This is not a Bonus Mom

  1. Bsearcy81 says:

    Thank you. I needed to read this today. I’ve been a step mom for 5 years, but I still get caught up in the mama drama at times. This post is still true no matter how highly conflicted the parental relationships are. I have found that the best thing I can do is air my opinion/preferences/concerns to my husband and then let him handle it. I have the right to say no to somethings that only effect my home “there will be no jumping on the couch” but otherwise I am out of it. Wow, I could go on, but upon your advice, I will choose silence.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ha! I get it. I think you’re totally going about it the right way- and it’s never an easy role. Acceptance of that fact is key! 🙂

  2. Smattos1985 says:

    I am not a stepmother but I come from a blended family. I have a stepmother who really wanted nothing to do with me and my sister. I also have a stepfather and I use that word loosely who is more my dad than my biological one. I call him dad and he has never treated me like I was a stepchild. He never took a step back in my life he was front and center just like my mom. I appreciate that more than anything. I don’t understand why we have to seperate stepparents and biological parents. Your a parent all the same.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think it’s simply important to let the KIDS take the lead on what you are to them. Too many stepmoms in particular seem to be insistent on defining their role in their stepchildren’s lives themselves. And I say that only after ten years of being a stepmom, reading books on it, writing about it, talking to counselors and other stepmoms about it, etc. I feel that I can speak with some authority on it now- and look back and see mistakes I made that I now see other stepmoms making.

  3. Heather says:

    I think that each situation is different. I was front and center in my both of daughter’s lives.  Although, they are my stepchildren, they are not called that and never will be called that…..and they call me Mom.  I came into their lives when one was 13 and the other was 11 and they have lived with us the whole time.  It has been difficult and it has been crazy and it has been fun…and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. They ARE my children and forever will be.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s great, but I’m sure you’re also prepared for your stepdaughters to NOT think of you as mom at some point. That day may never come, but I see a lot of stepmoms lose it when it does- and the fact is, we really have no recourse or right to ask that it be any different. My girls are an integral part of my family forever, but the type of relationship we have, particularly now that they’re older, has to largely be up to them, as weird as that seems to me as a mother.

  4. Melissa says:

    You’re right. In today’s world, it’s all about lookin’ out for Number One. But in blended family situations, Number One has to take a backseat. I just read another blog this morning about blended families and that mom made the same point – it’s not about YOU, it’s about THE KIDS. And that means takin’ the high road and keepin’ yer mouth shut sometimes (*ahem*LeAnn*ahem*). Or a lot of the time. I’ve observed that divorce situations go smoothest when each party puts the kids first and acts like *gasp!* adults. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed. I find that there’s some sort of expectation from new stepmoms that they’re going to be the BEST OTHER MOM EVER, and that generally just ends up making everyone feel resentful and conflicted. It’s not easy to admit, but it’s true!  If a stepmother can quickly and easily shift into a supporting, sometimes background role, I think that in the long run, everyone benefits. But that’s easier said than done!

  5. Boricua_keya says:

    Thats the best advice I have heard on that subject and situation. Some may encourage to OVER do it. You can become annoying and then YOU’RE the problem to everyone, then you have no defense for yourself. Some people LOVE drama. They create it, they harvest it and then they dish it out whenever the smallest of opportunities presents itself. Thats not how you strengthen the family bond or handle those sensitive situations. You go it right Lindsay. Said the kid with 2 step parents. You have to have some sort of dignity and poise. Silence is key.

    • Anonymous says:

      I have two stepparents, too, so I’ve tried to take my feelings as a stepdaughter into account now that I’m a stepmom. Even in the best of times, a blended family is still at its roots a flawed situation and it will never be perfect. Too many people take too long to realize that fact. 😀

  6. Anonymous says:

    I just love your take on things. I am not in this situation, but I just feel like your advice is important and something to listen to even if it doesn’t apply 🙂

    Jenna
    callherhappy.com

  7. Cooperone says:

    Well stated Lindsay.  I wish someone had given my stepmother some pointers 40 years ago, not that she would have listened…

  8. Nancy Syzdek says:

    I have a friend who became a stepmom when she married a man with two teens. She carries a tremendous load of resentment for the kids’ mom who ended the marriage after a long period of adultery. My friend was very wounded when the girl child recently married and rekindled the relationship with her birth mother and neglected her during the momentous occasion. I’m not sure what to say to my friend. I understand her hurt, but I can also see how a young bride can get swept up in “her day” and make thoughtless faux pas that hurt family members. I worry that my friend is so burdened with resentment, but it seems to be a load she wants to carry. 

