You’re a Stepmother? For Shame!!!

20 08 2009

Okay, so there’s another part of this whole library card story I want to discuss admit. When the librarian refused my stepchildren library cards I felt embarrassed. I felt ashamed. I felt that by marrying their father I had done something terribly wrong in the eyes of the world. I turned tail with my stepchildren and left without saying another word to this woman. I might as well have said: “You’re right, I shouldn’t be here. What was I thinking?”

My fierce-warrior-stepmother-advocate self didn’t show up until the middle of the night when I woke up fuming.

I’m going to repeat this: My first response was embarrassment and shame.

No wonder we lie about or omit the fact that we’re in stepfamilies in public. No wonder stepmothers are harmed in therapy.
No wonder stepmothers feel uncomfortable on the soccer field or at school conferences.
No wonder stepmothers feel less-than, last place, and left out.

The mistreatment of stepfamilies is so prevalent in our society that we internalize it.

There is no shame in helping to raise children who are not your own. I am a stepmother. At the VERY LEAST, I need to give myself a break. Shame? Screw that. I don’t know about you, ladies, but I’ve had it with feeling like what I have done for this family is something to be embarrassed about.

So I think we need some chants. Are you with me? Just like “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it” is chanted at gay pride parades, we need a chant for stepfamilies, stepmothers, stepfathers, stepkids, and remarried parents. It’s got to be something that demands that stepfamily members are not ostrisized by society. 

So how about it ladies? Put your creative thinking caps on and send me some good chants! Next thing you know we’ll be planning a rally on Washington, D.C.

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23 responses

20 08 2009
Tulip

AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

20 08 2009
Stepmama

Love this I am trying to come up with something now!!!!! Great post, AMEN SISTER!

20 08 2009
Crys

We need our own parade! That’s what I think!

21 08 2009
Emily

I often felt this way… so I used it to my advantage.
Now I let people make their own assumptions when they first see us. They watch my “step”son and me together, they see how we interact, they get to know us as just another family.
Then I slip in that I’m a stepmom and watch them struggle to respond. Their thoughts are conflicted. “She’s not his REAL mom. But I just saw them acting like a REAL family. She seems so much like a mom. He relates to her like a mom.”
I think that’s the best way to challenge assumptions. Let them get to know us before applying the stereotype… then maybe the stereotype can start to break down.

21 08 2009
Annie

You hit the nail on the head. It’s “great” to hear that you are going through the same thing I am. Why are WE punished for loving a child?

21 08 2009
tmpcl2003

Thank you so much for this timely post. Today I went to my 1-st grade step-daughter’s meet the teacher at school on my own because my husband could not take off work. I felt all of these emotions intensely as I stood to the side while bio mom talked to the teacher, volunteering for this and that. When she was through, I introduced myself to the teacher and was given only the briefest acknowledgement, and then regarded with great puzzlement. It was like why are you here? What a challenge this morning was–facing bio mom’s unrelenting anger and the teacher’s dismissal. I am focusing on the joy I saw on my step-daughter’s face when she saw me come into the room. It helps a bit. At least I know that she sees the value in my presence at these things.

21 08 2009
Marjorie

Hey, I think stepfamilies rule! My parents divorced and both remarried when I was a kid, and I had a stepmother and stepfather and loved each one of them as much as I loved my birth parents. All four of my parents are responsible for the person that I am today. I had such a wonderful experience that I wrote a little (children’s) book about it. It was something that I could share with my own child.

I recently lost my stepfather, which was very difficult. The book is dedicated to all four of my wonderful parents.

23 08 2009
Kate

Kudos to you, tmpcl2003!! I just went through the EXACT same thing and am so happy to know there’s someone else out there standing up for their place as a stepmom in the family and being there when it really means something to the kids, despite bio-mom’s negativity.

Now for that chant….

24 08 2009
26 08 2009
Melissa

I’m ready for the rally! You don’t know how many times I have been made to feel ashamed in public, because I am a step-mom. I thought I was few and far between for feeling this way, but then I found this web-site tonight. Thank you, Thank you , Thank you I can’t say it enough.

