• Mon, Dec 30 - 3:00 pm ET

10 Things A Stepmom Would Never Tell A Birthmom (But Should)

evil-stepmotherI’m a stepmom. I’ve written about it before but I consider being a stepmom one of the luckiest things that has ever happened to me. Some of you other stepmoms out there aren’t so lucky, and for whatever reasons you have bio-moms who you just can’t get along with, and who just can’t get along with you. Being a stepmom can be amazingly difficult, especially when you don’t have the support of the bio-mom, much less the common courtesy she would afford a stranger – one who isn’t even expected to care for and love her child. So I’ve written a sort of handy dandy commandments list. Maybe if we spread it around enough some of these “difficult” bio-moms will get the hint.

1:We are not your nanny

We don’t mind taking our step-kids at the last minute or when you have to work or go out of town, but it would be nice in exchange if you would let us take them on days that are also important to us, even if it isn’t “our arranged custody time.”

2: We expect all the kids to follow the same rules

If we have strict rules about behaviors and bedtimes and manners and what is or isn’t allowed, we will not make exceptions for your child just because we don’t have them full-time. We don’t care if your special snowflake is allowed to throw blocks or swear or beat up the cat at your house, when they are at our house they are expected to follow our house rules.

3: We won’t speak poorly of you, we expect the same courtesy

It’s not productive, or healthy, and all it does is make your kid question that if we are slutty bitches who are horrible people why you would entrust them to us.

4: We will make mistakes

We will make mistakes. You will make mistakes. The only difference is you feel like you can judge us for every single mistake we make, like being ten minutes late for the school pick-up to not cutting off the bread crusts off your kid’s sandwiches. Think before criticizing us, because do you really like when someone makes you feel like garbage for a simple mistake?

5: We need to be kept informed

The kid is having trouble in school? Has started wetting the bed? Has head lice or strep throat or is now terrified of clowns? We need to know these things, so we can act accordingly.

6: You don’t have to like us, but please be cordial

You may dislike us intensely. But please, when you see us in public, try not to go out of your way to display it. You don’t have to greet us warmly but a simple nod and smile would suffice. Especially if the children are present.

7: We are not your ex-partner

I’m sorry your marriage or your partnership ended. It’s sad when this happens. But just because you have a pile of bad voodoo with your ex don’t make the mistake of thinking we are the same person as they are. Just because you share history with them and now they share history with us, that doesn’t mean that we are exactly like them.

8: You need to get over it 

Your relationship ended. It probably ended badly. It may have ended due to infidelity, or any number of reasons. But you need to get over it, especially if more than a few years have passed. I’m pretty sure your life isn’t over. You can still find someone new and amazing who will make you incredibly happy, but not if all you do is sit around playing with your ex-husband voodoo doll. Don’t do it for their sake, or for their new partner’s sake, but do it for YOUR sake, because you deserve to be happy.

9: The kids are the MOST important thing 

We all have baggage , and personal demons, and psychological voodoo, and hurt feelings, and we all get annoyed with each other on occasion, but despite all of this we need to always put the kids first. You won’t enjoy seeing me at your kid’s soccer game, but you will smile politely and act cordial for the sake of the kid. I won’t like the evil glares your relatives give me at high school graduations, but I won’t make a scene in front of our kid.

10: We will never be you 

We will never try to take your place, or forget that you are the mom, because there is only one you. All we want is to share in the life of your kid as much as they want us to. We want the same things you do, for them to grow up healthy and happy and to make a difference in this world. We don’t want to replace you. You will always be their mom, we will always be the step-mom or bonus mom or extra mom. And we are totally okay with that.

(Image: Tumblr)

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  • LJ

    AMEN!

  • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido

    I want to high-five you over #7 a zillion times.

  • Kay_Sue

    #2 and #5–I feel like those were written by my spirit animal or something. So much truth in a short list.

  • Fuzzy ‘n Broken Mirror

    See, this is why polyamory is so much better

    • Tinyfaeri

      Not sure I get it. There are divorced people in poly relationships just like in monogamous relationships, and I seriously doubt it makes parenting easier to have more than one partner at the same time. Parenting with any number of parents is hard regardless of lifestyle, culture or orientation – no one’s family configuration is really any “better” than any other, they just are what they are.

    • brebay

      Hmm, I’m not sure adding even more parent figures (and more potential break-ups, estrangements) would be any better, and maybe worse.

    • CMJ

      You do realize that someone who is polyamorous could also be a stepmom, right?

  • Alisande F

    So on-board with this, Eve.

  • ninjalulu

    I wish when I was growing up my parents had just gotten the eff along. Now, everything is hunky-dory. Because I’m 30 and expect ALL my parents to be grown-ups too. If I have to put on my big-girl panties and deal with life, they can be cordial and polite at holidays and birthdays. Plus, grandkids? Not gonna witness the bullshit and crap my parentals all pulled on each other. My kid is going to see adults respecting each other, whether they like each other or not. Maybe this is how we should fix Congress, too.

  • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

    I love this. I like think that I’m not one of those difficult bio-moms (I’m not, I swear!) and my ex’s new wife and I are cordial, if not friendly (we certainly don’t hate each other, we’re just very different people and wouldn’t have ever known each other outside of this situation). So most of these have never been issues for us, and she is very, very respectful (and I am to her as well, she loves my kid, why wouldn’t I be?)

