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The Stepmother Stereotype
As a stepmother, I’ve noticed a pervasive stereotype that society tends to attach to the role. We’ve all seen the movies and TV shows where the stepmother is the evil villain who hates her stepchildren and is out to destroy the family. While these portrayals may be entertaining, they’re not an accurate representation of most stepmothers however I can see how a person can be seen as ‘evil’ from the perspective of your spouses children.
Personally, I’ve made a conscious decision not to be called “Mom” or any derivative of the word.
This doesn’t mean that I don’t love my husband’s children or that I’m not involved in their lives. I’m very much a part of their lives, and I support my husband in his parenting role.
However, I’m not their mother, and I don’t want to replace their mother. It’s essential to acknowledge that my husband’s children already have a mother, and I respect that relationship. I believe it’s essential to have clear boundaries and not try to overstep them. Instead, I see myself as another adult in the room who can provide support and guidance when needed.
Furthermore, I don’t believe that the label of “mother” is necessary to validate my relationship with my stepchildren. I don’t need a title to prove that I care for them or that I’m invested in their well-being. I know that I play an important role in their lives, and that’s enough for me.
The stepparent stereotype is just that – a stereotype. It’s up to each of us to decide how we want to navigate our role in our partner’s lives. For me, being a supportive adult in the room without the label of “step” or “mom” works best. It’s important to remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to supporting your partner in parenting, and that’s okay. The most important thing is to be present, caring, and supportive in whatever way feels right for you and your family.