Stepfamily life can be complicated. Well-intentioned “advice” often comes from family & friends who just don’t understand why being a stepmom isn’t as easy as it looks!
Let’s hear from you, stepmoms. What’s the funniest, craziest, or dumbest thing anyone has ever said to you? Leave a comment below and, if you liked this video, don’t keep it a secret, share it!
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44 thoughts on “The 5 Dumbest Things People Say to Stepmoms”
One of the harshest and most common I (and my husband, who’s also a step parent) have heard is, “it’s not your business”. Nothing could be further from the truth! Especially when we have a child/children who’s siblings with steps. Step parents play a role in CO PARENTING! And it definitely becomes our business when our names get dragged thru the mud, whether or not we’ve done anything “wrong”. Exes tend to violate the law by denying access to the children, which is contempt of court and grounds for IMPRISONMENT as well as loss of custody. Children need to be allowed to be loved by as many people as possible, and the people who interfere are usually the ones who have no business doing so. They tend to MEDDLE in things that are truly not their business. Using children as weapons is abuse! It’s abusive to the steps, siblings, non custodials AND step parents. Families of bitter exes need to only interfere to point out that they are wrong, and families of steps and non custodials need to only interfere to be supportive.
I agree with your comment whole heartedly! It’s really sad that stepparents get such a bad rap. We have chosen to love and care for children that we have no legal rights to. In my case, my stepdaughter lives with her dad and me. I treat her like I have treated my own children. Her mother wishes I would drop dead and tries hard to pretend I don’t exist, and has frequently told me that I am nothing. She even calls me names in front of her daughter. I have never expected my stepdaughter to call me mom or replace me as her mom. She has a mom and I respect that relationship. I wish I had found this magazine and support group 7 years ago. I am sure I would have done some things differently.
The dumbest thing someone has ever said to me is – ‘at least you got them when they were old enough to take care of themselves.’ They were 7 and 9.
me too! Mine were 14, 12 & 11 when I got my kids. I guess other people thought they were suppose to raise themselves after that.
Those are the hardest years. When kids are reaching their teens and can be extremely cruel to their stepparent because of things said to them by the biological parent. We got custody of my step daughter at five and I was kicked, scratched and spit on by her because she was so angry. It only got worse through the teen years. Partly because of my husband trying to spoil her to make up for all she had been through. I had to be the bad guy and enforce rules when he wouldn’t. She has told me she loves me and is sorry for how she treated me. Even though she is still very mixed up she can be a very loving young woman. Unfortunately her father and I are now separated but I will always love her and consider her my child.
Mine was also 14, and seriously damaged by his “real” mom. After 2 yrs of tremendous love and structure he’s finally on a good path and his future is bright.
Hahaha! Someone told me exactly the same thing Stupendous Stepmom. The kids where 10 & 13!!! Its so hard not to say anything back. People just do not get it.
“It’s got nothing to do with you.” It has everything to do with me! Am I not part of this family, and helping raise these kids? If it’s too hard to accept that I love my (step)children and want the very best for them then at least know that I won’t step aside and allow them influence my “real” children negatively. If you’re not a step mum, in the EXACT same situation as me, then you don’t understand the dynamic we’re in. Every relationship is complex, let alone multiples!
Love the “Wicked Witch” in the video! Well, it’s been awhile since my stepchildren were children, they are 24, 28 and 32 now. But, I remember like it was yesterday when I went to my first extended family outing with my husbands family and my sister-in-law, bless her heart, said something that floored me as a new stepmom. My youngest stepdaughter was 6 and one of her cousins was asking who I was and my SIL said: “This is her NEW mommy.” What??? Seriously??? I was too polite and confused to object so I just smiled in my stunned state. Now that I know what I know about stepfamily dynamics, the worst part was that I didn’t have a conversation with my stepdaughter to help her through her confusion which I’m sure she experienced…complicated. As her custodial stepmom, we had many years to work our dynamic out and I’m her other “Mom” now, we both survived!
This cracked me up! I give it a “TRUE THAT!” hahahaha!!! When I tell people I have stepchildren, yes plural, I get the huge eyes and then, “Oh, God! You are a saint!” or “I could never…” Either way it makes me feel a little awkward and a tab embarrassed that my unique “family” situation is so shocking to people, but I’m learning that to each his/her own 😉
Dumbest was when we were at a party all three of us, me, husband and stepson, and the host aked ME what the little boy used to drink. I just said: why not ask his father, i have no idea!
Amen! Why do I have to know what they like to drink or eat or what they want for Christmas and birthday gifts or what size clothes they wear?
because you’re part of his family. that was sorta bitchy.