    So here’s my question, about the rules issue. What if the difference in rules isn’t something like letting the child get away with things, but is more of an ideological difference? For example, my ex and his wife and I had a minor row over her forcing my daughter to eat everything on her plate. I firmly believe that forcing food down a kid’s throat isn’t healthy, and as a survivor of an eating disorder (and one who went for treatment on more than one occasion) I think doing that can foster unhealthy habits. I wasn’t disrespectful about my concerns, but I was firm. It’s one of the few rules I believe are non-negotiable.

    I think I should add that this wasn’t a case of my daughter refusing to eat all together, or being unreasonable. She didn’t want to eat tomatoes, which are something she’s never liked in her entire 10 years on this planet, lol.

    • Kay_Sue

      It’s kind of a balancing act. I don’t think there’s a clear cut answer to it–you just have to feel it out, and how committed both sides are to the issue.

      We have the dinner rule in our house, but no one is required to clear the plate. However, if you don’t eat dinner, there’s no snacks, and the plate is wrapped in plastic wrap and stuck in the fridge–if you get hungry, you can have it warmed up later. This was actually because my older son went through a spell of not wanting to eat and then magically becoming debilitatingly hungry right at bedtime…I dunno what we would do if the girls’ mom had a problem with it.

      We do make exceptions–our oldest son literally cannot stand squash. The girls have a list of foods they don’t like, so I try to make options to go along with the meal so that everyone can have a little something. They are also old enough now that I don’t mind if they make their own sandwich or something, either.

    • Tinyfaeri

      Compromise that she has to try at least a bite of everything on her plate? You never know when she might like something, or start liking something she previously disliked. I was a very, very picky eater when I was a kid – til at least age 12, I would eat Sharks (yes, Chef Boyardee sharks) in place of every meal I didn’t like (with chopsticks, don’t ask why, I do not know), but I had to try some of every single thing my mother made before abandoning ship for pasta-in-a-can. That philosophy of trying everything every time it’s offered has made me a more daring eater than my mother is as an adult, and led me to find new ways of cooking things I don’t usually like (beets, brussel sprouts). You never know if you like something, or something a certain way, until you try it.

    • pixie

      I used to despise spicy food. A couple years ago I tried some and now I love the heat. Tastes change as you grow and this can definitely work. Though I’m still not the most adventurous eater.

    • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

      I believe that is fair, to require one tries everyone one is served for dinner, even if it’s historically been disliked. Tastes can be fostered over time.
      But I’m with Frances on the eating everything stuff. No go. If they don’t want to eat what is served after tasting, then they shouldn’t have to finish. But also they should not be served something else instead.
      My dad made my brother and I sit at the table for hours until our peas were gone. He had to leave eventually, and we snuck the peas into the trash under the other garbage.

    • brebay

      I agree. I don’t force, but I don’t cater either. I wouldn’t intentionally fix something I don’t like, so I try not to fix something the kids don’t like either. If I do, they are free to make a sandwich or wait until breakfast. The food thing seems really important when they’re little, but when you start to realize that there is sex, drugs, alcohol, sexting, and so many other things you HAVE to address, whether or not they ever try brussel’s sprouts just doesn’t seem worth the fight.

    • Katia

      No that sounds cruel (mushrooms made me gag as a kid)
      And what a waste of your dad’s time! Sounds like he had strong values but the practice is misguided if your peas ended up in the garbage.

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      My dad was VERY old-fashioned, he used to bring up the “starving children in Africa” until I developed bulimia as a 10 year old.
      Suddenly realised that while his comments didn’t LEAD to my eating disorder, they didn’t help.

      I find with the kids if you leave them be, they’ll eventually ask for a taste.
      I love crispy squid, so does the 8 year old.
      10 year old HATES fish of all sorts (she threw up once trying a prawn)
      I get crispy squid for my weekly fat-fest (Saturday takeaway) every week.
      I went to the loo and came back to find her chewing on a tentacle!!!
      She LOVES it now!

    • Kay_Sue

      Tastes change with time too. I was an incredibly picky eater as a kid, then got better gradually as a teen, and now my mom just shakes her head–I am pretty sure she’s remembering many fights of bygone years. ;)

    • Tinyfaeri

      Oh, mine would be right there with yours!

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      The issue isn’t that my daughter is picky, though. She’s far from picky, she’ll eat sushi, Thai, Indian, Chinese (and not just the Americanized stuff), tofu, corned beef and cabbage from her Irish grandmother, and all kinds of other foods that some kids will turn their noses up to. The issue was mostly that she didn’t want to eat the tomatoes from the dish my ex’s wife served, and doesn’t always want to clean her plate entirely. It’s not even like she tries to take a couple of bites and walk away, even my ex and his wife admitted that this wasn’t the case.

    • Tinyfaeri

      I didn’t say that she should always clean her plate (it’s a better habit to stop when you’re full) – I was just suggesting a compromise that she at least try everything, including things like tomatoes that she doesn’t like, every time it’s in front of her rather than automatically picking out the things she thinks she doesn’t like. That might make everyone happy – she’s at least trying everything her stepmother makes, so maybe it won’t get to the point where she’s being yelled at to clean her plate.

