There is No Such Thing as a Bonus Mom

This morning I had breakfast with a girlfriend and tried to explain the unexplainable. She, in turn, shared her nonsense, and we tried to make sense of the nonsensical. I’ve decided that shrugging a lot is probably the best way to go through life. Unless you’re a blogger, then commentary is the best way to get through life.

I wasn’t planning on posting today. I thought I’d just let the video of the mother who injects Botox into her eight-year-old daughter simmer and gathers everyone’s interest. So I figured I’d poke around Facebook and see what’s happening, but then I saw my friend Tracey mentioning LeAnn Rimes’ insistence that she’s a “Bonus Mom.” Wow.

Boundaries for Leann Rimes

If you aren’t familiar with Twitter, what you see in the larger text on top is Brandi Glanville sending a public message to LeAnn Rimes. Glanville is the first wife of Eddie Cibrian and mother to two boys with Cibrian. According to country music websites Rimes had talked about the fact that she was married to another man and Cibrian was married to Glanville when Rimes and Cibrian began their affair. Leann Rimes married Eddie Cibrian less than a month ago. The message states:

I told Eddie to please tell you that I think it is highly inappropriate for you to sing in my son’s class on Friday. Boundaries. (I fixed her typos because I like her)

Below that you see Leann Rimes’ profile which begins with WIFE, Bonus Mom

My family tree is more like a vine than oak, making me an authority on shiny new stepmoms. There is no such thing as a bonus mom. The fact that she’s a 29-year-old pop star who can count the length of her marriage in days adds insult to injury.

What new stepmothers will never understand is that love isn’t an adequate word to describe our pull to our children. When my children hurt, I ache. When my children have a victory, I celebrate. When my children look at their father with adoration, I fall in love with him all over again. Some of these stepmothers will go on to make babies with their new husband. I’ve watched friends go through a new kind of torture with that one.

Some of these stepmothers will become the most glorious women to enter a child’s world, but not in the first weeks of marriage. Not in the first year of dating. Not when there’s a mother already on the scene.

As an adult, when I think of the people I need to survive in this world. I think of my two children and my husband. I love my brother, my parents,  and I’d be sad if we had to live far apart from one another, but I wouldn’t want to live another day if I couldn’t live with my husband and my children until they are adults and in their own homes.

That is motherhood.

A bonus mom doesn’t pop up on day one of marriage. A Bonus Mom is an arrogant title that second and third and ninth wives give themselves. This way, they can pretend as if they are loved deeply and wholly by their new partner’s children. A Bonus Mom is a perky newlywed who thinks that her designer gown and Queen for a Day party endears her to the world. A Bonus Mom is an absurdity, and any mother who has put in the work, who have sacrificed parts of her life with no regrets knows that a Bonus Mom Bride is, quite frankly, an idiot and a narcissist.

I know blended families where the children love the stepparents as if they were their own. I’m willing to bet that the binding love didn’t pop up in the first few weeks of the marriage. I know adults who have their stepparents walk them down the aisle. Blended families aren’t instant, and it’s not like adoption or birth. Stepparents need to wait for the kids to love you back.

Before step kids love stepparents, they need to know that their real parents are loved and respected by everyone.

Comments 66

  1. Amen! I have been both a mother and a step-mother. I waited almost 13 years for my step-daughter to tell me she loved me, but I never presumed to think she did until she said it herself. When she got married last year, she asked ME to be her mother of the bride, and I felt so honored! I was her mother of choice! When my daughter gets married this summer, my husband will give her away, too. I completely get what you are saying. We as step parents aren’t given any special rights to “motherhood” just because we marry the child’s father. Leann should back off and stop being an idiot. 

  2. SO obviously Leann Rimes needs to add. …”Am a fucking idiot who doesn’t know my ass from my elbow” to give herself such a ridiculous title.It’s like those idiots who say their husband ‘babysits” no its not called babysitting when its your own’s your duty. Just as if you marry a man with children, you are simply a step mother..someone who has come into the picture and via marriage is obligated to care for the child,Over time feeling may grow, hopefully they will.But just because you happen to be the person who the parent has chosen to newly sleep with, does not make you a bonus in the child’s life. Leann Rimes should shut her mouth,especially since she split the marriage up. She is lucky to be any kind of mother but is certainly not a BONUS mom.

