How To Accept Your Role As A Step-Parent, My Journey
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I can’t be a parent, and I certainly can’t be a step-parent.

That was without a doubt my fear when walking into my relationship with my now husband. His son L was nearing his first birthday when we first got together. B, being the fantastic father that he is, kept us separate for a while. Wanting to make sure it was a sure thing before I was really part of L’s life.  He had 50/50 custody and I was living in another city at the time so it was relatively simple at first. It became obvious quickly that B and I were both “all in” and that L and I were going to need to meet on more than a passing basis.

I have known a few people who had a step-parent over the years. Most have relationships filled with animosity. People trying to replace their parents. people pretending they don’t exist. So I came up with some “ground rules.” I didn’t share them with anyone but myself but I had them there. – Keeping in mind I was 21 with not even a lot of babysitting experience. I have no idea what kids wanted or needed from a parent. –

  1. L was NEVER going to call me mom
  2. I was not going to take the role of the “active” parent

L had his own mom. He would call me Jenn. I also figured that by not being the “active parent”; I could rule out the resentment that I was sure would come into play later in life.

Things Changed

The first time I spent the night with B while L was there was interesting, for both of us. I woke up with L in the morning and let B sleep – come to think of it this is probably why B still doesn’t wake up to anything in the morning. – We approached the morning, and each other, cautiously. Ate some breakfast and watched some TV. We managed just fine if I do say so myself. We managed to carry on that type of relationship until December. That is when I moved into the step-parent role. 

Just 4 months after we got together, I had moved to town to be with B,  and we were technically living together, although we shared a house with his parents. I say technically because I was sort of in denial about the whole thing. December is when things started to change. The mother of all stomach flu hit the house. Somehow L and I were the only ones who weren’t sick!

This, of course, left me to take care of him while avoiding the vomity sickness. We bonded over cheese strings and Elmo.  Of course, everyone started to feel better and then L and I were sick, but if it wasn’t for that one awful flu L and I might have a very different relationship now.

Where we are now

I got pregnant with Big H a few weeks later and that quickly changed my outlook on being the active parent. How can I parent one child and not the other?  I still have my ground rules, but they’ve shifted a little with my perspective. 

L can call me whatever he wants. He chooses to call me Jenn. Occasionally he slips and calls me mom. That’s okay, sometimes he calls me Madame Mazur – his teacher – and I don’t read into that. I’m not trying to replace his mom, but it’s nice to know he is comfortable enough with me to acknowledge me as a mother figure. Step-parent is still a parent and he recognizes that.

L and I choose to love each other. That is love I will never have with Big or Litte H. I tell him that my love for them grew in my tummy, but my love for him grew in my heart. He is my Levi, and I am his Jenn.  Nothing is ever going to change that.

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How To Accept Your Role As A Step-Parent, My Journey
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How To Accept Your Role As A Step-Parent, My Journey


This made me so happy. I love your outlook on such a touchy subject ❤

Allison Shorter

Wow, such complexities with stepfamilies! I have never been in one, but it sounds like you are handling it well and adapting as necessary! Good job, mama!

Jennifer – Parent Smarter Not Harder

This is awesome! I’m sorry you both had to get sick, but glad you’ve been able to bond. He’s lucky to have another person in his life that loves him, and also respects his relationship with his mom. <3

You did a great job! This task is very difficult and not everybody is able to handle with it. I’m wishing all the best to the whole family. Now, you’ve got another mission to complete – to take care about the contact of L and the little Baby. But I’m sure, you’ll manage it as well 🙂

I’m sure it can be very difficult, especially at first.

I always have a soft spot for stories like this. I do not have a step-parent personally but I grew up with cousins who do. Thank you for sharing this to your readers! 🙂 L is lucky to have you!

Mama Writes Reviews

You go, Mama! This is a beautiful story. You’ll figure things out as they come!

Jasmine Hewitt

I love your perspective. I don’t have a stepparent, ad i’m not one, but I have a deep admiration for them

Your perspective on all of this is so refreshing! Becoming a stepparent is always such a personal journey, and it’s so great to hear people’s stories as they explore those changes.

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