even now when she isn’t considered a step mom(divorced)

Taylor Walker 1 year ago

“Are you a wicked stepmother”
Hahah you’re so funny and clever and fuck you.

Tiffany 1 year ago

Reading these touched my heart, AND made me cry. I was a step mother to two beautiful children for only a few short years, but I remember those comments. Now, my husband gets them. In DROVES. Not only is he a STEP father to my girls, but he is also 14 years younger than I am, so that makes people even more … mean. I am 38, he is 24, and my oldest 16- just had a baby. That little girl is his grandbaby no matter what anyone else says. With the age thing though, people can be truly awful. They tell him that there is no way he can even consider himself a grandfather because he is too young. Well, I figure he has raised these girls with me for almost 6 years. He supports them- not just financially, but in every way possible. AND he at 18 took two special needs girls and a mom still recovering from PTSD and domestic violence and loved us and healed us and made us all a family. Ask my girls who he is. They may not call him “Dad” to his face (sometimes my 11 year old does, but the 16- NO WAY) but whenever they refer to him it is as their dad. They love him, and he is the only “real” father they have ever known. Love and dedication is what makes you a parent. NOT knowing who to get laid. Thank you SO much for this article.

Pat C 1 year ago

Being a ‘step-mom’ and a ‘real-mom’ I can relate to all of these… the ‘just wait’ comment refers to the way a mom feels after she physically delivers her little miracle into the world. Being in both roles, I can tell you there IS a difference as blood runs deep…whereas many step moms will do whatever they can for the step children (what a ridiculous word in this case, ‘step’), a biological mom will go a bit further to actually laying her life down for her biological children if needed (and I’m sure there are some step moms out there who believe they would do the same for the step kiddies). Whatever, neither ‘job’ is easy but both can be very fulfilling and rewarding <3

Laura Bardoel 1 year ago

Funny thing is when we are out and people regard my step son as my son I try and correct them but funny because it doesn’t seem to bother my step son when they say it. But I know it would bother his bioligical mother which is sad. I treat him well. Sad when at one point years back I get told that I cant boss him around because I am not his mom….wonder where that came from? But ok for me to cook, clean, buy him clothes, but him gifts etc…. bioligical parents need confidence in their own relationship with their kids

Brooke Johnson 1 year ago

We don’t use step or half in our house. They are brothers and sisters and we are their parents. Even my husbands adult children feel this way and their mom is a part of their lives. I know I am lucky and this isn’t common though.

Monica Heath 1 year ago

being a step parent is something rather difficult to take on when your already a parent blending children seem easy they fight and get along. but when you butt heads with your step child it can be overwhelming, I haven’t heard negative things from people outside the family about being a step parent I think the worst is when your stepchild says, “my mom told me not to listen to you, my mom said I don’t have to like you, my mom doesn’t like you, I hate you, and I wish you’d just leave”. that has been the worst part I still love my stepson and I want him to grow up and be the awesome person he is just like I want for my own children, but its a battle field with outside people ruining what your building, my children love my boyfriend and they call his son their step-brother their biological father cuts them down and tells them he is not your brother and not to call him that its stupid, that’s hurtful to everyone involved I never told my children to call him that and I wont tell them different they can love who they want and give them a place in their family, I think blended families are normal these days at least the people I know.

Laura Bardoel 1 year ago

Kids are not MADE to call someone mom or dad they do it if they feel comfortable. Why would sny biological parent not want that. Step parents earned the mom or dad title if the step kids feel comfortable in calling them that.

Penny 1 year ago

I think that part of the problem is that there isn’t a term of endearment for kids to call a step-parent. Mom isn’t always appropriate when the mother is still in the picture and to call her by her first name seems formal when you are very close. I wish we had a general term we all use but finding your own might help some families. I have been a step mother for 17 years and I never tried to be “mom” because I would never try to overstep her relationship with her mother but I think that all of years of “mothering” deserves more than just my name!

Ricci Marie Fuentes 1 year ago

Wow, looks like this post brought out a lot of anger and bitterness from a lot of people. When you split up with your child’s other parent, you open the door for other people to be involved. It doesn’t matter who’s fault the split was or what happened. The best thing you can do for your kids is be a grown up, let go of your issues, and accept the fact that whether you like it or not, someone else is going to be involved in parenting your child.

Laura Bardoel 1 year ago

To comment to Shandy Marie Allen: no disrespect to what you wrote and how you feel but if you were in the position of being s step parent you probably or I would hope you would change your opinion. As a matter of fact being a step parent is sometimes harder then being the biological parent. And over the years I believe that if the biological parent felt confident, secure and supportive of a good step parent being in their childs life they would also obtain the confidence, security and support in being ok with their children feeling safe in considering and calling their step parent “mom” or “dad”. It may hurt you and your husband for your biological child to call someone else mom or dad but rather you should be overwhelmed with happiness that another adult has treated your child so wonderfully (as their own blood) that your child feels safe and secure enough to call a step parent mom or dad. If I can continue to share my opinion but in a lot of cases it is the biological parents that cause the issues in order to keep distance from step parents getting close to their step kids. It is the parents insecurity not the child’s and only hurting the child in the end. They should not be made to feel guilty for liking their step parent.

Jennifer Lowther-Abramo 1 year ago

I’ve been a step-mom to 3 kids for almost 11 years. They are now 19, 17 & 14. They have never called me mom, nor would I ask them to. They have a mom. The word “step” doesn’t bother me as much as the word, “real”. The opposite of real is fake. I can assure you that my relationship with my children is as real as it gets. I love them. We are a REAL family.

Steph 1 year ago

I am a mom who shares custody with my ex. He (and I ) are remarried. Cant stand his wife my sons step mom and the influence she has on MY son. But its out of my control. I put my foot down when he was 3 about him calling her mommy-no way no how I am mommy. He doesn’t call my husband daddy. She is decent in the fact she does care for my son…..but she is not someone I like. I never talk bad about her in front of my son. I just deal with her. I don’t have to talk with her much.

Tina Roslovic 1 year ago

As do step-grandparents…love those kids and still not sure that my daughter didn’t actually give birth to them!

Beth Allan 1 year ago

We use the same term! My husband and I hate the term Step-Children.

Lindsey Diana Bennight 1 year ago

I have split custody with my sons father and even then I still have my son majority of the time when he needs a baby sitter, his dad actually punishes my son if he doesn’t call his on again off again wife “mom” it makes my blood boil! Mom is an earned title and I’m the only one who’s earned it! I would never in a million years make my son call my fiancée of three years dad, he’s asked if he could but we both tell him it’s completely up to him!

Gone, Daddy, Gone 1 year ago

My stepfather added a whole new and exciting dimension to my life and absolutely treated my sister and I like his own. A big round of applause from me!

Nicole Mueller 1 year ago

Thank you!!! I am a wicked step mom to an amazing (almost) 12 year old! I’ve been with my husband since she was 3…. I love that little girl like crazy. When I was preggo with our twins people kept telling me I would love her differently than I loved them…. Nope! I love her even more now… Seeing her love her sisters makes my love for her grow even more. It’s a hard job. But so worth it!!

Alison Foley 1 year ago

That’s exactly what I meant, emotionally harder. Nothing’s easy!!!

Jenepher 1 year ago

I COMPLETELY agree with you, Cheryl. My son gained a step mom when his dad remarried, and I gained two stepchildren when I remarried. I am fully present in my son’s life, and my stepchildren’s mother is fully present in theirs. So I get what you’re saying.

I think the big difference in points of view on this topic is when the biological mother has faded into the background for whatever reason, and the step mother has moved into primary caregiver role, that changes the dynamics of ‘step mom’, for sure. But in your situation, as in mine, I would never, ever, ever equate myself to my step children’s mother – SHE is their mom. I am their step mom. They know I love them, I care for them, I am a parenting partner in many ways, and we are ALL family – but I know my place with them, and it is on the rung directly beneath their own mom. She is an AMAZING mother, too! And she respects me because I respect who she is, and acknowledge who I am, to her children. They don’t call me mom because calling someone mom is a beautiful, bonding, sacred thing – and it’s special enough that I would never want to take that from her. Because I’m NOT equal to her in their lives.

Like was previously mentioned though, had she not been that kind of mother, and had I taken the role as the primary mother figure in their lives, then that dynamic would be different, for sure. So I understand how it’s different in certain situations.

