Why do people here refer to the mother of their step kids as 'bio mom'? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 28 Old 12-08-2009, 12:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Surely she is their mother, and mother only. Why write bio mom instead of mother? It has the same amount of letters so it's not even as if it's a short cut?

I'm curious as I see it all the time and find it jarring to be honest.

Thanks
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#2 of 28 Old 12-08-2009, 01:06 AM
 
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I can't speak for anybody else, but for me, if the stepmom is the primary caregiver and the mother is TPRed or has relinquished rights, then obviously she is going to be bio mom for the purposes of making a distinction in the conversation. She's gone. The kids in question may not even remember her.

In other situations, where the mom is still present in the kids' lives and/or memories but has serious issues that keep her from being able to care for them, then I think bio mom would be offensive to say IRL but is probably OK for a message board.

What really matters is how you talk to the kids about the woman who gave birth to them - i.e., in a non-attacking, non-insulting way, no matter what atrocities you know/believe her to be guilty of.
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#3 of 28 Old 12-08-2009, 01:23 AM
 
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There was a big 'ol heated thread about this some time ago. We've had a lot of new people since then, and the bio mom/BM thing has become *way* more prevalent on this board than it used to be.

My $0.02 is this: I don't quite get the anger over BM because this is the internet, and BM is a quick way of letting people know exactly who someone is without posting your fam's life story. But. It does offend some users of this board, so I type out "DSD's mom." That way everyone is clear and no one (that I know of) is offended. I'm lucky enough that my bio children live with me all of the time - who knows how I would feel if DH was with a different woman and they were in a stepparent role? Maybe then I would feel like the term "bio mom" minimized my role rather than simply explained the family tree. Who knows? I also have more interactions with DSD's mom than the average stepparent, and referring to her as "bio mom" does seem a little cold. It doesn't take that much longer to type out the whole thing, so I just run with that.

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#4 of 28 Old 12-08-2009, 10:57 AM
 
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what pinki said.

Every single word.

I know that many people don't like it, so I stopped using it, as not to hurt anyone. In our own history, the very first time I met dsd (she was 6), she was explaining to me her family, and she said something like "M. is my stepdad, and this is my biological father". So I have always seen in the same way she did - a matter of fact. He IS her biological dad, and there are a lot of adults involved: some are biological parents, and others are steopparents.

I don't use anymore though. I think it's important to take into consideration how it makes people feel on this board.

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#5 of 28 Old 12-08-2009, 12:10 PM
 
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I think it's mostly Internet shorthand. No, it's not always necessary--most people would indeed figure out "mother" and "stepmother" just fine--but sometimes, if you're posting quickly, maybe angrily, it's what comes out, and "bio mom" is a common term elsewhere on the Internet. I think most people use it without thinking about it one way or another.

And sometimes I've noticed, IRL, that a clarifier has been necessary--"Oh, you're not (SD)'s mom?" "No, I'm her stepmother. Her biological mother lives in (City)." I know I could probably just say "her mother lives in (City)," but when I've done that in the past, I've still gotten confused stares so I've added "biological" and people know what I'm talking about.

Here, I sometimes use the term "natural mother" (which is the legal term here in Wisconsin--I don't know if it would go over better than "bio mom" but it's what I use at work) if I'm talking generically, but I refer to "SD's mom" or "my husband's ex-wife," depending on context, when talking about her specifically, out of consideration to others on this board.

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#6 of 28 Old 12-08-2009, 12:15 PM
 
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I wonder if it offends people when someone uses "BM" because it's also what some people say for "bowel movement"... definitely not a "nice" association...

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#7 of 28 Old 12-08-2009, 12:52 PM
 
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Simple.

If you ask my dss who is mother is, he will say me. If you ask him who is bio mom is he will call her by her given name.

Not every person who has a child wants them or cares for them.

Simply and selfishly put, I deserve the title and he gave it to me. No one asked him, it was his choice.

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#8 of 28 Old 12-08-2009, 02:21 PM
 
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my DSD lives with me. her "bio-mom" lost custody per her own stupidity. DSD calls her her "real" mom. doesnt bother me a bit. bc i know i take care of her, i am her mom. but she will always love her more than me. ok. i understand. i am just glad she calls me mom too. i use the term bio mom b/c that is what she is. not the primary caretaker mom. not the live with mom. not the custodial mom. those are me. she is the non custodial mom. maybe we could use NCM in that case. is that taken? that would work for my situation. but if the term bio mom is offensive for anybody what are acceptable alternatives for those other cases?