I’m sorry but I agree… It was a compliment that the host asked you and if you are in that role anyone would expect you to have some idea about the child’s likes and dislikes….. Just as you know your husbands.
Because you took on the role as stepmother. That’s being at the very least a part-time caregiver. You should know what they eat and drink (because of daily meals), play with and like (because they have a room at your home and you go into it), wear (because you do their laundry), etc.
My life revolves around my stepdaughter, I love her as my own and treat her as such. Therefore, I knkw about as much if not more about her than her daddy does, not because he isn’t a good daddy but bc I have taken on the role and made it my business to know what makes her happy sad, what she likes doesn’t like, I know her favorites and her least favorites. I take it as my personal duty to treat my step child just as if she was my birth child.
I just LOVE this video! Thank you for making it. The other videos are great too. I’ve heard each of these statements and only wish that people understood how stupid they sound. But that’s the joy of all these different people making up this world I guess. Another one…a friend told to me when I was (calmly and collectively) explaining a situation about how hard it is to bond with children that are not your own, especially with conflict from the ex. “Just follow your heart with them, and everything will be alright”. This just made me feel guilty for not being able to have the special big love for my stepchildren that many perceive that you should automatically have…and if you don’t, you must not be “the bigger person” in all this. Love takes time. And the bonding…it may not ever happen, it doesn’t make me a bad person. Am I right? – I’ll keep trying, but can’t promise a big heartfelt love for my stepchildren. It’s painful to say, but it’s the truth. Perhaps it’s best just work on healthy, respectful communication …and if the bonding comes, great. If it doesn’t, than be grateful for all the other things in your heart.
I have heard it all. My relationship with my husband started 16 years ago with our kids were only 5 and 5 months old. They were 4 and 9 when we were married and were a part of our special day. Never once have I called them “step” kids cause to us they are our family, our children. When my husband and I were married I married him and everything that came with him. 5 year after we were married my husband and I had a daughter. So we have one done and two daughters. We’ve been there and done that. Maybe I’ll write a book on how to actually be the other mom. Cause I see so many people doing so many thing wrong with their spouses kids. For example, putting the other bio parent down in front of child, which is a big no-no!! But I could go on and on. Children are not pawns they are gifts from God!
AMEN!!!! I have 2 daughters from my husbands previous wife and they are my children as much if not more than his…
My favorite thing that people say to me is “They aren’t your kids.” Or “You really dont have children.” Drives me bonkers because yes they are mine. They are my children, they have said so and their opinion is all that matters.
I have a very difficult step daughter. Often people think that the main issue is that she “isn’t mine”. She’s mine and even if I had given birth to her she would still be difficult. We have very conflicting personalities AND she is 14 which is a terrible age anyway!
My husband and I have 4 sons together and he has a daughter from his previous marriage. We have EOWE visitation. I prayed for healthy babies and desparately wanted a little girl. (Not that I’d change them now for the world!) When I was pregnant with my 3rd and 4th sons, people would say things like “well, you know he can make a girl, wonder why you didn’t get one” or “at least you already have a daughter.” It was like rubbing salt in a wound.
That is an awful thing to say but I hear similar from my in laws
I don’t think I’m even seen as a stepmom to DH and SK
I AM NOT a step parent. I am a child of a step parent. My advice to step parents is simple: Never make your step child/children feel as though they are in the way of your “perfect” family. Never treat your step kids like servants, while your biological kids have NO responsibilities what-so-ever. If you ARE the biological parent, don’t make/allow the step parent to make ALL the decisions, for example Me: Dad, do you care if I go to the school dance Friday night? Dad: Um, you better ask (step-parent). Me: Can I go to the school dance? Step-parent (huffing, clearly being bothered) Ask your dad. Me: I did. He said to ask you (thinking the whole time, why is asking to go to a school dance so Damn hard?) It causes resentment…toward both adults. The bio parent for NOT parenting and the step for being in a position to fuel the dislike for this person, who has suddenly come into your life and taken charge. We (my dad and two siblings) we’re doing just fine without you. So please step parents and future step parents, it’s not easy, I know…I gave her hell….but please please please treat the step kids in your life with respect. You will BOTH benefit from it.
Awesome post Rena! Definitely shed light on how it feels to be on the receiving end of having a step-parent. We need to hear more from the kids and how they feel which can help many step-parents with how to approach situations. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
Fantastic advice! As a stepmom and previously a stepkid, this is helpful for others to hear. 🙂
I was asked, “so does that make you the fake mom??” My reply, “no, I “stepped” in to fill the need when the “real” mom bailed!!!”