Dani Lopez 1 year ago

^5 to every single one of you amazing co parents (I hate step) You rock!

To everyone creating so much hostility over who is called mom….Remember that every situation is different before you spout ugliness.

Caron 1 year ago

When my hubs and I married, he planned to adopt my son. He was often asked if we were going to have our own kids and when I did get pregnant, he was asked if was excited to get to be a dad. His response always brought tears to my eyes. He would always say, “I’m already a dad, I just get to see this one be born.”

Caitlin Bowman 1 year ago

I only have a problem with “step parents” who don’t have biological kids and try to give me advice on pregnancy. But they’re only trying to be helpful. I have a “half brother” but we were never told to call him our “half brother” growing up. He calls my mom “his mom” and is 33 and still working introduces her as such. I don’t have experience of blended families with my own little one, but I do have friends who are stepparents. I have to say that even though most of them didn’t birth a child and nurse a child I still respect that we both are exhausted by the end of the day and are both tirelessly cleaning up poop and puke.

Sarah 1 year ago

Oh please, she’s right. Look, I get the whole step parent thing. My mother has been married 3 times. Calling her husband “Dad” is not in it for me. This whole “bonus kid” surge is fine, but that doesn’t work in every family. It just doesn’t, and telling another person what they can or can not call someone in their family unit is none of your business. What do you propose Mom does if step mom is a junkie? Or abusive? Or any other legit problem that would make that person a real danger? Who makes that distinction? Not you. So please, get off your high horse and stop telling ANY Mother what they can and cannot say to their children. Not all families at the same.

If God forbid, a spouse dies, you have no claim to those children. If you are divorced, you have no claim to those children. In the eyes of the law you are NOT the parent. You might have the heart of one, and the children may think of you as one, but that is not the case. There is a difference, whether you want to admit it or not and a lot of parents know their former mates, and know what kind of relationship skills they have, and choose to be cautious about the new girl/boyfriend lasting and the harm it would do to the child.

Cheryl Andrew 1 year ago

Wow, Laura, did you seriously just say that with a straight face?

Sandra Kreiner 1 year ago

My fiancé went from an uber bachelor to being the dad of a 2 year old girl ( she is now 5). He now knows all the Disney princesses and will DVR his games for family nights. We now have a baby together, but he doesn’t treat her any differently. She’s always going to love her Daddy Steve :)

Laura Elizabeth Bacile 1 year ago

Wow Cheryl it sounds like you have some serious issues. My heart goes out to any child that has to be your child, “real” or otherwise!

April Lamkin 1 year ago

When my daughters father was stll alive, he was a great step father to my son. He knew though, NEVER expect or push my son to call him dad ,because, even though real dad wasn’t around at the moment, that was his dad. If he wanted to himself, then fine. Eventually, before he died, my son ended up not calling him dad, but daddy Patrick. And I was ok with it. Now when my ex got a gf, or if he does, you’re damn right in going to have a problem with her wanting to be called mom! I’m human with feelings just like anyone else, and coming from the other perspective, no, that is MY son! I had him, and raised him for the last 10 years! Marrying his father doesn’t make you mom. It’s makes you step mom. If he wants to call her mom, well that’s on him. But if you have a problem with how I FEEL, well sorry. Your feelings aren’t the only ones out there. Not every parent is actually a parent. But to those who are and have been, be respectful! Don’t push for it! Cause no, sorry, unless you’ve been there the whole time with the other parent being shitty, they’re not yours. They are their mothers. And unless you have a child of your own, you will never understand that. Because yes, there’s a BIG difference between actually having one, pregnancy, labor, and all, and just walking in through a marriage.

Jessica Vaughn 1 year ago

My daughters step dad is the best thing that ever happened to her. Besides me, of course :)

Sandra Kreiner 1 year ago

My daughter calls my fiancé daddy Steve, so she has her daddy and her daddy Steve. My fiancé has been in her life longer than her actual father

Maeve Rhuad 1 year ago

Hmmm….Yeah this article left me with a lot of questions. My son calls my husband dad. He has no other father. My husband’s sons call me by my name. I am not going to try and make myself mom or usurp the real mother who gave birth to them. It’s very complicated. This writer has it a bit easier since she doesn’t have children of her own. My husband and I struggled early on because of different rules/expectations of our kids. Couple that with the daddy guilt he has for being a week end father and it was a nightmare. I consider myself the mom of this house…the queen of this castle. Here, it’s my rules. I cook the meals and clean up after them, but I wouldn’t clean up their puke. That’s their dad’s job. Just like I wouldn’t ask my husband to clean up my son’s puke. We still have conflict over inequalities. It is really hard. My husband provides financially for my son, but he’s not 100% dad. He won’t go out of his way to develop my son the way he will his own. He bought him a baseball during baseball season, but never went out to practice with him. The typical dad things he still doesn’t do.

Cheryl Andrew 1 year ago

Some of you guys are shitheads. I was disagreeing with you, not insulting your entire existence. I’m very fucking sorry that not everyone agrees that every single stepparent should be called “Mommy” by default. Get the fuck over yourselves, you judgmental twats.

Corinne Keuper 1 year ago

My “step-kids” (and only kids) are 7 & 9 and I have raised them full time with my husband since 2009 when they were still in pull-ups. I get these tacky questions all the time. Sometimes, for shits and giggles I say, well since their REAL mom abandoned them years ago, I haven’t really had the energy to think about adding to our family. It usually shuts the jack-holes right up.

Amy Beaird 1 year ago

I’m a mom and a stepmom. I love my husband’s older kids as much as our daughter, but it is different. I would jump in front of a bus for all 4 of them, I would lay down my last dime for each and every one of them. My husband and I have been together for 9 years. Our daughter is 6, his other kids range from 15-22. The love is 100% equal, but there is something different. I don’t know how to explain it. It’s probably because the youngest isn’t quite independent, I have to do more for her. Lord knows if any of them give me the “sad eyes” I fold like a cheap lawn chair. Lol.

Andrea Kelly Briggeman 1 year ago

I’m not a step-parent, but I do have a child in this situation. Not long after I began dating my now husband, my daughter asked if she could call him dad(she was 7 at the time, and my ex is still around). I talked to hubby, who agreed to it. I told my daughter she was welcome to call him that if she liked. So sometimes he’s dad, sometimes she calls him by his first name. (She’s 14 now) my ex has a girlfriend he’s been with for a while, but when I asked if she called her mom, she made an awful face and acted like I just asked her to poke out her own eyeball. She and the gf don’t get along, they never have. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way to do things, every family is different, and the dynamics are different. You have to do what is comfortable for your family. My husband, while they have their moments, is a far better dad to my daughter than my ex ever has been. Part of the reason why my daughter uses my husbands last name for just about everything.

Cheryl Andrew 1 year ago

He decided not to because MY daughter decided not to have anything to do with him after the divorce… he was emotionally and mentally abusive and she also said he molested her. And because MY daughter chose to do that, he decided to refuse access to HIS daughter to punish me. See how that works? I was married to someone who was abusive. But I’m sure you feel super good about yourself, scoring points off of someone who was in an abusive relationship. No, that’s cool, Amber. I hope you feel better. Does that feel better? To imply that I’m just a shitty person instead of one who was taken advantage of and abused? Does it? Good for you.

So yeah. If he starts encouraging my kids to call some other woman “Mom” after years of being abusive to me and my daughter, then yeah, I’m gonna have a fucking problem. There. Was that what you wanted to hear? Feel better? Feel superior now?

leslie 1 year ago

I have a very good friend who I love and adore, but she is very skeptical that someone who is not biologically a parent can have the same feelings for a step-child as a biological one. We usually have talked about this in the context of adoption… though now that I think about it, she has two step-parents of her own, though her parents remarried when they were older. Further, there are plenty of biological parents who can be awful parents. I really enjoyed reading this! Thanks for sharing!

Amber M King 1 year ago

Im not oversensitive, we all can tell you have a problem with someone else being called mom, and im not sure why you care so much as my family is not your family THANK GOD, and after reading everything you have said i see why one of your ex husbands decided not to let you have anything else to do with his daughter, your a very negative person, and they type that if its not your way its no way and you sound very controlling,

Cheryl Andrew 1 year ago

Don’t be surprised if some weekend-warriors with chips on their shoulders chew you out over this one.

