Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Stepmom Central Stepmom Central

Anyone else frustrated being called "step"?

Posted by on Jul. 5, 2014 at 3:49 AM
  • 228 Replies
2 moms liked this

Mo is my oldest child, and she happens to be my stepchild. Her father and I began dating when she was 1 1/2. I felt it was important for me to keep myself separated from her for a while. I didn't want her to get attached to me or I to her until I knew things would work between her father and I. We moved in together a little less than a year later, and we got pregnant shortly after that. I was often left alone with her to care for her when my husband went to work and while BM was working. After the birth of my A, my daughter, Mo started trying to call me mom more. She was 3 and I felt she was too young to call me mom. I felt she couldn't possibly understand why she should or shouldn't call me that. When she was 4 she told my husband and I that BM was making her call BM's boyfriend daddy. She was upset about this because we wouldn't let her call me "mommy" and because she didn't want my husband to be mad. When Mo was 5 she broke down crying when she called me mom and I corrected her. I asked her why it was so important to call me mommy, and she told me it was because she loves me and I do so much "cool" stuff with her. At this point my husband and I decided if it was important to her to call me mom that we would both allow it. My husband and I were married by this point, and we felt if she was old enough to verbalize why she wanted to call me mom then she was old enough to make the decision herself. BM was not happy about it, and made a big stink about it but eventually was forced to learn to deal with it.
I feel angry sometimes when people I don't know well (parent's of kids in her class, friends of friends, BM's mom, my husband's mom" call BM her "real" mom. I potty trained Mo, I taught her the alphabet, colors, and numbers. I've comforted her during illness, cried with her, laughed with her, taken her to special events, disciplined her, and lover her unconditionally. What makes her BM any more "real" of a mother than me? I understand the difference in bonding. Sometimes I'm jealous that I never got a chance to carry her in my womb, or breastfeed her, or do any of the things that I had the opportunity to do with my two other kids. Am I alone in this type of relationship? Is anyone else ever frustrated by lack of recognition for the mothering you do to "stepchildren" or even by being called a "step parent"? I feel like step implies less than, and to me she is just as much my child as any of the kids who I have birthed.

by on Jul. 5, 2014 at 3:49 AM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
AnnieChristian_
by on Jul. 5, 2014 at 4:29 AM
7 moms liked this
I'm confused as to why you would be so upset by the "step" when you say you discouraged her from calling you Mom/Mommy for 5 years?

I don't believe "step" implies that you are less, you just are not her biological mother - you're a SM. I take pride in what I am to my SKs, I'm not their BM and don't want to be, I'm happy to be their step mom.

Not trying to be rude, but it's really...really creepy that you say you're jealous you couldn't carry her in the womb and breastfeed her.
viv212
by Bronze Member on Jul. 5, 2014 at 4:39 AM
To me, you only have 1 mom. I just think it leaves a bad taste in people's mouth that she calls you mom when she has a mom, who is part of dd's life. Why should mom share that title?

But if bio mom is letting dd call her step dad dad, then obviously mom doesn't care about the sacredness of that title as well. And in that case, who knows if it was encouraged?

So yeah but when people need to be precise about your relations, you will be called SM. Let it roll off your back, since it's not what dd calls you.
khess2011
by Member on Jul. 5, 2014 at 5:14 AM
1 mom liked this


Quoting AnnieChristian_: I'm confused as to why you would be so upset by the "step" when you say you discouraged her from calling you Mom/Mommy for 5 years? I don't believe "step" implies that you are less, you just are not her biological mother - you're a SM. I take pride in what I am to my SKs, I'm not their BM and don't want to be, I'm happy to be their step mom. Not trying to be rude, but it's really...really creepy that you say you're jealous you couldn't carry her in the womb and breastfeed her.