      Also, a great phrase: “it’s delicious, but I’m too full!”

    • JLH1986

      My parents had this rule. And right around your daughter’s age they realized I wasn’t just being difficult, if I said I didn’t like something I didn’t like it and I’d go to bed hungry before I ate it (yep that happened a couple times). So they did change the rule to I had to eat what I liked but I had to try a bite of everything. I also began to learn to cook certain things at that age. My parents loved something called “texas hash” I hated it (still do). So I learned to make something on my own (with mom’s supervision of course) and had to do my own dishes. Because my parents were not making a separate meal. So I think it’s fair if she’s never liked tomatoes that they don’t even bother putting it on her plate. She’s 10 not 2 and being fussy. But that’s me…and totally unhelpful to your comment. lol But just so you know I feel your pain with this.

    • pixie

      I don’t remember if my parents ever tried to force me to eat everything on my place if there was something I didn’t like, but I know my parents now won’t make me things I don’t like, and haven’t for a long time. There are just things that I can’t stand to eat, like fish and mushrooms. My parents eat fish for dinner, I have leftover meat or something that can be cooked on the grill or in the oven at the same time as the fish. There wasn’t a worry of an eating disorder (as far as I know of; the only eating disorder in my family I’m aware of was my mother’s mother who developed anorexia because she had another health issue that made it very difficult for her to eat) but more of a dislike of wasted food. If there’s things she doesn’t like, give her a very tiny portion and get her to eat that (such as a quarter of a tomato slice). Maybe don’t go to the measures my parents did with making me something different (I’m an only child and not a step-child to either, and they taught me enough manners to eat what I’m offered at other peoples’ houses too, so I’m not completely spoiled), but certainly don’t force her to eat everything on her plate if she hates it. Especially now that she’s getting close to those pre-teen/teen years where fighting over food preference just isn’t worth it.

      And I have to agree with her, tomatoes are nasty. ;)

    • Guest

      Why does his ex-wife have your daughter?

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      It’s my ex’s NEW wife, which is clear in the comment. I even went back to make sure, because I figured I must have made a confusing typo, but nope, lol. I refer to her as “my ex’s new wife”, and then to them both as “my ex and his wife.”

    • Alexandra

      Frances – sounds like a Troll to me, you should have responded “Meh, I decided I didn’t want her anymore”.

    • Angela

      I didn’t take Eve’s message to mean that you should never voice a concern but that you shouldn’t expect to call all the shots and be ok with the fact that you’re not going to do everything the same way.

    • Katia

      The fact that they made her daughter eat food that she knew she didn’t like is beyond reasonable. Maybe she can’t dictate how clean their kitchen is or what chemicals ther cleaning products have but this is an issue that will come up at every meal. (That’s at least once a day)
      Such a common thing should be agreed upon as should respecting the girl’s boundaries, it would drive me nuts if my ex’s new woman (god forbid we divorce) violated my child’s boundaries in this way. We had no problem cleaning our plates (don’t remember if it was a rule, since we never didn’t want to clean our plates, but my parents never made us eat the few veggies that we each hated. In fact, they would not incorporate those veggies in dishes for us. I’m actually lazier /less generous with my kids so sometimes they have to pick things out, and if they pick them out every time I’m not going to force them to try hated veggie again every time just because tastes change over time. It’s like the step mom cared more about her own special dish (or being the boss) than the child’s comfort. Disturbing!
      Maybe a nice compromise would be, if age appropriate, daughter can cut her self some veggies and make herself a sandwich.
      If I wanted the tough job of step mom I’d probably really really like the man. I was doing it for. So is probably want to impress him by remembering what his daughter does not like and making something different when she is over. Too difficult?

    • Kay_Sue

      I try to avoid impressing my husband. Sets the bar a wee bit high.

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      ^you’re my new hero!

    • Katia

      Frances I agree With you… And it’s a little thing anyways unless your daughter is mostly at their house, you should just be in charge, the step mom and dad should respect that. And since its an issue you have a personal (and sad?) connection to, you should definitely be given authority for this in particular..I don’t think you should be expected to compromise at all about this. Why do you have to let her decide anything? I don’t get it, why she thinks her opinion or values have a place in raising your daughter. (Unless you were a deadbeat parent, but obviously you’re not.)
      Step mom might be a hard job, (following someone else’s rules, for instance) but she signed up for it.its not about what she thinks is best when it’s not her kid!

    • KatDuck

      Everyone’s entitled to a small list of dislikes. Even a large list, in some cases where the person is genuinely trying but their tastebuds just won’t let them. There’s really nothing to be gained by forcing someone to eat even stuff they love let alone things they don’t. Don’t let them stuff themselves later with snacks but let the kid decide how much is enough to eat. By 10 she can probably regulate herself well enough for that.

      And tomatoes ARE disgusting.

    • PromQueen

      We require our kids to eat everything on their plate, with one exception: if they tell us they’re full, they may stop and we’ll save the leftovers for another meal. Most of the time they want to be “done” to go play or do something else. It has nothing to do with them being full. Of course, we haven’t let on to them that those are the magic words that they need to tell us. Otherwise, they are required to eat what is on their plates. We always give them appropriate portion sizes. They are not at all picky eaters, either.