Sky 1 year ago

I became a stepmom to 3 at age 17(5 years ago now) and have had people say each and everyone of those comments to me… It took me a long time to be able to take it in my stride… Thank you for writing this post.

Andrea Nunnaley Davis 1 year ago

My daughter aka step-daughter I feel is more mine then her birth Mom. I’ve been in her life since she was 2.5 and she’s now 19. Her mother basically gave up. I can answer that question nature vs nurture. She is a lot like me in terms of humor and sarcasm. I know she is grateful that I am in her life and I feel the same way. She’s a wonderful young lady even and a great big sister to my son. It’s not easy being a step-parent and the author hit the nail on the head. Parenting isn’t easy for anyone. So walk a mile in a step-parents shoes before you speak!

Cheryl Andrew 1 year ago

Laura, I meant it’s emotionally harder. It’s easier when there’s no other parent to worry about when making decisions regarding children. That’s just true. Been on nearly all sides, I know what I’m talking about.

Alison, you’re a stronger woman than me, I’d have serious trouble with that situation. As it is, I tried my best to make everything easy and smooth but I’ve got a crazy ex. What’re you gonna do, right? Not all situations are the same.

Jessii 1 year ago

I love that you wrote this!! I’ve had my “step” son since he was three. He lives with his father and I full time seeing his mother 2days a month (her choice) but I’ve still heard all these comments because I didn’t give birth. Now after having another baby I’ve heard comments such as “how does it feel to be a mom?” Well it feels the same way it did with his brother. When I first got pregnant someone actually told me I couldn’t love my son as much as I love the new baby. They were wrong!

Danielle Vales 1 year ago

Yup this is accurate for people who are actively raising a child. I know a girl who is dating a weekend dad and she basically does nothing for the kid, Id hardly say she earned the title.

Cheryl Andrew 1 year ago

Well, Laura, she doesn’t act like a mom, but that’s beside the point. Look, my kid was in daycare, and there was a woman there that he quite liked, who comforted him when he was hurt, fed him, changed him when he spilled stuff on himself… was she “Mom”? Hell no. So explain to me why I would suddenly accept someone else being “Mom” just because she wipes his nose sometimes? Was I “diminishing her capacity” as a caregiver to my kid by not having her called “Mom”?

I didn’t demand anything, by the way, just pointed out that not every stepparent is working in a vacuum of parenthood here.

Sounds to me like some of y’all are a bit oversensitive about whether or not you’re the biological parent of some kids you care about. Newsflash: You can care about them without being called “Mom.”

Alison Foley 1 year ago

And, if u read correctly, I was sticking up for the step-parent. It will def be tough for her. I never said “I” was the one who was going to make it tough…read next time.

Alison Foley 1 year ago

Well, he’s now dating my best friend of 20 years….so ya, I’m going to make it peaceful but really…it’s a case by case basis and you’re being judgmental…sorry but, her first name will do. You’re very fortunate to have a situation where it’s very easy to be peaceful. He had millions of women he could have chose to date…but one of my bridesmaids wasn’t a great choice.

Meagan Waszak Faiola 1 year ago

I spent the bulk of my twenties raising my step daughter while her mom lived it up. Now that she’s a teenager, her mom wants her around and she now hates me and her father. I also have two biological children. I’ve never treated any of them differently. Being a step parent is MUCH harder because so much of your life is wrapped up in a child you have no say over. It’s extremely frustrating.

Amber M King 1 year ago

My parental rights can’t be terminated over night thanks to the state i live in, and if your calling me greedy because he calls me mom I DON’T make him he does it on his own, and thats all i have left to explain to you, whatever you type means nothing to me, i don’t feel bad about being his mom, or anything else i do for him, your bitter and as long as you have an attitude i like you do you will find yourself divorced again,

Laura Elizabeth Bacile 1 year ago

Nobody said they demanded a child call them Mom.
You however said you demand that your child not call another woman Mom.

Laura Elizabeth Bacile 1 year ago

You are demanding that your child not call another person “Mom” even if she acts as a Mom. If your child wants to call another woman Mom who is that damaging? Nobody! But trying to diminish the capacity of another parent is damaging. It is also very greedy and selfish.

Sarah Johnston 1 year ago

My partner has other kids and I’m so glad I don’t have to step parent them! I’m sure they are nice children but their mums a very jealous bitter vindictive woman who doesn’t allow much contact and certainly not with me. I say when they are 16 and want us we’re here.

Laura Elizabeth Bacile 1 year ago

But see that’s exactly the point, you don’t get a say in what your child calls the other parent… And it is just a word!

Cheryl Andrew 1 year ago

I didn’t say all men are the same, Amber. I’m sure your husband is simply lovely and always will be. But the fact remains, if your parental rights can be terminated overnight by a divorce, then you’re not the kid’s “real mom.” If the real mother is absent, then get her rights terminated (’cause she’s certainly not the “real mom” anymore) and get yours instated.

“Greedy and selfish” is demanding that a child who isn’t yours call you “Mom”, Laura, just to make you feel important. I will never ask a child to call me “Mom” just because I have some kind of warped need to be “Mom” to every kid under my care.

Laura Elizabeth Bacile 1 year ago

I think it’s unfair to make a judgement about a parenting situation that you haven’t even been in.

Hopefully for the sake of your children, and your co-parenting family unit if your ex decides to get married the addition of another mom will be a peaceful transition.
It is completely possible and easy to do if everyone works together in the best interest of the children.

Amy Cole 1 year ago

I’m a proud step-mom of 3 for years now, but we don’t use labels. They just call me by my name. They have a great set of parents, and I tell them they are extra lucky that they also have me and their Mom’s longterm boyfriend that love and care for them as well. There’s never a reason for a competition, the important thing is that the kids are safe, and know they are loved regardless of title. We all have complex roles, and it’s important to recognize that the kids are the focus. I’d walk through fire for them, they know it, and their Mom appreciates knowing I’d do anything for her babies too. I am not the disciplinarian though, I leave that up to Mom & Dad. Luckily, I’ve never had the need to take that role. I’m very lucky to be a part of their lives, in my opinion.

Kristine 1 year ago

I am a bio-mom and a “step” mom. and I used to have this same opinion of someone coming in and “replacing” me with my son. You know what that is… malarkey! Children and adults have the capacity to love more than one parent and more than one child! I love my children! all of them even the ones I didn’t give birth to! And I call them mine.
My boy’s all live with me, they visit their other parents. I clothe them, I feed them, I kiss their booboo’s, clean up their messes, and all the other things a “bio” mom would do. I am their mother! They have two mothers, and nowadays that is perfectly normal!

Danielle Vales 1 year ago

I agree but it is complicated. I would expect my son to address anyone raising him as something special. Not casual like a first name or informal as mr. or mrs. But also I wouldn’t have him calling anyone else mom or dad. I’ve struggled with finding alternate endearing names. Hasn’t been too much of an issue as neither of us has had serious relationships at that level

April Lamkin 1 year ago

Um, when I became pregnant, I became an instant-mom. So did everyone else who has kids. Granted it takes time for the baby to be born, but its not like you as a parent can ease into the job. If you can own up to everything else that is actually parenting, then you can own up to that too.

Shannon Krausse 1 year ago

Very well said, it is the same in my home. Glad to see other families that hold the same values

Evin Cooper 1 year ago

Kids aren’t possessions. I welcome anyone who loves my kids and is good to them to be in their lives. My man has raised my son since he was 3, he’s “ours” even though his bio-dad is in his life. Bio-dad is married and dad and step-mom call him “theirs” and that’s just as accurate. As fucked up as it is, we’re all family. I don’t like step-mom and she doesn’t care for me but we both love the shit outta that little boys so it’s all good :)

Cheryl Andrew 1 year ago

Okay yah, you’ve got a crazy ex on your hands. Sorry, I’ve just been on the other side, Kayla. My ex has told his girlfriend that I’ve said and intended a lot of things that I never did. It’s infuriating, nobody wants to be lied about.

Amy 1 year ago

Love this, love that you’re so positive towards your step children! But have to disagree with the ” they are mine” comment…I have both a step mum and a step dad, both of whom I love very much…but I am not their daughter. Yes, my step dad has treated me like a daughter, but he is not my father. It’d infuriate me to hear either of my step parents refer to me as their own. I have one mum and one dad, and two amazing step parents. Not 2 mums and 2 dads.
Also, if h2b and I ever split, and I catch his girlfriend/wife referring to my son as their own, there would be hell to pay.