    • Anonymous says:

      I think that’s a load a LOT of stepmoms carry. I’ve personally had times when my stepdaughters really seemed to want me to play the mom role and times when they definitely didn’t. Over the years, I’ve just learned to not take it personally, and to stop trying to define my role in their lives. I just try to do the very best I can every day- period. I can’t predict or control everyone else’s actions, only my own.  It sounds like your friend could benefit from doing that when and if she’s ready.

  9. Jennifer Longs says:

    My dad remarried my first year in college, and I could have given my new stepmom exactly this advice. One thing to add, though: give me one-on-one time with my dad. Don’t horn in on all my opportunities to have him all to myself.

    • Anonymous says:

      Oooh, I totally agree. I’ve actually had to remind my husband of this– he likes to do everything as a family, but I’ve really encouraged him as the girls have gotten older to schedule hikes and dinners and other things with just the two of them. I also try to do things with the older girls and leave the little ones with a babysitter, because when small children are along, they inevitably take center stage. When the girls were in high school, we even took summer vacations with just them and left the little ones with my parents, for this very reason.

    • Heather R says:

      My hubby had a talk w/a friend of his. His wife would hog time & MADE him leave an amazing softball tournament game once. Once she wouldnt let him bring his kids on vacation we went on but HER kids came. He said ?”Maybe your kids are acting up bc they want time w/you. My wife always understood when I had my weekends that I wanted a few hrs alone”. He went roller or ice skating, to her games, to the mall, movies, etc. Dads HAVE to have that time.

  10. Patti says:

    I’m 5 years into be a stepmom.  I have a 21 year SS and 17 year old SD.  They have lived with their father since his divorce, and us as a couple since our marriage.  I was introduced to my husband well after he was divorced.  The details of the divorce and subsequent living arrangements aren’t mine to tell – I wasn’t there when it happened.  I can only say that 10 years after the divorce, there was a reason the kids remained with him, and those reasons still remain. My husband struggled for several years to keep up with the scout meetings, the recitals, the concerts, teacher conferences, and tried to keep their lives normal.  When I joined our family, I jumped right in and did what needed to be done so that there was balance and my husband didn’t have to do it all.  I never ever represented myself as anyone other than their stepmother and made sure if someone wasn’t clear on that point, they were by the time our conversation was over. To this day if I introduce myself to new friends, teachers, or whomever, as their “wicked stepmother” with a grin!  I am the stepmother who attends teacher conferences with my husband, because he isn’t the only one helping with homework.  I have cheered extra loud at a soccer game or band performance, so if my husband couldn’t leave work to attend, they knew someone was there for them.  I simply filled any role that their mother couldn’t and never said anything other than “I don’t know” if either of them asked why Mom wasn’t there.  I didn’t do it so that I would be praised or lauded. It was not for their mother to be criticized or held in judgment.  I did it for my SD and SS.  We have always encouraged them to spend time with their mother, to have a relationship with her. My SD does, my SS does not.  And I don’t judge either one or change my relationship with either of them because of their decision.  I stay in my place.  But yes, if I’m honest, in my private moments, I’ve cried.  I’ve fretted and wrung my hands. And I’ve gone to that future wedding, where I wonder what my role will be? Will I be neglected too?  However much I disagree with the choices their mother has made or how she lives her life, my opinion does not matter.  She is their mother, not me, and I will respect her for that.  They love her and they should. I married at 39 and knew that I probably would have children of my own and I was very ok with that.  I am the one that got the “bonus” on this one.  A gift, really.  Two kids who have given me everything I never knew I wanted or needed.  And you know what?  I don’t need to be the Mom.   I am very keenly aware of my role in their lives.  On very good days they thank me.  When really? I should be thanking them.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is wonderful, Patti. This to me is the epitome of being a stepmom- stepping in when you’re needed and stepping out when you’re not. I’ve definitely done my share of both, too, and it is HARD to not let your emotions and sense of self-worth hinge on how you’re being treated. It’s something that I’ve had to learn to do over time. 🙂