  • Jessica

    I would also recommend cutting some slack regarding #5. I do not have kids, but I actually remember this as a frequent work issue, where the weekend shift was often out of the loop regarding weekday developments. I worked both at different times, and no matter what we tried or how many emails or post-its we left, there would always be some piece of info where the weekend staff were out of the loop. So while BioMom should tell you these things, also cut her slack sometimes that this is her day to day reality and she may not remember to mention it.

  • brebay

    two way street, all of these.

    • JadePanda

      Yep, pretty much any of these should be expected the other way around as well.

    • Kay_Sue

      I think that mutual respect is pretty key in these situations. Even if you don’t agree with each other and aren’t compatible as people–my stepdaughters’ mother and I would never be BFFs–that baseline of respect and cordiality lets you do what’s best for the kiddos.

  • whiteroses

    My personal opinion? These are good rules period- for stepmoms, biomoms, caregivers, etc. A little respect and courtesy goes a long, long way, especially if you have to co-parent.

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      Starting to like this “co-parent” term. =)

  • Véronique Houde

    sing it sista

  • tSubh Dearg

    My partner and I have now been together longer than he was married to his ex. We still can’t married though because their divorce is still not finalised (which is another rant for another day but suffice to say Ireland’s divorce system sucks). However in all the time we’ve been together she has never even acknowledged that I exist.

    It didn’t matter so much before we got our house together, but now she is dropping the kids off to us at the weekends and I can’t answer the door or even get into her eyeline because it makes her uncomfortable. She likes to pretend that the house belongs solely to my partner. I am seriously tempted to start walking by while she is at the door and giving a wave but I don’t want to risk a shit storm.

    I like to think that whatever my personal feelings I would have in this situation that I would at least acknowledge the person who is caring for my children and would at least be able to exchange hellos. She is apparently reassured by the fact that because I ran a Girl Guide company that I had been vetted by the Gardai (Irish police).

    I honestly do not know what is going to happen in the future when the kids get married, I would like to think I would be invited since I have been in their lives for so long, but I can also see it not happening and my partner going alone to celebrate that milestone because it would be too horrible for their mother for me to be there.

    And as we are currently trying for a child together, I am also worried about her reaction to that. I would like to think that she will be mature about it but I really don’t know.

    In all other ways she is good mother to the kids and is very good at communicating with my partner about any issues, they work better together now as co-parents than as a married couple.

    If anyone has any advice about how I should handle this I would be very grateful.

    • FF4life

      Waiting for a divorce to finalize is the worst. She is using her tantrums as a way to control you and her ex. Until the divorce is finalized play ball but after don’t let her ridiculousness control your life. Once you get pregnant expect the behavior to get sooo much worse. Don’t let it stress you out because that is totally her intention.

    • tSubh Dearg

      Thanks! Here’s hoping 2014 is the finally the year of the divorce and the year we get married, I have my dress & everything ready to go!

      It’s not even real tantrums from her, if it was they would be easier to deal with and ignore. It is more a passive aggressive attitude that is mostly unspoken but which clearly states that she does not want to see me at all, even in my own house! I hate being made to feel awkward about being in my own home.

      I’ve spoken to other women I know on both sides of this and they all think that she is crazy for not wanting to even meet me once, especially because I spend time with the kids.

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      my fella’s ex meets me uptown all the time,she either blanks me or hisses some obscenity at me. meh.
      i smile and wave.

      We did a sitdown once…didn’t go too well…seemingly I’m a whore because I’ve facial piercings and wear rock clothing and she doesn’t want her kids “raised by a slut”
      yay.

      she also took issue with the fact that I am bisexual (no friggin’ idea how she gathered THAT info!!! possibly Facebook stalking???)

    • pixie

      The not knowing about the future is shitty. My parents are still together and I’m their only child, but one of my mom’s brothers had a daughter with his first wife who is definitely not the classiest lady. My uncle wanted to end his marriage and she faked a pregnancy to get him to stay until she finally did get pregnant. I don’t know when they split and he met/married his second wife, but I’m pretty sure it was before I was born. My uncle and his second wife (my aunt) brought up my cousin and she didn’t often see her mom. There was a lot of unpleasantness with her bio mom and her dad/step-mom. As far as I know my aunt and uncle didn’t badmouth her bio-mom, they’re not the type, but when I was 12 she just vanished off the face of the earth to go live with her mom. At 17 my parents and I got a wedding invite from her. Thankfully my uncle and aunt and cousin’s bio-mom could behave like adults and attend the wedding and not cause drama, but I think it took a lot out of the bio-mom, thinking back to her constant forced smile every time my uncle said something.
      I really hope your step-kids realize you’re an important part of their lives and don’t exclude you from important milestones in their lives. It would be nice if everyone could put on their big-people panties every now and then and “get along for the kids”.