Shannon Krausse 1 year ago

I did post this as a reply on another comment but it may fit here as well

As a “step- parent” my step daughter does on occasion call me mom. When her mother was alive it was comfortable for all of us to be able to tell her that it is her choice what she wants to call me. Her grandparents (her moms parents) call me her mom and when her mom was alive I was her “other mommy” I do still constantly tell her that her “real” mommy will always be her mommy even though she’s passed. Maybe it’s different because I’ve known her since she was less than a year. My bio children’s step mom however isn’t comfortable being called mom directly (she’s been around for 8 years so it’s not a new relationship), so she asks that my girls call her “mommy des” I guess it really depends on the Family dynamics. I happen to be lucky enough to have had a great relationship with my step daughters mom and my husband has a great relationship with my ex husband and his wife. Unfortunately that isn’t always the case

Laura Elizabeth Bacile 1 year ago

Cheryl do you realize how greedy and selfish you sound?
It is GOOD for children to have as many people in their lives that love them as possible! The more, the better and a child can never have too much love.
Honestly, it is not YOUR choice what your children call their other Mom. But I have a feeling you are the type of parent that will pressure your children to call their new Mom exactly what you want them to. Because you cannot accept your children loving another woman but you.

Alison Foley 1 year ago

I guess it’s a case by case basis. I have my children full time but do have joint with my ex…he has them mainly weekends and school vacations as he works a lot. He is not re-married but if a stepmom were involved I think it would be hard for her…my kids are accustomed to my schedules etc…I dunno, definitely case by case basis. Not really a correct answer.

Amber M King 1 year ago

Cheryl just because one of your ex husbands did that to you don’t mean all men are they same, just saying like i said before you don’t know our situation, you’re only going based on yours… And HE IS MINE….

Hannah Wachter Gooden 1 year ago

I love my step kids and treat them the same as our new little one! I appreciate articles like this..there is a terrible stigma on step mothers, and they are so underappreciated! The simple fact that somebody would love kids that aren’t their own should truly be rewarded, not looked down on! Just because I didn’t push them out doesn’t mean I can’t love them, care for them, and even parent them. Hello, I’m wiping butts and noses too!!..” Biology is the least of what makes somebody a parent,” is a new favorite quote of mine, mainly because I hear the “you’re not their mother” all too often! Thanks for this article:)

Ashley Fontaine 1 year ago

Being a step parent and being a step parent on the weekends are two very different situations and there are many in between. And I’m sorry but i don’t think the step parents that have their child/children part time can understand a full time parent. Biological parent or step parent.

Laura Elizabeth Bacile 1 year ago

I completely disagree with this statement.
“Being a stepparent is actually way harder when the other parent is actively involved”
My husband, ex husband and I all co-parent extremely well. My ex husband is more involved in our children’s lives than most married in home dads are, let alone a divorced dad sharing custody. His active role in raising our children makes it easier on everyone, especially my husband who gets to share the responsibility and joy of being a Dad.

Shannon Krausse 1 year ago

As a “step- parent” my step daughter does on occasion call me mom. When her mother was alive it was comfortable for all of us to be able to tell her that it is her choice what she wants to call me. Her grandparents (her moms parents) call me her mom and when her mom was alive I was her “other mommy” I do still constantly tell her that her “real” mommy will always be her mommy even though she’s passed. Maybe it’s different because I’ve known her since she was less than a year. My bio children’s step mom however isn’t comfortable being called mom directly (she’s been around for 8 years so it’s not a new relationship), so she asks that my girls call her “mommy des” I guess it really depends on the Family dynamics. I happen to be lucky enough to have had a great relationship with my step daughters mom and my husband has a great relationship with my ex husband and his wife. Unfortunately that isn’t always the case

Cheryl Andrew 1 year ago

Tramequa, I’ll always be their mom. Stepmom might not be. After all, I am no longer my stepdaughter’s mother in any way. All it took was her dad refusing me contact. Her bio-mom did the same thing: had multiple Dads who just disappeared overnight.

If your claim to motherhood can be relinquished overnight by divorce papers, you aren’t the mother. That was a tough thing for me to accept, too. Maybe I’m not bitter. Maybe I’m realistic.

Alison Foley 1 year ago

Yes, you’re 100% right.

Tracy 1 year ago

I agree with all of this as a step parent for 9.5 years I’ve been asked theses over and over again now a “real” parent of twins I get more questions like do you love you’re step kid as much as you love your boys?? Hell yes I do don’t ask me things like that I love all 3 of my kids no matter what don’t talk to me again.

Adrienne Ross Manninen 1 year ago

I’ve been a step-mom for 10 years. His mom would not allow him to call me mom. He has always called me by my first name because that is who I am to him, I’m not his mom. I believe that the title of Mom is very special and I didn’t earn this title from him, his biological mother did. So I’m ok with that :)
However, I’m still a parent and I’m still in charge. He knows this.
It totally depends on the situation.

Charlotte Lottie Heymeson 1 year ago

My dad was completely useless and mostly absent as a parent and my step dad was and still is amazing . I call my biological father dad and my step dad by his name . However my own children call my step dad and my dad grandad ( they only see my dad a few times a year ) A child can never have too much love

Lucy Franklin Pratt 1 year ago

I love my step children just like my own two biological children…WE are family and I’m committed to loving them for life just like their father. Thank you for bringing light onto step parent issues…people tend to not discuss but only focus on the perfect family all too often.

Tina Ristaino Schwab 1 year ago

My SIL is an amazing stepmother. She made a special ceremony for my niece at their wedding. She asked my niece what she wanted to call her because she would NEVER replace her mother. She has always made sure she treats all the kids the same. I give her a lot of credit. Especially when my niece became a teenager and started treating her terribly because she was only her stepmother. It’s a tough gig and she has handled it with incredible grace.

Megan Moore 1 year ago

My. Our. Um as a Mother, I would be irked if my Son had a step mother who referred to him as her own. I would want you to treat him as if he were your own which it sounds like she is doing. (Major kudos, no easy feat) But girl, it took two to make that boy and you were not there. You did not carry him. He is not yours.

Corrine Arguelles 1 year ago

I tbink I’ll steal it anyway and confuse the teenagers. Not that they need help being confused.

Stacy Hebein 1 year ago

When the bio parent is not absentee, things can be tricky. You have to co-parent not only with your ex, but his new gf/wife etc. If I was in that situation, I would hope the gf/wife would love them and treat them like her own. I can be honest enough to say I wouldn’t want to relinquish my title of mom. I’ve earned it in midnight feedings, dirty diapers, dinners, doctor visits, etc. But I’m not opposed to another endearing term such as Mimi (insert name), Mommy (name), as long as she’s doing the work to earn it too :)

Cheryl Andrew 1 year ago

How does their mom feel about it when you say that?

Keri Opheim 1 year ago

What’s worse is their grandparents telling you that you have no right to say what they can and can’t do because I’m just the step mom… front of them.

Amanda Turner Smallwood 1 year ago

I don’t know why people get so bent out of shape about their child having two moms. They have two sets of grandparents (or more) so if the kid calls stepmom ‘mom’ what’s the big deal? People place too much importance on words. And frankly, when you start freaking out about another woman being called mom…you sound bitter. Be happy your child has multiple people in their life who loves them.

Cheryl Andrew 1 year ago

Exactly. Where did this arrogant need to be called “Mom” just because you’re married to “Dad” come from?

Though I believe the situation is different if bio-mom or bio-dad is absent of their own free will… screw those kinds of parents, they gave up their rights. And if someone else steps in, God bless them.

Cheryl Andrew 1 year ago

Thanks, Kimberly, you really summed up my feelings on this too.

Tramequa Surratt 1 year ago

Cheryl sounds a little bitter that her kids are getting another Mom… Don’t worry, they’ll still love you…

Terri Ganczar 1 year ago

I am a stepmom. He was 19 months old when I came along…I got custody with his father of him at 5..and he is a teenager now (13). We are close :)

Michele Huffman 1 year ago

I am a step-mom of two girls (9&7) and I have two of my own (7&5) and we have a five month old together. The girls have a mom, so I am fine being called step-mom. I haven’t really heard any of the comments in this article. The comments I usual heard came from their real mom (Your not their parent; You can’t discipline them, etc…). It has taken a good almost four years to get through all that and I feel were finally at a good place between the whole step parent/bio parent thing. There are still things I don’t personally agree with, but it’s not my place to say anything because I’m not a biological parent and everyone parents differently. It makes for an odd relationship between me and the girls, but I guess thats the way it is.

