Some recently said to me that as a stepmom, to the biomom and the stepchild you might be an unwanted third parent. I’m not sure it was meant negatively or not but I have been thinking about this for the past couple of days. Am I an unwanted third parent? Am I doing more than I should? Is my involvement over-complicating things rather than helping?
On womansday.com, Peggy Nolan, executive director of The Stepmom’s Toolbox says, “New stepparents try to discipline without establishing trust. That leads to mistrust and disrespect, which ultimately leads to dislike.”
In the same article, Connie Brooks, a stepmom from Venice, CA, says: Try being invested in your stepkids’ lives without overstepping bounds. “Be a caring, responsible adult figure, much like a loving aunt, uncle or grandparent,” she recommends. “You can act like a parent when your stepchildren are about to do something irrevocably stupid and you’re the only one around to stop it. But you have to not be the parent pretty much every other time.”
I’m not sure how I feel about this. Part of me gets it… the kid already has two parents parenting him. Why is a third needed? A few thoughts on that…
1. As a wife and stepmom, I am my husband’s partner and that includes parenting. I shouldn’t override any decisions he makes whether our child is naturally mine or not. I am here to support him and work as a team for the child’s best interest.
2. As a stepmom I have a unique position. I choose to love this child and be a part of his life. I have an “outsider” perspective on things that can help especially when the natural parents or m hubby and stepson aren’t seeing eye to eye.
3. I have to disagree with: ” But you have to not be the parent pretty much every other time.” There are times when my husband is around and I do need to be the parent. If he has had a long day at work, I may need to help with homework and make sure afternoon chores are done. I might even have to discipline. There have even been times when both my hubby and his ex have been around and T has turned to me for something that he needed. To me that says he sees me as a parent. And yes, I do agree that I shouldn’t constantly be disciplining him or that will turn to resentment but isn’t that true for any child?
Am I an unwanted third parent? No, stepmom, you are more.
So, what do you think? Are you a parent to your stepchild or just a loving adult in their life?