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      feeling your pain on the divorce- once again, we’re left holding our balls…

  • Alanna Jorgensen

    I am soooo grateful that my stepson’s bio mom and I get along. We’ve actually known each other for years, and life’s twists and turns led us to where we are today. She and I arrange schedules together for her son, and we have similar discipline styles so a grounding at one house is upheld at the other. I think he hates it sometimes because he will get lectured for the same offense at both houses! His face fell the last time he was in trouble and I said, “Your mother wants to speak to you about this as well when she picks you up this evening.”

  • Momma425

    I would like to clarify and say that while I know there are many MANY wonderful, loving step parents who do their fair share of parenting and I would say that these rules definitely apply to them. My ex sees my daughter one day every other weekend. He has very limited visitation with her, I have sole decision making, and she rarely even spends the night at his house. So while the being friendly, not trash-talking, and kids being the most important rules definitely WOULD apply in my situation, a lot of the others wouldn’t.
    If my ex were to get married, even if the woman was nice, I would have a hard time considering her a “co-parent” or anything with the word mother in it to my daughter. Why? At most, she would see my daughter 26 days a year. Sorry, but that is NOT a parent. Further, I do all of my communicating with my ex (he has had live-in girlfriends, and whatnot- while I am not rude to them, they aren’t my daughter’s parent, so if I need to speak to someone I am co-parenting with concerning my daughter…I speak to her dad, not some woman who she and I barely know). It is my responsibility to communicate information to him, discuss rules, etc… It is HIS responsibility to communicate with his girlfriend/wife/whoever the heck is part of his life- not mine. And vice versa. If our daughter did something at his home that he felt I needed to know, I would expect the communication to come from him, her dad. I would be BEYOND offended if I found out anyone my daughter’s dad was with was calling me a “bio” mom. I’m THE mom. The ONLY mom.

    • brebay

      Exactly. Mom and dad are mom and dad. A stepparent can be informed through the parent to whom he/she is married. And, yes, my kids can call you mom…if I’m dead. “Bio mom” is an adoption term, NOT the word for the mother who raises her own kids, that’s just MOM.

    • Kay_Sue

      It may work in some families, but it wouldn’t for ours. My husband’s traumatic brain injury has decimated his short term memory. She could tell him things twenty times, and he’d remember it about half, maybe less. So she’s more likely to contact me about certain things–I wrangle our schedule, arrange exchanges, and remind him of events that the girls have. When it comes to parenting decisions, that’s between the two of them. He’ll talk them over with me, and then I leave it up to him to make sure that nobody’s life is totally upheaved by whatever compromise they come to. If she were rigid, she’d spend all of her time being disappointed and fighting with him over what he can’t remember.

      I do agree that the term bio mom is inappropriate. I’d find it disrespectful, myself, and there’s no way I’d use it to refer to my stepdaughters’ mother most of the time (I do slip occasionally, especially when everyone’s throwing it around online, although I try to edit when I do).

    • JadePanda

      I have to agree. Growing up, my stepmom was my dad’s wife, and was definitely a part of my life, but was never my mom, Mom 2.0, or anything else. And she never expected to be anything more. She was like an aunt, someone who cared about me but made a point to leave the parenting to the parents: my mom and dad. It made the boundaries very clear, and gave me some consistency during a tumultuous time.

    • Sarah Westwood

      That’s exactly how it should be! What is it with these gfs of the dad, thinking “if I sleep with your dad – that makes me your mom or bonus mum!” How is she a bonus anyway? My daughter did not want his girlfriend and her family in her life, so why should she treat her like a second mum? She barely talks to my daughter, since she made it clear from an early age, that she was not going to call her mummy. By the way – before some jealous SM says that I stopped her etc – I did not know this woman was doing this until a few years later!

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      Step-parent to five here and I totally agree.
      I have always told the kids to NEVER call me Mom. Not that *I* had an issue with it but to think how their Mom would feel.
      I’ve always told them, I am not their mother, I am not their parent, I am their friend, who just so happens to love them and their father.

      They call me WSM (Wicked Step Mother), as a joke, they found out that’s what I called MY stepmom and they loved that.

      They know now, after 5 years, that they must do as I say to a certain point and I am well aware of my limits. But to be honest after the time we’ve all been a family, there’s never been any issues at all.

      I do, and have always, thought of the kids as my own. if someone asks me have I any children, I say yes, 5. If they ask are they mine, I say they’re my partner’s, we’re a family.
      I understand my place as a “parent” compared to their mother, but that does not and will not, stop me from “parenting” because god knows, it’s the one thing I am good at, and I love every single second of it

    • ted3553

      I have 2 step daughters who live with me full time. I’ve always had them call me step mom. As bat shit crazy and useless as their mom is-she’s their mom. I don’t find it puts me less than their mom for calling me a step mom-I am. When they speak about their dad and I together, they sometimes reference their parents simply because it’s easier (their mom lives in another province) but they never call me their mom and I would be uncomfortable if they did.

    • brebay

      They’ll thank you for that when they’re older and will probably be closer to you than their mom because you didn’t make it tough, didn’t make them choose.

    • floram

      I can definitely see where you’re coming from but please consider some different situations.Im a stepmom to 3 kids that have lived with me for four years, they see their mom 4 days a month if she shows. I provide 100% of their financial support and have the entire time, it is not practical for me to always concede to her way of doing things or not be considered a coparent. I just feel that so many people feel the right to be especially hard on stepmoms and we’re really not all all that bad.