It wasn't 5 years, it was 4.. I discouraged her until she was 5 years old. And I did that because I wanted her to understand that she didn't have to call me mom. I wanted it to be her concious decision to call me mom, not just doing it because her sister was or because she was being forced to call her step father dad. I wanted to make sure she was old enough to understand the difference between me and BM.
I'm sorry that you could ever consider wanting to have a loving bond, as being creepy. I'm sad for you that you can't be open minded enough to see what a beautiful bond that is. And I think it is rude to tell someone that wanting to feel more bonded to their child is "creepy". Being pregnant and breastfeeding gave me such a unique bond with my other two children. I'm just saying that I wish I had that same kind of unique experience with her. I think jealous may have been to strong of a term. It's really just a missed experience.
I don't want to be her BM and have never nor will never try to take her place. Her BM isn't the best, but I respect the relationship they have and the love my daughter has for her. I even try to help BM find bonding opportunities with her.
My post is more the frustration of how a lot of people view the SP's. I view our situation as her having two mom's. A bio mom, and another mom. I'm just saying that SP's are often viewed as some evil person who stole a parent away or is trying to relace a parent. My "SD" know differently. She knows that she is blessed enough to have multiple parents in her life who love her, and want to see her achieve all her dreams. She has 2 moms, and 2 dads. Not 2 steps, and 2 parents.

khess2011
by Member on Jul. 5, 2014 at 5:30 AM
2 moms liked this


Quoting viv212: To me, you only have 1 mom. I just think it leaves a bad taste in people's mouth that she calls you mom when she has a mom, who is part of dd's life. Why should mom share that title? But if bio mom is letting dd call her step dad dad, then obviously mom doesn't care about the sacredness of that title as well. And in that case, who knows if it was encouraged? So yeah but when people need to be precise about your relations, you will be called SM. Let it roll off your back, since it's not what dd calls you.

I have no problem with the preciseness when it's necessary. For instance, doctors appointments, school administration, etc. But when I am talking to a group of people about my goofy kids, and someone feels the need to clarify that I am her step mom, I feel like it is slight. For instance, my MIL felt the need while at a restaurant to correct me to a waiter when the waiter asked if they were all my children. I answered yes. And my MIL said, "Well, she's just her step-mom". I felt this was an unnecessary clarification. As far as the term "mom" being sacred, I couldn't agree more. It should be reserved for a woman who: kisses your booboo's, takes you to the doc when you are sick, is there for all your first days of school and lasts, holds you when you are sad, knows your favorites and your dislikes, sacrifices to give you the things and opportunities that you deserve, and loves you unconditionally. Those would apply to both myself and BM.
BM is okay with her calling me "mom" now. She was mainly upset because she was jealous that my relationship with Mo became so close.
But thank you for commenting and not being negative. I know our situation is somewhat unique, I just didn't know if anyone else out there is anything like us. And if so, they have the same frustrations. :)

AnnieChristian_
by on Jul. 5, 2014 at 5:34 AM
3 moms liked this
I have a loving bond with my SKs without carrying them in my womb and breast feeding. I didn't even breastfeed my own children and many mothers have not either. There are also biological moms who need surrogates to carry their children in the womb for them, that does not make these woman less bonded or less of a mother.

No need to be sorry for me that I find your statement creepy, you should be more concerned with why you feel that way. Unlike you, I don't want the bond I have with my bio children with another mother's bio children. That bond is for us to have and SKs bond with their BM is for them.

It's hard to believe you don't want to try and take the place of BM when you are basically saying you wish you had birthed her yourself - you may have this idea that kids can have two moms and two dads but two women cannot carry the same child in their womb.

Your post didn't really seem like it was about how SPs are viewed as evil because you make no reference to that. You just said you don't like when others refer to BM as her real mom when you feel that you do more. I just don't believe you should take that to heart. Those people aren't saying anything wrong, it is a fact BM is "real" mom and you are SM - that does not mean she is "better" and you are "lesser", it is just fact. Your family takes a different approach and has different ideas about step parenting and that is great if it works for you all but it's not reasonable to expect others to automatically adapt to your same line of thinking. If SD sees you as her Mommy also, that is perfectly fine but it is not realistic for you to expect people outside of her, DH and yourself to view you as SD's other mom.

Quoting khess2011:

Quoting AnnieChristian_: I'm confused as to why you would be so upset by the "step" when you say you discouraged her from calling you Mom/Mommy for 5 years?







I don't believe "step" implies that you are less, you just are not her biological mother - you're a SM. I take pride in what I am to my SKs, I'm not their BM and don't want to be, I'm happy to be their step mom.







Not trying to be rude, but it's really...really creepy that you say you're jealous you couldn't carry her in the womb and breastfeed her.

