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May 09, 2007

Comments

Wendy

Good rant.

On a similar bent, I heard one of my kids talking to his friend. His friend was saying he had 4 sisters and 2 brothers. My son was confused since the friend HAD 1 brother and 1 sister. The friend explained that 2 sisters are halves (his father remarried) and 1 brother and 1 sister are steps (his mother remarried), but the truth is, they all decided to just be brothers and sisters. After all, they're a family.

Housewife

Brava!!!!!

"you really should consider not ever having children with your husband[sic] when you get into a marriage with a man who has children you no longer get to be your number one concern."

You, my dear, are a mother.

You are selfless and thoughtful, you are committed to a child.

You are a parent.

Steakbellie

great post,
i love how you are always able to figure out a different perspective.

Jeanette (From BBC)

Happy Mother's Day to a GREAT mom!!

A frequent reader

I realize this is the step-mother's day to rant and all, but as you mentioned you knew what you were marrying into. But I JUST want you to imagine how the kid feels? She didn't have any, ANY say in who their Daddy married at all. Literally heartbreaking when you think about it. Doesn't mean you gotta like being a step mom all the time because you know that, but you're the adult, you had a choice, you have a choice now to feel good about this on this day.

As a child of divorced parents I can attest that it takes some pretty serious convincing and selflessness on the part of the step-parent for a kid to really buy that a step parent sees their step-child as *family*. All honesty, you're lucky she even LIKES you. From a kid's perspective they think there was a time when all her parents thought about was her. Now an outsider has been added to the equation and now the father thinks of you before her. This really can hurt a kid because really its not natural, and it hurts every day. Thankfully, you seem like you are a very thoughtfull step-mom. I am glad for the kid's sake.

So I say, "get to work!" Get over this and understand that you ARE a Mother to her even on Mother's Day, albiet in a *special* capacity, and make sure that she does understand deeply that you'll accept her, as she has accepted you as her family. And if you need a card and flowers, just ask for them. I am sure they will become a staple gift this time every year!

All the best and Happy Mother's Day!

Willow

I think the term "childless stepmom" is used by many women (such as myself) to define a particular parenting experience in a succinct manner. The phrase "stepmother without biological children" is lengthy, so the term "childless stepmom" is used instead as a conveniently short expression--it is not meant as an attempt to demean or minimize the importance of the stepchildren.

I have found that the experiences of stepmothers with biological children can differ markedly from the experiences of stepmothers without biological children, so it makes sense to offer support groups, chat groups, etc. for both categories of stepmothers.

Many of the "childless stepmoms" I know bounce back and forth between both categories of stepmothering message boards, websites, support groups, etc., depending upon their needs at the time.

In my case, I would like one day to have a biological child, for many valid reasons. But at the same time I cherish, love, and adore my stepson, and consider him a great blessing in my life. I refer to him as my son (unless circumstances force me to call him "my stepson" instead), I truly consider him my son, and if he is the only child I ever get to mother, then I still consider myself lucky.

So, to summarize, just because a woman uses the label "childless stepmom" to describe herself and to describe the fact that she is a stepmother without biological children does not mean that she fails to love or appreciate the stepchildren she has.

Pam

Interesting. Parents who have a baby are always surprised by things, I'm not sure why you think someone becoming a stepmom truly understands what they are getting into until they are there.

I didn't. My husband expected me to immediately understand children even though he got to learn about them over years as they grew, I walked in to 8 & 10 year old personalities.

He also made it VERY clear that I was not a parent. They were NOT my kids. I had no say in any part of their lives. He was thankful when I did things for HIS kids, but I was never a 'Mother'. For Mother's day he did get me a card, but said he'd looked for ones that said stepmother and couldn't find one (it's actually celebrated on a different day.) He'd said he'd considered writing it in. Later we did start to feel like a family at times and I definitely did relish that and treasure those moments. But my true status was still something very present.

I'm not saying he did any of this viciously by any means. But it can be very hard to be exposed to someone else's family sense on a regular basis and not be a complete part of it. I had friends having babies and actually went through a spell where I really wanted one of my own. I wanted to share this thing with my husband that he had shared with another woman. I wanted to bring life into this world. I wanted to raise a son/daughter to know that part of life.

So, I think a lot depends on who your partner is. Also, age of the kids can make a huge difference. I didn't connect with them like someone who had seen them grow from infants.

One other thing. My husband and I are now divorced. I love those kids and my heart breaks to know this, but I will never see them again. I've lost my 'family'. Biological children are always a part of your life.

So it's not a comment that the child is not worth something. It's a comment on how little the step-mom-without-bio-children feels she is worth.

Bella

I love my stepdaughter with all my heart and I will always do what's best by her even if it means forgoing things I wanted because, yes, I did choose to be in a relationship with a man who had a child.

But she HAS a biological mother. A mother who I know for a fact would lose it if she ever heard that I was going around claiming that I was no longer "childless" just because I was a part-time caregiver to her child. There are idisyncracies of being childless, a bio-parent, or a step-parent, and all have gray areas that overlap.

I can see where you are coming from, and its true in some cases, but I think you are assigning too many motives to what is, in general, just a blanket term.

My SD is a joy to my life and just because I use the term "childless stepmom" doesn't mean I don't step up to the plate everytime she has needed me, and I won't hesitate to do so in the future. But I can't claim her as my daughter anymore than I expect her to call me her mother. We fulfill roles in each others life that are just as special, but in a different way than a typical biological connection. She's my little rockstar princess and I'm her mommy-step.

Tish

Wow. I'm trying not to be offended. I agree with Willow's response. I am a step-mother without biological children, or a child legally mine, if you want to be picky about it.

Please try and see another point of view. A less narrow view. I'm a "childless Step-mom". Having a 'child' and having a 'step-child' are two different things. I love my step-daughter with all my heart. But she is NOT my child. I'm sure her MOTHER would be very upset if I referred to HER child as mine. This is a FACT and does not mean that I think my step-daughter doesn't count!!! What an awful thing to say!
My step-daughter loves me very much and if when she introduces me and her mom is she supposed to say "this is my mom, and this is my other mom."?? Cuz with your logic, if she doesn't, she's looking me in my eyes and telling me I don't count because she referred to me as her step-mother.

I'm not ashamed to call myself her 'step' mother. I don't think that I need to drop the step in step-child to validate my relationship and love for her. Do you? Like for me to truly love her I have call her MY child not step-child? If I love my sister-in-law do I have to call her my sister and list her as a sibling?

I think every situation is different. If you have a step-child (excuse me-'child') that refers to you as her mom and you refer to her as your child, great! It works for your family. Please keep the fact that every family (especially step-family) is different in mind. I'm sorry that you feel that the 'step' part is somehow a less worthy role that you have to drop it to feel that you love your extended family.

Jenne

Oh, dear.

First, thank you - all of you - for your well thought out comments. Well said, well put, great stuff.

I feel like I should clarify some things - but instead I'll just say that I hear what each of you is saying. I agree with almost everything that is said.

I do get it. I really do.

Thanks for the comments,

J'

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