  11. I love this post. I became a stepmom to three boys when I was only 26 and they were 16, 13 and 10. Figuring out where I fit in was difficult. I probably tried too hard to be their friend at first and that backfired. I was also too overwhelmed by the whole thing in the beginning to try to be their mom, which turned out to be a good thing. They didn’t need another mom—just another adult to was there when they needed them and knew when to back off when they didn’t. I endured a few, “I don’t have to because you’re not my mom!” episodes, which hurt because even though I knew they weren’t mine I had invested myself in their well-being. Over time, though, we all developed a pretty good relationship with one another. Thirteen years later they depend on me as much as they do their parents.

    And the best part? One Mother’s Day I received a beautiful card from their mom telling me how much she appreciates how well I treat her kids and thanking me for that.

  12. 14gabby1414 says:

    I am a step mom. The best advice I ever heard (which I remind my husband of when needed) “You need to Love your kids more than you hate your ex” With this as your compass you will always make the best decisions FOR THE KIDS. I agree with most everything written.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s a good one! My favorite is “You can’t fix what you didn’t break,” which works for me but not LeAnn, unfortunately– since she actually DID break it!

      • Guest says:

        That’s the thing that riles me up the most about this — as you pointed out, she’s the one responsible for the parents breaking up. And, dare I say it…. I don’t think she and Mr. Cibrian will be “forever”, either.

      • Bella says:

        Maybe she did. But Eddie wasn’t in her face saying “I am in love with my wife, please leave me alone!” now was he? And do we all really know what went on behind closed doors with him and Brandi? It always takes two to break-up any relationship. Or even three. But I agree with all the step parent advice. I am one myself.

  13. Joni says:

    Beautifully said. Leann doesn’t seem to realize (or perhaps care) how graceless she is with respect to the mom and children. Brandi has my sympathy for having to deal with the narcissism.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think they’re both at fault, however one is the mom and one is not. The mother should always take precedence over the stepmom, particularly if she’s around and involved like Brandi is. And LeAnn should be smart enough to realize that.

  14. Heidi Menges says:

    I agree! I have been a stepmom for 10 yrs and am now a grandma. I don’t talk about the biological mom, I have never met her so what do I have to say. I just try to do what needed and keep my nose out of any drama.

  15. Lisa C says:

    I do not have a step parent, but my children have a stepmom and a stepdad. It’s not always been an easy relationship and it is very hard to not sometimes worry that you as the mom will be pushed out of the picture and replaced. I really feel for Brandi on this.

    Their stepdad is sometimes more of a dad to my kids than their father, based on that he is in the picture full time and their dad is not. But at the same time he never tries to replace their dad. He knows that one day he won’t be the one to walk my daughter down the isle. He is more of a friend to my teen son than a father to dictate what he does. I appreciate the fact that my children can approach him as a friend when maybe they feel they cannot talk to a parent. To add we are not even famous but he would never post pictures or statements about my children on social media without asking.

    I think this article was very well written and so very true. A step parent doesn’t mean you are being stepped on, it means you’ve stepped into their lives. This is a good thing. My children have one mom and one dad, and they are lucky to have other adults in their lives that care for them.Leann should take this to heart and stop publicizing the children she frequently states she cares about. They are not hers to exploit. I wish Eddie had more balls to enforce this. At this rate they won’t be together long because the children will start to resent it and so will their father.

    Great article!

  16. Guest says:

    I’ve been a step mom for 3 years and I feel
    like you took the words out of my mouth! Thank you!

     

    Yes,
    there have been times that I have felt left out, when I wished my stepson
    loved me as much as he loves his parents…..but I try to remember that just
    because I’m not his Mom, doesn’t mean I can’t be a solid adult presence in his
    life. I love him unconditionally and I let him know that, while making sure he
    understands I’m not trying to be another parent.