Emily and Annie I completely agree. My step-daughter looks just like me and most people assume I’m her mom and once they get to know us I tell them I’m her step-mom. Most of them flip out and tell me I’m joking. I love making them think about changing their stereotypes this way.

Marjorie have you tried getting your book published? I would buy it for my daughter and I to read one night. There is nothing for her to read about step-parent’s. Thank god my husbands mom was raised by her step-mom and till this day thinks of her as her mom and her bio- mom as the person who brought her into this world but calls her by her first name. She helps to let my step-daughter know that it is ok to love me, which is the opposite of what her bio-moms family tells her. Thank god my step-daughter is getting older now and making her own thoughts and beliefs some what.

Thank you to all of you for all the great support and stories.

Also keep up the good work step-parent’s!!! I just always think to my self when I’m down about being a step parent that the child needs as much love as possible and I should not feel ashamed for loving her, supporting her and making sure she is healthy and happy, no matter what bio-mom’s family says or anyone else.

26 08 2009
Marjorie

Hi Melissa,

Yes, my book was published. You can find it on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com, Books a Million.com, etc. The name of the book is, “I Have Four Parents” and it’s a children’s picture book. I would feel honored if you got it and read it to your daughter.

Remember, never feel down about being a stepmother. Your place in that child’s life is a valuable one. The love that you give that child is just as important as the love given by the bioparent. She will grow up remembering all that you were and have been to her.

God bless,
Marjorie

28 08 2009
MaggieWags

I love your blog. You speak my truth. Just went to curriculum day with my husband and kids and I struck up a conversation with a mom asking me if I was new to the district. She said she recognized my kids but not me. I said no, the kids aren’t new but I didn’t say anything about me!!! Same thing. I didn’t really want to get into the whole, I’m the kids’ stepmom thing. Part of me thinks that for the kids, it’s annoying too, to have to explain to the world that they’re different. So, I just went on with my business and introduced myself to her and asked her about her kids. Who knows if she would have judged me. Prolly not. I used to be ashamed of the name step mom. Now I own it. Hence my blog’s name. I am a step mom. If society thinks there’s something wrong with being a stepmom then society needs to change its views.

28 08 2009
MaggieWags

I was at a 10 mile race this weekend and I was running the same pace as a mom running with her two young sons. They must have been about 9 or 10. The uber-fit mom was constantly stopping and berating her kids for not keeping up with her. The kids were clearly upset and struggling to keep up. She would stop, look terribly annoyed and then start yelling. This went on for the last five miles. I kept thinking to myself. Wow, why is it that s’moms get a bad rap and there’s people like this out there putting their kids through this kind of torture? Let me tell you this, I’m sure those kids would love the opportunity at a kind soul over that any day.

29 08 2009
Carolyn

Awesome post. I don’t know why society looks at stepfamilies so negatively still. It’s mindboggling. I’ll be thinking of a chant for you. 😉

Thanks for coming by my blog and for adding me to your blogroll! I have done the same and have subscribed to your feed. Now I have some reading to do to catch up! Thanks again!

31 08 2009
Stina

Right on. This went straight to my heart, thanks for sharing this deeply personal feeling. I’m linking to it in my next post.

31 08 2009
Rebecca Lippett (aka La Bell Mere UK)

How about….

We’re there, we care, get over it!!! 😉

Looking forward to the rally!!! I’ll be there waving my placard!!

