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I Detest The Word ‘Stepmom.’ We Need A New Word For What I Am

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The other day I received a Facebook message from one of my boyfriend’s daughters that read, “I love you so much. I miss you so much. Xoxoxo.”

I absolutely loved receiving that e-mail because I’ve become very close with my boyfriend’s daughters and, apparently, they love me, too. I will babysit them if their dad needs to be at soccer. I take them shopping. I cuddle and watch movies with them. I helped the eldest with talk of periods and went swimsuit shopping with her. I wrestle with his youngest daughter and share her hairdryer. I’m doing things that, well, are very motherly things. In fact, I pretty much will do for them what I do for my own daughter.

My boyfriend and I have discussed marriage and moving in together in the next few months. The marriage and the moving into together do not scare me. What scares me is becoming a “stepmother.” Not that I don’t love his children, because I do. But, frankly, they already have a mother, and a good mother who loves them. I don’t really want to be their mother. I just want a good relationship with them and to be part of their lives. Plus, and maybe most importantly, I detest the word “stepmother.” Don’t ever call me that.

First, the word is so old school, like saying “channel changer” instead of “remote control.” Second, stepmothers have a bad rap. A really, really bad rap.

There was Cinderella’s evil stepmother, Lady Tremaine. I mean, come on. Even in fairy tales – and my relationship is like a fairy tale – not only does Cinderella have a wicket stepmother, but they’re also in Snow White and Hansel and Gretel. All over the world, it seems, in books and movies, stepmoms are portrayed as evil bitches. I’m not an evil bitch. So don’t call me stepmother!

There’s a Danish fairy tale, called Green Knight, where the stepmother wins the marriage proposal by befriending her future stepdaughter. Once she lands her husband, she becomes cruel to her stepdaughter. Stepmothers make a lot of appearances in Chinese fairy tales too, I learned. In fact, they are very common. In one story, Classic of Filial Piety, Guo Juing tells the story of Min Zigian, whose mother had died at a young age. The stepmother had two more sons and made sure they were warmly dressed in winter, but neglected her stepson.

In a Korean folktale, Janghwa, Hongryeon, a stepmom kills her own stepdaughters. And in the German fairy tale, The Juniper Tree, the stepmother’s hostility is directly related to her goal to land the inheritance of her stepchildren. Seriously?

Knowing all this, who the hell would want to be referred as a “stepmother?” It really makes me want to write a new fairytale about blended families, called “She never forgets to buy me new shoes.” Or something along those lines.

So, because my boyfriend’s daughters already have a mother, and because of the negative connotations which come with being a stepmother, I do not want to be called a stepmother.

I have these thoughts of his daughter’s introducing me to their friends. “This is my stepmother,” I imagine them saying. And I feel somewhat horrified at these thoughts. Is there not a word that can be meaningful to the relationship that falls between my name, Rebecca, and “mom?”

When I try to come up with a better term than stepmom, I pretty much come up blank. And I’ve been thinking about this for weeks. This is what I’ve come up with so far in regards to his daughter’s introducing me when we get married: “This is another woman in my life who sometimes takes care of me.” And, “This is another woman in my life who is a role model.” You can see the issue with these introductions. The sentences are way too long. The best I can come up with is, “This is my dad’s wife.” But even that seems so impersonal and, quite frankly, I will be more than their dad’s wife. I’ll be with them 50 percent of the time when they’re with their dad, telling them to go to bed, making them breakfast, driving them around to soccer practices and picking them up from school.

When my daughter asks what my boyfriend’s daughters will be to her, I simply say, “They’ll be your sisters.” Period. End of story. No stepsisters for her.

I do like my name, so at present I’m more than happy to simply be called “Rebecca.” However, the outside world, and even his children, will see me as their stepmother.

I’d be really interested to know from all the “stepmothers” out there how they are referred to, or how they’d like to be referred to. Fairy tales are supposed to be happy. And I want my title, if you can call it that, to be something special. Because the relationship and bond between my boyfriend’s children and I is special.

What are your ideas for a new term for “stepmothers?” I want a happy fairy tale ending. Don’t we all? So, please, chime in!

(Photo: Walt Disney Productions)

49 Comments

  1. Rachel

    July 4, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    I think you’ve been reading too many fairy tales! These stories were written in a time when a Father had to remarry, often hastily, merely to have someone to take care of the household and children, not much love involved usually! Why not take the opportunity to reclaim and rebrand the name of “Stepmother” in a positive light?