Cassey Powell 1 year ago

I also agree with Cheryl that I would not want my kids calling their step-mom, mom. That name is reserved for me and me alone. Again all situations are different, but I would have no problem if my kids wanted to give her a special pet name.

Kellie Walsh 1 year ago

I just had a friend who would call her boyfriends children “my kids” and that would piss me off. Because I am a single mother, and my sons father is in the picture- if his girlfriend ever called my son her “kid” I would go off. No honey, he is my son!

Anj Neilson 1 year ago

Ugh number 5 sucks. We are having one together now and I hate the comments of “oh he must be excited to have one of his own” insulting because he’s been there since dd4 was 7months old and he counts her as his and demotes her also!

Tiffany 1 year ago

#6. Yes, but how many children do YOU have?
I have 5 kids. 2 are my step kids, 1 is adopted, and I gave birth to 2 of them. But they are all mine.

Kristin Zornes 1 year ago

My husband has a great step daughter from a amazing woman, technically he’s not her dad or even step dad but his relationship with her is why I love him. Thats her on the right, I’m the shorty in the middle, and the littles up front? Our foster babies who we plan on adopting this winter.

Lana Ross 1 year ago

Not a step parents but had one once I turned 15 (!). She was the best second mom ever :) and to think she dealt with me through my teenage years and then some. Love her to the moon and back :)

Jen 1 year ago

One of my proudest moments during parenting has been watching my oldest, who just so happens to be my stepson, graduate high school, get his Eagle, and come to me for help figuring out which college would require the least amount in loans.

Mike Da Silva 1 year ago

I always tell people I have 3 kids, never 2 kids and a step kid. As for what I don’t want to hear? When their friend asks “Is that your Dad?” and their answer is “STEP Dad.” Not exactly a fun feeling.

Kimberly Nacho 1 year ago

I applaud your courage to speak up in the midst of a crowd of people who think its perfectly ok to have someone elses children call them mom or dad and think they have the right to judge someone elses childrens parents. They are not mom or dad and never will be and the need to be identified as such when you are not is arrogant, needy and selfish. I had step parents and neither of them claimed to be my mother or father and both were adressed by their first name and they both made a huge impact on my life because of how caringthey were.

Gigy Ralli 1 year ago

I was a single mom with no contact with the bio-dad (also lovingly referred to as “sperm donor”) for 5 years. I’m currently engaged to the best dad ever! He doesn’t have other kids, but my little girl is now OUR little girl. I couldn’t imagine a better man to fit the daddy shoes. As far as ” real” parents, real parents are the ones that are really there for their children, biology is the most insubstantial way to determine parental merit.

Tracy Lurkins 1 year ago

My hubby became a step dad when my son was six. Our son is now 19 and wrote an essay on him. We have three kids together and if you didn’t know, you’d never know he wasn’t my husband’s. Is this is my dad or this is my oldest son, step is never mentioned. It was his choice to call my husband by his name pr dad, after we got married he never called him anything but dad by his choice. Also his bio dad is still in the picture and when we’re all together they are dad 1 and dad 2. His dad is just happy that there is someone in his life that has always treated him right and taken care of.

Alison Foley 1 year ago

I believe that and agree. I wouldn’t want my children to ever disrespect a stepmother, but I think calling her by her first name is fine.

Janna Downs 1 year ago

Being a step-parent comes with its own set of challenges. That being said, each situation is unique and each family has every right to tackle those challenges as they see fit. What may be right or appropriate for your family may not be the right answer for another. This is not a black/white issue. I don’t want anyone telling me how to handle my children, biological or step, because no one knows our situation like we do. Furthermore, it’s not about the parents…. it’s about the kids and what’s best for them. I love this article.

Jenn Galbraith 1 year ago

I have many step-children, or rather, BONUS children and I love them like my very own!

Jenn Galbraith 1 year ago

I love this!!

Stephanie Phillips 1 year ago

My step-mom likes to tell people what a wonderful mother she was to me, yet especially after having kids of my own I never saw her as a real parent. She played favorites depending on her mood and would tell my dad I did something I didn’t to get me in trouble if she was mad at me. On the other hand my step dad is an amazing man who even after divorcing my mom has been a major part of my life. I think it all depends on the “step” parent on whether or not a child is able to have a good relationship. I’m not saying a kid can’t be bratty to a step parent at first, but I really think it depends on how that person handles the situation. I still can’t stand my step mom and she’s be around for 20 years. And my step dad has been divorced from my mom 12 years.

Cheryl Andrew 1 year ago

That’s a little messed up. Siblings are siblings.

Corrine Arguelles 1 year ago

Lol @ “old dad”. Obviously a sensitive subject but it still made me giggle.

Cheryl Andrew 1 year ago

Being a stepparent is actually way harder when the other parent is actively involved.

Kristin Alberts Ehlbeck 1 year ago

My best friend is a step mom. She was their mom in everyway. Their mom was unreliable. She is called Cathy by the children. The title does not matter it is how you love and treat them that does.

Cheryl Andrew 1 year ago

I would never, ever presume to call a child “mine” when their real mother is around.

Samantha Susan Morrison 1 year ago

#3 is the worst for me. People don’t treat me like a real parent simply because I didn’t birth my step daughter. It’s so frustrating and I get instantly defensive. I have the right to be upset by such a stupid comment from other people.

Cassey Powell 1 year ago

I can understand where Cheryl is coming from. She is not an absentee mother, where as an Ambers case she is the only mother figure her kids know. There are all different kinds of parents. All I would care is that my children were loved and taken care of by my ex’s significant other.

Corrine Arguelles 1 year ago

Probably depends on the relationship between the natural mother and the child…also the age of the child when the step relationship began.
My daughter calls me by my first name, as she has a very involved (50/50 split) mother. In this case, we feel it would be inappropriate for her to call me Mom. One of the largest lessons a step parent has to swallow – you will never be the “real” parent. And that’s ok. A step parent relationship is unlike that of a bio parent but has it’s own characteristics which are both lovely and challenging.

Renee Ehrman 1 year ago

#1.&#2. -_- makes me want to smack people. 😛

Amanda Barker Mitchell 1 year ago

My stepdad is the best! When I got married he and my “real” Dad both walked me down the aisle. They are both very dear and very real to me.

Cheryl Andrew 1 year ago

Um, that’s exactly the case, Rachel. I AM their “real” mom. Anyone their dad gets involved with is not. Not until and unless I abandon them.

Amber, I’ve been a stepmom and I’m about to be stepmom again. I understand the difference from all angles. I was stepmom to a girl whose “real” mom was a total wreck of a person, and the furthest thing from “mom” in the world. I wound up “Mom” and took on all the responsibility and privilege of being her mom (yes, “real mom”) right up til her dad and I divorced and, just to spite me, he cut off all contact with her. Now I’m not “real mom” because “real moms” have rights.

My current boyfriend’s son has a mother who is loving and caring. She’s “real” mom. I ain’t ever going to be that boy’s real mother. I will still care for him and make sure he feels loved and welcome. But no, I am most certainly not his real mom. Why? What’s the difference? Well, his mother didn’t give up her rights, that’s what. And neither did I. So try to be a liiiiitttttlle understanding of the other side here.

Madelyn Stearns 1 year ago

Never once, except for in biology class, have I even recognized my older brother as my “half”. Why would anyone encourage kids to make that separation in their minds? Your family is your family and every member should “whole” count and be “whole” loved. When I have bio kids I will smack anyone telling my step kids that the youngest is only a “half”.

Linda Ode 1 year ago

Tina, re: “my dad’s wife”… some people don’t get it. It is what I have always used. Though, one time I was telling someone something about “my mom’s husband”, and the lady said “so, your dad?”… I just looked at her. Like, yes, darling, in a perfect world.

