After nearly four years of being a step mum I finally decided to write this blog. These comments and questions used to drive me crazy. I didn’t know what to think because some of them could be quite hurtful, even if they are not meant to be. But every step parent will hear them at some point.
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1. Did you break up the family?
Even my dad asked me! It was his second question after I told him that my boyfriend has a child. Not sure why people are asking this question. Is it because they want to hear some juicy gossips? Come on people, it takes more than one person to break a family, so let’s don’t blame the step parent straight away.
How I deal with it: I don’t take this question personally anymore, I don’t need to prove anything to anyone, I don’t care for stranger’s opinion. My friends and family know the truth and that’s what matters.
2. You know what you signed for!
No, I didn’t! Step-parenting is just like parenting, you think you know what to do, but nothing can really prepare you for being a parent. I think people say this when they have enough of you, don’t know what to say or how to help.
How I deal with it: I haven’t heard this one for some time now, probably because I changed my approach and stopped complaining. If you feel lost and alone, consider getting coaching. It’s the most effective way to deal with your concerns. Or talk to other step-parent, they will understand you.
3. You’re not the parent!
Really? Did you have to remind me of that? Step-parents respect that the child has parents and he/she is the ‘bonus’ person. I’ve never tried or wanted to be my step daughter’s mum. She has her parents and I’ll be a mum to my child one day. I think when someone says this to you, most likely it was a reaction to upset, insecurity or you somehow crossed the line. I see it as a trump card, something that should shut you up and maybe scare you a little.
How I deal with it: I learnt when to back off. You don’t always need to be involved, especially when both parents are there. Just step back, and if you have something to say, talk to your partner later on in private.
4. You won’t understand because you are not a parent!
Here we go, so either way I’m not a parent, I got that (did you hear my eyes roll out?). Btw you won’t ever hear this from dads. I only hear that from mums.
This really p**** me off at the begging but understand that I cannot experience certain things the same way as a parent. It’s really annoying to hear this one when you’re looking for help or you talk to someone and they either disagree with you or want to win the conversation. Let’s see if people will stop telling me this when I have a baby, or they will come up with something else
How I deal with it. The best thing is to finish the conversation asap, it can get nasty. Think about you approach and how you communicate. Don’t push your opinion on someone without accepting their opinions.
5. You must hate his ex? And what about his child?
To be completely honest I did say in the past ‘oh I hate her’ and it was because I had my own issues, anger and insecurity going on. I don’t hate her and I’m not the Wicked step-mum.
These days we say ‘hate’ even when we don’t mean it. We teach kids that ‘hate’ is a strong word, but we use it all the time.
How I deal with it: I avoid saying ‘hate’, instead I say we’re different, I don’t always agree with her etc. When it comes to his child I hate it when she doesn’t treat us with respect, but we deal with it on the spot and remind her of our house rules. LOVE, RESPECT & TEAM WORK!
If you feel like you hate your partner’s ex or child give coaching a go.
I know being a step-mum is not easy but try not to overthink what people say to you. Work on your communication and approach. And ask yourself will this matter in five minutes? Will this matter in five days? Will this matter in five years?