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What's the weirdest expectation you've ever heard from a non-stepparent?

TwoOfUs's picture

I think we're probably all familiar with the double-standards that come along with being a stepmom. You're supposed to "love them like your own" at all costs...but no one ever expects the kids to love you "like a parent" or even be respectful or civil to you as an adult in their lives. Everyone constantly reminds you that "it's a package deal" when you marry a man with kids, but no one ever tells the kids that you're now a "package deal" with their dad.

Recently, I've also heard that stepmoms shouldn't have any say over how their house is run or authority over the kids...because they're not "real" parents. Nevermind that we give authority to other adults who aren't parents all the time...teachers, coaches, lifeguards, store security, police, day care center employees...really anyone who is expected to have any level of responsibility over a kid is also given authority without a second thought. But not stepmoms for some reason? Strange.

I've read articles and advice columns telling stepmoms that they ought to be "grateful" for these kids in their lives...gladly spend money on them (keeping separate finances would be 'petty')...and not throw birthday parties for their OWN children because it might hurt a skids feelings.

Just wondering. What is the most insane / inane thing a non-stepparent has said to you about your role as a stepparent?


Peridwen's picture

That I shouldn't let BS4 go on vacation with my parents because it's not fair to SD11 and SS10. - clueless coworker

TwoOfUs's picture

The biggest surprise to me has been the visceral anger from people about stepmoms in general. Like...I'm a really, really nice and generous person...but I've been called all kinds of horrible names just on the basis that I'm a stepmom.

Peridwen's picture

Don't I know it. When SD11 was 5, she desperately wanted dance lessons. BM flat refused. After a year of bargaining, DH finally managed to get BM to agree on getting SD11 lessons. BM refused to take her, so DH/I did all the registration, bought everything (BM paid her half of the fees, but refused to buy the shoes, tights, etc), and took SD11 to classes. There were 2 years of friendship with the studio personnel. After BM realized that SD11 was actually pretty good and had potential, she changed all of SD11's classes to be on her days and I don't know what she said to the studio folks, but I get a cold shoulder and/or glares whenever I see any of them. And BM has SD11 convinced that BM is the one who first got her dance lessons. Even showing SD11 the proof in the form of pictures from her first day of class hasn't convinced SD11 of the truth.

Aniki's picture


still learning's picture

After we married SIL reminded me about how DH's *kids* are supposed to come first. At the time these *kids* were in their mid to late twenties. What she was really saying was, "You have to allow ss27 (now 32) to live w/you because I'm sick of him mooching off me!" I was supposed to feed, support and deal w/a vagrant, unshowered, jobless stoner crashing at my house whenever he wanted to because he has some of DH's dna. The guy on the corner with the sign who hasn't showered in a year, that's what ss looked and smelled like when I first met him. But oh, open arms...just make sure you get your Penicillin shot first!

TwoOfUs's picture

You mean nothing. The kids were there first and mean everything in perpetuity forever and ever, Amen!

Welcome to the family!

stepmum-mark2's picture

His sister said to me that BM should always be his no.1 priority because its his job to keep the mother of his children happy.... when I dared complain that he cancelled a weekend away with me (on BMs weekend with the kids) because she made plans and SS needed transporting to a birthday party. He actually cancelled our weekend away to drop off/pick up SS on HER time because she commanded it. I went anyway, and after was discussing with his sister and she actually told me I should not be annoyed/upset and I-m so happy Needless to say we are not together anymore.

F*ck that!

TwoOfUs's picture

Wow. No kidding.

Were you childless at the time? I am...and I am always shocked by people who think I should make DH my top priority and arrange my life around him / build a partnership with him...but then be content with his dregs. Um...sorry. That's not how it works.

Fortunately, DH wised up and doesn't give me his leftover affection and consideration any more.

stepmum-mark2's picture

Hi Smile

I have 4 dd's - 2 were adults, 2 lived with us fulltime and visited their father 4 times a year (in another state) his kids were with us every second weekend (which was usually more like every weekend) and every Wednesday.... and whenever it suited BM.... So we had 4 weekends a year which were completely child free and were supposed to be sacred couple time.

This was one of those weekends.

He was completely under the thumb of BM, she was a master manipulator and he was weak. It got a lot worse than this ^. (I was a member here then under another name) and it ended very badly at the end of 2014 - mainly because of boundaries and pandering to BM and SD and everyone in his life telling him that was how it should be and that my expectations to be treated like I had a voice in our lives were wrong.

mapitout's picture

The expectation that you will not have a voice in what happens where decisions that involve you are concerned.

steppingback's picture

The parishioner who told me I had to babysit the stepgrandchildren because that is just how it works. And I should thank God for having given me a chance at grandchildren because I was barren myself.
Apparently choosing not to have children is not conceivable.

Livingoutloud's picture

My mom didn't understand why it was so hard to live with adult ExSD. She kept saying it shouldn't bother me because she is doing her own things (she didn't). No matter what I told my mom, she wasnt grasping it torture of living with SD. My parents put my exSDs on pedestal constantly worshipping them up to ridiculous.

Maxwell09's picture

I was told it's my responsibility to get SS to and from preschool for BM during BM's week and to do this I would have to go pick him up every morning from her before school and then take him home to feed and dress him then take him. Then after he got out I had to return him back to her immediately unless I took him to get lunch first but then he had to go back

CANYOUHELP's picture

Be happy. Be more abused, be happier; be the most abused and be the happiest.

Here, people understand reality...this is where real advise happens.