Kyle 1 year ago

Thank you so much for this. When I married my husband, I said yes to his (now our) 4 kids ages 5,8, 13 & 15). My husbands previous wife (and the kids biological mom) passed away 3 1/2 years ago. What’s been hard is being newly married yet people don’t ask me about how’s married life.. They want to know how instant parenting is going and then let me know they could never do what I’m doing. And then follow up with timidly asking if I want to have my own child. It’s hard but thankfully I have 4 awesome kiddos for which my heart grows bigger each day for. Thank you again for this!

Corrine Arguelles 1 year ago

Yep. Every item. Yes.

Patricia Eckley 1 year ago

Anyone can give birth to a child. A mother is there for them. Same goes got a father.

Kayla Ravo 1 year ago

oh no im saying he tells me it she has text his phone saying things/ wrote me herself on Facebook talking all kinds of crazy i deal with it on a daily basis she”ll stop for just long enough and then start it up again its not him saying it its her saying it i know for fact because i answered his phone one day and that’s when she proceeded to tell me what a stupid bitch bastard of child my daughter was.. i just don’t understand how someone could treat a person like that especially when i take care of her when she is with us her dad is gone allot working… i would be grateful to someone treating my child as their own and not making a difference between them and their biological child.. and i see it so much and i think is just disrespectful to do that they should be grateful their ex isn’t with some crazy person who doesn’t show efection and makes a difference….

Gina Homan 1 year ago

I have a great step mom and a great mom. It is not a bad thing to have so many people love your child.

Mary Schneider 1 year ago

I’m just at the beginning of forming a relationship with a man whose two kids are quite a bit younger than mine (his are 9 and 6, mine are 17 and 14), and wondering how this might look for us. I’m looking forward to meeting them sometime in the future, when we’ve been seeing each other long enough for that to be appropriate. It’s definitely a “package deal”, as my two and I are… and I don’t see that as a bad thing. :) I think that “bonus” children is spot on.

Madelyn Stearns 1 year ago

My step kids will always call me Maddy. I call my stepdad by his name or by nicknames I’ve given him these past 14 years. Sometimes he’s been “Pops” but never dad. And he has never asked that I call him dad.

Mary 1 year ago

Btw, yes, I realize that daycare isn’t the same as a step parent… but when you’re 3, those distinctions don’t matter.

Katie Bauder-Dellinger 1 year ago

Amen to this. My ex still forces his way into my daughter’s life but he’s almost always drunk or high. She hates going with him and at 5 already knows what a loser he is. My hubby has been in her life since shortly before she was 2. He is her daddy he’s the one who is there every day taking care of her. Neither him nor his family treats her any different then they do our son. The only reason my daughter even knows the term step dad is bc her bio dad told her that my hubs isn’t really her dad bc he was mad she’s prefers her step dad since he spends time with her.

Lyz Rovira 1 year ago

I lost my stepmother last year to cancer, and I was ripped to shreds. People kept telling me that “at least it wasn’t your REAL mother,” and other such nonsense.

My father followed his soulmate not four months later, him to a heart attack, and I am absolutely boggled. I lost two of my parents. Yeah, I was really lucky to have three. SUPREMELY lucky. I wish there was another word other than “step,” since it implies separation…and there was none. She was part of my life for most of my life, and we did have a parent-child bond. There never was a “step” in her vocabulary. I was never “not really hers” in her mind. Even when my two younger brothers came along, I never felt as though I were loved less.

…so nuts to those five horrible things people say. FAMILY IS FAMILY.

Shandy Marie Allen 1 year ago

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I would never be calling names or be rude (as long as they’re good to my child. If not the claws will come out). As a psychologist, I would never do that. That just makes it more difficult for my daughter to adjust. But I may put a clear boundary out there; not to call yourself her “mom.” And I would do the same with any man I’m with. Because her dad is a great father and I would feel like that would be down-playing the great role that he has had in her life thus far.

Mary 1 year ago

I’m unfortunate enough to realize the “other woman” will never be a “mom” to my kids, since my ex has cut off contact with them since leaving us for her.

I would kill for a woman like this in my children’s lives. A second Mom? Hell to the yes. Her role in her stepchildren’s lives do not, by one iota, diminish their bio-Mom’s place. Obviously they have a “real mom”, and having a second “real mom” does not remove her or make less space for her. I think it’s rather like having a second child- you don’t love the first any less because you have a second one.

I was lucky enough to have a daycare provider in my life that I called “Ma-two”. I loved her as much as my own mom, and honestly spent more time with her than with my hard-working own mother. Loving “Ma-two” never made me love Mom less, or make her less my Mom. They each had a place, and a role to play in my life and I’m eternally grateful.

Tina Powell 1 year ago

Not every step mom should be considered a mom. I have had a step mom for over 30 years but would never consider her mom. She is not nor ever will be mom material. She never had kids of her own. She isn’t nessarily a bad person just so far removed from anything remotely resembling a mother except that she is female. Zero nurturing skills. I actually think “my dads wife” is a better title. Every situation is different.

Madelyn Stearns 1 year ago

Thank you! That helped a lot!

My fiancé has always been a great dad. He would love to be a better one but since the divorce he has taken what he could get. I’m happy I can be here for him. It’s not easy saying goodbye to his kids knowing he won’t see them again for 3 or 4 months. At least he’ll never have to do that alone again.
He’s been talking about wanting to see if he can change the parenting plan and have more time and more visits in our home state rather than theirs. He never did that before because he didn’t have any support. Maybe things will change. I’m damn sure going to help him any way I can. Then his daughter will know for sure I’m not “stealing him away.” One of her friends told her that’s what step moms do, which I thought was sort of funny. I’m definitely shaking things up but it’s for the right reasons. Thanks for the hugs!

Krystal Doore Defrias 1 year ago

My oldest daughter is 8 and she has two Mommy’s and two Daddy’s as she says, she knows no diffrent that we are all the best of friends as well. That’s how it should be and myself or her bio father have no jealousy of her calling the others mommy and daddy that’s her choice, her comfort what she has always known and done her bio father and I are just grateful to have given her an extra Mother and Father who love her dearly. Our families are close and so are our other children we have all added to the mix.

Natalie Wynkoop 1 year ago

My “non-bio” kids call me Addie because I am not their mother. I’ve even caught myself introducing myself as their Addie like it’s some common title. Lol. Their mom isn’t around reliably and I’ve even heard stories of her telling people that the boy’s have a “new mom”. As a matter of fact I’ve heard my oldest tell people he doesn’t have a mommy, he has an Addie. But I am not their mom. And I agree. It’s odd to have multiple moms. Especially a step-parent who may come and go. It’s actually so strong to be that I’m considering having “our” child call me Addie as well to avoid confusing the boys. But I will say I love those boys no differently and will always see myself as their “mom”. As will their extended family who all views me as the mother. I just get a special nick name with it. :)

Cheryl Andrew 1 year ago

I couldn’t read all of that run-on sentence there (holy crap, not a single stitch of punctuation), but…. sweetheart, your husband might be fudging things a bit with you on his ex. If you’ve never even met her, you don’t know for a fact that everything he says is true.

Tara Simon 1 year ago

We have the toughest skin of anyone outside of the military ❤️

Rachel Shira Jones 1 year ago

each situation is unique–I have been mom since they were 1 and 2 (12 and 11,now) Bi-mom has been MIA for 3+ years….as far as im concerned they are and have always been “my kids”

Amber M King 1 year ago

Im gonna back away from MY post before you really piss me off, you dont even know…

Kaci Woods 1 year ago

#2 pisses me off sooooooo much!

Breann Louise Hall 1 year ago

Hooray for great step-parents!
We still use the term “step” to be sensitive to the kids’ absent father. He may have his issues, but he’s still the kids dad. (Sometimes they call him “our old dad” which is slightly weird, but I digress)
Their step father has been there since they were 3 and 1 1/2 respectively, and has truly stepped up to the plate in a natural, respectful manner. It was a smooth transition that developed over the three years we were dating… nothing “instant” about it.
The kids introduce their step-dad as “dad” to their friends, but call him by his first name to his face unless they’re sick or tired or want something. They’ve never been pushed to call him one or the other. They also know that we are a team that parents together, and my word and his word are equal under this roof.
I never thought that a blended family could work as smoothly and functionally as it does. I’m so grateful.

Jessica Shanahan 1 year ago

We deal with so much bs it’s crazy

Cheryl Andrew 1 year ago

Just saying maybe there are situations where maybe there “these are my kids” is inappropriate.