    • Guest

      Well, as a group, you’re neither good or bad. Obviously there are good stepparents and bad ones, and good and bad parents, and mediocre of both. To generalize them as all good or all bad as a group is silly. Stepmoms get a bad rap, ex-wives get a bad rap, single mothers get a bad rap…and pretty much anyone else, depending on the perspective of the one writing/speaking. For every stepparent out there doing the majority of the work and support like you, there’s another one causing drama and making a power play. For every mom trying to co-parent there’s another one making things difficult, every situation is different, and depends on who you ask. I think an article like this is kind of futile, because it’s just making good generalizations instead of bad ones, but still generalizations.

    • meteor_echo

      I think that at this point, she’s the coparent, sort of.

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      love this!!!!!!
      what else would you call it, after several years??? years of HAPPINESS?

    • Momma425

      I certainly agree, you more than do your part and are certainly participating in the journey that is parenting, whether or not those kids came out of your body or not.
      That is why I took the time to specify the particulars of MY situation, and which of these rules would apply to me, and which ones would not.

  • douthitnow

    When did moms start being called “bio-moms” I’m sorry, but the fact that dad got re-married does not change my position from mom to bio-mom. We’re not equal, stepmom, I’m still mom, and I’m a lot more than just biology! How rude, no wonder you can’t get along!

  • meteor_echo

    Good god, this just reaffirmed why I’m never going to date anyone who has a kid. Having the guy’s ex have constant legal access to your life, and having to deal with her (on top of dealing with the kid) would drive me up the effin’ wall. I don’t know how you ladies do it.

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      this’ll sound slushy gushy- because it’s worth it. for the love of a good man and the love of children, you fight through it, you push through.
      All I know is I’ve never been happier, our family is thriving and I will decimate anyone who messes with my kiddiwinks.

    • meteor_echo

      You’re really strong :)
      I don’t deal well with exes of any kind at all, so I think that I’d end up throwing someone down the stairs if someone hissed st me that I’m “a slut” (like your man-friend’s ex hisses at you). Then again, I’m also childfree and have an urge to be the most important person for my partner at all times, so there’s that.
      I’m glad that you’ve found a wonderful man and are happy with him and the kids. This world needs more people to be like you! :)

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      Wooowww there’s my boost for the day!!
      Aw thank you though, it’s nice to have some actual support rather than the- “YOU DIDN’T BIRTH THEM, YOU’LL NEVER BE A REAL PARENT AAARRGGGHHH” argument lol

    • Sarah Westwood

      You should not call your SKs – MINE as you would not like it if your husband left for someone else and they referred to YOUR children as MINE either!

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      well to be honest your opinion means nothing to me as you do not fully know our situation. from your previous comments it seems you’ve had a bad experience with this personally and I am truly sorry to hear that.
      We’re not all evil, I love those kids more than anything, so forgive me if I come across as rude but you do not know me or the kids.
      This is one area where some online person’s opinion doesn’t matter to me.
      The only opinions that matter to em are the kids, their mother’s and their fathers.

      plus, 3 months late.

  • Mh

    Agree with some previous comments about the “bio mom” being really offensive. The mom is the mom and the step mom is the step mom. If a step mom is calling the mom “bio mom” that’s like saying shes the real mom and the other woman is just genetics. That’s why the term “biological parents” is used to refer to an ADOPTED person’s bio parents, because being adopted doesn’t change the fact that the family who raised them is their real family. Step moms who call the mom “bio mom” are pretending they raised that child entirely themselves like adoptive parents.

    In some cases, that may be true. This wasn’t intended to offend step moms who really DID raise their step kids/took more of an interest that the actual mom. Get real though: if you married a previously divorced man with a 12 year old kid whose mom has him exactly 50% of the time, his mom doesn’t become “bio mom” just because her ex remarried. That’s ridiculous, and really rude to a mom who raised her own flesh and blood just like any other parent. Not being married while the father is doesn’t just take the real mom out of the equation. Likewise if the woman remarried and the man doesn’t. Or even if they both remarried. Marriage does not trump all, it’s about who truly parents the child. Generally, that is the person most invested in the child, especially by blood.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      “really offensive?” Like really offensive as in war crimes in Sudan offensive? How offended are we really here?

    • Kat

      Really Eve? Because how serious are the transgressions you list here? Like war crimes in Sudan serious?

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      No but come on, I hate when people say stuff like me using BIOMOM is OFFENSIVE, are we all that pearl clutchy?

    • Sarah

      Well, considering that “bio mom” is most typically used in adoption scenarios where the biological parents cease to be the “real” parents of the child, I can see why some people are getting offended. It’s a denoting term.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      see, I really can see your point, IDK, I guess I am just not easily offended and when I first did the headline I just had mom and we all agreed it looked weird. IDK, I just meant like the MOM, not the stepmom

    • austin8818w

      There’s a word for that then: Mom

    • Kay_Sue

      Eve, even if some folks consider pearl clutchy, is it really hard to see how it can be viewed as insensitive or offensive? I can see bio mom being really offensive to a lot of women–it has implications that are wide-ranging, including the implication that the woman has stepped back from her role as mother or has been replaced. Neither of those are true of the mothers that would find the term offensive. It also connotes that they chose to make these changes, as a biological mother consents to giving a child up for adoption, which isn’t necessarily true either–divorces and break-ups can be initiated by either party or both.