Pharlap's picture

That if I don't treat them like my own, take abuse, and dare to ask for respect in my own home, that they will end up in foster care and it will be all my fault. Basically stepmoms give foster parents get "job security" if they don't let thier step kids run around like hellions and call the shots in the house. The person who told me 'this was on another forum and a selfish cow to boot. She would bring up how she was a foster mom in topics that had nothing to do with children. It was very clear that she was a foster mom for the image and bragging rights. I also found her Facebook, you are not allowed to put pictures of foster children on social media because they usually have crazy parents that can't take care of them but want them back and are trying to find them (she told this this herself on a different forum), yea her Facebook was loaded with photos of the kids, and not even set to private. And they were always FOSTER kids. Never just "kids" but she thought stepmoms were the selfish ones. it was tempting to forward screenshots to her state's DSS.

The best was was when she posted about adopting a child. She said how she had to have her foster kids move out because the court required it but "it's sad but I'm ready to have a resemblance of a normal life". Yea but stepmoms cause abandonment issues...

TwoOfUs's picture

Wow. We must have been on some similar forums before finding stalk.

I was on one once where this woman kept insisting that I had ZERO right to any kinds of expectations in my right to tell the kids to do anything...because I'm not a I just have no say.

I tried to reasonably explain to her why this just doesn't work...and why it's wrong to give someone responsibility without authority...used some pretty clear-cut specific examples from my own experience. She got so mad at me she started messaging me every day calling me a worthless c*** and telling me to kill myself. The rage and hate (knowing nothing about me at all other than the fact I'm a stepmom) truly shocked me.

She used the CPS logic, too. As in: "OK. Have it your way...but you'd better hope BM doesn't call CPS on you!" Um...for saying 'No' to sleepovers when I work early the next morning? They take kids away for that? Ok.

sunshinex's picture

Before DH and I were married (when we were just dating a couple years in) I was told by his family, word for word, that "SD should be your absolute FIRST priority"... This was anytime DH and BM couldn't afford something she needed (BM didn't contribute and DH struggled to cover everything) or couldn't drive her somewhere she needed to go (BM lost her license and DH got his later in life than most) or basically any circumstance where her actual parents failed to parent.... I was always getting in trouble for not doing whatever needed to be done because she should be my first priority as a stepparent.

I'd laugh and say I'm not even a stepparent, we're been dating a couple years... Why is all the anger directed at me when I'm not the one who birthed a child without knowing how I would meet her needs? It drove me nuts because for a while, I let them make me believe this was true, that I was a horribly selfish person for not stepping up everytime SD needed a responsible parent. Then I realized it's not MY job to be that responsible parent, it's the two people who came together and chose to bring her into the world. They can figure it out.

Why on earth would I put someone else's child as the FIRST priority in my life? Many times I was told specifically she should come before my career, my cats, my family, everything! It makes absolutely no sense. There's no other scenario in life where someone is told to put a random child before their own self aside from step-parenthood.

notasm3's picture

I guess I'm fortunate that because I met DH later in life I'd already weeded the incredibly STUPID people out of my life. So I really haven't had anyone make comments like that to me.

Plus SS32 was already in his 20s and had burnt bridges with every single one of DH's siblings. None of them wanted him any where near their children. I mean who would want an alcoholic druggie with RAGE issues around their young children.

BethAnne's picture

One day I was picking up sd then 8 from school and a friend of hers was there and she assumed I was SD's mom. I corrected her and said I was her step mom and she commiserated with sd "I'm so sorry" - who is teaching an 8/9 year old that having a step mom is a bad thing?

Dontfeedthetrolls's picture

I lost alot of 'friends' because being with a man who has kids means you can't just go out and party whenever you want.

I've had people get upset because I won't go out drinking with them on kid weekends.

Everyone understands BioParents needing to plan things around the kids but for me to do that is just unacceptable.

Seriously stop picking the 2 nights put of 14 we have them.

tankh21's picture

This is actually a good topic to talk about. I don't know how many times this has happened to me with my skids. Everyone would always tell me that I am an adult and they are kids which in turn that is an excuse for them to think that they can run my house where I pay bills at or can talk to me any way they damn well please. I think not!!! LOL

TwoOfUs's picture

It really is just an absurd expectation in general. I do think it needs to be talked about more, and we need to give stepmoms more realistic, friendly...non-hateful advice.

secret's picture

mostly just looks when SS was being particularly loud or whatever... but SO was generally pretty good about reigning in SS's noise and activity level. Sometimes kids will be kids... but there's a time and place for that, too.

Evil3's picture

In the early years, I used to vent to my dad. The Disney parenting drove me insane. The SKs were virtually feral and hadn't seen a vegetable ever and didn't even know what basic ones were. Well, the 100% junk food diet drove me nuts, but any SM involved with a Disney dad knows that a 100% junky diet is a part of the Disney parenting plan. One day, I was venting to my dad about the SKs' eating habits and how SS was about 7 or 8 at the time (now 26) and he ate jumbo bags of his favourite chips every single day. My dad had a habit of refuting everything I ever said and would justify it. I didn't know how on earth he could justify how a chid was allowed to live on a giant bag of chips 365 days a year. My dad's response to me was that chips are made out of potatoes, so maybe the chips are healthy and it's DH's way of getting potatoes into his kid. My dad went on to say that I should be happy that my SS is consuming potatoes. OMG!!!!!!!! My eyes rolled so far back, I thought they'd get stuck. I never vented to my dad again. Luckily, I learned about disengagement later on.

TwoOfUs's picture

True. Chips are made out of potatoes and wine and tequila are both technically

Tuff Noogies's picture

there were several years (back when we had $ lol) that i refused to go out to eat with kaos. with his excessive adhd and complete lack of table manners (combined with dh's unenlightened view that this was 'normal behavior for his age'), i used to get the worst looks in the world. it was written all over strangers' faces "dear lord why doesn't that mother do something about her feral child?"

just 'cuz i had t!tties, *I* was expected to be responsible for him??? um, NOPE, i dont think so.