Are we stepparents or are we family?



Earlier this week if you follow my Facebook page, you’ll remember my posting about some educated and experience stepmother’s in this world have very firm ideas of where the line is drawn in parenting.

In The Erin Experiment, a blog post written in 2010 she writes:

“Regardless of if the Bio-Mom is a crack head and Dad is an emotionally unavailable dork, a very important rule to remember for stepmom sanity is that you are not Mom or Dad – do your best to not act like one. “

and goes on to say in next exercise to be a more content Step-Mom that:

“As women, we’re going to trend to want to swoop in and rescue the children when life has dealt them a blow. If you’re making phone calls to the doctor’s office because Dad can’t be bothered or remember, step away from the telephone and write down what it is you’re doing and how you’re feeling. What you may start to notice is how much you’re doing for them and not for you.”

While I can appreciate her point of view and can see a validity to a certain extent – respectfully I disagree. If you are a parent to another child besides your stepchild – don’t you do these things already? Don’t you schedule appointments, make lunches, take and pickup from daycare, feed clothe and bath anyhow? Wouldn’t it seem kind of bitchy to not do for all the same?

I couldn’t imagine having my stepson come to me and need something, and for my response to be “okay sweetie, well daddy is not in at the moment, but I will write this down and when he gets home I will let him know”.  Fat chance, for three reasons. First – he is a child, and may child on our weeks, and I refuse to make him feel any less of a part of our family. Second, it’s not his fault his parents split up – he doesn’t deserve the third wheel treatment. Third, because I am an overachiever damn-it and I want to provide, support and love this little boy – who cares if I get stressed for 5 extra minutes – I’ll live!

In a home where they live by separate rules, separate families – in my opinion it does just that – Separates. Blending a family is hard enough without adding in what can and can’t be done, and by whom – its best to do your  best, love your best and treat all children the same. The kids don’t know the difference anyways – they know that in this house there is you and they know you take care of what they need and that all that matters. And, our spouses need us too – we all need help from someone at some point.

I realize life isn’t fair or easy – but when it can be – it should be.  When I took my kiddos school clothes shopping, the youngest isn’t in school yet and brother and sister were trying on shoes, he looked at me with bis big blue eyes and with his teeny squeaky little soft voice said “Mommy do I get new school shoes too”? When I said yes to him his heart damn near jumped out of his chest and he was so excited!! Now do you think that was because he got new shoes, or because he got to be involved and do what brother and sister were doing? I think it’s partly both, but more so the being involved.

How do you think he would have felt, if instead I said – “Oh honey, I’m sorry you’ll have to ask daddy when he gets home or have your mommy do it for you?”

See you next post – Jess  blog post image used for blog.

3 thoughts on “Are we stepparents or are we family?

  1. I can see the benefit of both ideas, but a marriage is about love, communication, and support. If my husband doesn’t have time to do the laundry, dishes, or take out the garbage, I pick up the slack. If I don’t have time for it, he picks up the slack. When I decided to marry a man who had two children, I knew that his responsibilities extended beyond those of a person without children, and I support him and share in his responsibilities when he needs that support and assistance. That being said, I do not do all of the work for him, and I do not attend any meetings between my husband and his ex regarding the children. I understand that all decisions are ultimately his and hers to make, however, he shows me when he wants my opinion by asking for it. If a child is living in your home, their biological parent may not always be available to make the decision. If he’s standing in the room, I frequently tell the boys to ask him, because it is his right as their biological father to make decisions for them, even if we disagree on the decision. Additionally, the last line about realizing your doing more for them than yourself just horrify’s me. Should everything we do be only for ourselves? I don’t think so. Lastly, I believe separating the step parent from the family hurts everyone. The children will be confused regarding the role of the step parent. When the boys are with us, they tell me they love me, they hug me, and they call me mom. I know they are happy and comfortable with us because they are open with their affection and emotions. I think this would be different if I couldn’t make any decisions or do things for them.


  2. Hi Jezz,

    I like your post, and completely agree with you that s stepchild should never feel like not a part of the family. It is not their fault their parent split up and they deserve our love!
    However, I can see the message The Erin’s Experiment blog post was trying to send. I have not got my own children (not by choice), and stepping away from what is happening around me at times and having a think about it, is the way to go forward. I love my stepkids more than anything, but we all have moment where the door need to slammed at each other.


    1. I too can see her perspective while stepping away and out from it. Hopefully I will soon learn and be better at taking a minute to think and step away from the issue to better handle it! Thank you for the great advice! Please visit on Facebook if you haven’t already!


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