  3.  What prize in h*** did those kids win that got them this horrible “bonus”. The woman that destroyed their family calls herself a bonus. More like a parasite. 

    1. When a husband or father walks away from a marriage or family, HE legally breaks up the family. No one outside of the family can do it, unless they murder someone. Adults – even men – are responsible for their own behavior and choices.

      1. 100% true. It always befuddles me how this continually gets blamed on the, “little homewrecker”, but never on the guy who makes that choice.

  4. Those kids are lucky to have someone that loves them as much as @leannrimes says she does!  How can we as human beings judge someone we don’t even personally know and say such negative things about her? Shame on all of us!  I wish @Leannrimes and @eddiecibrian nothing but a happy life together, as I wish for everyone!  It’s hard enough to blend families but by the looks of it over 50% of America has to do it!  I think it’s time for @brandiglanville to live her own live and find happiness however she chooses.  Maybe her “followers” can do the same.  Thanks & have a nice weekend everyone. 

    1.  You seem to forget that @brandiglanville WAS living her own life  until Leann Rimes broke her marriage up. It is NEVER ok to date or sleep with a married man. Leann should be ashamed of her behaviour. And if more people honored their marriage vows, perhaps fewer people would have to resort to blended families.

  5. I’m a step momma of three step sons. I can tell you that it is a work in progress to say “I love you” to eachother. But I also have 2 daughters of my own. I have always tried to be respectful of the real mom but I have to say..they might as well be my own. It hasn’t always been smooth sailing but when mutual respect is given on either side biological or otherwise..the kids are much more at ease and have the ability to be open. I hope she understands what a fine line she has to walk. I don’t believe in “bonus” moms. Either you are a mom or you aren’t…it doesn’t matter what the blood says. 

  6.  The best thing Leanne can do is slink away into her new “marriage” and keep her bad decision making out of the spot light.  I would hate to have my daughter look up to her and think she is any example to follow.

    As the daughter of my step-dad, I was 5 when my mother remarried.  For the first year, I did not call my step-dad anything.  Not Dad, Step-Dad, or Mike.  It took me a good year before I felt comfortable bringing him in.  Today he is my Dad – there is no one to replace him!

  7. I don’t often comment, Jessica, but I am curious:  If LeAnn had not had an affair with Brandi’s husband prior to their marriage, and they had started a relationship after Brandi & Eddie split up, would you have responded as vociferously?  What I’m trying to understand  is this–is it the cheating that sticks in your craw, or the co-opting of the “Mom” title, in pairing it with “Bonus”?

    As a stepmom, I get the whole “Bonus” thing–some stepmoms use the title because it tends to evoke fewer Evil Stepmom assumptions. BUT, as a mom to my own kids, I also get bristling at someone else calling themselves “Mom” no matter what prefix is attached.

    BTW, I am not a “Bonus Mom” in my family.  I’m my stepkids’ dad’s wife.

    1. I agree with you Margaret, which is why I think Jessica’s ire is with Leann and people who do what Leann did, not stepmothers in general – or I hope not. Bio could have died. Bio mom could have left dad and the kids. Bio mom could have allowed stepmom to become “real” by giving up her rights and allowing stepmom to adopt her kids. Bio moms aren’t perfect. Neither are stepmoms.

      We all make mistakes. Including people who sleep with married people. They have self-esteem issues. They don’t “owe” anything to the man’s wife (although she should respect her, which she doesn’t). The husband didn’t cheat by himself, and if Brandi thought her husband was weak or a pushover or whatever words would be used to describe a man who only cheated because the other woman “made” him, then she wouldn’t have married him. It’s the man who made the vows and broke them.

      That’s where the hate and frustration should be directed. But only for a little while. At a certain point, you move on. He decided that he no longer wanted to be married. Maybe he was stupid, maybe he was unhappy already. But he made that decision. And he’s likely not coming back.

      My parents have been divorced for longer than they were married at this point. But my mother STILL is bitter and has hatred. And it makes her miserable to be around. But guess what? She’s the bio mom. And there never has been a stepmom in the picture. But she needed to move on a long time ago. Hatred and bitterness won’t affect Eddie’s relationship with Leann. It will affect Brandy’s relationship with her children.

