Step-moms, bio-moms, and step-kids please offer your opinion...

Raye - posted on 03/12/2015 ( 10 moms have responded )




Someone else's post got me thinking, so lets hear opinions about step-mom saying "my kids" versus "my step-kids"...

There are times, when I'm talking to co-workers, friends, family, even my step-kids that I feel awkward saying "step-son", "step-daughter", "step-kids". They know I'm not their bio-mom, so it's not like I want to deceive anyone. But, it feels like they might think I don't want to be associated with them (that adding "step" beforehand is creating distance between them and myself), and that is not my intent. I am proud of them and I love them. My husband has custody, so we have the kids most of the time, and I do look after them, kiss their boo-boos, tuck them in at night, take them to scouts, sports, events, etc. and I do try to treat them as if they were my kids (I don't have any bio-kids). I'm not trying to step on the mom's toes or be disrespectful. So...

How long would a woman need to be a step-mom (or long-time GF) before it's ok in general conversation to refer to her step-kids as "my family", "my daughter", "my son"? I know not every step parent has the same amount of time that they spend with the children, so this is presuming she has acted in something of a parental capacity as the father's partner.

Also, what's your opinion of this situation: If we are out at a restaurant and the waitress tells the kids to ask their "mom and dad" if they can have dessert, am I supposed to blurt out "I'm not their mom"? Or "hold on a minute while I call their mom"? Again, I wouldn't want the kids to feel like I don't want to be considered their family, and I would get crazy looks from the wait staff. Occasionally one of the kids has said something like "she's not our REAL mom" not meaning disrespect to me, but just explaining, and the waitress looks like a deer caught in the headlights. She doesn't know how to respond and it makes everyone uncomfortable. I will then say "I'm their step-mom" and that usually gets a nod of understanding, but then the waitress usually won't say two more words to us the rest of the time we're there. So, I feel there are some situations where it's just less complicated not to specify.

So what are the accepted conventions (if any) when it comes to this type of thing?


MaryAnn - posted on 05/06/2015




Its a scary decision to make in the beginning. Ive recently been faced with the same thing. I am biracial. My (step) daughter who is just very little is very clearly not from my gene pool. I am pregnant now so that somehow makes people more comfortable with asking poorly thought out questions. Growing up in a blended family, i only clarified (step) when it was necessary. It was only ever (step)dad when i was talking to people i was close to and the thing that i was saying could have been possibly referring to either one of my dads. I only clarified (step) sister when people were confused as to how my sisters had a different last name or red hair. In my personal relationship with my step mom... she came much later in my life so i called her by name. While she was a great role model and family member... my relationship with her was far less mother/daughter. I think its harder for s tepmoms because of the cult of the uterus... but if its your kid, its yours and you dont owe anyone an explanation of how it came to be.

Tiffany - posted on 04/28/2015




My biokids live full-time with my husband and I. Their bioDad is in the military and unfortunately, that makes the time they spend with him limited. My husband is, in all respects, their day-to-day dad. My bioKids call him J-Dad and he calls them his kids. He does not clarify, escpecially since we share one child together and we do not want "my" kids to feel any less a part of our family as the baby we have together.

Flipside - my husbands biokids live with their mom. It is a very high-conflict situation. They call me Tiffany and that's okay with me. I do not clarify and explain our family dynamics to people. Both of my husbands kids (I consider them my own) know that they are equal in our family to the other three children. Their mom constantly corrects them when they call their siblings brothers and sister and insist that they call them their step-brother, step-sister and even half-brother. They have both stood up and corrected her themselves saying - yes, but their still my BROTHERS or she's still me SISTER!

I believe that the "step" prefix creates a class system inside your family that is unnecessary and only hurts the kids. I do not go out of my way and lie to people, but I don't correct them either. The people who really know my family, already know the dynamic so thats all that matters. Its your family, do whatever it takes to make it function, make it happy and let the kids be kids!


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♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 07/27/2016




I called my dad's second wife by name, but did refer to her as my step mother. I was 14. My dad's second wife was called by her first name, and introduced as "the woman my father married". I was in my thirties st that point and she just wanted a sugar daddy.

My mother's second husband I call Pop, and consider him my step dad, even though I have been married four years longer than they have. Depends on the person and relationship.

[deleted account]

My son calls calls his dad's wife by her first name with Miss in front of it by choice. My son told me that she told his dad that I told him to do that, which was a lie, and he got fussed at for it. Til this day he still refers to her in the same way without emphasizing the Mrs. I have tried to redirect him, but he has made his choice. It's been 4 years since she entered his life and he is 9 now. He has complained to and states that he hates how she lies and tells people he is her son. I don't think she realizes how much it creates a deeper wedge between them.