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#9 of 28 Old 12-08-2009, 02:53 PM
 
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This may rattle some nerves, but I think that the term "bio-mom" is very offensive *unless* the mother has given up rights, had rights removed, or has chosen not to be a part of her child's life, for whatever reason. In that case, I understand that the usage of that term. However, for a mother who is involved, who does care, even if her and the stepmother don't get along, I think it is very inappropriate to use "bio-mom" to describe her. I believe saying DSD's/DSS's mother/father, is best. I also do not like the use of "bio-dad" when applied to a father who is involved and does make an good effort to be a part of their child/ren's lives.

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#10 of 28 Old 12-08-2009, 03:00 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mama2toomany View Post
Simple.

If you ask my dss who is mother is, he will say me. If you ask him who is bio mom is he will call her by her given name.

Not every person who has a child wants them or cares for them.

Simply and selfishly put, I deserve the title and he gave it to me. No one asked him, it was his choice.
Same here. Only has to do with my son and my husband, who has been his dad since he was 13 months.

The choice was my son's.

So I refer to his other dad as his biological dad. Even in real life. That is what he is.

Or I refer to them as both Dad.

It is not to be hurtful, but to better explain relationship without having to go into detail everytime.

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#11 of 28 Old 12-08-2009, 03:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by bits and bobs View Post
Surely she is their mother, and mother only. Why write bio mom instead of mother? It has the same amount of letters so it's not even as if it's a short cut?

I'm curious as I see it all the time and find it jarring to be honest.

Thanks
Well I'm a newbie and I've never used the term here... but I will explain why I might use the term elsewhere and why some people might be using it.


I consider step-parents to be mothers and fathers too. Of course there is a difference. The difference is biology. When "speaking" in an online forum, many things are said for the sake of reducing confusion. If a step-parent (who considers themselves to be their step-child's parent too) needs to refer to the child's biological mom or dad... then how should they do that? If they use the term "mom" or "dad" then that could cause confusion for people who already view them as said child's mom or dad. To eliminate that confusion a specific descriptor is nice to use. They are talking about the child's other mom or dad-- the biological mom or dad. So how is it inappropriate to use that distinction?

I think all parents (biological and "step") deserve recognition and respect. I don't think its disrespectful to call someone what they are. A biological mom is still a mom. A step-mom is still a mom. The point is that biological parents aren't the ONLY parents a child might have. Thus arises the need for a clarifying term like "bio-mom" or "BM".

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#12 of 28 Old 12-08-2009, 03:39 PM
 
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I should also add that in my case there is no other term for my oldest daughters "bio-dad" (other than, perhaps, "sperm donor". ) He's a loser who has spent her entire life in prison. Even when he is released next year she will be having no contact with him. When I have to refer to him I will only use the term bio-dad. My DH-- the one who has been raising her-- is her daddy. I will never consider him a "step-father" nor does my daughter. In fact, she gets very offended if someone refers to him as her step-dad or to her as his step-daughter.

However, not everyone's situation is the same as mine. Sometimes there are step-parents as well as bio-parents involved. If the child considers both to be their mom or dad, then that is when a distinction needs to be made. KWIM?

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#13 of 28 Old 12-08-2009, 04:13 PM
 
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In my experience here, that term isn't used much here anymore, which is good, as it offends some people and I think is (justifiably) considered rude.

I understand completely where it comes from, though. This is the internet, and we shorten things, hence BM. But, more to the point, it comes from the frustration of being a stepmom. You love, care for, and mother children who aren't your own, and yet the only recognition you get is to be called "stepmom" -- a title loaded with negative cultural baggage -- and your husband's ex, who in many cases will have been driving you crazy in one way or another (we used to call my husband's ex "Mother Superior"), gets the hallowed title "mom." But, then, that's life.

So I do get where it comes from, but on balance, I think we should reserve "bio mom" for mothers whose only mothering was in the biological sense. And, in this community more than many others on the internet, we mostly do that.

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#14 of 28 Old 12-09-2009, 12:27 PM
 
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This may rattle some nerves, but I think that the term "bio-mom" is very offensive *unless* the mother has given up rights, had rights removed, or has chosen not to be a part of her child's life, for whatever reason. In that case, I understand that the usage of that term. However, for a mother who is involved, who does care, even if her and the stepmother don't get along, I think it is very inappropriate to use "bio-mom" to describe her. I believe saying DSD's/DSS's mother/father, is best. I also do not like the use of "bio-dad" when applied to a father who is involved and does make an good effort to be a part of their child/ren's lives.
^^^Yes, this.^^^ In the wider world of life, "birth mother" or "biological mother" connotes a woman who has terminated parental rights, for whatever reason. For a mother who is actively involved with parenting her children (regardless of how the step-parent feels about her), these terms can be (and frequently are) offensive and demeaning. If a parent has terminated parental rights, then by all means, go ahead and refer to them as "birth" or "bio" parents.

