When Step Kids Grow Up......

amber904January 13, 2009

I'm really interested to hear from the stepkids on this one or even the step parents of grown stepchildren..or whoever wants to comment..:)

I know my stepkids love me to death and I love them too. We've had custody of them for 4 years and the youngest is 5. We are very close and I try as hard as I can to make them feel like they belong, I just worry sometimes that they don't feel that way. We are a blended family, so my sd and bd share a room, as do my ss and bs. My step kids visited their mother in NY for Christmas and when they came back they were telling me how much they miss her and how they wish they lived there. I know that it is normal for them to feel like that and I am glad that they had a great time. But it does hurt when they tell me that they wish they lived with her, especially since I have been their mother for all this time. She has only seen them 2 times in the past 3 years. I know that they were on vacation while they were there and so they got to go out to eat a lot and see extended family that they haven't seen in years and I believe that they may think that if they lived with their mother things would be like that all of the time. They are young and might not understand so when they tell me they miss their mom I just tell them "I know".

I just want to hear your experiences with these situations and how everyone reflects on it now that they are grown up and can understand what their step parents actually did for them. Sometimes I feel like I don't mean as much to my stepkids as their biomom does, even though I am more of a mom to them. I guess I just want some hope that they will appreciate me later. Thanks a lot for your comments and advice :)

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

FIRST ((((((HUGS)))))) I feel ya. My parents divorced when I was 2. I have a step dad that I got when I about 10. I saw my dad very little, normally a few weeks in the summer. When I graduated my Step-dad was there not dad, When I got married my step-dad gave me away. I named my child after my step-dad. MY BIO dad lived in the country and he got to be the "idea" parent. when we would go see him it was fun and exciting something different then normal. A parent you don't see can be anything you want them to be almost like an imaginary friend. Anyway don't worry to much over it cause when they grow up the the wonderful childhood memories will be with you. Brad Paisley did that song "the dad he didn't have to be" KILLS me. They should make a Step-mom song like that.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 3:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am not a sm with grown stepchildren, but my situation is very similar to yours. My skids range in age from 6-14 and I have been in their lives since the youngest was 1. BM in my case moved out of state for a few years and recently moved back and lives 10 min from us(though she has lived here almost 5 months now and seen them like 3 times!).

Anyways, when they visited bm out of state they thought it was wonderful! Grandparents spoiled them and bought them stuff and took them places. They saw aunts and uncles and thought it was great. BM really did not do much with them, but they had so much fun with bm's family that they kind of gave bm the credit for the good time.

What I do know is that my sd 14 is now at the age where the wool is not so easily pulled over her eyes. She is starting to see bm for her real self. She notices and comments when bm does not call on a holiday or does not show up when she made plans to get her and her siblings. There have also been times when my 12 yr old sd has seen the same light. But she is also at the age where she wants to make excuses for her mom too when she realizes her mom did not follow through with something she should have.

So I really do think that someday the kids will appreciate us sm's for being there when their own mother did not want to be!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 3:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

well, that's what I am hoping. My skids are very smart and I'm sure as they get older all of the pieces will begin to fit together. I didn't know about the excuse making part, though. I will prepare myself for that. See, that is why I joined on here. I am already learning so much!!!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 3:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I am the step mother of a SD33 woman. She lived with her dad and I for 13 years while she was growing up. I have stated many times on this forum how much we mean to one another. It is a relationship not without its past difficulties but also one that is so very special. I have quoted the expression before that she is a child of my heart not of my body. I would not trade anything for what this child has brought into my life.

Having said that I understand the feelings of jealousy or frustration or hurt that you may feel from time to time. What I think that you need to remember is that everyone, whether they are an adult or still a child, desires their mother's love above all other things. To be accepted as we are, to be loved unconditionally, encouraged and forgiven as we go through life is what a mom is suppose to do. Those of us who have never had that desire it even more.

You can never take the place of your step children's bio mom. You can make your own place in their lives ( and it sounds as though you have ) and then be the best you that you can be. What you are doing for these kids will not be in vain unless of course they belong to that group of people that are thankless, selfish human beings. You do not describe as such so I think that you can rest assured that you are making a huge contribution to their lives and they will see you as such as they grow and move through what life has in store for them. I knew that while I was helping to raise my SD333 I probably wouldn't reap the rewards of parent hood until she was in her mid to late twenties. That is true with many bio children as well. It has been so worth the wait. She is a jewel.

Please do not feel hurt or discouraged by your step children's sometimes longing to be with their birth mom. She is very important to them. You would be surprised if she were not.

My SD did go and live with her mom when she was almost 18 and she found out the hard way why she didn't live there as a child. It was a painful lesson but one that she had to learn on her own terms. She calls us both mom and I am happy for her that she has been able to forgive us both for our short comings. Was I jealous and resentful at times while I was raising her and she was forming unrealistic ideas of her "perfect" mom? Yes, sometimes I was but the reality of what kind of person her mom was would hit me and I would feel more sympathetic to her than to myself.

I have a DD20, a DS16 and a SD10 also. SD10's mom passed away when she was about 6. I suspect that there will be times when we may butt heads in her teen years and she may fantasize that her bio mom would have done things more to her liking. That is fine. She has suffered a great loss. I can't ever change that or take away the longing that she will have for her birth mom. I don't see that as my job. I see raising her so that she will be a loving and productive woman as my responsibility. I do my best at that. I do that because I believe that God wants me to. It isn't done for the rewards that she may someday bring to me. From her those may never come. I don't know for certain. She is a loving little girl so I picture her being such as a grown woman. I know though that life holds no guarantees.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 3:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

of course they will appreciate you, but it shouldn't be your focus.