      If we, as stepmoms, are looking for mutual respect, I would think it would start first with respecting the role that our stepchildren’s mothers have in their lives, and the term “biomom” doesn’t do that.

      No, it’s not “war crime level” offensive, but that doesn’t make it less hurtful to the women in these situations. Personally, I don’t think I’d use “offensive” to describe war crimes. I’d probably use “detestable” “deplorable” “inexcusable”, and a variety of other adjectives. Offensive isn’t strong enough to me, anyway, so maybe I am biased there.

    • Ennis Demeter

      Um, what?

    • austin8818w

      If we’re starting with an international atrocity standard, then this whole site needs to come down, along with pretty much everything else Americans complain about. This is relative to the situation, and it is pretty offensive to call a mother a term designed for a parent who relinquishes their infant at birth.

    • JLH1986

      When writing how should step parents and bio parents be identified.

    • Mh

      Terminology
      Parents-people who raise and care for a child, related by blood or otherwise
      Adoptive parents- people who adopt children and raise them
      Step parents- people who marry the parent (either adoptive or just parent) of a child
      Biological parents- people who created a child together/term is most often used to refer to an adopted child’s original family before they were adopted
      Hope thats what you were asking for

    • JLH1986

      Yes and no. I thought you were upset Eve referred to bio mom as bio-mom. I took it as Eve explaining, not Eve calling her step child’s mom “your bio mom”. I guess that was my confusion. And I wanted to be clear that there wasn’t a better way to correctly identify bio parents

    • Kay_Sue

      I have to disagree with two points.

      One, the fact that distance prevents my husband and I from being more involved with their lives day to day does not mean we are any less invested in his daughters. I know you said “generally”, but I don’t think that’s the case. If I hadn’t liked his kids, and cared about them, I wouldn’t have married my husband–and in the majority of stepparents of minor children (adult children are different) that I’ve run into, getting along with and caring about the kids was a major factor in continuing the relationship.

      Two, the “especially by blood” thing is completely uncalled for. Not even kidding. My neighbors adopted two foster kids, now they are having a biological child (their first bio)–are they going to suddenly care more about that kid than the two that they have loved and cared about for the past four years because they are blood? No, they’re not, and as a stepparent, I’m not either. I want all of our children to succeed, and to live happy, healthy, and well-adjusted lives, whether they spend most of their time with us or not.

    • Mh

      On the first point, i see where you’re coming from. Its my fault for not making myself clear enough. When I said “actually parents the child” , i wasn’t referring to the person who has prime custody. I was referring to any of the parents, step or not, who love and provide some measure of care for the child. Based on your description, you fit that bill.
      The second point- i spoke about adoption and i quote “thats why the term biological parents is used to refer to an ADOPTED person’s bio parents, because being adopted doesn’t change the fact that the family who raised them is their real family.”
      Of course they wouldn’t just love their biological child more. Because when you ADOPT a child, you become their parents, end of story.
      Sorry if that wasnt quite clear in my original post.
      I agree that the “especially by blood” was crass however and will edit to make my stance clearer.

    • Tinyfaeri

      Let’s avoid the “real” label while you’re clarifying your position, and especially if you’re going to get so offended at something that was used more for semantic ease and clarification than any attempt to slam mothers.

      A “real family” can be a lot of things. Adoptive parents, two biological parents, one biological parent, two biological parents and a step parent or two, families with multiple parents who are all married or committed to multiple parents, multiple parents married to one parent, biological parents and adoptive parents in an open adoption situation, etc., and about a billion little variations in how parenting in those situations is done.

    • Mh

      I literally just said that. Your real family are the people who raise you. Or, after marriage, the family you raise. I don’t see why you’re angry.

  • Katia

    I would wonder where the dad is here. In #1, is he ok being “the nanny” for his kid? If he’s at work so it falls to you, and he expects you to do it, is that something you should have discussed before committing to this guy? In #9, what’s up with the evil glares? Is his ex’s family nuts? If so, did he accept it because he loved his ex so much (and where did that love go ?) or does she have psychological problems and lie to them? How did that start, and did he ditch her after she had problems? Did you guys have an affair ? If so what does that say about him? #8, get over it? That’s pretty callous…what did your mAn do to make her so angry? How well do you know him?
    I’ve never been on either side of this, but when I was single I was very skeptical of divorced (with kids) men asking me out. And when this happens to my friend (a coparenting mom, dating) I try not
    To ask right away but I wonder, what happened to his wife/the kids mom ? Because it probably says something bad or good about him.
    Anyways, your man decided to have a kid with this lady. (So if she’s really weird, what does that say about him?) Then to break up (unless he was dumped), and date/marry you. Was he not able to communicate effectively about what things would be like? Did you not think to discuss it? anyways, you had the choice to be with this man, knowing his Fmily situation, I think the only person you can complain to now is him.
    No offence but this was slightly passive aggressive!

    • Kay_Sue

      Do you wonder the same thing when a divorced woman with kids asks a male friend out? I’m just curious how far these double standards go.

