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Being a stepmom in awkward situations

June 19, 2013

Have you ever been thrown into situations where you simply feel awkward and out of place as a stepmom? Have you had any of those situations where you do not know what your role is suppose to look like, or if you are even wanted?

Yesterday I went to a school play at my oldest stepchild`s school. Attending events at school is one of the less favorable things I do as a stepmom. I simply do it because I want my stepchildren to know I am cheering on them. I have really no desire to go. I have asked a couple of times if it is okay I do not attend, and the response has been that I am wanted. This time I did not ask, however, because I am thinking that sometimes adults just need to support kids and not let emotions decide.There will come a time where my stepkids might not want their parents nor stepparents attending, but we will continue to do so just to show them our support.

I try to balance how much I attend different activities. I am not their mom, and therefor to me it feels unnatural to attend every event. I do not want to ruin proud moments for a mom by being there, at the same time I want my stepkids to look back thinking I was involved in their lives.

Being involved in my stepkids lives do add some humbling experiences. Like last year… My oldest stepchild had asked me to attend the summer school play. She had asked me to bake for it and to buy gifts for the lottery. I did all these things, feeling uncertain if I took over a mother`s role. I baked muffins and they became a huge hit. At the end of the event my stepdaughter`s parents had both left. My husband had gone home with his sick son, the mom had left. This was on a day my stepdaugther was at her mom`s house. When the night was over I was gonna walk my stepdaugther home. She did forget to mention, however, that she had brought a bike. She ran off with friends, while I ended up walking with a group of moms. No one talked to me. No one included me in the conversations. I tried to contribute a little bit while we were all heading in the same direction with our empty cake trays. After a while I realized I was completely excluded from the parents group. I started walking a little bit faster. That night when I came home I just cried. I felt that in the role of being a stepmom I am completely uninteresting to other moms, and not someone worthy to invest anything into. The sadness in this is that I have moved into a neighborhood for the sake of my stepkids. I have no friends there, but I am surrounded by families who have kids in the same school or class as my oldes stepchild.  

This year I was much more nervous about going to the school play. I knew it would be an awkward evening for me. At the same time there was a tiny little hope there. During the last year I have repetidly had girls over for sleep overs, birthdays, given them dinner, let them stay at our house when the parents are working. But there was no reason to be hopeful. I was just as interesting this year as last year. I think there was just one mom who gave me a little “hi”. Other than that I was a complete stranger.  

I think I have to accept the fact that as a stepmom I am a nobody in a parent group. The good thing is that I am not a nobody for the kids. Coming home from work yesterday, one of the girls from the class was waiting for me while I was parking the car. She smiled when she saw me and said “You made such a fun birthday. I had such a fun time!”. There have been weeks since that birthday, which was another occasion I felt awkward. When the parents came to pick up their kids, they barely knew who I was. I served them cake, but most of them was uninterested in talking to me. However, that girl gave me the best encourragement I could get. She remembered the birthday out of all the birthdays happening before school ends.

Other parents might look at me as a stepmom or a nobody or someone they have no clue how to relate to. Kids, however, they just relate to me as a person. How great is that!


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  1. thebabydoctorswife permalink

    I couldn’t agree more. I have felt this way so many times! Especially at sporting events and school activities. Good luck and just know that the only people who matter are the kids and you. As long as you are there for THEM, no one else matters. xo

    • Thank you. You always have such encourraging comments :). I guess it is part of the role. We have to swallow some camels.

  2. I’ve had times where I feel awkward attending events, but I just suppress the feelings and do what feels natural to me. To me, it feels natural to be super excited for my stepdaughters first dance recital. It seems to me, sometimes the age at which the stepparent came into the picture has a lot to do with the level of stepparent involvement. I met my daughter when she was 20 months old and she is now 2 months shy of 4 years old. For me, going to her events is like my very involved aunt who never missed any of my stuff going. It isn’t strange or crossing a line, I’m just a person who loves her, showing my support. Also, I’m going to be married to her Dad who should be at the event anyway, and married couples do things together.

    Sometimes, I do feel awkward being affectionate with her in front of her moms side of the family. Luckily, it is rare I am around them with her at the same time. I worry they’ll think I am trying to step on their toes. Then I just remember this isn’t about them; it is about her. She will pick up on me acting differently in front of her mom, so I just fight the urge.

    I’m really sorry to hear about the other moms making you feel unwelcome. I can’t speak to that as I haven’t crossed the “school” bridge yet. Right now, when I’m around other Moms with kids, I just try and relate to them through stories about my stepdaughter to show them I go through similar things as a stepmom as they do as a mom. It seems to work.

    I hope when my stepdaughter gets older, she is able to see how hard a try like your stepdaughter is. That is a wonderful thing. 🙂

    • I think you are right about age making a difference. It sounds like you are having a lot of fun attending the different events. How lucky your stepdaughter is! There is so much fun connected to being a stepmom! The events can be so much fun. Being a part of a parent group without really being a parent or belonging to the group, but rather being an outsider can add some challenges to it all. Luckily kids just seem to think it is so natural 🙂

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