    • Nancy

      January 1, 2014 at 10:35 pm

      I am a former step mom, no longer married to their dad. My stepdaughter and I have a good relationship. She recently asked me for a less clumsy way to refer to me. I came up with: former step mom = f s mom = eff smom. Sounds amusing and easier/quicker to say. eff smom. what do you think?

  2. Jodi

    July 4, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    His duaghters could just introduce you as “Rebecca” if you don’t like step mom. The truth is anybody who is important to you, him or his children know who you are. How is your daughter going to introduce him? Stepdad’s also have a bad rap………..

  3. Eileen

    July 5, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    I don’t know about little girls, but I know a lot of twenty-something girls who refer to their stepmothers by either their given names or by the phrase “my stepmom.” These are girls whose mothers are still living and who love their stepmothers (and who call step-siblings just “sisters” and “brothers”). Personally, I’d assume a lot worse if a friend referred to her “father’s wife” than her “stepmother” – because the latter implies that she actually wants a relationship with this woman.

    Stepmothers may be classic villains in fairy tales, but most people are mature enough not to assume that a woman is evil because she’s a stepmother.

    • Katie

      September 22, 2011 at 5:28 pm

      I’m now 28 years old and my dad has been with his wife since I was 11. I love the fuck out of that woman. I’ve always called her by her first name when speaking to her. When I’m talking to my (half) brothers and sister I call her mom…as in “What time is mom picking you up from your soccer game?” When I introduce her to other people I say something along the lines of “This is my stepmom, Jen.” I agree that calling them your father’s wife sounds so distant…as if you have no relation to the woman at all, she’s a part of your life ONLY because your father married her.

      Basically I just wanted to say that referring to someone as a stepmom, in my experience, doesn’t have any of the negative connotations you write about. Sure we had growing pains, as most blended families do, but my stepmom is only a smidge less important in my life than my biological mom.

  4. liz

    July 8, 2011 at 10:42 am

    I’ve heard some step-parents refer to this stepkids as “bonus son/daughter.” Could you be a “bonus mom?”

  5. Sarah Jane

    July 8, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    In introductions, you are your husband’s wife. The children say, “this is my father’s wife.”

    I have had stepparents since 1980, and that’s what we always did. We also called our parent’s new spouses by their first names, “Mary” or “Bob” or whatever. Of course, we always checked first, that this was okay.

    • RichardMulholland

      July 1, 2013 at 1:15 pm

      So, I kinda disagree here, my son, who adores his Mom, want’s a better term to call my girlfriend as “Dad’s GF”doesn’t cut it for him. He feels that that give’s him no personal ownership of the relationship. He introduces her to people as “my step-mum” as this means that she belongs to him too.

  6. badbadwebbis

    July 11, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    You are reading way too much into fairy tales and their importance. Your potential stepdaughters are too old to conflate fairy tales with real life, and because they are of an age where they can clearly differentiate between biological parents and their parents’ new spouses, you won’t need to worry about being their mother — in fact, the fastest way to muck up your relationship with the girls is to put their mother in a situation where she feels you are trying to usurp her role of mother.

    I think you are too worried about having a special name to reflect your special relationship. I am a stepmother and my daughters have a stepmother (who made my daughters really uncomfortable, by the way, by objecting to the word ‘stepmother’) and the word simply refers to the fact that you are not the biological parent of these children. I promise you that no one is going to think that you will behave like a character in a fairy tale. Think about it — there is very little that is realistic in those stories anyway.

  7. Becca

    July 29, 2011 at 10:11 am

    I’ve been a step-mum for 5 years, and my step daughter is now 6 – so since she was 1. My step daughter just calls me Becca, and introduces me as her step-mum. However her real mum likes to play on the evil step-mother thing. Case in point, when she was 4 (bearing in mind i had then been her step-mum for 3 years), she came to our house and said “mummy said that all step-mummies are mean and nasty, just like in disney movies”!!! …i asked her if she thought it too and she said “no, i told mummy that wasn’t right and i think you are the best step-mummy in the world”…so even with the evil title, i must be doing something right!! xx

  8. Meghan

    August 15, 2011 at 11:46 am

    Mine call me Meggie, Meggars, Megalicious, Meggibelle, and anything else they can come up with. I have been their “adult-type person who takes care of them alot” for about 5 years. I became their official stepmom about a year ago and then 3 months ago they came to live with me & their father permanently. They are now in their early teens. A few years ago I joked that I didn’t want to be called a stepmom or stepmother because everyone thinks they are evil. So my two decided I was a S’mom and they were my S’kids. I like it because it reminds me of S’mores….always messy, but also warm and gooey and good.

