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A Woman Shares What It Means to Be a Stepmom (and Not a Biological One)

A difficult or stressful situation with stepkids and in-laws can cause undue stress and anxiety, making one feel misunderstood and undervalued. We recently received an email from one of our Bright Side readers who has been going through a challenging time. Here’s what we think might help.

Thanks for sharing your story with us! We’ve compiled these thoughts for you.

  • We are so sorry to hear about the loss of your stepkids’ mother, and we can totally understand how difficult it can be to get used to being in that position.
  • You are absolutely right to want to avoid the “mom” title in your relationship with your husband’s children. We think it’s important to remember that the kids are grieving their mother, and they’re also adjusting to a new stepparent.
  • We salute you for actively listening to your stepkids and stopping others from making them feel as if their mother is being replaced. We’re also glad that your husband supports the relationship between you and his kids.
  • It sounds like the kids may have been dealing with some big feelings around their mom’s death, but it’s important that they know you’re here for them in whatever way they need, whether that means just being their dad’s partner or something more.
  • If they’re having trouble adjusting, make sure you’re communicating with them about what they need without making it seem like there’s something wrong with them if they feel differently than others do.
  • They might not understand why everyone around them thinks this is so great while they still miss their mom so much. They may even feel like no one understands what they’re going through. So be patient and kind as you work through this together.
  • The fact that your husband supports you is great! We suppose it would be a good idea for him to do some talking with his family members who seem to be placing a lot of pressure on you. It might help them understand where you’re coming from.
  • Your husband’s parents and siblings are probably feeling unsure about how to talk about what happened and what’s going on now, so they may be overcompensating by telling the kids how lucky they are to have a mom again.
  • We suggest you gently remind them how important it is for everyone involved to remember that their mother was an incredible woman who gave so much love and joy and that she cannot be replaced by anyone else.
  • We believe that the best thing for you to do when people refer to you as the mother is to just keep being honest about how you feel.
  • The next time someone asks if you’re their mother, say something like, “Well, I’m not their biological mother, but I love them like they were my own children.” Or “It’s great to hear that they’re happy with me as their stepmom! It means a lot to me.”

How would you react if you were in Lena’s shoes? Is there any piece of advice you can give her?

Preview photo credit Sarah Chai / Pexels
Bright Side/Family & kids/A Woman Shares What It Means to Be a Stepmom (and Not a Biological One)
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