Is The Word "Stepmom" Ruined Forever?

LeAnn Rimes relishing her role as "bonus mom".

My husband’s father and stepmom are in town visiting. We all went out to dinner and bumped into some friends of ours at the restaurant. I introduced Serge’s dad and when I went to introduce his stepmom I faltered a bit.

“This is Serge’s… uh… this is Serge’s stepmom”.

I felt awkward saying the word stepmom. It seemed cruel, somehow. Like I was intentionally removing her from the family.

Cinderella has done a huge disservice to kind, loving stepmoms the world over. But what else could I say besides stepmom? There isn’t a word, is there? In retrospect I should have simply introduced her as Serge’s dad’s wife.

And then, today, I found a new term.

This morning I stumbled across this old article on Us Magazine on how LeAnn Rimes is professing her love for being a “bonus mom”. Back when Mother’s Day was around the corner Rimes tweeted “My first bonus mom day will be spent with Eddie here in Canada!” Rimes is even using the term as part of her Twitter profile: A good hearted WIFE married to a Playboy, Bonus Mom to two adorable Rascals, 3 dogs…

Good for Rimes for coining a new term that helps her describe her relationship with her husband’s children. I’m not a stepmom and I don’t have a stepmom, nor do I have a stepdad, for that matter, but I’ve never liked the term. Perhaps it is because of Cinderella and her evil stepmother and the countless movies that have evil stepmothers. Remember Parent Trap?

I’m not the only one who dislikes the term. Rebecca Eckler over at Mommyish says she detests the word and wants a new one:

The word is so old school, like saying “channel changer” instead of “remote control.” Second, stepmothers have a bad rap. A really, really bad rap.

There was Cinderella’s evil stepmother, Lady Tremaine. I mean, come on. Even in fairy tales and my relationship is like a fairy tale not only does Cinderella have a wicked stepmother, but they’re also in Snow White and Hansel and Gretel. All over the world, it seems, in books and movies, stepmoms are portrayed as evil bitches. I’m not an evil bitch. So don’t call me stepmother!

What do you think? Is the word stepmom perfectly fine in spite of dozens of fairtytales and movies depicting them as evil? Like Rimes, have you coined another term that works for your family?


It’s not easy being a Stepmom, but here’s how to be a happy one!

Article Posted 5 years Ago

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