I think the difference between parents (the ones that are in the picture not nonexistant ones) and stepparents is that parents just doing what parents do without thinking of appreciation. But stepparents want appreciation for what they do. There is nothing wrong wiht that. But then they can't really say they are the same as parents.

i never in my life thought that i need DD to appreciate me. I just do it because I am her mom. So if you do want to be like their real mom, then you should forget about expectations of appreciation on their part. If they will grow to be decent human beings that would be your reward. How much more do parents want?

As about their mom. she might be crazy and uninvoled but she still is their mom and they still miss her and want her in their life. i don't think you should worry about replacing her, it is not necessary. But you can do what you do and hopefully they grow up to be good people. Nothing else matters. that should be enough.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 10:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think there is a difference between wanting appreciation and expecting kids to appreciate ANYONE going out of their way for them. I realize I'm off on a tangent and I apologize, but I expect SD and my bio-sons to recognize when people do something for them. My kids thank whatever parent cooked dinner - not because they should fall over thanking us that there is food, but because acknowledging that something was done for them is a courtesy. If I drive any of my children to a friend's house I expect them to say thank you - not because I want appreciation, but I want them to acknowledge someone went out of their way for them. I may be mom or SM, but that doesn't mean kids should get to take everything for granted. This will serve them well in the 'real world." Life does not come on a silver platter.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 11:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I know it may be difficult, but i think you should try and ignore the feeling. Going to visit any one is usually fun, it's a vacation, a holiday from the norm. A noncustodial parent or grandparent will lavish gifts and entertainment on the child, I did when my grand kids spent a month with me, i wanted to fill them with memories. The kids think everyday would be that way if they lived there. If they had to live there it would be a different story. i think the feelings on both sides are normal, but we are the adults and to understand and ignore the feelings.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2009 at 9:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am sort of the advanced version of you Amber. Different gender though.

I am the stepfather to my 18-year-old stepson, and I tuned into his life when he was 8 - married his mom when he was almost 10.

We are also a blended family - my wife and I have a daughter and son together (currently 7 and 4).

My stepson has run the gamut of feelings toward things. When he was 11-14, he wanted to see his father every weekend (supposed to see him every other, but we never wanted to halt anything like that). It was Shangri la when he went there - 4-wheeling, night at the movies, stay up late, eat whatever he wanted - the whole 9 yards.

From high school on he never wanted to travel to see his father (about and hour away) or have him visit. In typical teenage fashion he was more interested in seeing his friends (especially the female ones).

His relationship with me, specifically, ran the whole gamut as well. Only once did he say "You're not my father" - that's pretty good. Seriously though, we had ups and downs, but in retrospect I would say that this really would not differ from any parent raising a child.

My over-arching point here is that I don't think that there is really any hard-and-fast truism on a situation like ours. There are just so many variables involved that it's just impossible to say that mine will be like yours or anyone else's.

What I can say is that I firmly believe that kids do "get it". It might take a while, it might not even seem as if they get ANYTHING at times, but they eventually do. My 18-year-old is not the most prescient soul, but to date he tells me and his mom how much he appreciates all that we've done for him (and continue to do). He also appreciates his bio-father - but in a different way. That's cool.

My advice is not to worry about how each one feels about you vs. bio. Be a parent; be a good one. There will be times when they give you the "you're not my mom" line or want to head to their bio-mom's house because her lasagna is better or something like that. There will be other times when you see they've written an essay for school about you and how much they admire you. It's all worth it then.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2009 at 12:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Amber i am a stepchild through loss of my mother at a young age and not by divorce.
I've had two stepmothers in my past. The first was terrible, which didn't last very long thank God. The second has lasted and is still here today.
I do appreciate and love my stepmother. BUT i would still have loyalty to my father should anything happen. Ican't explain why..but that is how i feel. Maybe its because i know she is not my biological mother and i have memories of my mother growing up before i lost her.
I think if i was a stepchild from 2 and on...i probably would not have this loyalty to only my father. I'm sure it would be to both regardless whether i'm genetically bound to them. I also have loyalty to two other woman i regard as mothers as well. And no they are not biologically related to me but i have a stronger bond with them than my stepmom. They did more for me when i was younger...it imprinted and stayed.
My second stepmother came when iwas much older...i was 18 or 19 at the time..
Either way, i am sure that your stepkids will appreciate what you do and what you've done. There is no escaping that. And i think its an impulse to be with their mother now because they are older and they know its their mom and they truly miss her. It doesn't mean they love you any less amber.
Does BM want them back? how is custody arranged? maybe your stepkids should have more contact to encourage having a balanced relationship with all.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2009 at 12:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"Sometimes I feel like I don't mean as much to my stepkids as their biomom does, even though I am more of a mom to them."

I think I've thought that exact same phrase millions of times! My SS lives with me full time, and I provide all of the care to him that a biomom would (or should). His BM is neglectful and rarely sees him, but he does miss her. I'm trying to find peace with the fact that I am not his mother, but I do get frustrated a lot that she gets the title of "mom" when I'm the one doing her job.

