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Step-parenting a tutorial

Updated on September 12, 2014

Step-moms, the other mom

From the childhood tales of Cinderella and Snow white step-moms have been labled "wicked".
From the childhood tales of Cinderella and Snow white step-moms have been labled "wicked".

Trying to fit in

Ever since I was a little girl and read Cinderella and Snow White, I always had the teaching that step-parents were mean, cruel and could never love you as a real parent does. My feelings were changed by the fact that my parents divorced and I was blessed to have three wonderful step-fathers. The first two were lost to cancer. The last one is alive and well, and I refer to him simply and lovingly as "Daddy Louie". My real father has not been in the picture for years.

When I married for the second time I had three children. My husband accepted them as his own and there was never a difference between the child produced from our marriage and my children from my previous marriage, it was always "our" children. They were raised in a loving family enviroment and always referred to my husband as "Daddy". They are all grown now, the youngest being 32, and all having graduated college and made their lives.

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I was separated from my husband of 26 years and began a relationship with a man who is a father to a son, now 8 years old. Now I became the step-mom. the son was 2 1/2 when we met and began a relationship, he is now 8. I am starting to believe in the fairy tales more and more each day. between the interference from his biological mother and the " only child babying" on his father's part I am always made out to be the bad one. The "Wicked Step-Mom".

Up until he finished first grade things went great other than the ocassional "my other mother said this or that". He called me mommy since the first day I met him and the relationship was good. Upon entering the second grade things began to change. The little boy I loved was becoming someone I didn't even like very much. he made new friends, the wrong kind, to my dismay. He became argumentative, hateful and spiteful. His favorite weapon of choice to destroy me " You're not my real mom, you're just a step-mom". The anger and hurt I experienced built with each episode.

I am not your real mom, I shot back sarcastically. But who buys your clothes, buys you toys, gives you an allowance, pays for the birthday parties you have each years, stays up with you when you are sick, goes to school when you are in trouble, takes you to the doctor and dentist? The other things I felt but kept to myself were more explicit... "Where the hell was she all these years?? .. She's seen you 4 times in 5 years... Not one birthday present or christmas present in all these years. " I choked back the words, knowing he was just a child still and I could not say what I was feeling, even though it was killing me inside. Then I remembered something my grandmother had said " having a baby, a mother does not make" even dogs have babies. this consoles me during those " your not my mom days".

I spend the next few hours fuming over his sarcastic remark. I am angry because I have given so freely of myself to this child in the past five years. Since when did I become the enemy? When did he change so much that I didn't notice? Why is it I always get the bad rap? I call his father to pick him up so I can calm down, as usual he sides with the child. His attitude only make s me more angry. the only thing I am guilty  of is trying to make sure he does his work and gets an education so when we are not around he can stand on his own. I think to myself that maybe being a stepmom isn't so great.

Being the stepmom takes alot of guts, for one most of the time you have to put up with the ex. if they have children together...ouch..don't even think of saying anything about her, she's the mother of his children. If this is the case, maybe he should have stayed with the mother of his children, especially since they share the same ungrateful attitude. I guess the hardest part is that you become close to the child and do your best to give them stability, love and a home and then...WHAM out of the blue.."You're not my mom." it's like a knife to your heart. The worst thing is you can't respond back. After all they are only children.

I spend the rest of the afternoon contemplating whether this is something I want to continue doing. Maybe I would be better off just walking away. I write this hub and a few more while I ponder my thoughts. Yeah, maybe I should just find my own life....just walk away.

But then... a mother can't abandon her children... even if she is just a stepmom.


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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I was reading this as a child who has both a step mother and a step father and who has had serious problems with both. I wouldn't be posting this commit but I felt like I needed to speak for the other side. Yes it seems quite harsh to say but your not my real mommy,and sadly it is true. My point actually is that growing up my step parents consistently bashed my real parents, and my real parents bashed each. Now I understood the bashing from my parents they got divorced for a reason but once my step parents criticized my real parents the relationship with them could never be restored I just felt so protective over them even though I have never gotten along with my father. It isn't very logical but it is important.

    • Michelle423 profile image


      6 years ago from Minnesota

      I cannot begin to tell you how my heart aches for you. I am living the same life, but with three steps and their psychotic, jealous, bitter mother. I am often painted the bad guy, the wicked step mother, the warden. I also deal with the father babying them because they are not with him all the time, and their mother 'buys' their affection by giving them everything and anything they want with no rules or consequences. Meanwhile, I establish rules and consequences for my kids, and if they want something, they have to earn it. The stabbing pain of being treated as subhuman is very real. And to be put at the bottom of the list of priorities by the child's father only adds insult to injury.

      Again, my heart goes out to you. At some point, you will need to choose between your own happiness and self-worth and the amount of pain you are willing to put yourself through for this relationship.

    • profile image

      Miserable and frustrated 

      7 years ago

      I never knew that being a step mom would be so hard. My mother was a step mom to my brothers and she made it seem so easy. So when my husband and I joined our families, it seemed like no problem to accept his two teenage sons as my own. WRONG!! As much as I love them, I can't stand them. They are disrespectful to me. They are rude to my daughters. They argue and talk back. I feel like moving out every time they come to visit. I try to adjust my attitude with every visit because I dread when they come and love when they leave but I know my husband loves them and misses them. My main fear is that my husband and I will be separated because of the arguments we get into over the children. Luckily, my husband and I communicate well but it is still frustrating to deal with them. I've even mentioned going to family counseling because I don't want to hate them. It doesn't help that my husband fears that his ex-wife will take the boys from him and therefore doesn't want to do or say anything that will upset them. Especially the older one, who is a mama's boy and tells his mother everything that goes on in our home. I'm stuck between a scared dad and boys that take advantage. And even my in-laws cater to the boys' every desire. Most of the time, we only get them for a week or two which is great that the time goes by quickly but that week or two I'm pulling my hair out. When the summer comes and I'm subjected to two months of them... its torture. I really don't know how I'm going to get cope for another four years until the youngest is 18. And I don't even want to know what i'm going to have to put up with when they are adults. I feel like I won't even have a relationship with them which i'm ok with. But out of love for my husband, I continue to try. I wish you all good luck in your situations as i pray for good luck in mine as well. Ugh...