I would never in a million years refer to my son's father as his "bio-dad" as he is a loving and attentive father, regardless of my personal feelings about him. Well, I take that back. I did call him his biological dad the other day when I was helping Capt. Knuckle with genetic theory and Punnet squares. At that point, I did say, "M. is your biological dad so this is why you have big blue eyes and dimples, just like him. Let's worth that square together to figure out what chance you had of ending up with his blue eyes instead of mine brown ones."

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#15 of 28 Old 12-09-2009, 12:36 PM
 
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I should also add that in my case there is no other term for my oldest daughters "bio-dad" (other than, perhaps, "sperm donor". ) He's a loser who has spent her entire life in prison. Even when he is released next year she will be having no contact with him. When I have to refer to him I will only use the term bio-dad. My DH-- the one who has been raising her-- is her daddy. I will never consider him a "step-father" nor does my daughter. In fact, she gets very offended if someone refers to him as her step-dad or to her as his step-daughter.
Hey, I have one of those too! Even though my bio-dad "raised" me during the years my parents were married, I still consider him nothing more than a sperm-donor at this point in my life. My bio-dad was a loser, but didn't go to prison until I was 22 years old & testified against him in court (along with my brave younger sisters). My mom remarried when I was 26 & my step-dad quickly became my "New and Improved Dad" as our relationship grew. When I was 28, he legally adopted me and so I have no moral compunction referring to the man who "raised" me as my bio-dad and Phil as my Dad.

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#16 of 28 Old 12-09-2009, 12:57 PM
 
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I can see how it can be offensive.
If I was refered to as 'bio-mom' (when xH does date again) I may get mad and think... "no I'm not bio mom, I AM MOM...."
I am going to have to find the place of peace inside to share the mom title when my x has another woman helping raise them. If that ever becomes an issue. (he sees them one day a week, and isn't even dating now)


But I am a child of divorce, my mom left when I was 7..(hardly any contact afterwards). I have two moms.... I call both 'mom'.... I don't use the term 'real' mom, because I found that offensive to both of my mothers... when I have to differenciate, I say 'bio mom' and 'step mom'.....


ALSO... my DP is doing all the fatherly things that come with raising children. He is a dad to them... Not "Dad" specificially, but A dad....
(I had issues when I was 17 with my bio mom insisting that I call my step dad "Dad" when I had only met him 3x in my life. I felt that 'Dad' was a name not a title... even though 'mom' was used between both moms....



Way too confusing,and I think that bio mom isn't offensive when you are infact the biological mother and not the mother raising the child... Otherwise, you seem to take a little from 'bio mom' making her role a little more trivial.... (((being bio mom means someone else is mothering your kids, maybe not by choice, but by circumstance or necessity)))

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#17 of 28 Old 12-09-2009, 06:40 PM
 
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^^^Yes, this.^^^ In the wider world of life, "birth mother" or "biological mother" connotes a woman who has terminated parental rights, for whatever reason. For a mother who is actively involved with parenting her children (regardless of how the step-parent feels about her), these terms can be (and frequently are) offensive and demeaning. If a parent has terminated parental rights, then by all means, go ahead and refer to them as "birth" or "bio" parents.

I would never in a million years refer to my son's father as his "bio-dad" as he is a loving and attentive father, regardless of my personal feelings about him. Well, I take that back. I did call him his biological dad the other day when I was helping Capt. Knuckle with genetic theory and Punnet squares. At that point, I did say, "M. is your biological dad so this is why you have big blue eyes and dimples, just like him. Let's worth that square together to figure out what chance you had of ending up with his blue eyes instead of mine brown ones."
Yes. This. If my daughter's stepmom posted on a forum and called me biomom, when dd lives with me and visits them for a few hours a week, I would be LIVID. Her father is her *father*, not bio-dad, as much as he irks me and I would love to never have to speak to him or of him again.
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#18 of 28 Old 12-09-2009, 06:45 PM
 
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Yes. This. If my daughter's stepmom posted on a forum and called me biomom, when dd lives with me and visits them for a few hours a week, I would be LIVID. Her father is her *father*, not bio-dad, as much as he irks me and I would love to never have to speak to him or of him again.
Exactly this. And gee, I can't imagine why someone wouldn't want to be referred to as a BM!

