The Question I Can’t Stand as a Childless Stepmom

The Awkward Question for a Childless Stepmom

Go-On-VacationIn case some of you don’t already know, I am fifteen years younger than my husband and at the time of this article, I am thirty-one years old with no biological children.  My husband’s two children, teenagers now, have lived with us for over three years.

I started my own business in web development and design and I very happily work from home.  So, I take care of the kids, the house, the errands, the cleaning, the shopping, and so on and so forth while my husband brings home the big bacon.

I am extremely happy with this set up.  I love it.  I get a flexible schedule, my choice of clients, I make my own decisions and I get to satisfy my maternal itch by helping to raise the kids.  I use stepchildren and my children interchangeably, depending on the context, but the here is the truth in my own mind and heart: THEY ARE MY CHILDREN.

Of course, I don’t ask them (or expect them) to call me mom or think that I am replacing their real mom, that would be ridiculous.  I’m here as an additional adult, perhaps more like a crazy aunt who lives in the house.  They still treat me with respect because I am an adult (most of the time) but they also know they can share things with me that might be controversial for their dad to hear.  I encourage this communication because I have a better understanding of what makes them tick.  Think of it like a “man on the inside” or “woman” in my case.

So, what is the question that I hate answering?

When are you going to have kids of your own?”

Let me be clear, I don’t get mad or upset having to answer this question, nor do I blame the inquisitor for be curious.  After all, we are expected to grow up and start a family of our own, right?  It’s what’s expected.  So, it’s understandable that any deviation from this path is (gasp!)… hard to comprehend for some.

Why do I hate to answer this question, you ask?  Here we go…

Technical Q&A

  • “Why don’t you plan to have kids?”  My husband had a vasectomy over seven years ago.  It’s expensive to get it reversed and since it’s been so long, there is a high probability it won’t even work.
  • “A reversal could work, though, so why not?” My husband is forty-seven, we need to focus on saving for retirement at this point.

Selfish Q&A

  • “You work from home, it’s the perfect opportunity for you.” I want to spend quality time with my husband unencumbered and with the freedom and flexibility with our schedules.  We gave up our newlywed years for the kids that moved in with us.
  • “You’re still young, you could make it work.”I want to focus my effort, time, energy, and resources on the various things I want to do when I grow up.  Write a book, for example.
  • “You have to go through the miracle of birth!  It’s such a beautiful thing to bring another life into this world.”  I like my body.  I put myself through the wringer enough as it is, I don’t need another person inside me helping me along.

Ok, so these are mostly little things that, if my husband and I wanted, could overcome.  It would be tough, but we could do it.  But, those aren’t the main reasons I don’t want to have a “child of my own.”

Most Important Reason:  I already do have children of my own.  Granted, I started later in their lives, but hey – they are mine.  I take them to school, feed them, cloth them, help them, listen to them, clean up after them, discipline them (only if I have to), and do all of the things a parent does.  I worry about their health, make sure they have a balanced meal every night for dinner, I know their friends, how they are doing in school, and I look out for them physically and emotionally.  So, yeah, I already am a parent with kids.

A majority of the time when someone asks me this question, I ask,  “Well, do you have any teenagers at home?”

“No.  My kids are under the age of ten.”

My answer: “Ok.  Ask me that question when they are going through puberty, boiling hormones, and the whole world is either wrong, dumb, or against them… then we’ll revisit this issue.  Trust me on this.”


The Question I Can’t Stand as a Childless Stepmom — 5 Comments

  1. Question…how long have you been a step mom? When I was first married, 11 years ago, I felt blessed. I felt that I was the ” mom” of the house. The kids even called me mama. But some 6 years later everything changed. The kids were teenagers. Their Biomom moved to within 12 mikes from us ( before that she was more than 3 hours away and they only saw her one every 3 months and for over a year she disappeared, we had no contact number or way to get a hold of her. The dynamics changed. I am now called…dad’s wife. I’ve gone through a grieving process. It is a loss. Yet I still have all the responsibilities of a parent and more. I am 6 years older than my husband and I’m the one bringing home the big bacon so to speak. He’s self employed with no benefits. This has bothered me for years. I carry everyone on my insurance. Mostly I feel used and disrespected, and unloved.

    • Hi Carol! I am so sorry that it has taken me three months to respond to you. Things have been crazy around here and I let my blog fall to back burner. However, now I’m back! To answer your question, I have been a stepmom for three years now, together with my husband for a total of 6 years. His two children made their own decision to move in with us about 3 months after we got married (yay newlyweds….). Their mom has always lived close, about five to ten mintues away from us, so she has always been a staple in their lives. From what I am gathering based on your comment, it sounds like seeing their biomom is a “new” thing. You know how kids (and, ahem, us adults as well) love to get new things. New shoes, new toys, new car… whatever. They went for so long without a heavy influence from their biomom that perhaps this is something they are more confused and conflicted about than they are letting on. Also, who knows what kind of influence biomom may be having on their behavior and their perception. It could be a subtle manipulation, whether intentional or not, or it could be all out, “Don’t call her mama. I am your mother.” Which also puts your stepkids in a very difficult position. Now, top all of that off with boiling hormones, middle/high school peer pressure, acne, and classic teenage melodrama and you have a recipe for disaster, which leaves the stable parents on the side of the road and only needed when they want something the other parent can provide.

      I totally feel for you when it comes to feeling completely taken advantage of. You work your butt off, have all of the responsibility of a parent, yet none of the respect and authority of a “bio” parent. It sucks.

      My advice to you is stick with what you are doing. Unfortunately, it may not pay off in the short term, but I think your stepkids will be able to look back when they are older, when the novelty of the new parent has worn off, and say, “Wow, I was really lucky to have a stepmom like that.” Again, that may come much later. Also, talk to your partner about how you feel. When I get in a similar rut, feeling useless yet the one who does everything, I talk to my husband. I understand he is also going through some tumultuous emotions and I’m not alone in feeling the way I do.

      I hope this helps you. You may also like a blog called Jenna Korf has some great insight and advice that I myself have taken. I hope things are getting better for you. Hang in there, keep doing what you are doing, and know that you have not been forgotten!

      • Thank you for this! I am 37, step mother to a 13yo and 10yo for three years now, been with their dad for four. The thing with the kid question that gets me is that most people have kids blind. When you’re a step mom you get to experience motherhood first hand, and then decide. I wonder how many women/men would have kids if they had a chance to ‘try it out’ first.

  2. I LOVE this!!! As a new stepmom (and as a woman who’s husband is 16 years her senior) I relate to SO MUCH of this! Although I personally do want biological children, I feel like the concept of “kids of your own” is so frustrating! Thank you for sharing this 🙂

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