No Word For Me

Today I googled the definition of the word stepmother.

Here is the result:stepmom definitionstepmother: noun. a woman who is married to one’s father after the divorce of one’s parents or the death of one’s mother.

The reason I was googling the word stepmother is because I have been stuck with my writing in trying to find a word for my kind of motherhood. I realized, if I can’t even put a name to my role in this family, how can I expect society to understand.

What one word would you use to define my role?

I also googled lesbian stepmother and I am not even going to tell you what the results were. Let’s just say they were similar to the inappropriate comments dads at our kid’s school used to whisper in to my ears.

10 thoughts on “No Word For Me

  1. Candy

    The word you are looking for is ‘mom’. I don’t think it matters, male, female, biological, adoptive, gay, straight. You’re still a mom.

  2. Sally_K Post author

    Thanks Candy. In theory that works but when both Celia and I are together and meeting other people it’s complicated. We say we are the parents but that doesn’t work for people. They NEED to know who the birth mom is. I have no problem saying who the birth mom is but often when they find out everything changes.

    Since the kids basically all look like Celia clones now what we get is people coming up to Celia saying you must be so and so’s mom. That leaves me as the partner of the mom. Which in turn leaves me out of the mom club, which is hard to explain until you are on the outside of it. Basically, it feels like being that 7th grade girl who doesn’t quite fit in with the other girls. This requires a whole other blog post or maybe a book to explain the subtleties of the frustrations I sometimes feel.. working on it. If I could just articulate what I’m feeling I might actually be able to finish this book someday. πŸ™‚

  3. Candy

    I get it. I mean, I know I will never fully understand but I can imagine. It always amazes me that people are that nosey. Just remember, at the end of the day, all that matters is that the kids know who you are to them. Xoxo

    I have spent my entire motherhood not fitting into the standard mom box myself. I don’t do motherhood like a lot of my friends.

    Hugs. I’m on the fringe of that club, you can stand next to me. You are every bit their mom, anyone can be a mother, not everyone can be a mom.

  4. Michele

    A stepmother is a person who gives her heart, soul, and mind to a child because the child comes to her attached to the person she loves most on the world so us previous beyond belief. Even if that person doesn’t remain in her life, the stepchild has a place there forever and ever. Amen.

    1. SallyKuhlman Post author

      Michele – with your lovely definition it seems anyone who steps in and chooses to play mom could be called a stepmom. However, what I am trying to come up with is a word that defines my role, and stepmom, the way society currently understands it, does not. I’ve done a few informal surveys and the first word that comes to mind when people here stepmom is evil. The first impression that comes to mind is a woman married to a man, and since that is the actual definition in the dictionary, it seems I need to find or create an entirely new word.

      Thanks for you kind words.

  5. Michele

    I’m a step Mom to three kids from two marriages. I really don’t give a crap how anyone defines me except my kids, who love me, and their parents, who also love me. We are a big, crazy family. One of my kids’ other parents used to refer to me as ‘the fairy step mother’. If you don’t like someone else’s definition, don’t accept it. I’ve been divorced from my first husband for more than 20 years and his kids still are close with me. I’m their step mother and we love each other and i don’t give a gnat’s eyelash of a care to how anyone else defines that.

  6. SallyKuhlman Post author

    I think my post may have come out sounding whiny and pathetic. It’s more of a linguistic thing as I analyze my life and try to write this book…

  7. Marnie Sadri

    i do not think you sound the least bit whiny. Though I believe you have discovered a linguistic gap.
    My husband is not the birth dad of my first four children (2 of them are adopted) but having been around every day for half or most of their life (Depending on the age of the child) and caring for them, loving them, tucking them in at night, traveling with them, taking them to classes and games, etc. He calls himself “Dad” and they all refer to him a s dad, he does not say step dad and no one even questions him (Even though they may suspect otherwise). Let those other people be confused. If they are close enough to matter, then they will know. πŸ™‚ as another reader stated, it is your family who matters most.


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