    2. I think the cheating makes them both unsympathetic but even without that co-opting the mom title (as you so perfectly put it) is a terrible slight to everyone (kids and mom). Particularly in public.

      1. I honestly don’t know a lot about the Leann/Brandi situation.  Here’s where I really show my ignorance:  I don’t even know who the hell Brandi Glanville is.  Step-family issues always catch my attention, though, as I’ve been in a blended family for more than a decade.

        Discussion of who gets to call themselves “mom” aside, I think that Brandi was out of line tweeting the message above.  If she’s already mentioned it to Eddie, and she’s so concerned about boundaries, why is she even bothering with Leann?  Her issue should remain with her ex-husband and how they parent their son together now that they are not together as a couple.  Seeing as she’s already addressed it with the ex, this sort of public dressing down smacks of a woman scorned, not a woman concerned with parental boundaries.

  8. While I think Leann Rimes is damn ridiculous, I disagree with many of your comments. It appears that you may have meant to direct them specifically to her situation, but instead directed them at all stepmothers, and lumped them in the same boat. That is where I disagree. I could be wrong, obviously. I almost feel as if you’re saying anyone who isn’t the bio mom is a poor ‘substitute’ who needs to stay in her place.

    I raised my niece when her mother didn’t. I was the one who was up for hours each night while she screamed bloody murder from the withdrawals from whatever drugs her mama took while she was pregnant. And then worked 8 or 10 hours the next day. People who knew us called me “auntie mommy”, and while it made me uncomfortable, I understood their sentiment. She lived in my house, I took her to and from school, I attended all of her events, attempted to take care of her needs, and loved her like hell. Does that make me less of a “parent”? It hurt like hell to let my sister “claim’ her child again. Hurt. Like. Hell. But, hey, she’s the “mother’, and I was just the crappy substitute. I was a single, childless, “parent”.

    Being a mom doesn’t mean that you’re deeply and wholly loved by your children, so why would being a stepmom mean that? Again, I think Leann is ri-damn-diculous. But I can’t imagine that any stepparent, who barely knows her stepchildren, would make the assumption that they’re loved by the stepkids – who have yet to get over the ending of their parents’ relationship, and have barely been introduced to their dad’s new wife. Unless said stepmother is delusional. Like Leann.

    However, some stepparents have been an integral part of their stepchildren’s lives.

    I know stepmoms who parent their stepchildren better than the stepchildren’s “real” (bio) mom ever did. I know bio moms who have walked away from their families. I know a stepdad (I know, I’m not staying true to the topic here, but bear with me) who raised his stepchildren from infancy, after the bio dad died while the mom was pregnant which child #2. Should my cousins (the children) be denied the right to call him “dad”? They weren’t forced to, they chose to.

    Or what about my sister who is helping to raise her husband’s child? That he had with his girlfriend while married to my sister. I don’t even know what she would be called. She didn’t marry the the boy’s dad. She was already married to him. She didn’t take someone’s husband away and swoop in on the child and try to be his mother.

    There are moms who abuse their children and they still have their children’s unconditional love. Is that what motherhood is about?

    Jessica – I love that you speak your mind, and I love that your aren’t afraid to have an unpopular opinion, and in this case, many women agree with you. I’m just not one of them. Today.

    Because these details I’ve provided are personal, I didn’t sign my real name. Not because I don’t believe what I said.

  9.  I’ve always been annoyed when celebrity stepmoms get all the credit, like Gisele with Tom Brady and Bridgette’s kid. I would LOSE it if some other woman went on and on to the press about how much she loved my kid and felt like he was hers and she’s barely been in the picture for a month.

    BUT on the other hand, I have friends that have step kids and they love them so much. It may be a different love than what they have for their children, but some it could be the same.

    But even the childless stepmoms are trying. They’re trying really really hard. And they DO love their stepchildren and they LOVE their husbands. A lot of them may have had a hard time to get where they are now with their stepkids and to tell them to back up because they don’t love these kids like you do is kind of a biatchy thing to do. Just let them love your kids because too much love is nonexistent and one day they’ll figure it out when they have their own kids, and if they don’t because may be they CAN’T have kids, then they will always believe they have the love of a mother and child relationship. 