Both me and my husband hate it when “friends” give us updates on his ex’s life, or her husband, or what they were doing over the weekend with the kids, what the kids are doing while they aren’t able to be with us. . .we know they have a whole other life apart from us but it doesn’t mean we want to hear about what restaurant they were eating at, or what they were doing. . .I mean SERIOUSLY if it’s so important we’ll hear about it, otherwise myob!! I swear I can’t stand when acquaintances who don’t even know my husband’s ex or even remember our kids names for crying out loud. . .decide to get involved. Go find a life and get the hell out of mine!!! Still working on a good response when we get these obnoxious “updates” in group settings. . .There is such a difference when people really care, they often say this, “tell the kids hello for me and that I love them”. . .vs. what we more often get “we saw the kids at (such and such) we stopped and talked with their mom and stepdad, they’re so friendly, he’s got tattoos everywhere huh? does he keep getting new ones? I don’t think there’s anymore room, the kids were excited to see us. .” and other endless stupdity. . .If anyone has found a good response to this other than walking away with the ‘you’re still talking about this’ look, please let me know. . .i’m so sick of this kind of conversation with people!
Omg, I thought I was the only one that felt like this. I have never felt so invisible as when my husband and I would run into people he and his ex used to know while they were married and all these people wanted to do was rehash old memories!? It was like I wasn’t even standing there! I used to be really hard on myself because I wondered why they didn’t want to get to know me or ask about my daughter. Then I realized that most of the people his ex knows are basic bottom feeders. Now I just walk away like THEY don’t exist.
I feel this way all the time! I love my stepchildren, and my daughter more then anything! But we live less then a mile from his EX (who has moved on with her own family) but our town is so small and I am extremely tired of running into people who just want to talk about the ex and bring up memories. I get it to, we all have a past,…but enough already,,,wheres the grace in people now a days?
Number 1 is not dumb it is true. Also you are not these children real parents. You are their seep parents. These kids have mothers.
K&K, that is true if the bio parent is actually involved in the children’s lives. If you are a full time “step parent” and do absolutely everything a mother should do that the mom does not do. You know things like cooking, cleaning, helping with homework, being there, not doing drugs you probably deserve the title mother. Just saying.
K&K is right. 2-5 are stupid as claimed, but 1 is absolutely correct. You knowingly married a man with kids, now don’t ever, ever hold this against him. Don’t make him feel guilty for not experiencing the birth of your first child as if it the birth of his first child, or for the complications and frustration that comes with sharing of other kids with an ex. It’s not fair to walk in to a situation you know existed and not own it. Can someone please put up a site that is for the fathers married to stepmoms? JFC
My step kids are 7 & 9 and I’ve been in their life since they were 5 and 3 so we are very, very close. We have 50% custody and I am fully involved in their lives. I was talking to another mom and asking her if her kids were also fascinated with running around naked before and after showering/bath time. She said “wow, they must be really comfortable with you. My daughter would never let the babysitter see her naked.”
“um, I’m not the babysitter…I’m their step mom!”
Ok, so I have to admit that I laughed at these. I’m the biological mom of 4, step-mom of zero. However, my children have a step mom. My kids know that if they are punished for behavior at their dad/step moms house that I expect punishment to be handled there. That I won’t “carry over” any punishments to my house from them and vice versa. Luckily, I not only get along with their step mom but I adore her. She’s an amazing person. Maybe that’s because I don’t harbor any love or hate for their dad. We are friends who raise our kids. Their step mom is actually helping me plan and carry out a baby shower for our oldest who is now pregnant. What right do I have as the biological parent to teach my children hatred of anyone who isn’t mom or dad? Shouldn’t my kids (and all kids) be raised with the right to learn to love who they want to? Shouldn’t they be able to decide on her own merits whether they love her or not? All the fighting and mouthing off about the other parent or step parent will be seen through by the children as they grow old enough to understand the situation. Then, all you are left with is that the children resent you for being angry all the time. Biological parents need to get their act together with regards to how step parents are treated. I only wish that everyone could have the same kind of relationship with their kids “other family” that I do.
As a stepmom of 2 boys, I wish his ex were you! Would make our life so much easier and the kids much happier too. Unfortunately, his ex does all the opposite of what you pointed out. She bad mouths not only me but their Dad a well. Must be the harbouring anger for their Dad that you mentioned, hit the nail on the head!