    • phoenixarizona profile image


      7 years ago from Australia

      Hey Christalluna. I am so sorry that you are going through this. I personally have five step children and live through the everyday battle.

      I hate to be the bad guy here but at the end of the day you are his step mother and he is not your son. What he has said is 100% true.

      Please don't get me wrong, I know how much that statement hurts. I cop it from all five of my step children from time to time and it hurts, especially when you do go to all the trouble to ensure their meals are cooked, the beds are made, their clothes are clean their birthday parties are arranged and catered for etc.

      I also have step children who have a mother who neglects them. She sees them, but doesn't feed them or bath them and leaves them to watch R rated films (their 9 6 and 4) while she goes and does her drugs with her friends. This mother of theirs also feels that she has the right to call me names. Huh, nice right?

      Anyway the point I want to make is that next time your step son tells you "your not my mom". You say without sarcasm "you are absolutely right. I'm not your Mom. So I should stop doing the things that Moms do for kids. I won't wash your clothes or cook your meals. Let's see how you feel about it then."

      That one usually works for me. I would also suggest really talking to your husband. It sounds to me like (again sorry to be the bad guy) he really loved the mother of this child. Unfortunately he will always hold some love for her because she is his only sons mother. He also most likely feels the loss of this woman for his son. I don't mean to sound awful but I think you need to come at your step son with love. Just love him and love him and love him because it is impossible to be angry with someone who only shows you love and kindness.

      I would also recommend that you and your husband work out a type of "parenting plan" So that you know what your limits are and the child can know EXACTLY what is expected of him. This way you and your partner are united in the discipline front and your step son does not have the opportunity to play his father against you.

      I hope everything improves and what I have said can help in some way.


    • christalluna1124 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Dallas Texas


      I appreciate your comment so much. I am also still battling the stepmom deal. My sons mom passed away in april of this year, his puppy died the next day. Due to her neglect( not seeing him but maybe 4 times in 6 years) he cried more for the puppy. But the father insists on keeping her alive. her picture is hanging all over the walls where I live, he keeps two giant photos alblums of them and the baby together in our bedroom(for the baby) the baby could care less. the one who cries the most is the father. I am at my wits end. i know how you feel, on mothers day he left me alone to go sit and cry over her grave...someone who slept with his brother and quite a few of his friends. me.

      warmest regards,


    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I am the proud mother of 2 children and not so proud step mother to 3 children. The kids are as follows:

      17 yr old son - mine

      15 yr old girl - mine

      23 yr old stepson - currently incarcerrated

      19 yr old stepdaughter who is married and has a 6 month old

      17 yr old stepson

      I feel your pain when hateful comments are made. My 17 yr old stepson has lived with us for 2 1/2 yrs and is a very rude, lazy and disrespectful boy. He does things behind our backs and has no regard for authority at all. The world owes him everything and thensome. When he is asked to do anything at all like bringing his laundry down by a certain time on Sundays he always makes excuses. He will be 18 next month and is only a junior in high school. His mother coddles him and tells him that he does not need to abide by anyones rules because he is an adult. Well, he is a taker. He wants everything but gives nothing. He has missed 40 days of school because he claims to be sick and bothers his father at work constantly. His mother does not want him to live with her because he does not get along with his stepfather at all. In the last year we have had to kick out his oldest son who just turned 23. He stole money and valuable items from our home. He caused us to lose our home last fall because he stole money from our bank account. I knew when I married my husband that there were problems but I never thought that it would cause such problems. The 17 year old has had things taken away from him and does not receive an allowance unless it is earned. Which I might add he feels is unfair. The 23 year old is now in prison for residential burglary due to drug usage and is 6 months into his sentence of 4 years. Thankfully my children were raised in a christian home and have been taught respect. They have told their stepbrother that they will not tolerate him being so nasty to me. I am afraid that he will end up hurting someone or he will get lippy with the wrong person and get hurt. I am at my wits end. I love my husband dearly and it has taken until I was in my forties to find him. I do not want to lose him because of the emotional strain that his son is causing. I have tried to stay out of the problems between father and son and also with the ex-wife but they keep trying to pull me in. HELP!

    • heart4theword profile image


      8 years ago from hub

      It sounds like this child is taking his resentment out on you. For the fact, that he isn't being raised by his own biological mother. He may be testing you, to see if you will really be there for him, even when he is bad. Yet I agree also with Tammy Lochmann, that you don't deserve to be mistreated by anyone. Take a stand, set boundaries, don't put up with his attitude. If he cares about you in anyway, it should surface. May God be with You, through this tough situation...this time shall pass, as some say:) There are times when walking away is best, even if it is for a short period of time, for be set up. Keep your chin up, do what's right for you, you are the only one, who has to live with yourself:) God Bless You!

    • profile image

      Tammy Lochmann 

      8 years ago

      Chris you have to do what is best for you. You cannot be abused and mistreated even by a child.


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