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#19 of 28 Old 12-09-2009, 07:30 PM
 
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I don't think I use it here because I know people don't like it. The only time I would ever use it is if I need to for clarity, and usually that is only in real life, with people who don't realize my step-daughter isn't biologically mine... in which case "her mom" is confusing. But I don't habitually refer to her mom that way. If I need to clarify in writing, I would probably type "(biological) mom."

In the same way, I refer to my kids all as my kids and my husband and I as mother and father, but when I need to clarify for some reason, I will use the terms "biological" and "step" for clarity, even in referring to myself or my (biological) children. I'm certainly not going to say "real mom" or something equally offensive, so I stick to something that is technically and factually correct.

There are very few instances when that clarification is necessary, so I don't often do it.

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#20 of 28 Old 12-09-2009, 09:51 PM
 
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I don't think I use it here because I know people don't like it. The only time I would ever use it is if I need to for clarity, and usually that is only in real life, with people who don't realize my step-daughter isn't biologically mine... in which case "her mom" is confusing. But I don't habitually refer to her mom that way. If I need to clarify in writing, I would probably type "(biological) mom."

In the same way, I refer to my kids all as my kids and my husband and I as mother and father, but when I need to clarify for some reason, I will use the terms "biological" and "step" for clarity, even in referring to myself or my (biological) children. I'm certainly not going to say "real mom" or something equally offensive, so I stick to something that is technically and factually correct.

There are very few instances when that clarification is necessary, so I don't often do it.
Honestly? If my dd's stepmom did this, I'd be piiiiisssssed off. If she referred to herself as my dd's mother, that'd be really uncool. Luckily for DD, she has a really great stepmom who would never do that.

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#21 of 28 Old 12-09-2009, 10:33 PM
 
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Yes. This. If my daughter's stepmom posted on a forum and called me biomom, when dd lives with me and visits them for a few hours a week, I would be LIVID. Her father is her *father*, not bio-dad, as much as he irks me and I would love to never have to speak to him or of him again.
Well, do remember on an internet forum we're largely anonymous and often working through dealing with a frustrating or infuriating situation. I sometimes post less-than-flattering things about my SD's mom here (with identifying details omitted or changed slightly to preserve that anonymity), so I can deal with them constructively and respectfully IRL.

In other words, I'd rather someone call me "stepmonster" or "that b***h" (or, for whatever reason, "biomom") or whatever on an anonymous forum, if it means that person is keeping those feelings away from me--and, more importantly, their/my children/stepchildren--in real life.

(That and I don't think most people think it through, nor do I think most people intend it as anything other than as a means of clarification. I do tend to not get worked up about slights that don't really seem to be intentional. YMMV, of course.)

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#22 of 28 Old 12-09-2009, 10:37 PM
 
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Honestly? If my dd's stepmom did this, I'd be piiiiisssssed off. If she referred to herself as my dd's mother, that'd be really uncool. Luckily for DD, she has a really great stepmom who would never do that.
It's what my step-daughter does, and I follow her lead. She refers to everyone as "my mom and dad" unless there is a reason she needs to clarify (like if she is introducing me to someone who knows her mom and would be confused by "this is my mom").

I think that specifying which children are mine biologically and which are not sends a message to my step-daughter that I am claiming the other kids as my own and pointing out that she only half belongs. That's how I would feel if it's what my step-parents had done, and I'm glad they never "disowned" me in that way.

She is very comfortable with who is who and what all our relationships are, and her parents and step-parents are all on the same page with it as well. It may make a difference that we live 3000 miles apart and no one here knows my step-daughter's mom. I certainly don't go to her school, where her mom goes every day, and introduce myself to the teacher and the class as her mom. Though I expect they all know her step-dad as her dad, just as people here know me as her mom. Again, it's her preference to not make a distinction when she doesn't have to.

Every family is different, and we do what works for ours.

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#23 of 28 Old 12-10-2009, 12:35 PM
 
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I have to agree with alot of what ProtoLawyer says. So much of this is due to internet communication. I think there's as much, if not more, meaning in the delivery of a word (tone, facial expression) as there is in the actual choice of a word itself. However, that is really difficult to convey on the internet, even with all the smilies in the world. In real life, I refer to our kids' moms by name (which I won't do here), or say "our kids' mom" which makes people look at me wierd, but I like challenging people's ideas like that. Here I just refer to them as mom1, mom2, and mom3. But, the kids have created their own names for me: "our other mom" or a "not-the-momma" so, I guess I don't have stepmom hurled around me so much in a negative way and so feel distressed by the tone.