It wasn't 5 years, it was 4.. I discouraged her until she was 5 years old. And I did that because I wanted her to understand that she didn't have to call me mom. I wanted it to be her concious decision to call me mom, not just doing it because her sister was or because she was being forced to call her step father dad. I wanted to make sure she was old enough to understand the difference between me and BM.I'm sorry that you could ever consider wanting to have a loving bond, as being creepy. I'm sad for you that you can't be open minded enough to see what a beautiful bond that is. And I think it is rude to tell someone that wanting to feel more bonded to their child is "creepy". Being pregnant and breastfeeding gave me such a unique bond with my other two children. I'm just saying that I wish I had that same kind of unique experience with her. I think jealous may have been to strong of a term. It's really just a missed experience. I don't want to be her BM and have never nor will never try to take her place. Her BM isn't the best, but I respect the relationship they have and the love my daughter has for her. I even try to help BM find bonding opportunities with her. My post is more the frustration of how a lot of people view the SP's. I view our situation as her having two mom's. A bio mom, and another mom. I'm just saying that SP's are often viewed as some evil person who stole a parent away or is trying to relace a parent. My "SD" know differently. She knows that she is blessed enough to have multiple parents in her life who love her, and want to see her achieve all her dreams. She has 2 moms, and 2 dads. Not 2 steps, and 2 parents.

khess2011
by Member on Jul. 5, 2014 at 5:39 AM


Quoting AnnieChristian_: I have a loving bond with my SKs without carrying them in my womb and breast feeding. I didn't even breastfeed my own children and many mothers have not either. There are also biological moms who need surrogates to carry their children in the womb for them, that does not make these woman less bonded or less of a mother. No need to be sorry for me that I find your statement creepy, you should be more concerned with why you feel that way. Unlike you, I don't want the bond I have with my bio children with another mother's bio children. That bond is for us to have and SKs bond with their BM is for them. It's hard to believe you don't want to try and take the place of BM when you are basically saying you wish you had birthed her yourself - you may have this idea that kids can have two moms and two dads but two women cannot carry the same child in their womb. Your post didn't really seem like it was about how SPs are viewed as evil because you make no reference to that. You just said you don't like when others refer to BM as her real mom when you feel that you do more. I just don't believe you should take that to heart. Those people aren't saying anything wrong, it is a fact BM is "real" mom and you are SM - that does not mean she is "better" and you are "lesser", it is just fact. Your family takes a different approach and has different ideas about step parenting and that is great if it works for you all but it's not reasonable to expect others to automatically adapt to your same line of thinking. If SD sees you as her Mommy also, that is perfectly fine but it is not realistic for you to expect people outside of her, DH and yourself to view you as SD's other mom.
Quoting khess2011:


Quoting AnnieChristian_: I'm confused as to why you would be so upset by the "step" when you say you discouraged her from calling you Mom/Mommy for 5 years? I don't believe "step" implies that you are less, you just are not her biological mother - you're a SM. I take pride in what I am to my SKs, I'm not their BM and don't want to be, I'm happy to be their step mom. Not trying to be rude, but it's really...really creepy that you say you're jealous you couldn't carry her in the womb and breastfeed her.

It wasn't 5 years, it was 4.. I discouraged her until she was 5 years old. And I did that because I wanted her to understand that she didn't have to call me mom. I wanted it to be her concious decision to call me mom, not just doing it because her sister was or because she was being forced to call her step father dad. I wanted to make sure she was old enough to understand the difference between me and BM.I'm sorry that you could ever consider wanting to have a loving bond, as being creepy. I'm sad for you that you can't be open minded enough to see what a beautiful bond that is. And I think it is rude to tell someone that wanting to feel more bonded to their child is "creepy". Being pregnant and breastfeeding gave me such a unique bond with my other two children. I'm just saying that I wish I had that same kind of unique experience with her. I think jealous may have been to strong of a term. It's really just a missed experience. I don't want to be her BM and have never nor will never try to take her place. Her BM isn't the best, but I respect the relationship they have and the love my daughter has for her. I even try to help BM find bonding opportunities with her. My post is more the frustration of how a lot of people view the SP's. I view our situation as her having two mom's. A bio mom, and another mom. I'm just saying that SP's are often viewed as some evil person who stole a parent away or is trying to relace a parent. My "SD" know differently. She knows that she is blessed enough to have multiple parents in her life who love her, and want to see her achieve all her dreams. She has 2 moms, and 2 dads. Not 2 steps, and 2 parents.