I grew up with two sets of parents, BM and SD, BD and SM. I've always considered myself one of the lucky ones, because I had the opportunity to be raised by four loving parents. I do consider each of them to be my parents, and they all have their own unique place in my heart. Though my SM could never replace my BM, BM could never replace SM either. I just hope that when my SS grows up, he'll feel the same way that I do.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2009 at 3:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

They only saw her 2 times in the last 3 yrs. It was a vacation and it must be so much easier for them to think it was wonderful than facing -- they have terrible mom that doesn't bother with them.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2009 at 3:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"I do appreciate and love my stepmother. BUT I would still have loyalty to my father should anything happen."

I have a friend who took in her SS at 12 after his mother left him on her doorstep with his things in a box! She and her DH had a baby together plus he had another sister from the BM who lived with them part time.

Years later, my friend divorced the DH. This is after raising the SS left on her doorstep, helping to pay for college and living like a whole family for 10 years. After the divorce, the SS she raised sided with his dad and stopped speaking to her, doesn't see her DD, his 1/2 sister and generally boycotts them. My friends heart has been broken. I wouldn't count on all of those warm memories from adult step kids if something happens down the road.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2009 at 1:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

...and they do grow up. My dad started dating my SM when I was 14, and they married when I was 22. Most of the GFs he had prior to that were very cool and fun, and good to my younger brother and I. However, my SM is a materialistic, hypocritical, racist, narrow-minded, holier-than-thou person. Some of it is very subtle, but it's all there in the behavior. She has made it known to me from the beginning that she didn't like us (me especially), and that she thought her own sons could do no wrong.

I have talked about this before, so I won't go on at length, but the more personal and professional success I have had, the more she tries to take credit for that and associate herself more closely with me. When, in reality, it was my mother and father who were always supporting me, always believing in me and cheering me on, and she never did anything but try to drag me down behind the scenes. I did not follow her recipe for success in life, therefore I couldn't ever be successful, but I am, and she knows it - what a paradox! What a conundrum! And how ironic - both of her sons as well as my brother have done nearly NOTHING with their lives. I was the only one of all four of us who called her last year on Mother's Day...

However, my current relationship of 2+ years with a man who has 2 daughters aged 10 and 6 has really opened my eyes to the struggles of SMs. I forgive my own SM for struggling with what role she should play in my life, and I no longer hold onto the hurt and anger from her sabotaging my relationship with my dad (which I allowed to happen) and in general her very strong hostility towards my mother, her silent treatment of me when I dared to like a different food/song/movie/philosophy than her. This is a woman who truly cannot understand anyone else's POV and could never even fathom the use of letting someone different have their say, and taking it for what it's worth.

As I contemplate marrying this wonderful man and continue to develop my relationships with his daughters and his ex-wife, I realize how many ways I was out of line with my own SM. I can see now how some of my actions in the past made things more difficult. I realize more than ever that she has a right to her time with my dad, their home, their money, their knick-knacks, and their agreements and plans. It does not mean that I like her as a person, but I have to respect her role and her right to be in that role. I appreciate the things that she has done for my father, but sadly, she has never done a thing for me that was not motivated by her own cunning and strategy. That's NOT a SM thing, I now know, because I am not that way, that's a (her name) thing and people like that eventually get what they deserve. If you are a SM, or someone else in a stepfamily living situation, and you are here looking for answers, you will find some of them, and you will use them to try to live a better and more kind life, and you will be a better person for it.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2009 at 3:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

WOW!! What a touching view! Thank you for sharing that with me. Sometimes I wonder just how my step kids view me when I hug them and do things for them. I wonder if it feels weird to them because sometimes it does to me. But the other day my stepdaughter (5) went somewhere with my aunt and when she was brought back to me she was crying for me and told me that she missed me and was hugging me and wouldn't let go. Things like that show me that I am doing the right thing and sometimes it feels weird but that is just our relationship.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 7:52AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"I think the difference between parents (the ones that are in the picture not nonexistant ones) and stepparents is that parents just doing what parents do without thinking of appreciation"

I don't really agree with this because Biomom in our case is not really on the scene and she seems to be the one who is insecure about her role. I hear alot of Bioparents raising a huge stink if their kids call a step parent mom or dad. The girls mom did even though it was totally their decision and she is mostly MIA.

I think it is normal for bio parents to feel jealous and unappreciated just the same as a step parent. I mean....this woman is being all territorial of her kids that she doesn't even care enough to visit more than once a month so I can't imagine how an involved bio mother might feel sometimes when a new mommy figure pops up on the scene! You can't tell me tBio's never want some recognition every now nad then also.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 8:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Actually, I cant remember wanting appreciation. I was surprised when I read my Ds "Senior Thoughts" thanking me for everything.

Things I want --

1. Pls dear god no accidents.

2. D did get into her first choice college.

3. More weekend mornings I could sleep late (not related to d anymore).

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 10:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

On the appreciation thing, I can definitely see both sides. Its related to the unconditional love thing. It's also the central issue affecting whether a SP decides to disengage, because disengaging is usually based on a feeling of having given too much without getting enough in return. The problem is that the reality that the SK is not the SP's own child never REALLY goes away. The SP never TOTALLY loses the awareness that they don't really "have to" do for the SK's. At best (as in the case with my SF), the relationship between SP & SK is good to the point where it can be LIKE forgetting that distinction... but in the back of all our minds I think we know that if things were really horrible, or either the SP or SK were just a rotten person, unconditional love (and respect) would fly out the window. It's just that it's hard to completely forget reality when things go sour.