     

    When
    dealing with the biomom, I’ve found it’s best to think of her as a part of our
    family. Part of marrying into a blended family is understanding that I’m also
    marrying his ex (and her new husband and daughter). I defer to her always and
    don’t give my opinion unless I’m specifically asked. When she and my husband
    have a disagreement (admittedly rare) I try to stay neutral and support them
    both. I think she has seen that I respect her and her place in my family and in
    return I have earned her respect. She includes me in parenting discussions and
    decisions and we have a great working relationship.

     

    I
    have made mistakes along the way, but I truly think that respecting the mother
    of your stepchildren is really, really important. 

    • Guest says:

      I absolutely agree.  While pregnant with my child, I asked DSDs mother how she’d like me to handle any questions that DSD may have.  I think that’s just the way it should be done. 

    • Maria says:

      First off NO Mother should be referred to as BIO mom. SHE IS MOM. ur only a step for as long as ur marriage works then it’s all about Next!! STEPS need to know their roles and respect. When dealing with the REAL MOM because that is who she is..THE REAL MOTHER. Their is a reason why STEP have such a bad reputation..it’s because they think they can disrespect the REAL Mother n or take her place. Most kids want their parent back together. And yes there are some good STEP parents around but not that many..

  17. Guest says:

    Bravo.  I’m a new to stepmom-dom, but I’ve known her for many years.  I completely agree with what you have written.  I stand back and just let things happen and step in when need be.  I may not agree with everything her parents (that includes my husband) do, but it’s easy to jst go along with things.  My stepdaughter has even noticed that and commented on it.  She said many of her friends dont have the same situation and she’s lucky.   I’ll just say that not all family members are as easy going with the situation, and I just feel lucky that her mom is as supportive of me as much as I am of her.

  18. Vicki Sita says:

    I know how lucky I am to go into a marriage with a stepdaughter who looks at me this way, but it is SO hard not to daydream about actually being the mom to my boyfriend’s 9-year-old. Especially when she constantly expresses how difficult it is for her to live with her mom and how much she wants to live with us instead. It’s even harder when she randomly refers to me as “mom” to get a reaction and tells me she wishes I were her mom. From reading your blog, I know one day I won’t have that affirmation of those feelings in a few years. So of course I feel like the Evil Stepmother when I tell her she can’t call me mom…like I’m taking for granted and brushing away her feelings for me. To say it’s a tough position to be in is an understatement.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well, every situation is different. Enjoy these years while you have them, and be prepared for ANYTHING to happen down the road- good or bad. I think as long as you’re ready and willing to take a step back and not take it personally if and when it’s necessary, you’re good. 🙂

  19. Louann Blocker says:

    It doesn’t seem helpful to call a child’s mother their biomom or birth mother. These terms mean a mother who has not had a role in their children’s lives, such as giving them up for adoption. The term for the children’s mother is mother, not biomom or birth mother. I don’t have children but if I did I’d get a little miffed if I heard myself described as biomom.

  20. Sandi says:

    I’m not a step mom, but I certainly know some. This is great advice! 

  21. I have been an *Evil Step Mom* for 11 years. We have called me that from the start. It was a tension breaker and allowed some fun to come into the title. Mainly he calls me by my first name. When speaking to the younger children he refers to me as Mom (go ask Mom). 
    He is now 23 and has had some pretty hard things happen in his few years. The thing is at 3am when he needed to talk he called ME! My cell phone, not his dad’s or his mom’s. He said I needed someone to talk to that would listen and not judge. I know you would be there for me no matter what time. That is the biggest and best compliment any step parent can get IMO. I love him like my own birth children yes. But the tone of our relationship was always set by him. 
    That is not to say he walked over me or didn’t respect me. He was told he would treat me like any other adult. Sure we had some disagreements when he lived with us. Mainly normal teenage stuff like he didn’t take out the trash as he was told kind of thing. But he was always treated just like every other kid that lived with us. Some ours, some not. With love, respect and fairness. 
    I agree I am the one who got the Bonus. Not the other way around.

