Monday, April 13, 2009


Janet married a man, who has a kid, who has a mother. Janet’s man and his baby mama are cordial at best, the two clearly not on the same page about how to best raise the child they are supposed to be parenting together.

Recently, Janet had to acknowledge that she and her man aren’t on the same page either. Janet made the mistake of interjecting her opinion into a conversation the man was having with his kid. Her man, disagreeing with her point of view, politely advised Janet and his son that she wasn’t the child’s mother. She wasn’t the one raising him. He was. He didn’t complete the statement but Janet finished it for him. Her opinion didn’t matter. Not with him.

Janet asked if she was wrong to be hurt. Realizing that at point in their union that she and her man could be at such odds over such an important aspect of their relationship, has been a touch shy of devastating.


I don’t know if Janet wanted to hear what I had to tell her, but speaking from experience, I told Janet to let it go. Her reality is, no matter how she feels, she isn’t the child’s mother. Good or bad, he has one. All she needed was for the child to respect her and the boundaries of their home. Let his father deal with the rest. I told her it would save her heart a greater hurt later on.

The ex-hubby and I had been married for almost six years. For that entire time I’d been raising his five children, including the child he’d fathered with someone else during the course of our marriage. In my eyes, they were mine. I loved them as if I’d given birth to each and every one of them. Most folks thought I had and I never said different. Six years of marriage and mothering when Mother’s Day rolled around, the children were making those requisite telephone calls to their biological parent. Quite by accident, I overheard the ex-hubby in conversation with his baby’s mama, telling the woman that he had no reason to wish me a happy anything. According to him it wasn’t like I was really any body’s mother.

Despite the disrespect, I continued to mother those kids like nothing was different. And now, their silence serves as a reminder that actually, things were. I was only their stepmother. Good or bad they each had a mother.

Sure, it hurts. But pain dulls and will hopefully disappear with time. Janet can save herself a lot of heartbreak if she stays out of the fray. She can be as supportive as she wants to be. Maternal instincts won’t leave her with much choice but be concerned. But staying in the background of that family mix will save her from much hurt should her man or his kid ever decide she didn’t get that parenting thing right. Bottom line, she's not his mother, nor should she try to be.

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