A lot of people don't know that my dad is not my biological father — not because it's something I'm embarrassed about, but because it doesn't change our relationship. I learned early on that biology isn't a requirement for being a good parent. So years and years later, when I met and fell for a man with kids, I never really thought about how people might treat me differently, as a step-mom, either. Then we got married, and OMG you won't believe the things people say to non-biological moms. Seriously.
I've heard so many comments about love and bonding being created by carrying and birthing babies, which are so messed up when you consider all of the different ways to make a family that have nothing to do with biology. Besides, saying sh*tty or presumptive things to non-biological moms is not only offensive to them, it also hurts adoptive parents, foster parents, non-biological parents in same-sex relationships, step-parents, guardians, and people who used reproductive technology to conceive kids with whom they share no genetic connection.
So when you imply that I don't love my step-children, that they aren't my "real" kids, or that our relationship must suck, it really hurts. The same goes for your comments about our family size or structure, our second marriage, and our co-parenting relationships with our children's biological parents. Seriously, people have got to stop saying things like this to non-biological moms.
"Are They Your Real Kids?"
I hate this question. What makes a relationship with your children real? All of my kids — biological and non-biological — are "real." And honestly, why do you care what our relationships look like? This question is just offensive, no matter what your intention. And guys, love doesn't require biology.
"That Must Be So Hard"
Parenthood is hard, period. Step-parenting has a whole new level of challenges, for sure. But, implying that my mom life is harder than yours because I am not biologically related to some of my kids is really presumptive and sh*tty.
"Do You Love Them As Much As Your Biological Kids?"
What an odd, intensely personal question. I mean, what are you looking for here? An admission that I don't love my stepkids? Because that is horrible. An admission of preference for the children with whom I do share DNA over the others? Equally horrible.
"I Bet You Hate Their Biological Mom"
So, here's the deal: when you say this, it seems like you are trying to start drama, and believe me, we have enough drama in our lives as it is. Like it or not, I am always going to have their mother in my life. While it can be hard to have to plan your life around another person's schedule and parenting choices, I don't hate her. Why would you assume that?
"Oh, I Knew They Couldn't Be Yours"
Subtle shaming about our large family size can die in a fire. Your smug satisfaction about guessing correctly about our blended family is so freaking weird. This is both none of your business and really insensitive.
"No, I Meant Your 'Real' Kids"
Our family is one team. When you ask me how my biological kids are doing, but forget to ask about, or worse, deliberately exclude my step-kids, you send a subtle message that you don't approve of my family, or don't consider them to be important enough to mention. That's not OK.
[Random Story About Their Horrible Stepmom]
Disney has given step-moms a bad reputation. It's not funny, and it's so not true. I love my step-kids, and I try really hard to treat my step-kids and my biological kids the same. Of course, that makes them think I am "evil" when I do things like enforce bedtime and make them clean up after themselves.
"You Don't Look Like You've Had That Many Kids"
OK, WTAF? First off, why the hell are you examining my body for so-called flaws? Second of all, every body is different, so there's no way you can look at a body and tell, for sure, that a baby has grown inside it. And last but not least, birthing babies is not the only way to make a family. It sort of makes me want to respond, "Well, you haven't seem my vagina," but I won't because, no. Just no.
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