Parent (Verb) vs Parent (Noun)

by childless stepparent

I parent (verb). 

But as a childless stepparent, I am not a parent (noun).

This is an important distinction. Being a childless stepparent means acting like a parent but not being one.

One might ask, “Why not think of yourself as a parent? You pick up your stepchild from school, take her to piano lessons, help her with her homework, attend her soccer games, read to her, make sure she bathes and brushes her teeth, tuck her in at night, listen to her when she’s having a hard time, laugh with her when she’s happy, etc etc. That makes you a parent.”

Caring for my stepchild does not make me a parent, not when she has two involved parents. I contribute on my own terms. I contribute to support my husband; we co-parent when his daughter is with us. I don’t do everything all the time and everything I do, my husband does as well.

I am not a parent, I am something else. We need a new term for it. We need a new way of understanding childless stepparents.