Hang in there, Step-Mom

Dear Step-Mom,

We KNOW you’re out there.  We know many of you are reading.  And guess what we know most of all???  According to studies done, YOU are among the most vulnerable to depression, burn-out, and feeling like the outsider when it comes to moms.  Does it help you to know you are NOT alone?  I know it does for me.

I am a step mom.  Ugh…just the very mention of the word invokes stereotypes and biases of wickedness {insert evil laugh}.  And just reading the very definition of the word makes me cringe a little.

step·moth·er  (stĕp′mŭth′ər) n. The wife of one’s father and not one’s natural mother.

Regardless of what kind of step mom you are {married to a custodial father or non-custodial father}, we can all learn from each other.  I’ve been in this “business” for 8 married years, and 2 dating years before that, and I WISH I’d have known THEN what I know NOW.   Isn’t that always how it works out?

Hang in There, Step Mom. A photograph of a family of four.

#1  It takes a LOT of love.

Gear yourself up for it.  Sometimes love comes easily, sometimes love is HARD WORK.  You can’t fake it.  I find myself DAILY praying for love that can only come from above.

#2  Know that IT WILL BE TOUGH.

Hahaha.  Tough???  That’s the understatement of the year.  Going into step parenting thinking that it will be a breeze is like going to war without armor.  Be prepared.

#3  Don’t expect them to like or love you.

And that’s hard.  You do so much for them, you naturally think they’ll appreciate, love, or heck – even just LIKE you for it.  Be prepared.  They don’t always.  And it hurts.  Bad.

#4  Remember that they are KIDS, and you are an ADULT.

There have been so many times that I have expected them to act like something other than they are…CHILDREN.  Goodness, I’m an adult, and I act like a child sometimes.  Why would I expect anything more from a hurting child?

#5  Remember that you are not their mom.

No matter if they have/had the world’s best mom or a sorry excuse for a mom, they had a mom before you.  Be sensitive to that fact.

#6  Forgive and Forget.

Things will be said and done that can cause you to be bitter forever.  Don’t let it.  Relationships take work and forgiveness.  No one is perfect.  Try not to hold on to the yucky stuff.  LET. IT. GO.  And believe me, I know this is easier SAID than DONE.

#7 As with everything in life…LOOK FOR THE GOOD.

Oh my goodness, there is SO much good to find in raising your step kids.  Stop and look for it.  Sometimes it’s just a smile or a hug, sometimes it’s a note they leave you that means more than you can even find the words to express.  Sometimes it’s having them ask for your opinion.  Or having them want to share a story from their day with YOU.  Or watching them hurdle a milestone.  It can be so rewarding.

#8  Always stay involved with your step kids.

Make the effort to be at their games, programs, school events, etc.  They may not act like they care, but they do.  And they notice who is there {and who is NOT there} to support them.  Be a supporter.  Stay involved.

#9  Support is crucial.

Have someone you can talk to.  I happen to have the most supportive husband in the world.  He’s there to listen, let me vent, or just wipe away my tears.  If your husband isn’t able to be a good supporter in this particular area {they ARE his kids and it IS hard}, find a friend who IS.

#10  Remember that they didn’t ask for their parents to split up.

Enough said.


Just like with any kids, your step kids grow up fast too.  It’s happy and sad all at the same time.  Look at where I’m at with my oldest…man, oh man.  How did we get here so fast?

Hang in there, step mama.  There’s GOOD to be found.  Stay strong.  Somebody needs ya…even if they don’t always act like it…


A teenage girl wearing a high school jacket. Logo: Chelsea Davis Photography. {Photo Credit :: Chelsea Davis Photography}



P.S. – I don’t refer to my kids as “step kids” in real life {only for the purpose of this blog post about being a step mom}…they’re just MY KIDS.  Plain and simple.

Motherhood requires LOVE, not DNA. 

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Born and raised in the Houston area, Misty married her husband Chuck in 2005, and is blessed to be called "mommy" three different ways...step, adoptive, and biological. Her kids are Maddi {Sept 1995}, Mason {June 1999}, Levi {Nov 2011}, and Kate {Nov 2012}. She and her husband struggled through six years of infertility. After enduring unsuccessful fertility treatments GALORE, their path led them to adoption and soon after, a surprise pregnancy! Misty is a teacher-turned-SAHM and is passionate about Jesus, her family, adoption, others suffering with infertility, running, reading, and chocolate. You can read all about her incredibly blessed journey and every day life over at so much more...yet to come.


    • Definitely! I can’t express myself to my love because as you state they are his kids and everything I say is taken wrong. It seems like I can’t do enough and I’m not appreciated. I know the kids don’t know any better… But it does hurt bad that your significant other can’t see what you see.

  1. Thank you for this! I’ve been in this for almost 9 years and I am truly broken. All the shiny happy blogs are killing me, this is the first one to give me some hope today!

  2. This is wonderful! We read/hear so much about adoptive and biological children but hardly ever about how especially difficult, but rewarding, it can be to love your spouses previous children. Would love more articles like this 🙂


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