  • Hallie Lujia

    Unless these kids are adopted, they don’t have a bio-mom, they have a mom, and a step mom, and the step is in there for a reason. What a rude thing to call a mother!

  • Ennis Demeter

    1. Don’t call the mother of your step child a “bio-mom”. That is a term used for women who give up their children to be adopted. Call her your step-child’s mother.

    2. Don’t tell her to get over the divorce. It’s none of your business.

    3. Don’t complain to her that your step child is not following a rule. Don’t complain about that period. Divorce sucks for kids, and your husband is in charge of disciplining his child anyway, not you.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      3: I sorta linda agree with this. But what about when the husband isn’t home? Do you just let the kid hit the dog until he gets home? I think there are times when you can and should discipline

    • Ennis Demeter

      I like the rule if thumb that in most cases, treat the step child the way you would treat a niece or nephew. As in, yes, intervene, but don’t assign yourself the authority of a parent. Obviously this is easier said than done, but if you demand the same regard a parent gets, you’re sunk.

    • Kay_Sue

      I disagree. As a stepparent, you are a higher authority than an aunt or uncle would be. My stepdaughter’s mother has a live-in boyfriend. She’s been dating him for nearly eight years. He’s an authority in their life, and my husband does expect them to respect him.

      That being said, there are certain boundaries that aren’t allowed to be crossed. He spanks my stepdaughters’ half-brother–that is a no-go. My husband would flip his shit, and rightfully so, if their stepdad were to spank them. There’s also a lot of other punishments that he gives their half-brother that my husband would put his foot down on, because they are unacceptable for a stepparent to administer. But to say he should treat them like nieces when he’s there day to day, dealing with raising them and being a potential caregiver when their mother isn’t home–it ties his hands and would cause more issues in their home than it would solve.

    • Kay_Sue

      It’s important to discuss discipline as part of the overall co-parenting situation. When my stepdaughters are here, they are four states from their mom. My husband works 60 hour weeks. That’s typically 4 twelves, a ten, and a four (which usually puts him home before they wake up). Setting up what I felt comfortable with and what she felt comfortable with was a big part of maintaining balance all around. They don’t get to disrupt our home any more than the kids that live here all the time get to. They get consistency, discipline and stability, the same as the kids that live here all the time get. The rules are the same for all the children, and yes, they are different from what they have at their home with their mom–because we are two totally different households, right down to the way that we are structured.

  • gothicgaelicgirl

    good lord, 8!!!!!!
    Long story short, I was their babysitter for years.
    They told me they were splitting and I lost contact.
    Two years later, the father asked me out. Divorce proceedings were in fullswing so I said yes.
    Suddenly, I’m getting drinks and junk thrown at me in public because seemingly- “I broke up their marriage” was a “whore” and was a “homewrecker”
    even went as far as to tell the kids, that I was the reason daddy left…

    Five years on and it’s still as bad as the first month. I just ignore it at this stage, my main concern is, and always will be, the children.
    Once they are happy, healthy and know they are loved, that’s all that matters to me.
    I also had the advantage that the kids knew me and we were all very close anyway, so thankfully, we had that in our favour.

  • sillymama

    I disagree with a lot of this. I have been both a stepmom and a mom and my daughter does have a stepmother who hates me, not the other way around. A. I do NOT need to tell you anything about my child that Is what her Dad is for. B. My daughter has to follow rules that her Dad and I create for her, not the rules you have for your own children and a smart step mother would know how much easier it is on the child if the child has the same rules in each household. C. You should probably ALSO get over it. Mom and Dad have shared memories and a child together so, like it or not, they will always have to be in communication with each other, not with you. D. You are only an addition to the childs life, nothing more. If you are kind and respectful the child might even grow to love you, but they don’t HAVE to and are not biologically wired to, so try being nice like you would to a friends child instead of pretending you are a parent the child naturally cares about. E. That fact that you said “our child” makes me think you have serious issues with boundaries.

  • Melissa

    You get back what you put out there.

  • hsc212

    Somehow I think with an attitude like that expressed in this article, their wishes won’t go very far…

  • Keyla

    HahAHahaAHahAHa… Hilarious. Love this.
    On a serious note: Nowadays I have adopted a new philosphy: My house, my rules. BM doesn’t like it, tough.
    I read once that [biological] moms set the tone of the stepmom-biomom relationship, and I agree 100%. You want unhindered access to your kids in my home? Then you better pony up the same access level for my husband. You want to be “informed” about what we do, or don’t do, in my home, then I expect you to allow the same for my husband. You want to call 15x within the space of an hour: Phone is getting DISCONNECTED. You want to send nasty emails? Your sh!t will get deleted and ignored. Etcetera, etcetera….
    Just like you didn’t ask for us, we didn’t ask for you. Just like we “knew” what we were getting into (with your vindictiveness and drama), you KNEW what you were getting into having a kid with a man who, now that he has someone, you feel is inadequate. And you also KNEW that when people break up, they move on to **drumroll** OTHER PEOPLE (shocker!).
    On the positive side: I have educated myself enough to be able to build a great friendly relationship with my stepdaughters. I’m not their mom and wouldn’t have it any other way; they are my “bonus” <3