When my husband and I co-parent and disciplined at our house, we hear no end of it from his ex because she cannot stand that the kids actually “live in our home”. The kids were 8 and 3 when I was introduced to them (after dating my then boyfriend for a year). Somehow his ex had made a point to tell the older boy all the “bad things his Dad did by deserting the family and leaving their mother”. She so brainwashed him that 4 years later, he still is blindly loyal to his mother and openly lies for her. He believes her 10000%, all that she “taught” him: you don’t live with your Dad, you are just visiting. Your Dad’s house is not your home. Your home is only here, with me, your mother. His wife is a bad person and does not like you. Only me your mother loves you and wants the best for you. When you are over there, you have to watch your brother because Mommy is not there and your Dad does not know how to take care of you and your brother. Etc. etc. etc….. Pretty sick. We never bad mouth or say a single word against the ex in front of the children. Our only hope is that someday he will grow up and figure out on his own all the lies his mother has been telling him out of pure anger for his father…. Right now, he is being a total rude teenager, especially to me as a step mom. He acts nice to his father but I can tell and feel his simmering pent up emotions. I’ve tried to approach him and teach him how he has to be open and honest, we are a family in this home. But he struggles and I’m not surprised given the brainwashing he had from his mother. Breaks my heart to see how in her selfishly putting her anger of being divorced on to this child, she is really causing so much harm but in her works, she is all righteous and wants “what is best for the children”. If ever comes the day her mind actually opens up to see the damages she caused to her children, I don’t know how she will look at herself in the mirror.
The younger boy actually was young enough that over the years, I have built s loving relationship with him. Whilst the older boy is a challenge, I can say the younger one loves me and I love him too. Some days when hell breaks loose because of some ex drama, I cling to this feeling that makes being a step mom all worth it.
The hard part is the closeness and affection the younger one and I share (we kiss and give big ginormous hugs) is that it makes the older boy uncomfortable. I understand and have tried to not do it in front of the older one, but sometimes he does witness our loving bond and he shuts down. I wish I could share the same bond with the older one too but sadly, he is closed off to me and totally unreceptive. I wonder why… not! Two words: his mother. Sadly all credits go to her… all thee doing why this older boy is so “burdened” by a bad divorce that should have had nothing to do with him. The older boy has been “trained” by her mother to report onl all that goes on in our household. Because one day, while giving him his bath, the younger one asked me, “my mommy says you are not my real mommy and you don’t love me.” With a very sad look on his cute little face. Breaks my heart… All I could say to him as gently as I could (while fuming deep inside as to how a mother could so stupidly emotionally harm an innocent child…) was, “I am not your mommy, you have a mommy. I am your step mommy and loves you to the moon and back!” Knowing and reassured that I do love him, he happily carried on the bath play time. From there on, the younger boy always proudly says to people we come across at the store, at the playground, checking into hotels, “My mom is at her house. Lily is my Step Mom!” with a big happy grin 🙂
The older boy is like her “spy” and she quizzes him after each “visit”…. still to this day. We know because she eventually throws it back at my husband when she gets into some discussions or she is unhappy about something we do in our home. Sigh.
Maybe someday the ex will grow out of her stupidity and immature attitude but notice hope for someone who is 51… She is 8yrs older than my husband and is way childish than him. Anywho. All we can do is ignore her rants and take the high road. It’s really hard but I love my man so deeply that this is a small price to pay to share the rest of my life with the One. Our family and our marriage is ALL THAT MATTERS at the end of the day. God Bless!
Very well said. Unfortunately it’s not the case. But we can still dream and hope. It only helps the kids grow up healthy and happy in a situation that can be very difficult. Thank you for sharing
I always hate it when people use the phrase “treat me like a stepchild” around me. Um….how exactly do you think I treat my stepson?
You aren’t allowed to call yourself a step-mom, they have an active mom… or…You need to call them your boyfriends children, not your step children because you aren’t legally married. (I absolutely hate when people try and tell me the dynamics of my family) We’ve been together 4 years, living together 3 and have the kids 4 days a week… I think I have more then earned the step mom label. People can be so stupid.
Ditto! Whether legally married or not, being in a committed relationship and living with your partner, you have stepped in and thus taken on the step mom role. If you were just the girlfriend, you would not be involved this much in the kids’ lives nor be cooking, cleaning, helping with homework, bath times, laundry, school pickups and drop offs, play dates, etc. Some people like to stick their nose into things they have no clue. Ignore them. You don’t have to prove anything to them. You don’t need their approval to earn it. You ARE a step mom!
I had people to tell you need to stop trying to raise his kids and have one of your own. And you don’t need to him has baggage!
Bit I love him and his boys and they love me 🙂
I love the comment: you’re so lucky you get to have kids, but you also get to be a single couple every other week. Yes, so lucky to have to raise the man I loves children with another woman who I do not respect or agree with. It’s great!
The hardest part is when the in-laws say this stuff! (even though they have been step parents multiple times) Enough with EX talk…parenting advice (I am raising my child too in this blended family) and enough talking about the EX always as if she is the bomb diggity. I am a human being, and am part of the family…what is wrong with people?