I found this article on the site Stepmom Station. It talks about the stigma of the “StepMom” title. It continues to boggle me that the perception or connotation of that title is still a negative one. There are MILLIONS AND MILLIONS of blended families and remarriage is part of life as we know it. The stereotype of a StepMom is one that I am trying to help change and is one of the most important reasons I started this page.
“Close your eyes for a moment. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “Stepmother”? If you are one yourself, it’s probably a fairly normal person. With flaws yes, but also with some good, redeeming qualities. If you are outside of the stepmother community, the image you got is probably that of a woman who is evil. Dare I say it, “Wicked”. A woman, whose stepchildren despise her existence and who, in turn, treats them rotten. A woman who probably had something to do with the breakup of the marriage, thereby splitting apart a happy family.
What is it about just the word stepmother that conjures up such awful images and makes people cringe and the mere mention of it? Why is it when you tell someone you’re a stepmother, they feel they have free reign to ask personal and inappropriate questions such as, “Oh. Well how do your stepchildren feel about that?” or “Really? Do you get along with the mother?” Is all of this association just from the fairy tales? I think it has to be more.
When a woman is single and dating, it’s perfectly acceptable for her to announce that she will not date a man with children. Friends and family support her in this. She would be the one suffering if she did. If however, you do date and then, gasp, marry said man; YOU become the evil one. The one causing suffering, rather than dealing with it yourself. If you dare state that you might be suffering, you’re greeted with the ever-popular response of, “Well, you knew what you were getting into.”
Few people outside of blended families ever associate the word Stepmother with kindness or compatibility or can even think that perhaps she is someone who the stepchildren not only like, but whose lives are being enhanced by her being in it. People watch closely and if a stepmother dare look funny at her stepchildren, see she is evil.
I’ve experienced this in my own family. People who know me and know what kind of person I am. That I have a good heart and treat others with kindness and respect. Even still, I’m a stepmother and so they watch my every move with my stepdaughter. I’m told that I’m too hard on her, even if my sister does/says the same to her children. I’m told that I should love her as my own, but don’t dare discipline or make decisions for her. I should treat her equal to my son, but never confuse that I am not her parent.
Just the word “Stepmother” has such a negative association to it. Will that ever change? The sad truth is that when most people hear the word, the first thing that comes to their mind is “Wicked.” Seldom, if ever, do people say, “Wow, that’s great. Good for you for taking that on.” Or, “How lucky your stepchild is to have you in his/her life.” It seems to be out of the realm of most people’s conception, that a stepmother can actually be a good, positive thing. Although I’m skeptical, I’d also like to be optimistic in my thinking that someday, maybe, the word “Stepmother” will bring thoughts of “Parent” rather than the dreaded ,“Wicked.” ”