When do you become a SM

(27 Posts)
WhoGivesAFlying Wed 06-Jul-16 11:04:28

I've been with my DH for eight years married for five years and have known his children since they were two and seven and have been a consistent in their life too.

If I hadn't of married would I still just be labeled as dads GF?

I've seen quite a few theeads where posters will say the OP is just Dads girlfriend because they're not married, regardless of the length of time they've been together.

Lots of couples don't get married these days of prefer just to live together, I don't think that lessons the importance of a role in the child's life.

Just wondered what others thoughts are?

HopeArden Wed 06-Jul-16 11:13:18

Tricky one this. I think it depends on duration of the relationship and level of involvement in the dcs lives. You get silly women talking about their step children when they ave only been dating the dad for 6 months, which doesn't help. I guess it is easier to have a clear 'boundary' of ehen you actually marry their parent.
I dislike the term step parent anyway - far to many horrible connotations from fairy tales, esp step mum. Also I think it leads to conflict with parents who do not view step parents as in any way their child's parent - it is a term designed to rub people up the wrong way when a different term which did not include the words mum or dad, would not.

youcantakethegirloutof Wed 06-Jul-16 11:18:11

I'm not married to my DP, been together over 8 years in step children's lives for 7.5 - having them 3rd of the time. If I was talking to other adults I refer to myself as their step-mum / they're my step children but generally refer myself to as 'their' my name to them/infront of them. I too think it's a complicated term with unhelpful associations - I also think it can be a difficult term for the children & ex to deal with.

WhoGivesAFlying Wed 06-Jul-16 11:22:50

I know what you mean about the fairytales! They've not helped the cause one bit! hmm.

I think originally this is a term that comes from a time when stepparents used to be a parent who has come in place of another person that has died. And therefore would be a live in stepparent.

I think modern society does need a new term for this role because generally both parents are still around. I'll just call myself step-mum (although my dsc just call me whigives).

Tote Wed 06-Jul-16 11:38:01

Been together with husband for 16 years. Married for 7. I still don't refer to myself as a stepmum, just "My husband has a daughter".
She has a mum already, doesn't need another one.

WhoGivesAFlying Wed 06-Jul-16 12:21:45

tote, I get what you mean, and in RL I think most say it that way...I'm talking about. it just seems on here people get funny about the credentials of what qualifies you to use that term. It seems you have to be married but I don't think that should be the case

Heavens2Betsy Wed 06-Jul-16 12:23:17

In my case it was when DSS introduced me to his mate as 'my stepmum' after we'd been together about 2 years. I loved that moment!
I never call them my stepchildren to others though, I use their names or say DP's son or DP's daughter.

JapanNextYear Wed 06-Jul-16 12:24:44

Married to DH - together 10 years. But I v v rarely use the term Step mum and don't really think of myself as a step mum - and usually get referred by them as Dad's wife and they are my DH's children rather than my step children.

They've got a mum and a dad. I'm another adult in their life.

WhoGivesAFlying Wed 06-Jul-16 12:29:06

My dsc got me a card for Mother's Day with step mum on it <proud moment grin>.

TimeforaNNChange Wed 06-Jul-16 14:01:06

My DHs DS and DD introduced me to their friends as their stepmum long before DH and I were married.

But since I've not seen them for nearly 3 years, it seems inappropriate to continue to refer to them, or consider them, as stepDCs. They are DHs DCs. However, his DD added me as her "stepmum" on social media quite recently confused

MeAndMy3LovelyBoys Wed 06-Jul-16 14:19:51

Officially it's when you marry, but in the modern world long term relationships without marriage are good enough in many families.

My dad has recently married his long term partner. Technically now she is my stepmum but I really don't see her that way. She's more like a very good friend to me and I don't think the "mum and daughter" label is necessary. I've always thought of her as a Nanna to my children though before getting married was even thought of.

AnneLovesGilbert Wed 06-Jul-16 15:13:57

I referred to my SM as that long before she and my Dad were married, which didn't happen until they'd been together for a decade. I always felt that calling her my Dad's wife meant I was denying any relationship between us, when we get on very well. She's never done any parenting so it's not about that at all, but giving her the title was sort of a sign of respect and acknowledging her permanence in our family.

It doesn't crop up very often and she's always called by her name e.g. "We're going for dinner at Dad and SMs name tonight", but people have often assumed we're mother and daughter, so if it's ever relevant one of us will say this is my SM or SD.

My DSC call me by my name although I have no idea what they say about me behind my back! When I was name checked in their school work before we lived together, a round up of weekend activities included one of them saying they'd had a day in the park with Daddy and Anne. I guess they assume people know who/what I am to them from that.

I don't feel any differently about them or the relationship since we got married. But like PPs I've worried about people thinking I'm unfairly assuming a role or a relationship and made a point of referring to them as my DPs children - only to have every single person say "Oh, your step children". To which I have replied, "well, yes".