  22. Candy says:

    I can’t believe I just discovered you on the Stir and not The Nashville
    Scene! I agree 1000%.  Leann &
    the mother make me sick. These boys will grow up to see all of this junk
    on the internet.  And if they’re putting it out there for the whole
    world to see, what are they saying behind closed doors that little ears
    are hearing?

    I’m not a Step Mom, yet, but my boyfriend’s children think of me that
    way.  I’m so fortunate to be friends with their Mothers, (2
    different Moms.)  I respect them because they have done a great job
    with their children.  I’ve thought about starting a family style blog
    but it would be boring since we don’t have any drama.  Instead, I opened
    a SmugMug account to share pictures with all of our family.  I have a
    pretty awesome camera!  Mom #2 calls me her personal photographer. 
    She’s usually the team coach and I’m on the sidelines taking pictures. 
    Every season we get comments like “You’re friends? That’s cool!” or
    “That’s weird…”  Really? It’s 2011!  I know every situation can’t be
    this way but people need to try, put the past behind you when it comes
    to your children.

    As far as parenting, I try to stay in the background and defer to the
    Moms & Dad as to what needs to be done.  I liked the comment that
    someone made about just being another adult around for support.

    I grew up with a Step Mother, who I love very much but it was never a
    good relationship between my Mom, my Dad & her.  My Dad’s fault. 

    Wake up people, it’s not about you, IT’S ABOUT THE KIDS!

  23. Charlenethewicked says:

    Lindsay,

    While I agree with you on many points in your blog, I think it would benefit everyone to learn the origin of the term “step” and how this actually means to “take the place of” the parent. When the biological parent is very much a part of the child’s life (or children’s, as the case may be), it is more accurate to use the word bonus.  I consider myself a bonus in my bonus daughters’ lives and they feel the same.

    I agree that this is such a touchy subject, because adolescent children are at stake.

    I do find it interesting that you say you love them like they’re your kids yet have no parental take on things.  I also find it interesting that you say that you imply stepmothers should put their feelings aside and that they only care about their feelings.  As a woman who grew up feeling like a parentified child to her own mother, I sought out other “mother” figures and I would not be where I am today had some of those women not taken on a parenting role where my mother was incapable.

    What I’m trying to point out here is that not everything is black and white.  Sure, perhaps there are some bonus mothers out there who behave solely according to their own feelings, voids, needs, etc.  However, not all do so.  Sure, perhaps there are bonus children out there who would prefer the bonus mother to take more of a back seat. However, there are also plenty of bonus mothers who are extremely selfless and struggle with sitting by while a child is being emotionally, physically, or verbally harmed by their very own mother.  There are also plenty of bonus children out there who would much rather prefer for all of their parents (including those by marriage) to be equally involved and all get along.

    I’m curious, have you talked to adult children of blended families and/or read any research on this subject to back up your one-size-fits-all opinions?

    Kind regards,
    Charlene the Wicked

  24. MyOpinion says:

    What a wonderful article. I did the same thing that Leann did, I decided I was much more important that mom. How wrong I was! Nothing, and no one will ever take Mom’s place in a child’s life. Nor should we try as step parents. We are certainly not bonus mom’s!

  25. anon says:

    Be warned–Leann sends C & D letters to all of the bloggers that write articles like this, so don’t be surprised when you get one. I believe her lawyer’s name is Larry.

  26. JustMe says:

    As a child who has had step parents on both sides I would never call either a bonus. I was blessed with a wonderful step-dad. Not having a great relationship with my father, I had my step-dad give me away when I married (both times, ha) but he never replaced by father. My step-dad raised me since I was 10 and I am very happy about that but he never TRIED to replace my father. My father was a real mean guy and did some terrible things but not once in my life has my step-dad ever said a bad word around me about him. I love my step-dad very much and has made me the person I am today. He has been there for me and I have never once doubted his love for me. My step-dad knows how I feel and loves me no matter what and that is what a great step-parent is.

