We Need a New Term for Childless Stepparents
by childless stepparent
The names we give things are important. The words we use have a profound effect on our understanding.
Many stepparents take issue with the terms stepmom, stepdad, and stepparent because step- implies being stepped on, stepped over, “less than.” I take issue for a different reason. It’s the words mom and dad and parent in there that give me pause.
Even the well-intentioned phrase bonus mom is problematic for childless stepparents. My husband’s daughter has used it from time to time, and I know she’s being sweet, but it doesn’t work for me. I am a bonus in her life, but I am not a bonus mom. She doesn’t need another mom. She has a mom. I am something else.
More than 50% of all families in the U.S. are remarried or re-coupled with children. We need to find a new term for ourselves, one that accurately represents our role in our new family.