Unfortunately, I see way too many SP's *and* SK's having far too little patience, I mean giving up or having certain set ideas waaaaaaay before a time that it would be reasonable to reach that "we're not REALLY related so I don't REALLY have to love you" threshold. A lot of the crap that pisses these folks off is really petty and small (i.e. the SK doesn't like a certain X-mas gift and is suddenly an ungrateful spoiled demon-child or the SP asks the SK to take out the trash and is suddenly an abusive ogre). But when it is actually really severe, I can certainly see where either or both would be upset at not being appreciated. Because it IS true that without blood relationship, the loyalty just isn't *naturally* there as an inherent thing. When there is the loyalty, it's something that has been built and worked towards very diligently, and it represents very strong character on the part(s) of the people who have that bond. But it's rare that this happens because too many people are tripped up by the normal kinds of conflicts and struggles that happen when anybody raises any child.

There's nothing wrong with wanting to be appreciated, or even in disengaging if you come to the conclusion that you're not being appreciated as much as you'd like. But there are three very important things to remember in this equation:

1. A child has needs (material and emotional) and looks to parental figures for fulfillment of those needs, regardless of the adult's awareness that the kid is not REALLY their own. Children by nature don't kiss anyone's butt, even the most sweet-natured and undemanding children. They don't think of their own raising as a luxury that is contingent upon their ingratiating behavior to the point where they feel obligated to express gratitude that they are being raised. Their parents take care of them as a matter of due responsibility for having birthed them. Basic etiquette ---mouthing the words 'please' and 'thank you'--- and overall contentment with their lot and refraining from excessive whining is about all you can expect in the way of 'gratitude' from anyone under 18. In other words, you can't expect THE CHILD to make the same distinctions as an adult would, or to show any extra special appreciation for any parental things you do as a step-parent, though you certainly have a right to expect it from the child's bio-parent, your partner.

2. Disengaging is a choice that you make, and all choices have both positive and negative results (or else they wouldn't be choices, they'd be what everyone automatically does). The choice to disengage isn't just a "get out of responsibility free" card, or else, again, everyone would do it. The trade-off when you choose to disengage is that you relinquish the right to be treated in the way you would expect to be treated if you took on parental responsibility for the child. That means having equal say in what happens regarding the child, expecting the child to do anything for you at any point in time, or expecting decisions to be made which are predicated on the loyalty a family has to a parental figure who has worked hard and sacrificed for the sake of all the kids. In other words, if you disengage because you don't feel appreciated enough, you're not going to wind up being any more appreciated for having disengaged, and what's more you will have severed all possibility of that for the future, as well as some of the rights you might wish to enjoy now or down the road. Appreciation doesn't usually come overtly from a young child, but it can years later from the ADULT child who honors your efforts by having you give them away at their wedding, naming their first-born after you, thanking you in an award acceptance speech, helping you move, looking after you when you're old, or just telling you one day: "you're really wonderful and I love you".

3. If you're still feeling bent about not being appreciated by the SK's and you feel disengaging is the only option, that's your right. But the catch is you can't make your spouse, the child's bio-parent, feel the same way about their child. If the whole crux of the complaint/distinction is that you "don't have to do anything" for the SK's *because they're not yours*, inherent in that statement should be the obvious understanding that it IS different for the kids' bio-parents. That seems to be the sticking point for so many SP's: they've chosen to be appalled at what they perceive as horrible ingratitude, they've chosen to withdraw their support and affection over it, and they too often expect the kids' parents to do the same. It doesn't work that way, and that implicit expectation leads to a ton of stepfamily conflict. So, while it's understandable that a step-parent would tend to expect more gratitude than a bio-parent, it doesn't make the kids ingrates (unless, of course, they actually ARE ingrates), and it doesn't (or shouldn't) change the relationship between bio-parent and bio-child. It only changes the relationship between step-parent and step-child and perhaps (though it shouldn't) step-parent and bio-parent.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 10:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree with kkny. I never cared about feeling unappreciated, and I don't think it is ever bioparent's goal. I don't care about being appreciated. All i want for DD is to stay healthy, finish college, find job of a kind she wants, have a healthy relationship etc. That's my reward. Whatever i did for her i did it because she is my daughter, no other reason.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 10:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Serenity, thanks for the recent post (as well as everyone else). I am a SP with no bioK's and have experienced good and bad relations with both of my SKs through out the years. It has been very difficult for me at times, but I also see that there's an equal hardship for the SKs. I am a bit younger than my DH, and we've been married 12 years. They are both adults now, but still living at home. I'm trying to find the patience and support to give, but a lot of emotions and nasty feelings have their way of creeping up. I was very young when I first started taking care of them, and their parent's divorce was never easy on either of them. It was however several years before we met!

I think in the beginning things were great, but over time I began to feel that the SKs were taking everything for granted, were not helping out in the household without constant reminding/asking, and could be generally manipulative. This is not to say that I have had no faults and caused a lot of the problems as well. It's been a long road. I believe we all love each other, but I also know there's no way I'll ever feel or know what it is to be a BP with kids of my own. I'm searching for how to better deal as I had a recent blow out with my SD and besides "removing myself" or just ignoring the things that I do not agree with, I'm at a loss. I'm also seeing that the way I feel is not always reflective of how my DH feels about the same scenarios. That IS normal, however, when is enough enough? And now that they are older and *should* be able to take care of themselves, how far do we go and how much more do we have to give before they will start standing on their own? Hopefully I'm not just being the wicked SM ...