  27. Heather R says:

    I grew up w/a s-mom that I called mom. Long complicated story but my mom lost custody & she had the every other wkend. So I think there are circumstances that are different. Leann’s is NOT one of those! I am a s-mom x20 yrs since I was age 19. I get along w/my hubs ex. Sure there were awkward times but it’s never been horrible. She watched my kids when I was going 1 1/2 hrs to DC 3 days a week when my mother was dying. A few yrs ago her car broke down w/her 2 kids & my s-dtr (who was now 19 or 20). We were going to dinner & I said “Ya know. Lets just go check on them. Its only a few mins away.” I could tell he wanted to but didn’t want to break our dinner plans. Every s-mom KNOWS the unsaid rules. Theyre hard to follow bc they’re not natural. Encourage & facilitate a healthy relationship btw them. Buy xmas, mother’s day & bday gifts for her. Sometimes you won’t get recognition & its not about you. Encourage from the background. There are steps & building blocks that take time. You have to put in the work. Over time you can all three work together but initially its them two. YOU ARE NOT A PRIORITT. Be consistent & never let kids see your frustration. Ever. DONT give yourself a name the day after you get married like bonusmom. I’m Heather. And my s-dtr has ALWAYS called me Heather. Those are the rules. What I find w/blogs & sites is women who go against those rules. Show me a woman who goes against the rules and has a healthy rel-ship w/hubs ex and I’ll eat my words! Its SO much better when kids can have everyone together & not have to choose. No matter what age they are. That’s what is SO wrong w/Leann Rimes. Shes gone against ALL those rules & as a s-mom who values my “work” it pisses me off. Its disrespectful to Brandi, EDDIE & BRANDI’s kids NOT hers, & fellow moms & s-moms. People sympathize w/Brandi. And Leann doesn’t care and will NEVER learn.

  28. Bre Williamson says:

    Wow. I have got to say something. Other then the fact that LeeAnn Rimes is a home wrecker , I couldn’t disagree with you more. You should never have to back off! You are their father/mothers partner! And also, “step” just sounds negative and weird , so that’s why bonus mom is used. Simple as that. It’s a term. Holy crap. My half siblings call my mom “Mom.” I’m not saying that needs to be said, but jeez. It is just a word. I like it. When you think of your step children , don’t you think of them as a bonus ? That’s why it’s used.

  29. Lala says:

    I wanted to read this article, I really did.

    But I couldn’t continue after reading this line:

    “…you’re actually the one that ended the relationship between the real mom and dad”
    First- LeAnn did not end a relationship between Eddie and Brandi (Lawd knows I love me some Brandi, especially drunken inappropriate Brandi since she reminds me so much of me, lol). Let’s clarify: LeAnne made no commitment to this woman, Eddie did; literally when he put a ring on it. Therefore, HE ended the marital relationship AND broke that home apart that HE and BRANDI (not LeAnn) built for whatever many years. Was she a participant in the brake-up? by association OF COURSE! But she owes NOTHING to Brandi, just like Eddie owes nothing to LeAnn’s ex husband.
    Second- It is women like you who make stepmoms feel less-than. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE get off your condescending horse with the “real” parent preface. Whether you want to acknowledge it or not, stepmoms/dads are “real” parents as well. They may not be refered to as “mom/dad,” but for as long as they do the things mom/dad do, then let’s all cut the cr-p with the “sure you can financially contribute to my child, accept all my bagagge and bullsht, but you’re not a real parent” banter. Ironically enough, if a stepmom does not participate in the children’s lives, then she’s a cold-hearted biotch. And if she does, then she is trying to replace “real” mom. In essence, people like yourself expect stepmom’s investment in the kids’ lives to be one-sided and automatic. The whole “step-in when you’re needed and back off when you aren’t” is the very thing that sets up people for resentment, some would call it “feeling used.” But I digress.
    Thirdly, I, too, avoid stepmom/biomom sites. Why? Because it’s usually just another platform for people to justify their own agenda/opinions.
    When in my home I parent my stepdaughters the same way I parent my child. Period. The girls are the children of the home. I may not be their mom, but I am their parent.
    Cheers,
    A “Bio” & Step mama to three little munchkins 🙂