  9. Amanda

    August 16, 2011 at 12:30 am

    My 6 yr old stepson calls me Manda (I’ve been in his life since he was 20 months old). Sometimes he will say Mommy but then sometimes says…I mean Stepmommy. It makes me feel so special that he does think of me as his other Mommy. I would walk through fire for him!

  10. Blaine

    October 24, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    I think you’re wrong about the connotation about stepmothers being evil – nowadays, there are so many stepmothers around. My mother died when I was eleven, and my stepmother raised me from the time I was thirteen on. I called her by her first name, but my own children call her Nana.

    My kids’ father & I divorced when they were very young, but he has a habit of picking great women, and wound up marrying a wonderful stepmother for my kids. They call her by her first name, or sometimes they call her “Steppy.” When introducing her to other kids, they say “and this is my StepMum.” It sounds a little cozier, I think it sounds a little cozier.

    But however you are called, just know that you are a vital ingredient to those kids’ upbringing. Lord knows I am so grateful for my kids’ stepmum!!

  11. Elizabeth

    November 3, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    I have an issue with the term stepmom but not with everyone. I am a biological mother and my ex husband has remarried. They just had a child and now all of a sudden his wife refers to my daughter as stepdaughter. Also, wrote that she is her stepmom. When they did not have a child it was always by her first name that she is referenced. I understand that there are really good stepparents out there but when you are a real mom, 24/7, 365 days and yet your ex has not been a great dad- why should she be called a stepmom. I think it is what feels right for everyone.

  12. Chyna

    November 21, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    My step brother and sister have always called my mom “Nonnie” kinda like mommy just with N’s. I always that it was perfect because soon that is what my brother and I refered to her as and she was fine with it. I have always called them my brother and sister not step.

  13. seattlemum

    December 15, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    What about “2nd mom” or “mum”? I don’t mind being second since I am not the original birth mother. I am more than happy to play second female role model to my husband’s daughter.

  14. BJ

    December 22, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    I have to agree with you on the negative connotation of step-mother. My mom passed away and mdad married a wonderful lady. We all love her. I call her by her first name all the time, but when I tell others about her or talk about her, I always say L…. my step-mother and we love her. It sounds silly but she’s really special to us all. I too wish there was another word to define her. I like when someone shortened to “step-mom” so for now I’ll settle for that. I have to go wish her a happy 80th on Facebook. Thanks for starting this.

  15. Melanie

    December 27, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    Unfortunately I agree that a lot of people hear the word “stepmom” and freak a little, believing she is a bad person. The mother of my stepsons is one of these people. She has been trying to find a way to make my husband and I get a divorce for two years now and it has just been hell. She makes herself believe I am abusive and cold, regardless of what my stepsons (7 &5) say. She does not allow me to refer to them as my kids, my boys, my stepkids, or call them by name in public. She does not want me to have any relationship with them whatsoever, and it has caused terrible problems. Her rule is “you are not in relation with them regardless of your marital status and you will treat it as such.” when he and I are alone with the boys it is a great time, but she has thrust herself into our personal business, even showing up to our family events to make sure everyone knows she is their mother and I am “just a jealous wanabe” the fights between us have been horrible. I’ve always respected her wishes as their mother, but two years? Isn’t enough enough?

    • Ascotti

      July 6, 2012 at 4:13 pm

      Ugh my stepsons mother is exactly the same! But she has goin calling her boyfriend daddy!! It’s an awful situation!

    • Sarah

      November 5, 2013 at 6:01 pm

      I agree, enough is enough. Now that it has been 2 years, how are things going? Also, I think you should really should let your “bonus” sons know that they are allowed to call you whatever they like. Being a 14 year old in this same situation, I understand the complications between you and the mother of your stepchildren. My mom is and has always been very jealous of me and my stepmothers relationship. That always led to many arguments, her favorite one is the,”she’s not your mom, and has no say in what you can and cant do.” But with that being said, you seem to really care about him as if he was one of your own. So yes, I think you have the right to call your stepsons whatever you like as long as they are ok with it. 🙂 And one last thing, make sure you are always spending quality time with them, and showing them love, and a hint of discipline. The discipline does not have to be yelling, grounding, etc all of the time, but more helpful lessons and constructive criticism. Remember that the decision to label you as stepmom (or even mom) is ultimately up to your bonus kids!