Raye - posted on 03/13/2015




My step-kids have always called me by my first name. My SS asked his dad once if he could call me "mom", my husband said that he should ask me if it would be okay, and my SS never brought it up to me. Maybe since the answer wasn't "yes" off the bat he had second thoughts about it. I've told their mom that, out of respect for her, I would never ASK them to call me mom. But if they decide that's what they want to do, then I don't think I would want to refuse them. I've only once heard one of them talking to their friends, and my SD referred to me as "step-mom".

They did ask me what to call my mom and I said they could call her grandma, grandma (last name), grandma (first name), or just by her first name. My SD said she would call her grandma. My SS said he would call her by her first name until he got to know her better. lol

Jodi - posted on 03/13/2015




I've never bothered explaining. I am both a mother and a stepmother, and when we go out all together as a family, people do make assumptions. We all just tend to go with it rather than say anything. It really doesn't matter.

Sometimes I refer to them all as "my kids" or "my family" (because they are my family), other times I will clarify "my step-daughter" or "my step-son". My husband is the same. Or we call them "our lot", lol. It really depends on the context and circumstances.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 03/12/2015




In the situation at the restaurant, there is no need to clarify to complete strangers. I would actually feel more at a distance from a step-parent if they were to correct someone in an instance like that. I AM the step child, so speaking from experience it made me personally feel like I wasn't worth a stranger thinking I was their child if the step parent corrected this mistake.....and it was definitely corrected and made everyone involved uncomfortable.

Now, with my mothers current husband, I do not like people calling him my step dad at all. He is my mothers husband. He is a great guy, and I am glad to have him in my family, but he is not my parent in any capacity. I am a grown women, and was married 2 months before my mom and her husband were. I was pregnant, and starting my own family. I was NOT a step child, and will never be to him.

Now on the other hand, the man my mother married for 16 years, saw me grow up. Even though they are no longer married, I still refer to him as my step dad. I was never comfortable calling him my dad. He never quite earned that position, but he certainly was a step parent.

If you are in any way feeling like it is time to say "this is my daughter" or "this is my son" speak to your step children about it and see how THEY would feel being introduced like that. BUT, if they don't want that, and they want you to keep saying "step..." try not to be hurt and offended. Kids sometimes need that difference so the bio parent doesn't get hurt, or they don't feel like they are betraying them somehow or replacing them...regardless of their current relationship with said parent...

Ev - posted on 03/12/2015




I am the bio mom. My kids have had two step moms since the divorce. They have lived more with dad than me but I did remain very active in their lives and so on. The first one was not around long enough to get any kind of relationship going (married to dad for only 14 months). They called her by her first name only. The current and second step mom is still in the picture 9 years later. They have never called her mom or some form meaning the same. She is only 13 years older than my daughter but she would have been old enough to have had a child when my son was born. She did have a bit of a fun time with my daughter until she got pregnant with her own daughter with my ex. My son, she just never seemed to connect with. According to my kids it was like she never wanted them around in the first place. IN public she would act all motherly to my kids and then behind closed doors it was totally opposite. I have seen it myself to know.

As for your question: I do not see the need to have to explain to anyone about that. Just call them your kids. You seem to be very involved in both what they are doing and parenting them as well has have established some sort of a relationship with them that is a good solid one. And you are doing what a mom does.

As for the other side of the coin there are a lot of step moms and even step dads out there like the ones that my kids had the experience of knowing that do not care one way or another about the kids, just do not like the fact that their kids have to share a home with the other kids, or just wants to be a drama person. THey have not made a real attempt to care or form a relationship to the other kids and that makes it hard. Blended families are hard to get going let alone kept going. It makes it hard on the kids more than the adults may know.

Trisha - posted on 03/12/2015




I have this same problem. I would LOVE to call my stepson my son, but
1. He is 16, that means I would have had to have been 14 to have him
2. I don't want to feel deceitful
My husband has full custody and my stepson has not seen his mother since he was a toddler.
But, I can't help but feel pride when he refers to me as his mom when talking to his friends. I have never heard him call me his step-mom. He calls me Trish, or "my Mom". I think this makes him feel better about his home-life, as it has always been a bit broken.
So, I always feel a bit guilty calling him my step-son because I don't want to take away that feeling of security from him, but I don't feel I have the right to call him my son. I didn't birth him, and I wasn't even in his life until he was 11. In his eyes "mom" is simply the person who has been filling in that role in his life at the time.

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