Rachel Shira Jones 1 year ago

Cheryl, please, please, please don’t use the word “real mom”…my two oldest mother did that and it stuck with our kids for a while…it implies that “step-mommy” isn’t a “real” mom–which couldn’t be furthest from the truth.

Cheryl Andrew 1 year ago

Amber, I’m still actively my children’s mother, and the primary custodian. It doesn’t matter how long their father’s girlfriend is in their lives – I never put them up for adoption and I don’t believe she has a right to ever, ever refer to herself as their mother. She is not their mother. I am. I am not dead, absent, a deadbeat, or neglectful, and I did not abandon them.

Kayla Ravo 1 year ago

i have been with my husband four years he has three children by two different women one of which is no where to be found and we have a daughter ourself meanwhile the one child that’s mother is in the picture still can’t except the fact that we are together i help raise her child she hates it i have actually never met her at all in the time we have been together which is crazy in my book she just cannot get over her jealousy and it drives me crazy i get called names and so does my daughter by her and my husband has to tell her he gives her a bath her does everything for her when she is with us and he doesn’t i do it and we fight allot about it i know its not his fault she uses her to her advantage but when is it enough when does the craziness stop with the mother of his child being jealous of me and not waiting me no where around her or her child i know she has a mom and i would never take her place but that kid loves me dearly and she used to throw the biggest fits time for her to go home because she wanted me to go and i would walk to the car put her in her seat and have to watch her point at my seat and cry because i wasn’t aloud to go being a step parent is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with not having to deal with my kids but having to deal with all the craziness of one of their mothers i have to deal with well you don’t live with me its not fair your kid with her gets you every day it just gets old and after four years of it its just plum crazy i feel like im losing my shit and i don’t know that its such a good idea for me to meet her not after all she has said and done and calling my daughter names i love everysingle one of my kids even the ones i didn’t give birth to and i would do anything for them and they know it i just only wish the one biological mother to one of my children could see how much she hurts her by constantly doing the things she does

Alison Foley 1 year ago

I have mixed feelings about calling a stepmother “mom” if the biological mom is very active in their lives…also tough for me to hear is the phrase “our children” from a stepparent…only of course if the biological parent is very actively involved. I do however give a ton of credit and hold stepparents in high regard.

Tara Simon 1 year ago

If we had stairs, I’d steal this! :)

Shana Cantrell Klinefelter 1 year ago

Some of those things are pretty rude but I think it’s tricky because every family is different. I know a lot of people that consider their mom & step-dad to be their “parents” but I have also had my head bitten off for referring to a dad & and step-mom as “your parents.” I think you have to get to know that family to know the right thing to say.

Rhiannon Grace Plummer 1 year ago

Loved this article. I’m a step-mom and the term has no negative connotation in our house. I’m just Mommy.

Rachel Shira Jones 1 year ago

We have 4 beautiful children, 2 of which my hubby brought into my life….I’ve been in their lives since they were 1 and 2 years old–(now 12 and 11) I love my children!!! (I hate the word “step-children”, and we don’t use it in our home…)

Tracy 1 year ago

I think it’s wonderful that you are a good role model, and love your step-child. However, I would personally take offense to a step – mother calling my daughter “hers”. He is your husband’s child. He is part of your family, but he is not yours. If he has a mom who is in the picture, that is her baby. You are the 3rd wheel parent, whether you like it or not. It just goes with the territory of being a step-parent. If I ever remarried and was lucky enough to be a step – mom, I would never cross that line with their mother. That is her gig for life. I would want the same respect coming from any woman who entered my daughter’s life.

Amber M King 1 year ago

I understand that one Amanda, i have been in mines life since he was 3 hes 10 now and the only time we explain who i am is to his doctors when they want to know history, his school and teachers call me mom, he don’t say any different, he lives with us 365 days a year, My family calls him there nephew, grandson, cousin and so on, none of ours are treated different,

Becky Bedoya 1 year ago

Oh haters will hate and people will judge. I have 2 transracial adopted kids, one step son, one bio mini me and another daughter on the way. I think we look so unusual people don’t say anything…they don’t know where to start. Every family has it’s own thing. Kids are just fun cute little terrorists to have around. I love them all!

Mary Schneider 1 year ago

(hugs) As the mom of teens, I just want to tell you, you absolutely do fill a “mom” role in those kids’ lives. Whether it’s 8 days a year or 7 days a week, you’re participating and supporting their dad and encouraging his participation in their lives- that’s huge.

My ex hasn’t seen his kids in getting on for a year, and hasn’t talked to them since April. Although I don’t “blame” the woman he’s with for those facts, I sometimes wonder if she ever brings them up to him. Good dads are a real blessing in their kids’ lives. I hope they’ll appreciate you when they’re old enough to understand what you’ve meant to their dad.

Amy Casalino 1 year ago

And I also don’t like the term Step …kids aren’t anything to be walked on and I am her Parent regardless if I birthed her or not

Shelah Neece 1 year ago

From a full-time Bonus Mom, THANK YOU FOR SHARING!!

Melissa 1 year ago

I agree. We are expecting our 2nd but if you want to be “real” my husbands first and he and my in laws are nothing but “real family” to my first born. My step mother, however, had the audacity the other day to tell me that she is jealous of my father because he gets to enjoy his grand babies and she doesn’t because her son and his wife do not want children.(Mind you Im 30 weeks pregnant and a sensitive sally) Imagine the look on my face when those words came out of her mouth.. Ive seen how bad it can be and how good it can be and I really admire you voicing you positive step parenting. Thank you!!

Makayla Baker 1 year ago

My husband had 2 sons (9&10) when we met, their mother passed away when the youngest was born. Our first date was dinner and I went with all 3 of them. They were a package deal, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. We have since added another kid to the mix, and I have heard all kinds of stupid comments and questions concerning our family dynamic, mostly from people who should REALLY know better.

Shandy Marie Allen 1 year ago

Coming from someone who has never been a step child/had a step parent and is still in a relationship with my daughters father and plan on staying with him… I see where the bias can come into effect. I feel very strongly against my daughter calling someone else mom. I’m sorry but that hurts. Just telling the truth. And her dad would feel the same. If I ever was in that situation, I may adjust that attitude. But for the time being – I spend every waking moment with my toddler and it’s hard to share with anyone. Do you step parents really think it’s okay for them to call you mom or dad if their real parents are very active in their lives? I’m just wondering… I have mixed feelings :/

Amanda Olson MacPherson 1 year ago

As I have been the primary caretaker of my eldest son since he was 2 1/2 (he’s 10 now) and the only active mother for five years now, we don’t bother with ‘step’ unless it’s to explain to the school or doctors some of the emotional problems he still has from some heinous early childhood experiences courtesy of his ‘biomom’. I am happy to give credit where credit is due there.

Coral Wasserman 1 year ago

We have also had people correct our three oldest children when they talking about their younger siblings and say “oh, that’s not your full sister/brother though, it’s your half sister/brother”

Heather Kroll Vigorito 1 year ago

This is such a great article, thank you. I *hate* the negative stereotypes of stepmothers (mothers in particular) that kids are exposed to all the time through fairy tales. It does everyone a disservice. Thanks for writing, and I’m glad it got posted!

Cheryl Andrew 1 year ago

What about his real mom? How does she feel about you being “mom”? ‘Cause my kids are going to have a step-mom soon, and frankly, I don’t think she gets to call my kids hers.

Kaitlyn Cook-Reed 1 year ago

I love this, we always say that the only steps in this house lead up stairs!

Traci Snyder 1 year ago

My oldest daughters father has not been in her life since she was a year old (she is now almost 12). When i began a serious relationship with my now fiance 5 1/2 yrs ago she had a tough time adjusting since she was not used to a dad in her life. Now years later and another baby later, he is her dad plain and simple. They love each other, and there is no step parents in our home…only two parents who desperately love our daughters.

Madelyn Stearns 1 year ago

I love this post but I feel in the middle of it. I’m getting married this month and he has 2 pre-teen kids who live in another state. We only see them 4 weekends a year. I love them. When they’re around I help take care of them. I help teach them about manners and caring for others and I help discipline them when needed. But only for 8 days a year. So when someone tells me we don’t really have kids it hurts but I feel like they’re kind of right, at least about me. But I worry about them and pray for them and my fiancé supports them financially and talks to them on the phone all the time. We plan our future with them in mind. But they’re not here. So sometimes even I don’t think I really count as a step parent. It’s very weird and kinda sad.