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 11:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"I can't imagine how an involved bio mother might feel sometimes when a new mommy figure pops up on the scene!"

doddle, the difference is that with involved biomom there cannot be "mommy figure" popping up. There might be a setpmom figure. But if mom is there, there wouldn't be another mommy figure. Mom is mom.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 12:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Mom is mom but yes, there can be MANY 'mommy figures' in a child's life. Girls will usually model after their mother and an involved mother will have the most influence, but girls will also look up to older sisters, teachers, aunts, grandma's and other adult females that aren't even related (and as they get older... add peers) to learn how to be a woman.

I can totally understand how an involved mother might feel if a daughter were to choose to follow another woman's model rather than what the mother wants the child to do. A stepmother IS a 'mother figure' in dad's home, especially if there are other children living in dads home. Perhaps if there are no kids living with dad & stepmom and kids visit every other weekend or less frequently, then maybe she is more "dad's wife" and have less 'mother' influence. But, if the daughter(s) come home from a visit with dad's wife and gush about how wonderful she is and how much they just love her and all the great things they did together, I'd bet any mom would feel a tinge of jealousy at that. I'm sure all moms (myself included) would love to say they wouldn't feel that way and as much as I want my kids to be happy, it would not be easy. It was not easy to hear my son call his stepmom 'mom' but she was a mom figure in his dad's house and I was a very involved mom. So, I have to disagree that there wouldn't be another mommy figure. I do think the jealousy would be stronger if a stepmom gets closer to a daughter than a son. My daughter and I share a different relationship than I have with my sons... it's just different, maybe a bit closer.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 1:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

yeah but those are not MOMMY figures. Those are sibling figures, grandparents figures, teacher figures etc. They all teach a child but they are not mommy figures.

I had a long term boyfriend awhile ago, when DD was much younger, and a neighbour asked her in my presence "why don't you call (insert name) daddy". To which DD answered: because he is not. Enough said.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 4:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yes, FD, even a child understands the difference.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 4:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

From my experience, I've never considered my SM as a mother figure. And I lived with her for a period of years and she had her own children and children with my dad. Its hard to explain I guess, I knew she was their mother...but to me she was only stepmom and my brother/sisters Mom.

I do know what you're saying about looking up to other women though. One of my aunts and my grandmother I looked up to a lot growing up.

I'm sure that it depends on the relationship the SM has with the child whether the child considers her a mother figure or not. I can see a few posters on here that I would have probably loved to look up to as a kid.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 5:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

FD and KKNY:

"I agree with kkny. I never cared about feeling unappreciated, and I don't think it is ever bioparent's goal."

Of course you didn't care about that. You get the credit for everything. Just as I get the credit for everything regarding my DS. That's because I am BM and you are the BMs to your respective kids.

But SMs don't automatically get the credit for ANYTHING they do. I have talked before about my SO's DD's incredibly involved extra-curricular activity. Well, BM USED me. She knew that I would do anything for SO's DD. So when she was the chairperson of a comittee for whatever event was going on, she would sign me up without asking me, and then call SO and tell him to tell me what to do. If I backed out at that point, then she could say "well I guess Ashley just doesn't love you as much as you thought or else she would be here helping you" even though, it was really for her. So I would do these things and then, of course, BM would get all the credit. Never a thank you from her or anything. I never expected to be appreciated by SO's DD, but I certainly expected BM to appreciate my involvement in things that made HER life easier.

Here's a list of some of the things I got roped into:

Baking a turkey
playing games with about 30 girls
Setting up and cleaning up the games
Hanging decorations
Taking down decorations
Setting up Halloween haunted hayride
Being a participant in a haunted house

And the list goes on. Not that I didn't have fun doing most of these things. But every one of the events that this organization put on was a full-day event. And I mean EVERY SINGLE ONE. From rehersals to parades to potlucks to charity events to concerts. These were HUGE monetary and time commitments. Not to mention that if I was committed to do something, DS would have to come along. It would've been nice for BM to recognize the sacrifices we were making.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 6:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I get credit?? From who?? I dont even understand that.

Years ago, when the economy was also bad, our minister ask my X if he would join a group to help any unemployed congregants find jobs. He joined, and then agreed as part of the group, to have some job listings typed up. Some one else in the group, who had been assigned that task originally, asked who would get credit. He told me that query, and we were both hysterical laughing. Our minister asked him to do something, and he would worry about credit???

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 9:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sure you get credit. When my brother graduated the police academy instead of ending up in prison, my mom damn near broke her arm, patting herself on her own back and telling everyone what a great job she did in raising him.

I didn't watch the Grammy's but I'm sure lots of winners stood up there thanking their parents... giving them credit for the success in their life. The parents may even be sitting in the audience, beaming with pride.

When your kid graduates HS or college, you stand together to take a photo. Why? Because you are proud of the job you have done and they might say they owe it all to you. Sometimes the credit is verbalized and sometimes it just is... but there is credit or we wouldn't see license plate frames telling everyone that 'my kid is better than your kid' or bumper stickers that say 'my kid made honor roll' because parents that go to the trouble of plastering a bumper sticker on their car or a license plate frame to brag about their child's accomplishments, IS taking some credit for that happening.

Of course, nobody wants to take credit when they screw up. But, then there is that trusty ol' back up... blame stepmom or dad.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 11:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Your mother didnt "get" credit -- she took it.

If kids want to thank moms and dads, that is up to them.

People take pics becuz they love each ohter and want a memento to remember the day. I'm not graduating HS, my D is. Maybe people put those bumber stickers on becuase they want their kids to realize how proud they are -- too many people complain that only the athletes get accolades, what wrong with the brains getting some.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 5:52AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It is nice to have someone appreciate something that you have done for them. You do not, or should not, do anything for that reason. You do it because it is the right thing to do.