  16. Lily

    January 23, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    I refer to my stepmother as “my dad’s wife” cause that is the role she played in my life although she hates both terms of “dad’s wife” and “stepmom”. She says that “step” is a dirty word. We don’t have a close relationship with eachother and truthfully she is only in my life cause she is married to my dad even though i’ve known her for 19 years. There’s really bad history between us (her badmouthing my mother, sending hateful emails to me, ect), and while we both do a good job at pretending the past never happended and pretending to like eachother the feelings are not genuine. It is an act to keep my dad happy. She never earned the right to be called “stepmom”. To me that implies someone who was motherly and nice. I lived with my mom so she was never in a mother role to me, although she’s quick to take credit for being a “mom” (really 4 days a month makes you a mother). I also refer to my stepsister as such. She is not a sister to me and never acted as such and spent most weekends either ignoring me or telling me to get out of HER house.

    • Nicole

      November 5, 2014 at 2:23 pm

      My relationship with my dad’s wife was the same way. we no longer speak now that i am grown and have become a step mom myself. the huge difference between her Amd i is i love my new boys and they love me too. we both have adopted each other and honestly they treat me as if I’ve been there the whole time. we’ve just made it to the stage where im moving in and we are trying to decide what to call me

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  18. Alycee Allen

    May 9, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    I understand that many families have different situations, but in my situation I would prefer to be called second mom or other mother. The reason I say that is because I have been taking care of my husband’s son since he was in the 1st grade and now he is a 7th grader. He has lived with us since he was 6 and still does. I have cared for him more than his biological mother, so when I hear him tell others, “I am his step mom”, it sounds if I am lesser of a mother to him. I could be in my feelings, but I have been more of a mother to him then she has.

  19. Dawn

    May 15, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    I am a “Step”-mom. I dislike the term but use it since there is no other political correct term. My “Step”-daughters are wonderful and I helped raise them since around age 5. There Mom is a wonderful mother and I made sure when they were very little to refer to me by name at least in front of their mother. At times I have been introduced as “step-mother/mom” and mother/mom. I do like to here the pride in their voices but there has got to be a better word. Society continues to change other words referring to people or institutions that have appeared to become a negative connotation. Examples: Prisons to Correctional Facility. Welfare to Social Services or Human Resources, Bi-national Americans can place another country in front of their primary birth country. I think its time for a change in wording. Even Mother and Father have several different variations. ( Dad, Daddy, Pops, Da, etc. and Mom, Mommy, Ma etc. Step-mothers should have an alternative and so should “Step- children”

  20. Rikke

    June 7, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    About 10-15 years ago in Denmark the term “plastic mum/dad/children” was introduced. Not very charming, but kind of did the trick. However, within the last few years the term has changed to “bonus mum/dad/children”, which I personally think is dead cool! You should adopt that :-).

  21. Rikke

    June 7, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Sorry, not plastic children, cardboard children – and that term’s still used as well.

  22. Mrs. Andre

    June 14, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    I think of myself as the “bonus parent”. Lucky boys! You get a bonus parent! When they call me their stepmom, its never negative. Its like they were proud of the moment that their dad and I married so it was official. I went from being “dad’s girlfriend”, to being “MY StepMom”. Since they look at it in a very positive light, I have never thought twice about it. I’m rather fond of it. 🙂

  23. Madison H

    October 28, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    I emailed this link to my stepmom, Alexis. i havent reallycome up with what to call her yet, even though she has been in my life for 5 years. My stepbrother I refer to as my brother and he said he would call my dad a mixture of dad 2 (dadou)so i told Alexis that makes her momou. She said it sounds like Shamou thoughso for now it’s just Alexis. At first I loved her then when she and my dad got engaged i started hating her because of all those mvies with evil stepmoms. I have recently started liking her again and I love shopping and spending time with her. I really want to show her how much I love and appreciate her. She is my role model and the best stepom ever. I love you Shamou!

    • J Plaza

      October 14, 2013 at 3:41 pm

      bonus mom! or other mom!

  24. Tanya Smith Gordon

    October 29, 2012 at 9:55 am

    I adore my step mother with all my heart. She’s been there more for me than my own flesh and blood, she’s never criticized me, never put me down, she has given me some tough love, but it was for my own good and I learned so much from it. I think this is a great post and really had me thinking. I have never liked the term ‘step’ either. I refer to mine as mama KJ or stepmama because that was better for me to say than stepmom.