  30. Maria says:

    I have watched this whole saga of Leann play out. And I feel she overstepped her boundiries. As a mom of young girls I just can’t imagine marrying the love of my life then giving birth to these beautiful babies and having someone just disregard me and completely try to take my place. People get divorced everyday. But the way she handled the situation was very disturbing. From the pics to claiming that she is proud of the family that her and Eddie built. She is shameful and gives stepmom’s a bad name. There are wonderful stepmom’s and stepdad’s out there who respect the parents. Leann is a vindictive brat. I cringe when she does countless interviews and brings up the boys clearly to hurt Brandi. It’s never going to end because she is stunted and has no remorse for the damage she caused. And why does Eddie allow her to use the kids to to get even with the mom of his children

  31. Marie says:

    I know I’m commenting on an ancient post, but I just wanted to let you know that this and your 10 Brutal Truths have helped me immensely today and moving forward. I am in a brand new relationship with a man who has a son, so I’m not even the stepmother yet, but we are already having co-parenting discussions and, frankly, some small problems. My boyfriend has 75% custody and his mother lives with him to help care for the son, which is really great for all of us, but not without its struggles. Your articles have been the most honest and helpful I could find, so thank you. I will be paying attention in the future!

  32. Hlukhard says:

    I met my husband 6 wks after graduation. He was 6 yrs older & my s-dtr was 4 & 1/2 at the time I met him. His and his ex were always amicable for the most part. I grew up with a SM I called mom. I lived with my dad & visited mom every other wkend. I saw my parents have to do everything we lawyers but I also saw them decide to be friends…bc it was in MY best interest. My mom came in my house & sat and talked. Incidentally our family originates from TN & that’s how EVERYONE did it. I’ve always voiced my opinion to my husband but knew that the decision making was theirs to make & theirs alone. I’m not an equal. My job is to make it EASIER for my husband to coparent. I’ve bought bday, Christmas & mother’s day gifts & watch them deliver it saying they bought it. A stepmoms job is not going to receive credit. If you want that you’ll be sadly disappointed. No matter what a mother has done she will ALWAYS be number 1 to her children. Mine lost custody bc of some mistakes when younger but I loved my time with her. She had 3 or 5 things in the fridge, disconnected cable & no money but we had a blast! You will never take her place with spoilings, bribes, or money. I’ve been lucky that my husbands ex values me & always knows I have my s-dtr interest at heart. She even scolded my husband when my s-dtr went home mad bc I mad her clean her room. He apologized to her & she said “She needs to listen at your house same as she does here. You need to let Heather do what she needs to do”. That was early on and I SO valued that. She picked my children up from daycare when they were 2 & 3 when I used to travel 3 days a wk when my mom was in hospice. She’d bathe them & feed them & watch them til my husband could pick them up. The daycare thought that was the wildest thing. It doesn’t end when they turn 18. My s-dtr is almost 29 now & married with a 5 yr old. I still see the ex. I was recently diagnosed with some tumors and the ex was quick to express her sadness. We are friends now. Yet still…I go thru her or my hubby for decisions. I am treated as an equal bc I’ve put in the time and built upon the relationship. Bonus mom is a word that should’ve NEVER been coined. And those who scream it the day they get married are vile. You’re a woman who married a man with children. That’s it. Roll up your sleeves, prepare for a lot of work to be put in, take a backseat with some humble pie. There’s no word for it that encompasses everything. But THAT’S what you are.

    • Kristin says:

      EVERY SITUATION IS DIFFERENT. There is no one right way and things will change a lot over time.

      I’m a stepmom and I have a stepmom. She was a good stepmom and I know I’m a good stepmom too. However, I stepparent very differently than my stepmom did because we are very different people and our situations and family members are not the same.

      I have only one piece of advice from having been a stepkid. The kids need to know that their parent (your partner) loves and adores them. Help foster that and your half way there.

      And for the record, I cheer loudly at my stepkiddos’ sporting events, because I cheer loudly at sporting events. I’m just being me and I know that authentic me is the best stepmom I can be

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