Sarah McCaig 1 year ago

Any guy can be a bio-dad, but it takes someone very special to be a real dad. I’m lucky that my real dad came into my life at 7 years old. He was there to mold me into the person I am today. To help me nail math and put together fabulous science projects. To cheer me up when I was down and to celebrate in all of my major life accomplishments. He walked me down the aisle and was probably the happiest of all of us when I welcomed my children into this world. I am the luckiest girl ever to call him dad and my kids are lucky to have the worlds best Grampy ever.

Tara 1 year ago

I was waiting to disagree with something on this list (because in general, when it comes to most articles involving step parenting, I find myself doing a lot of eye rolling), and I was very happy to find that I have nothing to disagree with! Katelyn, I sincerely wish we were neighbors, so we could talk about “stepmoming,” teaching, and life in general. You seem like a super cool chick, no creepiness intended!

Stacie Nicole Edwards 1 year ago

Thank you so very much for this article. As a step mom to three beautifully nerve wracking children, the ones who made me a mommy, this hits very close to my heart. After 4 years together, my husband and myself added to our family. However our youngest isn’t the one who made me a mommy, that privilege goes to my older kiddos. Our youngest simply changed my title from “mom of three” to “mom if four”.
I too, as unfortunately the majority of stepparents, have been faced with some less than helpful, necessary, or kind words of “advice” or opinions. Its hard. The relationship my kids and I share, all four of them, speaks louder than any negativity could ever do.

Azure Klein 1 year ago

Likewise if you grow up with someone as your sibling then your parents divorce, you don’t have to sever that bond — you grew up together, you are siblings! Marriage license or divorce decree doesn’t change that. I lost a mother i didn’t care for…. But kept in touch with my brother. I helped potty train that kid! We are still family.

MummyOfSeven 1 year ago

I’m constantly having to explain our family to people. When my husband and I got together we both had (and still have) full custody of our children, his two and my four. Together, we have raised those children together for the last nine years with little or no contact from their other parents. We also have one child together.

We have twin girls who are only two months younger than one of the boys. It’s often assumed that they’re triplets and, to be frank, I’m so fed up with explanations that I don’t correct people any more. I just smile.

Angelica Mauro 1 year ago

I don’t use the word Step for our oldest 2. When asked directly I say I have 1 child by birth and 2 children by choice.

Denise Johnson 1 year ago

So true!

Azure Klein 1 year ago

I’m still training my little brother to drop the “step”… Mom and I have already.

Brittney Daconto 1 year ago

I have three dads and three moms. That isn’t including my in-laws. I am beyond blessed that two step-dads decided to keep me even after they divorced my mom. Now, my son is even more blessed with that many grandparents. If it weren’t for my dad (my first step parent) I wouldn’t be who I am today. It is weird to me to even think the word step-dad when it comes to them.

Kathleen Powell McIntire 1 year ago

My “step-dad” raised me. But he was my real dad! My go to guy. The first man in my life that taught me all the things I needed to know. I couldn’t have imagined my life without him. Now, I can only hope that I can be half the parent he was to both my daughter and my Bonus Children (sorry Emily I had to steal that!!!) I sure hope when I see him in heaven that he is proud of the parent I am to all of my children.

Heidi Morrison 1 year ago

We have a yours mine ours. In a total of 6 kids in hyena mode.

Jade 1 year ago

My husband has sole custody of his 2 children now aged 7 and 9 they have been with us 6 years hard work (due to abuse from there mother) but very rewarding I wouldn’t change it for the world. I adore them and it’s seems to be mutual most of the time hahaha

Jennifer Kisner 1 year ago

I called mine a bonus until I made the 2 I gave birth to. Now it’s the boys. I don’t spend “step-parent” love, time, caring, money ect… I spend mom love time, caring, ect…

Stacy Hebein 1 year ago

We don’t do the words “step” or “half” (in the case of siblings). They aren’t “my” kids or “your” kids. They’re OUR kids. Those are your brothers. Those are your sisters. It’s all or nothing!

April Lemesh 1 year ago

I’m like you, Em. Don’t particularly like the word step-child. They are my children, period.

Kathleen Conceicao 1 year ago

Unfortunately people suck. My husband is a better father to our daughter than her own father. You are in every right a parent! Screw them!

Carly 1 year ago

In my house we don’t use the word “step”. My husband may not have contributed to the gene pool, but our son is his. Our son is more his then the gene pool contributors. In my house growing up, when we heard the word step child, we knew it was a bad thing. It was a choice he made so he could be with our mom. Not us.
Husband was the one who got vomited on in the middle of the movie store. The one who gets woke up when bad dreams happen. The one who gets the fathers day cards and gifts made at school. He is the father and my son will never know he is a step anything. Oh wait, he will know he was the step in the right direction!!!

Sharon 1 year ago

Amen. I do not have children of my own and my three step-kids are my children. I have stepped in literally when their mother’s have failed them. There are so many things that people don’t understand about being a step-parent. It is the hardest job that anyone can ever have. If you do it right. Just like being a ‘real’ parent. PS: I am also adopted and my parents are my parents.

We have to stop the negative stereotyping of step-parents.

Jennifer Tosches 1 year ago

Blended family’s are hard !! She forgot one saying this is not your house ……. I would rather hear your not my mom because technically I am not. I got a lot of good stuff for that one but the house I have live in longer than you and that makes me sad not my fault. That makes my blood boil . I wish I could find out more stuff on blended family’s and the crap that goes along with it ! God I love my husband !!!!!!!

Stacey Wright Hansen 1 year ago

I like that my children’s step mother considers them bonus children. She isn’t a wicked stepmother to them and treats them well. My husband does his best to be what they need. No labels attached.

Lindsay Perez 1 year ago

My husband is amazing about this. Not only did he create a natural unforced relationship with my oldest daughter, he also respects her father and has never made him feel uncomfortable. This was from his own mouth that he said about my husband. I would be nice though if it was the same way with his spouse.

Erica Surman 1 year ago

Proud to be a step-mom

Amber M King 1 year ago

We don’t use the word “step” in our house, Im mom, and he is my oldest son even though i didn’t give birth to him.. he’s still mine

Adrianne Ward Burney 1 year ago

I have no bonus children of my own, but I have loved that term ever since I first heard Jada Pinkett Smith use it!

Karissa Bellavia McMahon 1 year ago

I’m a bonus mom! So I’ve been told by my bonus daughter!

Sarah-Marie Martin 1 year ago

Interesting. I am an adoptive (and biological) parent and there are some similarities. I hate it when people say things about only my bio kids being “my own” children.

Erika Lyn Brianne 1 year ago

I know some kick ass stepparents.

April Rondeau Martinez 1 year ago

my stepdad considers me another daughter. Both he and my dad walked me down the aisle. Best stepdad in the world!

Nicki Wiley 1 year ago

God help the person that makes the distinction between my mom and stepmom..they are both my “real” mom..only 1 is biological

Jenn 1 year ago

Becoming a stepparent to two littles was the best. I cannot tell you how enriching it has been and I couldn’t have a greater love than I do for them.

Amy Schwartz Abbey 1 year ago


Amy 1 year ago


Emily Herron McFall 1 year ago

I don’t like the word Step-Child, he is my Bonus -Child 😉

Madison Crenshaw 1 year ago

I hope that the right person is out there, one that will not only accept me for me but love my children and not feel threatened by their father

Lisa 1 year ago

This! My husband has full custody of his 3 boys, and I still get #5 & 2 occasionally. Umm… no, I married a man with children so I wouldn’t have to pop them out myself…hello!?! And if I don’t have children then please explain why I have chicken nugget nightmares and went from gym workouts regularly to hopping off Legos/action figures as my main source of exercise?!

Erin 1 year ago

As more marriages end in divorce and more families have to blend themselves, I’m almost shocked that we still have these presumptions about step parents and step children. But then again I suppose people make a lot of assumptions about others who chose to remain child-free or have only one child too.

Caryn 1 year ago

I am happy to hear a step parent talk positively about their step kids. Knowing there are people like you out there makes me feel better about my sons and their step mom!