LBM xxx

1 09 2009
StepAma

I LOVE READING THIS… it is the first time I have found a site about step parents that isn’t for the bio mom and how to handle the step parent… rather this site is for the step mom and how to handel everyone else. I am a fantastic step mother and wife and have all these feelings you all mention (the good and the bad.) It is the bio mom in my situation who has treated me with hate and disrespect and yet wants me to roll over and be walk on because the word Step is in my title. Which she has made pointed effort to point out to our 5 year old the difference… even going as far as calling me the FAKE mom. We have joint custody… so whatever is FAKE about me is still getting the same job done as she is in her REAL state of being. I explained to our son that the only reason Step is in my title (since she forced the issue) is because mommy and daddy were blessed with my help to raise him in to a handsome, well behaved, and wonderful man like his daddy and it is my job to help him STEP up to the plate when times are tough, STEP into life when he is feeling overwhelmed and STEP over the obstacles in his way of being great!!!
He loved it…. opted to memorize it and took it home as his explanation to mommy of who I am… HA… bet she loved that!

I think our chant should l be:
Step up to the plate,
Step into their lives,
or Step out of the way and let us through.
We are their Step Mothers!!!!!

I have read “I Have Four Parents” Well Done!
hmmm… I might have to think about writing my own book!

3 09 2009
Marjorie

Hi StepAma,

Thanks so much for reading my book! It’s important that kids understand that they need to give their stepparents a chance. I was young when my parents divorced and remarried, and it was hard at first adjusting to new surroundings and new people in my life but once I got past that it was great. I had four really wonderful parents!

14 09 2009
Sadie

Hi,
I love this article! I am a step mother and “real mother”. I love my step daughter like my own and have her everyday. Her mother has every other weekend visitation but can not keep the child overnight and sometimes can not get her. She is not a bad person but she is in a bad place in her life. I still face the challanges of being told oh you can not sign this because you are not her “real mother”. It just makes me want to scream!!! I am real enough when she is sick and asks for me. I am real enough when she needs someting for school or dance or whatever else as I provide all of this. I wish the view of a step family would change. It is great to know that others deal with these things also.

16 01 2010
meggie

Im 21 years old and engaged to a guy who has 15 months and it has been the hardest yet most rewarding expirence; some days I wanna give up but in my case the biological mother wants nothing to with him. Im scared, exited and new to this but this website really helps

28 02 2010
magic2010

I can’t tell you how much this article and these posts mean to me! I have both bio and step children. We treat them equally, fair, and with love. Our latest learning lesson is “being the bigger person.” Hubby and I have to live the life example of “being the bigger person” because bio mom doesn’t. After nearly a decade with my step children, I’m tired of being considered less than.

I’m told to “be patient” and the kids will know the sacrifice. “It’ll take time…maybe into their late teens” people say. All I have to say is, “Man! That’s a long time!” I believe all us stepmoms deserve pins to wear proudly…cause not all women can do what we’re doing! In my situation, bio mom is engaged to a man without kids. I think that says it all. It’s easier to be a bio mom than a bonifide Stepmom!

27 05 2011
Tracey

I really needed to read your comments today. I have been a stepMom my sweety since she was two and now she is twelve. Her Mom takes every opportunity to try and control what her Dad and I do when its our turn to spend time with her. My partner is away and she wont let my step daughter come to spend the weekend with me. I have been one of her main care takers for years and I find it hurtful to be so disregarded as a family member. She is sooo mean and jealous of the bond I have with my stepdaughter. I think she is so lucky I spend a fortune on her child, and we do lots of fun crafts together, I make her special dinners. I have been never mean to my stepdaughter and her dad and I make big efforts to be teach her about life through talking and we dont use punishments to modify her behavior but rewards. I tried to talk to her and she told my partner to tell me not to call her this after she and her husband left messages on my cell and home phone. Go figure. thanks for listening. T

3 06 2011
StepAma

To the recent comments of feeling disregarded as a legitimation family member… After 4 1/2 years of being a dedicated step parent and loving every minute of joy that it has brought me… I was called a babysitter by bio mom!!! I don’t believe I have every asked for any compensation and don’t recall even getting appreciation. And if you can believe it… in the same hateful email she asked for our help with a day she would not be available to pick him up. I felt like saying, “Well his dad is not free either, but I will be happy to pick him up. My going sitter rate if $25 an hour.”
Unbelievable!!

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