It seems to be a lot more controversial on MN.

Chasingsquirrels Wed 06-Jul-16 15:23:22

My children refer to their fathers partner as step mum when explaining her position.
I've never heard them refer to mine as their step dad, but if I'm with them they probably aren't having to explain the relationship. We got married a month ago, I don't think it changes their relationship with him.
I don't view DH's children as my step children and I'm sure they refer to me (if at all) as their dads wife, not their step mum. But there isn't a relationship between us so it's different.

Tearsoffrustration Wed 06-Jul-16 17:47:01

I think when you love together you because a step parent - as you all share a home you are family.

WhoGivesAFlying Wed 06-Jul-16 18:03:40

It seems to be just on here where people get funny about a partner who is not married calling themselves a SP, when really, going by what most say it's only really on here you'd use it to describe a set up on an anonymous forum. We don't actually use it in RL because most of us know who each other are and who we are to each other.

Vegetablegarden Thu 07-Jul-16 01:29:07

Most of my step children refer me to others as their step mum. They don't about their mums boyfriend, probably because he doesn't live with their mum. I've lived with them for years and had a child who is their brother, so it's probably weird to just call me his girlfriend.

I was guided by my step kids.

meowli Thu 07-Jul-16 02:03:47

Some people avoid the 'step' word at all costs.
I have a friend who has an only daughter the same age as my ds. She always refers to 'my older girls' when she is talking about her now ex- husband's 2 grown-up daughters from his previous marriage. She was talking about her older girls with someone who only knows her through her youngest, and asked her how many children she had. She replied that she had two older girls from her ex-husband's previous marriage. I couldn't help thinking that stepdaughters would have been more succinct!

AnneLovesGilbert Thu 07-Jul-16 10:24:32

How funny meowli, has she ever said why she avoids it so much?

I always wonder how children feel about their parents being step parents to older half siblings and how this plays into names and titles. My SM doesn't have her own and DH and I don't have any together yet.

Do yours call you Mum and your steps just call you by your name as before?Do your DC find it odd when their (half) siblings call you their SM when they probably already have two parents?

meowli Thu 07-Jul-16 10:43:42

Anne, I think she has and wants to keep a close relationship with the two older girls, despite having divorced their dad, and I would guess maybe had wanted more children of her own, so likes to feel they are hers, iyswim. Maybe 'stepdaughters' would sound too distancing to her, although they never lived with them. One of the older girls is a mum, and my friend regards herself as a grandma to the baby.

JessicaRabbit3 Thu 07-Jul-16 10:54:30

I think it depends on a lot of factors which account for taking the step parent status really

- the age the DC were ( if they are young it adults) and involved in the up bringing.

- if the SP live with the NRDP.

- length of the relationship for me that atleast 2years plus.

-additional DC

My DH has been active in DS for the age of 2 he's is now 8 and lives with us. We also have other DC. My DS refers as his SD but calls him by his name. The same goes for his SM.

JessicaRabbit3 Thu 07-Jul-16 10:57:22

As a mum I would be deeply hurt if my DS referred to exs DW as mum as he has a mum. The same goes for my DH he uses his name but when he discusses his family he says he has SPs. I know my ex hated being forced to call his SP dad.

WhoGivesAFlying Thu 07-Jul-16 11:36:05

I have a ds (dsc half brother) and he's never questioned why they call me who....but then i tell him they have a mummy and he's met her too so no confusion

Eliza22 Fri 08-Jul-16 08:14:17

I'm 11 years in the relationship and 7 years married. DH has 3 (22/26/27). I am not a step mum to them. I'm just Eliza, dad's wife. They were still hopeful mum and dad would get back together again, when I came along 3 years after his ex-wife's affair which ended the marriage. Never, ever would I have been seen as "step mum". That's fine. I don't want it either. They have a mum. I don't want to be that to them.

Bananasinpyjamas1 Sun 10-Jul-16 09:46:14

I'm not married to DP but i had a full time step child - although I can't imagine her calling me her step mum, primarily because although her own mum found her too difficult and sent her to live with us, she encouraged her children not to see me as anything to do with them, and just 'Dads girlfriend'.

So for me it was greatly influenced by their own mother. I don't mind, there were/are greater battles than names. Although it is a denial of the reality, I was a main parent to them, spent the majority of time with them than either of their natural parents.

NerdyBird Mon 11-Jul-16 13:47:15

DP and I aren't married, but I often refer to his children as my dsds because it's easier. They live with us full time and by necessity I look after them on my own quite a bit. I don't describe them like that in RL though, and they call me dad's girlfriend if they need to explain our relationship. If we got married I think they'd say step mum. They call me by my name now and getting married wouldn't change that.

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