You’re Not Allowed To Like/Love Your Step-Parent As Much As Your Birth Parent. Right?

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My husband has a sense of humor…sometimes. Most of his jokes are funny and then some…well, cross the line.

For instance, shortly after being married, Matt would teasingly say to his kids “should we keep her? Should we keep your new mom?” referring to me.

Haha, very funny. Eye roll… He is the best at “dad jokes”!

Then, he would joke and ask his kids “who is your favorite Dad?”. They would giggle and say “You are my only dad so you are my favorite!”. My kids remained quiet and I was uncomfortable. I was praying he wouldn’t ask “Who is your favorite mom?” I mean that would just be awful. And to clarify, he didn’t and would never ask my kids, but they were there.

Well, my young daughter whispered to me “mom, I don’t know what to say. I don’t want to be mean”. Matt is her step dad and it left her a little confused.

Now, this joke about favorites in any other family is fine, but not in ours. My children father is deceased and Matt’s children’s mother is deceased so….

To make sure this joke came to a stop I had to quickly announce “we aren’t playing this game anymore. No more jokes about favorites. We don’t have favorites.” And that was that.

It’s been quite some time since that happened but lately I’ve been reflecting on how I felt when Matt asked that question and what my feelings were. The tiny bit of anger and rage that I had at the thought of my child saying who was her favorite.

Why? What triggered these feelings? Why would I get angry about this little joke?

Well, I was afraid of her answer. Would she forget about Cameron, her birth father, and say that Matt was her favorite or she liked him more? No, no, no, she can’t say that!! If she did, would that mean she didn’t love Cameron anymore? I strangely became protective of Cameron and his memory. It was almost as if I had to stand in the way and make sure my child did not tell her stepdad that HE was her favorite.

This made me wonder about all of the blended families out there with ex-husbands and ex-wives in the mix and how they must feel.

I’m not sure I would handle sending my child to another woman’s house well. What if my daughter liked her more?!! What if my sons liked her food better than mine? Nooooo, that can’t happen, it’s not allowed! I’m not comfortable with my children sharing their love with another woman. They might end up loving her more and she would become the favorite!

Right? This could happen, right?

I’m no expert, but I have a feeling I’m wrong.

Now, playing favorites is never a good idea. BUT the goal of step-parenting is to at least have a warm relationship between the adult and the child. If there is love there, even better!!

Instead of being fearful that my children might love this new man in their life (a lot), I should be embracing this relationship and encouraging it to flourish.

We all should be doing this!

I personally discovered through remarriage that I was capable of loving another husband so I know my children have the ability to love another parent just as much.

As step parents we need to be willing to allow our children this opportunity and not let our jealous feelings intervene.

I’ve heard of parents not allowing their child to call their new step parent “mom/dad” or “bonus mom/dad”, etc. This breaks my heart especially if they really want to call them by that name.

Wouldn’t it be great for children in blended families to have multiple sets of mom’s and dad’s? How lucky for them!

There was a time when my youngest stepson, Quinton (who was 3 at the time), was outside playing with our neighbors and excitingly told them “guess what guys, I have TWO moms! Amy-mom is in heaven and Lisa-mom is here!”.

How wonderful that he feels able to express the label of “mom” to more than one woman and knows that we both love him. How beautiful also that Matt allows me to love him, mother him, and doesn’t stand in the way out of fear that Quinton might love me more than Amy. Both moms love him, there is not a favorite.

How wonderful it would be for each child in a blended family to have the opportunity to embrace their stepparent freely. To not have to feel like they have to choose but to be able to say they love all of their parents. And for us biological parents to surrender our feelings and encourage this process.

Have you ever directly/indirectly stopped your child from getting too close to their step parent? Or have you, as a step child, felt like you couldn’t like or love your stepparent out of wanting to protect your birth parent?

6 Replies to “You’re Not Allowed To Like/Love Your Step-Parent As Much As Your Birth Parent. Right?”

  1. Your words are so true. I Would certainly find it difficult if my daughter had to spend time at another woman’s house like that, even though I have a stepdaughter who stays with us for 3.5 days of the week. I get on with both but I do wonder what birthmama says to my SD about me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I was growing up my mom was kind about my stepmom. However, I felt like I needed to make my mom feel better so I would put a negative slant on the information I gave her about the time I spent at my dads house. Even if I had a great time I would always find something to say that was not nice.
      Looking back, my mother probably should have corrected me!


  2. Lisa,
    I loved this blog. I’m a step child. My mom married 4 times. I was raised most of my young life by her/ my 2nd and 3rd husbands/my step dad. With her second husband I was young (only 2) so that was easy for me to except him as “my” dad. When they divorced it was very hard for my half younger sister and me. Especially when my mother remarried a couple years later. When she married her 3rd husband I was 12 years old and with that union we all relocated from Washington state to California. I can honestly say I was awful to my new stepfather. I used the term “you aren’t my real dad” over and over. It makes me cringe a little to admit this. But through the years I learned to love my “Pop” with all my heart. We became very close. I could talk to him about things that I couldn’t talk to my mom about. He was an awesome Grandpa to our kids too.
    Before his death in 2001 I was his caretaker during the day for around 6 months. I cherish this time I had with him to give back some of the kindness, and love he gave to me. Sorry for the lengthy comment.
    When all is said and done you will see the results of all your parenting trials. Your doing a great job!

    Liked by 1 person

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