But, I can imagine how I'd feel being the mom and being called a name that I felt was derogatory, especially if it has been used against me by my kids' stepmom. So I'm not sure the solution.

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#24 of 28 Old 12-14-2009, 10:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by bits and bobs View Post
Surely she is their mother, and mother only. Why write bio mom instead of mother? It has the same amount of letters so it's not even as if it's a short cut?

I'm curious as I see it all the time and find it jarring to be honest.

Thanks
I don't. I call her his mom. Because she is.

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#25 of 28 Old 12-15-2009, 12:56 AM
 
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My son calles his step dad his real dad and his biological dad -bio dad....or "my mom's exhusband". He is 15 he word choice. For my son calling his bio-dad only dad is repulsive. My ex is 11 years or so behind in child support. My son has not seen him since he was 3. So there is no connection with him, except maybe anger. His step dad is his real dad.

I have a mom and a step-mom. Saying my birth mother sounds like I was adopted. So when it becomes necessary I do distinguish bio-mom and step-mom. As much as I like my step-mom I would never imagine calling her just mom. Would not call her my "real" mom either.

I do think "tone" is key. I think real, bio, birth, sperm/egg donor, et all can be disrespectful if used in that way. It isn't always disrespectful.

I think some people that have issue with the term bio mom has issue with the fact their child, wether they like it or not, has to mom. Seriously, I think of homosexual couples, when it is necessary how do they distinguish each other? They are both real parents, one has a biological connection the other doesn't. Does not make one more or one less worthy of the title Mom/Dad.
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#26 of 28 Old 12-15-2009, 02:01 AM
 
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I only use bm/bio mom on the internet just to clarify. I don't ever really say it out loud. I do not care anymore if she is offended because she has been completely offensive to me. I have more terrible nicknames than anyone I know, and she uses them all when speaking to dss. I never, ever tell people he is my son, I always clarify and say he is my stepson. Always.

On the other side of this situation she tells people that her husband is his dad, and dss gets in trouble if he tells people he is his step-dad and not dad, they call my husband by his first name instead of referring to him as a parent to my dss. (he is very, very involved, we have half-time, completely joint custody) I think that calling her a biomom is minor compared to what we deal with. I would not feel bad using it in a forum, HOWEVER I would not want to offend other women in this situation because I like to believe not all mothers in this situation act this way. To me it is something I use only in step-parenting forums meaning, the other woman that parents this child. I don't really find it offensive in this context.

Sometimes I do feel like calling one a "real" mom seems slightly offensive because are step-parents not real? Idk, there are so many varying degrees of step-parenting sometimes it feels good to call her a bm instead of, like Protolawyer said, dealing with it irl, in a non-constructive way. I don't think I have used it on Mothering before though...and this is the most positive step-parenting forum I have ever been part of. (and it's been many)

Artist, teacher, wife and mommy to DSS, DD1, DD2 and surprise baby girl on the way, 7/12!

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#27 of 28 Old 12-15-2009, 02:06 AM
 
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but do you get that it's not just potentially offensive to her, but actually offensive to people who read that? And even though she introduces her husband as the father, two wrongs still don't make a right.

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#28 of 28 Old 12-15-2009, 02:50 AM
 
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Maybe you didn't read my entire post.....Yes, I understand that, that is why I said this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by ArtsyHeartsy View Post
HOWEVER I would not want to offend other women in this situation because I like to believe not all mothers in this situation act this way.
So, yes I do "get it."

I do not use this term here, but have used in in situations where there are ONLY stepmothers, here anyone, including non-steps, read these forums and so it creates this type of debate. It has never been an issue that I have seen, it's just an easy way to clarify. I don't use it blogging, I don't use it IRL, only on step-parenting forums and not often just because it's easier.

Calling her husband his father does not compare at all, all I was saying was that it wouldn't bother me to offend her, but I DON'T, she doesn't read this.

I have been a stepmom for 10 years, and this is just about all you can fault me on. I'll take it. I've been "the stronger person" not stooping to her level for many, many years. Doing everything by the book to create a healthy relationship between dss and I...and dh. (hoping for that appreciation we are supposed to get someday...) Please don't tell me that in a private anonymous forum where we are to feel safe posting about our frustrations, that two wrongs don't make a right. I know that. If you are the type of mom who APPRECIATES your child's stepmom that is great, it's not so in my situation and probably never will be.

And I will clarify, I would never, ever call her that irl, and always refer to her as "your mom" to my stepson. I am not out to offend "real" moms.

Artist, teacher, wife and mommy to DSS, DD1, DD2 and surprise baby girl on the way, 7/12!

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