I often think that my kids are turning out well in spite of having me as a parent.... :o)

It is true that many people are welling to blame the parent when a child goes bad....not enough rules, not enough direction, not setting a good example, not spending enough time with them.

We choose to have children...for the most part. Not always knowing exactly what that will be involved throughout their life time. Sometimes it ends up being more than we can cope with at times. Parenthood is not for the faint of heart. It is the best and worst of things all packaged up in the form of a child that you would die for...or should feel that way about. Should you get credit for that? Maybe on your income tax form.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 8:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

well.. if kids screw up and they were raised solely by mom, then mom is one to blame. lol This is pretty simple. why blaming stepmoms or dads if they weren't even in the picture?

well "they owe it all to you" LOL I wonder if any people really have these kind of thoughts, hope not. I certainly didn't take pictures because of that. I wanted to have a memory of a day. I was proud of DD graduating wiht two high school diplomas. I was happy that it opened doors for good college education and career of her choice. I didn't take a picture to show the world my accomplishment. what a bizzare thought....

Of course people thank those who do things for them but that's not the goal. DD appreciates what people do for her including mom and dad but we certainly do not do it for a credit or for appreciation.

Like believer said we do it because it is right thing to do, because we made decsion to have children so we do it because that's what parents do. And we do it because we love them, that's it.

and like believer said we get credit on tax return. lol

    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 11:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

" I often think that my kids are turning out well in spite of having me as a parent.... :o) "

Haha, believer, so funny and so true! :) I know what you mean!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 5:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have to say that I know Step kids who call both mom and stepmother Mom. I know a few who are close to their mothers who still refer to their stepmother as mom when they are together. This is especially true with those whoes parents seperatd when they were very young and they were raised with this step parent around.

The point I was making is it shouldn't bother a Bio parent at all that the child calls a step parent mom or dad because if they are all as selfless as you claim...IT WOULDN'T BOTHER THEM! What more is mom and dad other than a title of recognition? If bio parents trully don't want any "credit" for a being parents they wouldn't S*** their drawers at the thought of a step child calling a step parent mom or dad. Instead it turns into a High Lander "There can be just one" kindof set up where the parent gets bent completely out of shape.

I have seen more than one bio parent b*tch that a step child should be corrected if they choose to call a step parent mom or dad. There have even been a few to brashly state that a step child would never call a step parent mom or dad with out being forced....horse S***. Even the step child posters here can only speak for themselves. Their are step kids out there who have fabulous relationships with their step parents. Their are also cases like mine where the step mother is custodial.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 8:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

of course it is OK for kids to call whoever whatever they want. It wouldn't bother me if DD decided to call some other people mom or dad. I just do not see under what circumstances DD would call any other people mom and dad. Just cannot imagine. Unless of course I or X stopped existing, died or dissapeared when she was little.

People can have fabulous relationships with people and still don't call them mom and dad. DD has fabulous relationship wiht my mother, but she still calls her grandma. Simply because she knows she is her grandma. Now of course if she'd become confused in who is who and start calling people something else, I would become alarmed.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 9:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I helped raise my niece and nephew after their mother died when they were still in grade school..They would most often call me Aunt Dotz, but sometimes, something they made up themselves, Othermother...Who cares??????Certainly not alarming.......

    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 9:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Instead it turns into a High Lander "There can be just one" kindof set up where the parent gets bent completely out of shape

OMG Doodle, i just totally pictured KK and Ima trying to behead each other. (As I was sipping my evening beverage. My laptop thanks you for the beer-shower.)

    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 9:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


It may not bother you but it can't be argued that the Step Parent getting called mom/dad is a hotly debated topic on this board and it's because it's a touchy subject. If all bio parents didn't care it wouldn't be so touchy. God knows I caught hell when I first mentioned that the girls call me mom. But then again anytime I mention anything positive that we share I get grilled and acused of "competing" with bio mom. Sounds a little insecure to me.



    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 11:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Doodle, I really doubt there are many kid whose moms are active that voluntarily call a SM mom. This board appears to have many SMs with stepchildren with virtually absent moms. There's a difference.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 10:25AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"Doodle, I really doubt there are many kid whose moms are active that voluntarily call a SM mom"

This is off-topic, but my SS's mom is involved in his life. I am definitely the SM! I don't go to conferences, volunteer at his school, or anything else, etc. because it would step on her toes and all h*ll would break loose.

BUT what's funny---afew times when SS has been angry at his mom, he has told her that he is going to call ME his mom. OUCH. I think it's just a normal kid thing---the same way kids with nuclear families will play mom against dad and vice versa.

SS has also told my hubby that he's going to call his SF dad!

Anyway, I know that's not related to subject at hand...but just think it's amusing!

DH takes it with a grain of salt, but when SS has said that to BM, she has FLIPPED OUT, and called me screaming that I'm "trying to take her son away."