  25. Heather Heinzer

    October 29, 2012 at 10:02 am

    We call our stepmom the faux-mama (her choice) but most of the time we simply refer to her as Nancy. Of course, we were older when they got married. I’ve heard of calling the stepmom “Mama _____” with her first name if there’s a close bond.

  26. Brandy

    October 29, 2012 at 10:16 am

    I agree with you on the negative connotation of step-mother. My mother remarried when I was 3 so my he’s always been my father and his family has always been what they would normally be if I were blood related. Even though my mother and him aren’t married anymore I’m still treated as if I’m family and even more so to my son. To him they are family and my sperm-donor wasn’t really around so I never thought to use the other word for my father.

  27. Childless Stepparent

    January 10, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Thank you for this post, Rebecca. It’s something I’ve thought about a lot, too. I’m in a different situation than you because I’m a childless stepparent. So while I understand that “stepmother” has a negative connotation culturally, that’s not why it doesn’t work for me. “Stepparent,” “stepmother,” “stepmom” – none of of them accurately describe my role because I am not a parent, not a mother, not a mom. I am a positive presence in my stepchild’s life, and I work with my husband to take good care of her. But that does not make me a mom. I agree, we need another word! I hope it’s okay for me to share a post I wrote, asking some similiar questions: http://childlessstepparent.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/we-need-a-new-term-for-childless-stepparents/

  28. Bonus Mom

    March 13, 2013 at 7:53 am

    I realize this is an older posting but I just came across it today. I have two “Bonus Sons” (I HATE the word Stepson and Stepmom!). I call them a Bonus because they are children I would not have had in my life had I not married their father. So they are a Bonus to my life. They call be their Bonus Mom. They have a Mom and don’t need another. So I am an adult role model for them. I am here when they need a friend, need someone to talk to or just want to hang out. I care for them when they are here and I treat them as though they were my own children. We all love the word “Bonus son” and “Bonus Mom”.

  29. RichardMulholland

    July 1, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    I just read in another forum the suggestion of s’mum (Smum) or s’mom (Smom). I like this, it’s a truncation of step-mum, but sounds endearing – this is Jasmine, she’s my Smum.

    My ex goes by Mom / Mommy, so the Mum thing helps separate the two further.

  30. Carmen

    August 20, 2013 at 2:00 am

    Parental unit 2.0. Funny, with no reference to the actual mom. I don’t want to take that title from her real mom. I like the lighthearted feel of the term. After the introductions I use my own name. His children I still refer to as the ‘bonus’ children. LIke I won. Mine are the main batch, cause I made them.

  31. Lara Sue Sedor Morris

    September 4, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    I too hate step anything, my “bonus” child calls me momma sue and intros me as his bonus mom

  32. Belle

    September 10, 2013 at 10:53 am

    My son calls her by her name, but on school records, under “relationship to child” I put Fairy Mom.

  33. J Plaza

    October 14, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    Bonus mom or other mom

  34. Ashley

    November 1, 2013 at 11:59 pm

    My dad was remarried when I was around 12 and I have always called my step-mom by her first name to her and with my siblings, her children also call my dad by his first name, however, when I introduce her to a friend I always introduce her as my “other-mom”.
    It does get confusing for new people around me and my (step)brother when they listen to us talk about our parents… It goes like this:
    Me: “what time is Dad getting home from work tonight? ”
    My brother: “Mom is meeting Steve at 6 and then they are meeting us at the restaurant”
    Me: “Did Charolotte tell you where the restaurant is?”
    My brother: “Mom said Steve would call you at 5:30”

    See Steve & Dad are the same person in this conversation and Mom & Charolotte are the same person… But to an outsider this conversation makes NO sense and is confusing. This is the way we have always talked so we don’t notice anymore.

    I am not a huge fan of the word step-xxxx so I just don’t use it… My siblings are just my brothers and sisters and I was raised with 2 moms and 2 dads although sometimes I do introduce them as my other-mom or other-dad… With my other-mom I usually am touching her when she is introduced so it’s clear we are close. My Mom and I are actually very formal and I would never touch her to introduce her…

  35. Shonita

    March 10, 2014 at 5:24 am

    S’MUM – I really like that.

    If mum is widely recognised as short for mother, why can’t S’mum be accepted as short for step-mom.

    Whilst I love my step daughter dearly, Anders both have a wonderful acceptance of where we fit into each others lives, I detest that all too frequent moment when we have to explain to the outside world our relationship (she’s not actually my mum, she my dad’s wife, she’s my step-mum, etc, etc).

