Did I over Step My bounds/"Step" Mom

Updated on March 27, 2017
S.K. asks from Elm Grove, WI
24 answers

I dated my husband for 3+ years and just about a month ago we got married. In this time I have grown close to his children especially to his now 15 year son. My step-son is really into baseball and just tried out for his high-school team, which he did not make :( My sweet husband knowing I am always freezing, especially when sitting at his games for the past three years got me a personalized blanket that says "baseball mom" on it, in his high school colors because WE were SURE he was going to make the team. He is going to play on a community team instead, so to cheer him up I posted a picture of the blanket on FB and said "look at what I got in the mail today, I am so excited to see you play ball again, and now I can wrap in this. We are still your biggest fans, we love you and then I hashtagged that it was his schools loss. My husband's ex-wife is going BALLISTIC. Even going so far as to put meme on FB saying "I'm not a "bio-mom" I'm their ONLY mom! My title didn't change just because you married my ex" and texting me and my husband, saying that I need to grow up and respect that she is the mother! I should also mention that I have two "bio" children and my ex-husband is also re-married for 2 years, I am have never had these feeling towards her/their step mom, just happy that my kids have another person in their lives to love them. I mean my kids call life long friends "aunt" and "uncle", to me the more people who love them, the better. It takes a village, and I do honestly feel like I am my step sons mom. I love him as much as I love my own! So did I over-step or is this mom just freaking for no reason?

What can I do next?

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answers from Chicago on

If Bio mom thinks you over stepped, then you over stepped. And yes, I do think you WAY over stepped.

Personally, I would take down the post and apologize to Bio mom.

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Boston on

I'm a stepmom, and I think it's great that you adore your step kids. I don't know why you say "especially" this one child. I'd be really, really careful about statements like that.

I think your husband made a mistake by buying you this blanket, and not just because his son hadn't made the team yet. So I wonder if the blanket just rubbed it in your stepson's face that he didn't make the team.

Generally, teens don't want their parents (step or otherwise) posting on social media about how much they love the kids. They cringe at it. I get that you wanted to cheer him up, but I'm not sure this was the right way to do it from the kid's perspective.

And yes, I think you rubbed it in his mother's face. You called yourself "mom" on a public place, and you even said you are the kid's biggest fans (which implies that his mother is not). My step kids decided to nickname me "S'mom" (short for stepmom), and they wrote it in letters/cards and even on a sweatshirt they painted for one of my birthdays. Their mom went ballistic. She got so hysterical, she screwed with the visitation schedule and we had to cancel and reschedule our wedding so the kids could be there. We decided it was easier for everyone involved if they stopped using S'mom as my name.

Take the post down, apologize to her privately, and tell her you meant no disrespect to her but you can see that it hurt her. Say you let your desire to help him feel better block your feelings for others. Don't say "but just" - as in "I didn't mean to insult you, but just to cheer him up." The words "but just" erase whatever came beforehand. Don't go on and on - just apologize, say she is and always will be their mother, and you hope she will forgive you. Then let it drop.

I wouldn't use the term bio children - they are your children, and even using that term might well insult adoptive parents and adopted kids. It's not the biology, it's the chemistry that matters. (And that's a paraphrase of a line my husband wrote into our marriage vows, said as his 2 kids stood with us.)

It's great that you and your ex don't have these issues - but many people do. Better to contain your own enthusiasm and let his mom be at the top of the heat. You can handle being "second" far better than she can. So take the high road here, cherish the relationship that you have with his son, but stop short of publicizing it at every opportunity.

I totally understand why you want to create a family with your husband and blend everyone together. But it's a rockier road than that, as you have just found out. Just be more low key going forward.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Well, I'm not a step-mother, so I'm not going to address that part.

Instead, I believe you over-stepped by posting on Facebook and bragging about this teen boy and then posting that hashtag, practically screaming over the internet that he didn't make the team.

You're not a teen, you don't post every little thing on Facebook. You don't need to post gifts from your husband like a 17 year old girl putting a photo of a gift her boyfriend got her, or putting a cold-hearted hashtag on her post about it's her boyfriend's ex-girlfriend's loss.