khess2011
by Member on Jul. 5, 2014 at 6:16 AM
1 mom liked this

First of all, I'm not trying to start a breastfeeding debate. I understand that plenty of moms are able to feel just as bonded with their children without breastfeeding or being pregnant with their children. I have no issue with either breastfeeding or formula decision, as it's a personal decision that each person needs to make. (I am pro- whatever the mom feels is best.) All I'm saying is that I had that experience with my other children, and I didn't with my SD. I'm not saying I wish I had given birth to her instead of her mom, but that it's an experience that I didn't have and sometimes wish I had. Period. I don't wish to take that away from her BM, it's just something that I feel could have given me different connection. I'm not concerned that I feel that way, as it's not "creepy" or "concerning". It's no different then me wishing I had the opportunity to experience natural birth rather than c-section. It's a curiosity and wish for a experience that could make things feel differently, but that can never happen. That doesn't mean that I actually want things to be different. Honestly, I love it all the way it is. She is perfect, and had she been of my genes she would be a completely different person and I would miss her the way she is.


I am fully aware that 2 woman cannot give birth to the same child. However, I fully believe that two woman can love and mother a child. (Lesbian couples do it all the time).

I never said that BM does less and that I don't want her to be recognized as her mom. I just think the label of "real" is incorrect. I am in fact her "real" mom as well. I "really" do all the same things with her as I do with my other children. Real means: not artificial, not imaginary, not fake, and deserving to be regarded or treated in a serious way. I am "real". I am not her biological mom, but I am real. And that is what I was talking about. And that is a general thing that I hear a lot. People being referred to as not a child's "real" parent. If you take an active approach, make important decisions, and make sacarafices for them you are "real".

What I said about SP's is tied into the "real" issue. I understand that some people will need the clarification. And when it is necessary, I have no problem noting that I am her SM. Because that is my legal role. But when I am having a conversation among acquaintances, and my position as "real" is questioned I do feel I have the right to defend what I am. I may not be biological, but I'm real.

I'm glad you have a good and bonded relationship with you step children. I think it's awesome. Please don't take any of this as me saying that if you don't operate the way my family does that you don't love your step kids.

I was simply reaching out to anyone else who may have similar views, experiences, or frustrations.



whatIknownow
by Emerald Member on Jul. 5, 2014 at 6:48 AM
5 moms liked this

But, BM is her real mom. Just because your stepdaughter calls you Mom, that doesn't make you her mom. It makes you the SM who is called mom. The best thing you can do for yourself and your stepdaughter is to come to some sort of acceptance of this reality.

whatIknownow
by Emerald Member on Jul. 5, 2014 at 6:55 AM
1 mom liked this

I also noticed that in the post.

OP, your feelings of jealousy are normal for a women who has been put in a position of caring for a young child, particularly since you did not have children of your own at the time. It is natural for you to form a mother bond, and then be jealous that someone else had that bond first (and the other bond will always be stronger).  So it's healthy that you can recognize these feelings.

But the source of your frustration is not that the world views SPs as evil. It's that the world knows you are not this child's mother, and you wish you were.

So, I applaud you for delving deeper into these feelings and sorting them out. And I know it's hard to accept that the child you love *as* your own, is not your own.  But the sooner you come to terms with that, the better.

Quoting AnnieChristian_:  It's hard to believe you don't want to try and take the place of BM when you are basically saying you wish you had birthed her yourself - you may have this idea that kids can have two moms and two dads but two women cannot carry the same child in their womb. Your post didn't really seem like it was about how SPs are viewed as evil because you make no reference to that. You just said you don't like when others refer to BM as her real mom when you feel that you do more.
britney678
by Bronze Member on Jul. 5, 2014 at 6:58 AM
1 mom liked this
I really doubt you love her unconditionally. You say you do, and you probably think you do, but the minute she mouths off to you as a teenager, you are going to be back in here complaining that she is an ungrateful brat who doesn't appreciate all you did for her. You'll be pissed and wanting your DH to ship her off to mom's or deal with her, and that there is the difference. A real mom wouldn't do that. A real mom who lived her child unconditionally would always put the child's needs first. I doubt you will. Hope you prove me wrong, because your story is so darn predictable, I'm ready to turn it off & watch another show.
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

close Join now to connect to
other members!
Connect with Facebook or Sign Up Using Email

Already Joined? LOG IN