    How nice it would be to simply use the word S’mum and then carry on with the day.

    Also – what a beautifully written article. Thank you.

    • EmzLou

      August 29, 2014 at 5:33 pm

      I hate the word step
      I use sMum sDaughter sSon sGrandaughter sGrandson and sNanna
      Im a sMum and sNanna

  36. Mom

    October 10, 2014 at 3:38 am

    I know I am joining this discussion a few years too late. I too hate the name step mother – more so because their is no STEP in my feelings for my children. Why does STEP need to even be apart of it – the best name for you or anyone in this role is simply Mom. I don’t know if you situation has changed, but mom works for me. The only time STEP is used to describe me is by others who don’t know me or our family. I love all 6 of my children the same and I treat all 6 of my children the same whether they came from my tummy or not. Would you say the same about a mother who adopts children? NO, you wouldn’t say what title shall we give the adoptive mom? Why? Because she is mom. I am no different and neither is anyone else in the “Step” role.

    • OneParent

      October 20, 2014 at 6:51 pm

      This is exactly how I feel. There is no “Step” in my feelings for my children. I have been a second mom (my husband’s original children) for over 8 years, my “kids” are now teens, and for years I have asked them to consider another term when identifying me to their friends – but to no avail. Even though I am their full-time parent – they have refused to consider anything other than the term “step” and want also for me to identify them as a “step.” I know that their mom is behind some of this, and I acknowledge the care they have to make sure their mom is not dismissed (I completely agree). I have asked them to consider using, second-mom, bonus-mom, other-mom, smom, and even introducing me as one of their parents; but they refuse to identify me any other way then as their stepmom – and it does not feel right. I don’t agree. I have tried to accept, but I do not want to be known or called or be forced to use that term “Step”. I’m wondering if the originator of the above share, has anything more to add – And, or if anyone can help – this is very stressful and it’s very hard to enjoy or accept a name that is so distasteful to me. And from other writings, this Is beyond the “evil” fairy tales – it invites a distancing and remains too general. In today’s language a “step” happens when a parent with existing children marries another adult – not all of those adults raise, live or provide for the kids of their spouse and not all blended families are the same. In my case, the kids live full time with their father and me, they visit their mom – and she has chosen not to fully care for them. Please share if anyone has any other story that is similar or other suggestions that may have worked for your situation!

    • Mom

      October 21, 2014 at 1:02 pm

      That is hard. My husband and I talked with our kids when we first were getting married and we talked about how we weren’t going to use step or be called by my first name. We explained that everyone has a name or title. When you get married, your spouses parents are technically your in laws. However, when you are with them, you do not say “Hi, Mother in law!” You say, “Hi, Mom!” Just because you have inherited another mother by marrying your spouse, doesn’t take away from your mother who has born and raised you. Also, with adoption. You don’t hear parents say “Hi, my adopted son.” or vice versa “Hi, my adopted mom.” Same thing when parents get divorced and remarried. There is no need to say a different name. They bare the role of mother (or father) and should be called such. Step and In law and Adopted are only there identifying legal purposes and only then do you need to clarify the technical name.

      My children were young when we married and I have been their mom for 5 years, and because we started it off that way my kids accepted it and have grown to love that they have another mom. I wish I knew the perfect formula that (1) helps the “step” parent realize that they can love their children no matter who birthed them and love all their children equally. (2) help the children know that it is okay to share the parent role and love all parents equally. (3) Help the parent who shares the role know that it is not a competition, their children have more wonderful parents in their lives and that is a blessing not something to torture you. (4) That even though we all do things differently, we can be kind and respectful as parents and children and through that a beautiful relationship and unconditional love comes from that.

      I have been trying to find books and forums on this and have found that there really is nothing out there. It really saddens me and makes me feel that I am alone on how I feel and that blended families everywhere are just a mess… and they don’t need to be. They can be wonderful and functional and loving families despite the decisions that led to divorce.

  37. Darcie

    November 12, 2014 at 10:16 am

    I’m a bonus momma.

  38. Annea

    November 13, 2014 at 9:58 am

    My son calls me “his other Mom”. His mother hates it, but my husband and I have explained to him that it is his decision and not his mother’s. He is very aware of who his mother and stepmother is, yet he refuses to call me by my name or stepmom, so since he was 4 yrs old, he’s been calling me his other mom. Our son is now turning 11 in three weeks and my husband and I have been together since he was two, married when he was three. So for as long as my son can remember, I have always been there. 🙂

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    June 18, 2020 at 12:32 am

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