Be more discreet on Facebook and social media. This is not about bio-parents or step-parents, it's about mature social media behavior. And it's about parenting in general. Perhaps it wasn't the school's loss (of course, we all think that instinctively when our kids fail to win an award or make the varsity team); maybe he wasn't what the team needed, or didn't put forth his best effort, or simply had a bad day. That's not your call. Instead, when our kids have a disappointment, we encourage them to think about what they could have done differently, how to train for next year, how to gracefully handle these situations. We shouldn't just attribute it to the team's loss, especially publicly. Now you've set yourself up as a potential stage-mother if your step-son should make the team the next year. They can probably imagine you, if for example he gets legitimately called out while trying to steal second base, putting a statement on Facebook about #blindumpire or #badcall.

Apologize to everyone. Apologize to your step-son for the public post. For the next year, practice discretion, privacy, quiet support at home, and no bragging in public.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

I think you had good intentions, but you overstepped and you need to apologize. I can't imagine what your husband was thinking when he bought the blanket for you, because I doubt that this isn't the first time he's heard about her concerns.

I think it's strange that you say that you're especially close to the 15 year old. You have two biological children. Would you ever say "I love both my children, especially my oldest daughter." Probably not. The reality is that you're not his mom. You're lucky to be able to parent a fantastic boy, but you need to recognize that you've only known him for 3 years. The reason that he has the character that he has today is because of the way that his father and biological mother raised him when he was younger. They laid the foundation. And when you claim his as your own son, then you diminish the work that she's done.

I understand how hard being a stepparent is. You get all the work and none of the praise. It's tough. My stepson's mother died when he was 15, and my husband was clueless what to do. I was suddenly put in a situation where I had to deal with a very troubled child. He slowly grew into a pleasant young man. But when he graduated for high school, I had photographs of him and his mother professionally framed and gave them to his maternal grandparents and aunts. It meant the world to them. Because they knew as well as I did that his mother had planted the seeds years ago. I was just fortunate to be able to water the plant.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I LIKE to think that I would want the most people involved in my children's lives.
But I am their MOM...their only mom. You are their step mom. Probably lovely, sweet, wonderful, and all the other gooey words. But still their step mom.
So, for me...in my opinion, you messed up. So, maybe take the post down and write a quick little text to her saying that you love "brian" and think he is a great kid which is a testament to her and your husband being great parents. You misspoke and you apologize and hope that you can move on.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Yes you overstepped. Its great that you have a different relationship with your ex. That is your situation. Not your husband's.

Bio mom apparently doesn't want you claiming to be their Mom or making announcements on FB. Its her right, she IS their mom. Its great that you love the kids that is important but you are not their mother and you need to understand that. In addition, you need to respect her feelings about this. It is obvious she feels very strongly about this. I also do not think she is freaking for no reason.

RESPECT goes both ways.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Your heart is in the right place, but parents, grandparents, etc. posting any sappy, heartfelt sweet things to their teens on social media is just not cool to them, it's embarrassing. And it in this case, it seems it was embarrassing to his mom as well (even if she could have communicated her feelings to you in a more mature, adult manner - emotions got involved here) Take the post down. Simple and sincere apology to your step-son and his mom for any bad feelings or embarrassment you may have unintentionally caused. Don't let the issue over the "post" drag on at all with any more attention or conversation once it's gone, let it be done. For what it's worth, your step-son is really lucky to have you in his life, and I'm sure he knows it. The more caring and loving adults, the better. Hopefully his mom will come around to this realization in time as well.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I was on your side until I saw the part where you feel like you are your step son's mom. By adding this you are raising your level to his own mom's level and honestly after 12 yrs of raising him without your input its insulting.

Personally I'd probably take down the posting and have your hubby let her know that you are sorry and removed it. Just as an additional note I'd probably think twice about tagging your step son on facebook or posting on his wall. You mean well but at this point you need to back off a little and give his mom some breathing room.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I am a step mom and I think you over stepped. I would call the mom and apologize for using the title "mom" without her blessing. Also, I would sit down with your bonus son and let him know that you really respect his mom and that you would never want to step on her toes. Let him know you have contacted his mom and have apologized. Your willingness to show deference to his mom will go a long way in your relationship with him. Being a step mom is not easy but if you always take the high road, it pays off.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

