Monday, March 11, 2013

STOP! 5 Questions to Never Ask A Stepmom. Like, ever.

*Knock knock.*
Who's there?
A stepmom.

No seriously. There are people out there that don't know what to say or do in dealing with step mothers. But they need to learn - cuz we're everywhere, yo. We're waiting at the doctor's office, sweating out to Zumba at the gym, and hearing about our step kid's obsession with eating glue at parent teacher conferences.
Navigating the complicated landscape of a blended family can be difficult for an outsider. So, rather than tell you what to say to a stepmom, I've compiled a list of the top 5 things to NEVER ask a step mother again. Share with your friends, your hair dresser, your cousin and every person you know that has a blended family.

(That's basically everyone, by the way.)

1) "Aren't you just soooo sweet for taking on your husband's kids?"

Um...hold on.These are my husband's children - not filthy rats that we picked out of the sewer. They are a part of my husband and now, a part of me. You might mean well, but by praising me for accepting my step kids, you're insinuating that I married my husband in spite of his children. Wrong. I fell in love with my husband for many reasons, and his kids rounded out the top two. (Number one was his nice butt, natch.)
Think of it this way. Would you ever walk up to another mother and say, "It is so sweet the way you stay with your husband even though he gave you the cutest kids on the planet."

No, because that would be stupid. And it makes no sense. So why would you tell me I'm amazing for getting to be a part of something so fantastic?

I'm a stepmom. Not a martyr. Just tell me I have a great family and leave it at that. 

2) I want to plan a fun night out with you and your Hubs some Saturday soon...which weekend are you without the kids?

Look peeps, I have kids. You have kids. Millions and millions of people have kids. Would I ever stop inviting you out to see "Wicked" simply because you have rug rats? Hellz no. In fact, I might be inclined to ask you out more often simply because you have kids! We all need a break, right?

I understand the logic behind this one. After all, many fathers only have their children every other weekend, so you're being respectful by trying to avoid taking Dad away from that precious time. And seriously, that is sweet. But here's the thing - we are trying to have as normal a family life as possible. And in most households, mom's and dad's occasionally go out with their friends for an evening and leave the kids with *gasp* a babysitter. 

Why can't I do that, too?

After all, part of being a kid is saying sianara to your 'rents every now and again to enjoy a night of junk food and debauchery....while your parents are out doing the exact same thing.

Bottom line - don't worry about trying to schedule around the kids' calendar. We'll make it work, and we're dying for an invite out just as much as anyone else. 

(Also, we might need to borrow your babysitter's list. Step mom's actually don't double as babysitters, if you can believe that.)

3) So, you have step kids. Are you going to try for kids of your own?

Well, are you going to take care of that overactive bladder problem you have?

C'mon people, this falls under the "none of your business" category, too. You must think of a step mother as a normal, average mother. You don't get a free pass for nosy questions just because she's a "step". And by the way? Most step mothers think of their step kids as their own kids, so your question is already insulting before it even comes out of your mouth.

4) Whoa, that waiter referred to you as your step kid's mom. Shouldn't you correct him?

No, I shouldn't. And neither should you. Do you have any idea how many people assume I'm these kids' mother? I get it all. the. time. This happens because people don't know the inner workings of our family. 

The 17-year-old waiter at TGI Friday's sees me and my husband with wedding rings, sitting with two little girls. Logic says, "That's Mom and that's Dad."  I don't need to embarrass the poor kid - he's being paid to bring me ranch dressing, not decipher our family dynamic. (However, I do tip extra when a waiter simply asks the generic question, "Is it okay for this sweetie to have a cookie?")

Occasionally I will correct someone, but it's my responsibility to decide when that is appropriate. Like I said earlier, I don't need a reminder that I'm a step mom. I know what I am. It kills me that I will never be those adorable girls' real mom, even though my heart is positive that they are. Please just let me decide when to correct someone's mistake.

5) What's the latest with that crazy bio mom? SPILL!

Look, I'm a girl. I love gossip and nights of wine and venting. Just not when it comes to Mama Ex.

I know you've heard me say bad (okay, really bad) things about her before. What you don't realize is, I'm seriously trying to stop. Mama Ex is going to be in my life for the foreseeable future. Yes, she does things that infuriate me, but when you encourage me to recite the top 10 list of Mama Ex atrocities (and believe me, such a list exists), you're only compounding the problem. Besides, if it's okay for you and me to talk smack on Mama Ex, how can I be mad at her for saying terrible things about me with her friends?

The good news is, you and I can still talk. In fact, I need you. I need a friend that I can share my frustrations and my fears with. I need someone to be there and remind me that I can do this; I can be a good step mom and a great wife and a terrific friend. More importantly, I need to be reminded that it's okay when I mess up.

The overarching rule of talking to a step mom is this: just talk to us like a normal mom. Ask us questions about our can even drop the "step" word. We think of these kids as our own, so you can too. And by the way? Just like any other normal mom, sometimes the last thing on earth we want to talk about is the kids. So bring over a bottle of wine and let's discuss a topic where no rules Channing Tatum's abs.

What sorts of questions do you hear as a step mom that drive you crazy? Tell me on the comments below or tweet me your answer!


  1. This is great!! Love the truth and attitude.

    Would you let me reprint it on my blog with full credit to you and of course a linkback?

  2. Love your take on it.
    I might even take heed and start making time for me and hubby (actually only partner... Similar issues to being called a step) and go on more date nights even while we have the kids! *gasp*

  3. Sarah, you can absolutely link back to our blog and put it on ours. So glad you enjoyed it.

    Jennie, it took me years to convince my husband that it was okay to go out with friends when we had our kids for the weekend. Obviously not every single weekend, but once in a while is good for everyone!!