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 11:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

In high school, I had a friend whose mom was so great, everyone in our circle called her mom. I've had my children's friends call me mom when they were young and would come over to play. (but maybe all of those kids had absentee moms! lmao)

My exBF's kids called me mom until their maternal grandma caught wind of it and told them (and frequently reminded them) that I am NOT their mom. (yeah, their mom was the lady that came by one day every September when the fair was in town.... and don't you kids forget it! SHE'S your mom.. the carnie that calls on you on your birthday.. SOMETIMES, if she remembers! Not this other lady that gets up and makes your breakfast, sends you off to school, picks you up, helps you with your homework, takes you to scouts/sports, volunteers in your class, goes on field trips, makes your birthday party and takes care of you when you are sick and does everything for you 99.99% of the time. She's NOT your mom and don't you dare call her that!) My SD's mom points it out every chance she gets that I am not her daughter's mom and her daughter better never call me that... yet she is told by BM to call mom's BF dad. Talk about double standards. Oh, by the way.. the last time she told DH that I am not SD's mom, she is (which was just a couple of weeks ago)... he told her she should start acting like it. She won't buy her anything, hasn't paid any of her support, won't take her to the doctor, doesn't come to school events/conferences/sports and hardly ever calls her. But, she IS mom. (technically)

Love, I know what you mean. My SD plays the game of 'Ima is my best friend' when mom is not paying any attention to her. She uses that because she figures mom will react to it.. never fails.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 12:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I just need to correct the one error in my last post... it was not 99.99% of the time, it was 100%. Their mom came to town one day a year, took them to the fair for 4-5 hours, loaded them up with junk food & gave them all the cheap fair toys they could carry and dropped them off. She never kept them overnight, fixed them a meal (unless you count the fair food she filled them with) or did any parenting whatsoever. Even after I left and was out of the picture, she didn't give up the carnie lifestyle and start seeing them until they were in high school and grown.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 12:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Instead of pretending we all don't have those proprietary feelings over our kids, we should just be honest with ourselves. We enjoy it and maybe even puff up a little when someone says "You have a really great kid; you must be so proud" or "You've done a pretty good job with that kid of yours". That is most definitely taking "credit". No one will come up to me and say at my SO's graduation "Thanks for the sacrifices and contributions of time and thoughtfulness you've made to such-and-such's life" It just won't happen.

But I guarantee BM will get all the accolades like "Wow! Suma Cum Laude! You did a great job with her!"

If she ever does something bad, it'll be "well, I guess that's because her father was absent during her teenage years; but it's really great that SF was there to make up for it". Even though it wasn't SO's choice to not be there for his daughter and even though he's tried his hardest to stay in constant contact and spend as much time with her as her mom would allow.

Along the same lines, I had an incident yesterday. My DS brought his progress report home yesterday. It was a copy of his progress report because X's GF signed the original so DS could turn it in. It kind of makes me mad because she has no right to sign anything involving DS. ESPECIALLY before I see it.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 12:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"My DS brought his progress report home yesterday. It was a copy of his progress report because X's GF signed the original so DS could turn it in"

Ok, now that is just wrong. I am my DH's wife and I would NEVER sign any progress report/permission slip/report card of SS's! I can't believe your ex's GF would do that.

Sorry! :(

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 1:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Love - Whew! I almost thought I was overreacting! Do you have any suggestions as to what I should do about it? Tactfully. And without making it seem like I'm jealous or something?

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 2:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

why do people have to worry about appearing jealous? You have to do the right thing, why worry what some kind of GF thinks? Who is she? Why do you, your son's mother, have to worry about appearing insecure? You are the mother. Now we cannot even parent our children without someone accusing us of being jealous? Then should we let whoever do wahtever wiht our kids?

I think it is "SM wanna be" is the one who is insecure, otherwise she wouldn't be overstepping like this. Call your X and tell him that no GF of his is to sign any paperwork for SS. Simple.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 4:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ashley, I agree with FD. I think maybe reading here and being a SM yourself, you are very conscious not to appear as the insecure/jealous BM some write about here. But that is nonsense! Nip this in the bud or its only the begining of overstepping and trust me, it can get worse. Set your boundaries, politely and firmly. It doesn't have to get nasty. Do you and your Ex email? Just send an email to him that you saw she signed, not only are you uncomfortable but the school does not allow non-bio's to sign.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 4:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

are you talking about SD's or SO's graduation? Did I read it right?

ashley, BM is raising SD, so yes people would give her credit if SD does well. Of course they would not say it to you, you didn't raise her. SD lives wiht mom, so her schooling goes through mom, like conferences or homework monitoring or whatever other stuff.

They would say it to you at your son's graduation because you are raising him. I just do not see any point in your comment. what did you mean? Why would you get a credit?

And if SD lives wiht SF and he does a good job then, yes, maybe he'll get a credit too. Most of the time people, who kids live with, are the ones who contribute the most in terms of education. I know some people who lived with grandparents, and grandparents got a credit for raising a good kid.

But overall kids themselves get the most credit for their hard work. i wouldn't worry who gets the credit.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 4:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You both are right. I'm not really concerned about what the GF thinks about me. It's what they say about me. It stems from when the divorce was first final and we all weren't getting along. X said "why are you getting so mad? Afraid that she might be a better mom than you?" And that wasn't the point at all. DS told me they said that I was jealous of her and that's why I wouldn't let her pick him up from daycare. Point is that I don't want DS to think I'm insecure. I want him to see me as being the "bigger person".

But you both are right. I'm going to send him an e-mail and let him know. If I don't nip it in the bud it's gonna get bigger and bigger.

