**This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events that I have experienced firsthand; used with permission.
I’m a stepmom. I’m not the biological mom. I’m not the real mom. I’m not the person who birthed my stepchild.
But I’m not a pretend mom, a fake mom, or a woman who doesn’t mother my stepchild to the best of my abilities either.
In fact, I’m probably more of a mother figure to my stepchild than any other woman he’s known in his life besides his grandmother.
But I still don’t get that “mom credit.” And I don’t ever expect to.
You see, I’ve come to realize that the way in which we mother as stepmothers is a unique gift all on its own. It’s not lacking anything. It’s not missing anything. It’s simply mothering a child in a way that might be different than the woman who gave birth to them.
Wanting that “mom credit” is really the burning desire to be acknowledged for all of the grunt work you may have put in as a stepmom.
Things like doing laundry, helping with homework, cleaning, cooking, driving kids around, comforting, or even helping out financially with your own money. Those are all things that can cause resentment if there is no gratitude or thanks for the effort.
However, to be honest, many biological moms don’t get much credit for doing those mom things either.
Being a parent, in general, can sometimes mean giving all you’ve got with no accolades at the end of the race — no one there to cheer you on or see everything you’re sacrificing for your kids. No one to give you that “credit.”
There are certain moments or days when biological parents may be recognized more than stepparents like Mother’s Day or Father’s Day — but all in all, the work put in by all the parents involved in a child’s life goes into the same bucket. Feeling competitive about who gets credit for what really won’t matter in the end.
If a biological mother chooses to show up for her child every chance she gets, then your role as a stepmom will be very different as opposed to step-mothering a child whose biological mother doesn’t show up at all. Each of these roles requires different things.
No matter how often you mother your stepchild, your role is always changing and you are always adapting. It’s a dynamic form of parenting that requires flexibility and patience.
Getting that “mom credit” for all the mothering you may do as a stepmom on a daily basis sounds nice in theory, especially on days when you’re burnt out and ready to give up. Getting credit of any kind is fantastic, whether it’s from a friend, your spouse, or even a teacher at your stepchild’s school who recognizes all of the work you put in.
As a stepmom, you need to take the good with the bad and absorb the acknowledgment along with the ignorance. Perseverance is your weapon and doubt is your enemy.
Give yourself your own deserved credit as a woman who mothers a child she didn’t birth.
It’s a powerful thing to do.
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