Well it sounds like she is super touchy. She does not want to feel replaced. She wants everyone to acknowledge that she is his mom and you are not. I personally think this is really immature of her. If she were mature she would think I'm glad my son has a stepmom who loves him. My mom is also incredibly insecure, controlling, and sensitive...she still to this day hates my stepmom and cannot be in the same room as her. She and my dad have been divorced 41 years and I am 45 and she is still like this! What makes no sense is she wanted the divorce (my dad did not) and my dad met my stepmom about 2 years later after they were divorced. She could not handle my graduations because my dad and stepmom were there and had a freak out. She kept having freak outs when I would talk about my wedding so I said forget this and eloped. There have been many scenarios that were uncomfortable. I don't know what you can do...nothing. If she is like my mom she may never mature and may never change. Let it blow over. Keep supporting your stepson. In the future don't announce on social media something like this that says "mom" on it...it will send her into a tizzy! Her silly facebook posts just make her look insecure to everyone who knows her.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

Yes, you way over stepped. Remove the post, apologize to his bio mom, and maybe tread more carefully in the future. Be proud to be his step mom. There is no shame in the term step mom. But you are NOT his mom. And you never will be no matter how much you love him.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

There are plenty of things you can order online that say "Baseball Stepmom" - I just checked! Get one of those instead.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

Possibly both. Just apologize and say you meant no harm at all, it was just a blanket that your husband bought for you and you were trying to encourage your stepson.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Yes. You over stepped.. not only that, but you publicly put your stepson in the middle on Facebook by your post. It's difficult enough to be a teen these days, but to deal with your parents divorce and new step parents. It's a lot to take on. Now he has to be in the middle of a public fight between his mom and you.

It will damage the situation, and you should have thought more about him before posting it. Whether or not your intention was to make him feel better, it was an oversight. I would expect a mom to go off on it, and their could have been a better way to show your support then to post something on his page for everyone to see.. it's weird.

As a person who had probably every variety of step parents, I can tell you it makes me cringe.

I'd back off and apologize.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Facebook is a source of trouble for many.
It's great that you love your husbands son - but laying it on that thick on Facebook is just irritating to his mother - and I can see her point.
How did we ever show affection for each other before Facebook came along?
Plenty of ways.
Your feelings are fine but why must you shout this from the roof tops?
Your euphoria is a little over the top - I've got to wonder what sort of trough you'll hit when you come down from this.
Sure it takes a village but sometimes the village can butt out.
Just relax a bit, lay off Facebook for awhile, and bake the kid a pie.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

Well first I have to say I didn't cringe, your post is heartfelt and I can totally see that your heart is in the right place. You have a healthier relationship with your ex and your bio kids step-mom, so I'm sure you were expecting that with your new hubby (congrats by the way). Clearly she is not ready for this.

I'm not a step and haven't been divorced, and I have to say that as much as I wish I could be one of those evolved parents (like you seem to be), I am quite sure I would be insecure and bitter with a new person in my daughter's life. I would hate it all and would surely be difficult.

So while I wouldn't exactly say you did anything wrong, based on bio mom's reaction you probably need to adjust. The good news is that this is early on, so you have time to set the stage going forward. If I were you, I would text mom and just say "I'm so sorry I upset you, I really didn't mean to, but I can see why my post was a mistake. I guess I'm new at this, but we'll figure it out!"

What I would avoid is saying "I hope we can get along for the kids' sake." This implies that you care more about their well being than she does and she needed you to remind her of this. I'm hoping things improve as she adjusts and settles down. But if nothing else, this will hopefully bring to light how great your situation is on the other side. Good luck- let us know what happens!!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I kind of cringed a little bit - to be honest.

I agree with Military mom below.

I'm not in your situation - don't have step kids/etc. but my brother has a step daughter. He's been in her life close to 20 years now. He has never called himself dad. She doesn't even see her father, he's not that involved in her life. My husband just wouldn't overstep there. It would upset his step daughter I think (if not the bio-dad).

Personally, if the kid hadn't made the school team - I don't think I would have posted that fact on FB - even saying it's their loss. My kids wouldn't appreciate it.

Is your step son ok with your calling yourself mom? I get it's just a blanket but some kids (and obviously moms) are sensitive to that kind of thing.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

You over-stepped. The timing of this so close to your wedding is what set her off. Step lightly for a while. Even though she and your husband were done a long time ago and you had dated for years before the wedding, his getting remarried is a pretty big step and can be a trigger, no matter how irrational. It great that you have been able to find more peace in the process of your ex moving on than she has. If you want this relationship to go smoothly, respect that in her eyes, there is only one mom and you're not it. Pushing back from you will only make this worse.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Yeah, major overstep. There are two things here which stand out to me: first, that you would even post that he didn't make the team (which, I am sure, his mom is hurting for him... I mean, she's his MOM) and yeah, the blanket. While it's understood that you care for the boy, your husband made a mistake in getting you that blanket.