I wish the school would've told me.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 4:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

tell the school that they should not accept paperwork signed by anyone else rather than a parent.

people who accuse others of jealousy ARE the ones who are jealous, so they cover up their insecurities by attacking others.

and BTW your X is a jerk. I know that's why you aren't married to him anymore, but still he sounds like someone I would not want to know IRL.

yes send an email so you can keep record of it (don't call) and yes inform the school ASAP. next time she'll sign somehting and you wouldn't even know what it was.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 4:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Most of the time, people who the kids live with, contribute the most to education....Not by a long shot.....Thank you Dad, for your work ethic(showing me how its done) Thank you Dad, for paying full ride to college(or I wouldnt be here)Thank you Dad, (for keeping me under roof and paying heat ,lights, clothing) And Dad didnt live with SS!!!!!Thank yourself for the grades and the work, and BM, thank you for trying to keep me from the ceremony my DH so wanted me to attend with him to see the kid he was so proud of...You looked like an idiot...Still waiting for the Thank you Dad from the college grad tho....(Mom must have been in charge of ettiquette and manners)

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 4:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Eh, I think if your Ex and GF are talking to your DS about you, then it definitely shows who is really insecure.

You're doing the right thing :)

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 4:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am just so thrilled with what D has accomplished I dont care what anyone says to me.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 5:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If that was addressed to me KK, My DH is not posting, I am... He is as gracious as you are....He never asked for a simple Thank You, that was ME expressing the wish that my hard working, A.. busting husband would have received one...Also think if someone brought a fabulous thoughtful gift to , say a party, and they werent acknowleged, it would be thoughtless..Of course you would do all possible for your childs success, but wouldnt acknowleging the Dads hard work and sacrifice to get him thru, be nice too??

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 5:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

See this is where I just don't get it. Ex has never thanked me, even though the vast majority of taking care of DD and pay the most. Not that that is a concern of mine, but he does pay very little in CS.

I would never expect DD to thank me for doing what I am supposed to be doing. It would never occur to me to train her to thank Dad for doing what he is supposed to be doing either. Even if he helps out with college, but I've seen different view points here about that. I expect to pay for college, I expect Ex too as well. I think it is a requirement as a parent to do that stuff, not an extra. But that is just me.

As far as stepparents, I think the spouse who married them should be thanking them. Of course there are exceptions, like what Ashley said, she did something specifically for BM. But like babysitting or giving money/whatever for the child because the spouse couldn't, spouses responsibility to thank and appreciate.

If Ex told me he couldn't watch DD on his time and his GF did for him and she wanted thanks, I'd probably die of laughter. Or if she paid his part of DD's college..same thing. It was HIS responsibility she took over, not mine, not DD's. And the child is the last one that should take up for a parents shortcomings, IMO.

And of course, everyones situation is different. I know that!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 5:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Nivea, I know what you mean when you said I dont expect DD to thank me to do what I m supposed to do,Just like I never expected DS to thank me for the bowl of tomato soup I put in front of him, BUT dont you appreciate what your parents did for you, or do you just feel like, Heck, they put me on this earth and this is what I expect and deserve from them, with absolutely no appreciation of what they did for you? Would a Thanks for putting me thru college with your hard work be so bad? I know this has morphed from taking CREDIT to appreciation, but I feel really strongly that it is hurtful not to acknowledge dads contribution..I m saying, yeah Ex should train kids to send a card, or gift for Christmas, or birthday...I ve heard DH say to SS , Its Mothers Day, do something nice for your mother,cut the grass or something ,did you remember a card? And I see no such reciprosity for Dad ...But I meant College Grad should do the Thank you, not the mom, but if he was trained up by the mom way I ve seen DH train them, he would have gotten that thank you......

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 7:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Dotz, my comment was not directed at anyone in particular. Nivea, yes, I agree, it is up to the Spouse who is the bioparent to thank his/her spouse. And I make certain D gets gifts for Dad, and he never reciprocates.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 8:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

To me, the words "thank you" are simply words, ones which anyone can say. Now to some that might mean "well, then it should be easy to say them!" and I can kind of see that point. But the other side of it is that they ARE just words, they ARE really easy. What would mean a lot more to me if I were a parent would be getting "thanked" with the way my kid talks to me, shares with me, trusts me with his/her secrets and fears, helps me do things, respects me, laughs with me... in general having a good loving *relationship* with a kid who truly cares about you and admires you on a daily basis is worth far more than simply mouthing a few words of easy etiquette. Now, of course, in an ideal world you'd get both: a kid who has a great relationship with you and also utters the words "thank you". Nothing wrong with those words, but in themselves they can be ultimately rather meaningless if the kid otherwise doesn't like you. If I was a parent and if I had to choose, I know which one I'd choose.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2009 at 9:12AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Step Son Help
Hi, Im Rowdy and have been married for 11 years now....
How to Prevent Adult Children Living with You
If you and your spouse are of retirement age, move...
end of rope
I thought I could do this. I have some good memories...
7 year old step son troubles please help
Hello everyone, I need some advise please. I have been...
adult step son and his girlfriend lives with us
i just want my privacy. we have never had any. met...
Sponsored Products
Casa Cortes Handcrafted Tree of Life Large Metal Wall Art Decor
Quixotic Plum Lido Floor Lamp
Lamps Plus
Blue Dimple Dot Nursing Cover
$16.99 | zulily
Alfie Growing Pot
$24.99 | Dot & Bo
Olde Bronze Outdoor Pendant 1-Light
angelo:HOME Fulton Floor Lamp- Gold - 8511-FL
$178.00 | Hayneedle
CAL Lighting s: 59 in. Rust Metal 6 Way BO-315-RU
Home Depot
Mauviel Copper Frying Pan - 8"
$290.00 | FRONTGATE
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™