She is their 'only' mom. You are her son's child's step-parent.
You are also showing others that *you* are being kind of a sore loser. "It's the school's loss" is not how we teach sportsmanship. It could be extremely embarrassing for both your stepson AND his mom, who likely has some sort of connection or relationships with the other parents whose kids *did* make the team.

I'll be honest, I have someone in my family who uses the word "mommy" to describe her relationship with her stepson, and it's over the top thoughtless, in my opinion. It's disrespectful to the child's mother. To me, it seems like you have very fuzzy boundaries, honestly. You can love other people's kids, but to say "I love them as much as my own" makes me think you have some problem understanding that no, you aren't his mom, and you don't understand boundaries and why people have them.

All of *your* feelings aside, you are not his mom. And I will bet this is hardest on the boy, inconsiderate of his feelings in making his failure public and this stupid argument you are having with his mom, dickering over him. Take care to respect your relationships with both of them.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Yikes... I also cringed when I read this.

Hubby needs to manage this and you stay out of it.

I think it's great that you have the attitude you do, especially with your ex and your situation. In a perfect world everyone would get along!

However, you are not mom. His ex obviously has an issue and feels threatened. The children should remain priority and hopefully she will get over herself in time. She's very insecure to be this sensitive.

I am a product of a blended family and I have had a step dad for 20 years. He's a great man and I love and respect him but he is NOT my dad.

I would not have posted on FB. The post lets everyone know he didn't make the high school team. I see that as a blow to him.

I know you meant well with the entire situation.

People should think a lot more before making FB posts. In some ways I enjoy FB and other ways I just shake my head wondering why someone would post such things that should remain private with a family and not laid out for FB world.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I would be totally pissed off at you if you were married to my ex and called yourself his mom on something public like this.

I love my ex's wife and my daughter has always called her mom. Hurt like hell at first but I had to realize that she meant well and she was going to be in my daughter's life her whole life.

So I made myself stop feeling jealous when I heard her call her "mom".

As for your blanket....I would ask the kiddo how he felt about it. Maybe you can snuggle up with it turned inside out or something.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tulsa on

Oh geez . . . I'm a stepmom and a biomom myself and honestly had to roll my eyes at this. I've been in my stepdaughter's live since they were 1 and 4 (now 18 and 21) and I refer to them as our kids all the time. It has nothing to do with disrespecting their mom or thinking I'm taking over. I have helped raise them and I don't feel like I need to put a disclaimer on anything that recognizes that. I don't make it a secret that I am not their bio mom nor would I ever feel inclined to. They love and respect their mom and I'm not here to get in the way of that. I'm just part of the village that has raised them. If the bio mom feels insecure in her role as their mother, that's something she needs to address within herself.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

Let your husband be the one to talk to her, and give it time. This is new to her.

I have no personal experience with blended families, so I really couldn't comment of whether or not you over stepped your bounds. I think it is fabulous that you are trying to support your step son. You just keep being that positive person in his life!

Give her time. I hope one day she does realize what an important role you play in her son's life. It's easy for me to say that she should be grateful, not threatened, but having never been in her shoes I really shouldn't go there at all.

It's important for you to respect her wishes, and it's important for you to keep loving and supporting your step son. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Not everyone believes 'it takes a village' so that's something kinda big right there. Why you would post on FB that he didn't make the team & how it's their loss, I guess *maybe* trying to comfort him but you just put all his business online, ewe! It feels like more of a show off move for yourself to feel included and important (look what Dad bought me, I'm the baseball mom now?!) than it was about the actual kid. So every time he sees you in the blanket with his school colors on it, he's gonna be reminded he didn't make the school team? So sad & yes, I see it as pathetic bad judgement that's really not cool.

I'm a stepmom. Have been since my step kids were 5 & 2 (now 25 & 22) and ya know what, they call me by my name, not mom. They have a mom. I am JUST a step mom, and that's ok, b/c step moms can play a great role as long as they know what that is. It's nice that you FEEL LIKE you are his mom, but you're not, you are their fathers new wife, sorry.

And ditch the 'especially close to' one over any other, showing favoritism is also SO NOT COOL!

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