  10.  My parents’ divorce didn’t screw me up. I was too young to remember it. That they were divorced was the norm for me. My father’s remarriage, however, DID. In a really really big way. Mostly because she tried to BE my mother. Not substitute, not bonus, BE. I was not allowed to have feelings about this change. 

    There IS no substitute for MOM. It is a complicated and VERY separate relationship. And frankly, if it is allowed to take, respect needs to be given to the child and the Mother. 

  11.  What is a bonus mom? What does she offer,what has she done? Motherhood requires a lot of time ,sacrifice and love . It takes more than a couple of months to determine this feat.and the children would decide if that person is a bonus or not .Marrying  a man with children does not give a wife any special rights love has to be earned and if that wife does not respect the mother of those children she does not respect them.There are no bonus moms.For Leann Rimes to call herself a bonus mom or any mom is a joke knowing she help breakup that family unit.and an insult to those kids.  She should try to earn their love and respect instead of trying  to act as a mother.and trying to create a family with another woman kids. She has a place in their lives but not as their mother.They say it takes a village to raise a child and she would be a part of that village.

  12. Yes, but what about the children? While the grown-ups are fighting over just about everything, what about the kids? I don’t condone adultery, and can certainly understand Brandi’s ire. But, wouldn’t it be better for her kids if she took the high road and communicated in a private forum? Personal matters that involve children should not be broadcast in social media. Yes, boundaries are important.

    But really, what does it matter what “steps” are called, as long as they are treating the children well and with love?  As a mother,  I understand It is a very, very hard thing. I was raised by my stepmother, who most of my life I’ve called Mama, not to be confused with my bio mom — “Mommy.” (I know, it sounds silly for a 50-something woman!)

    My now-ex husband and I adopted two children as infants, and after our divorce, they were co-parented every other weekend by he and his then-girlfriend (now his wife). I did my level BEST to not show jealousy over any aspect of that relationship — because she grew to love the kids but always treated them well and looked out for them. Of course it wasn’t easy … I vented more than a few times to my friends, particularly in the beginning when they weren’t married. It hurt having another woman in their lives.  But I knew early on that this woman and I needed to be allies, not enemies. I recognized that when we made the decision to divorce, remarriage was a possibility for one or both of us. (I am single.)

    My daughter is now 20, and has a terrific relationship with her step/bonus mom. I’m really happy about that. I don’t feel threatened by that relationship … I’ve always believed it does take a village. And recently, I helped my daughter locate her birth mom, and they are beginning to forge a relationship. Why would I not be accepting of any relationship that is going to help my daughter?

    For those of you who are divorced with younger kids — you will always be the primary mother/woman in their lives. They will always love you in a way different from the way they love others. And by supporting their relationship with their bonus/step parent — as long as it’s good! —  they will respect you, too.


    1. Afterschoolhelper,

      I agree. What does it matter as long as the women or man loves the kid and respect them why is the title a problem when the job is the same. It’s really sad to see people so bitter that their kids happiness doesn’t matter because they have a bonus mom. Bonus moms means step mom… big deal. God is love in any capacity, title or situation. A lot of you need to be better examples for your children. Don’t be petty move on and embraces love…Praying for us all as a human race….caught up in the stupid small things.

  13.  Know what? WAY too damn easy. Vilifying stepmothers is not exactly original.

    I think bonus mom is a dumb title and I’d never use it myself, but that isn’t really what this is about, is it? It’s about how we as mothers SACRIFICE. We care and love and DESERVE THE CREDIT, dammit! 

    For crying out loud. Our kids know who their mothers are. No matter what stepmoms do, kids are not going to be confused about who the “real” mom is. Let the stepmoms find their own way in a very difficult role and quit acting like they’re walking all over US, the poor, martyred, sacrificial, loving mothers. And if some of them find that the title bonus mom suits them or helps them to define their role, why should anyone else care? 

    I’m a mom, a stepmom, and my two eldest kids have had two stepmoms. The stepmom/stepchild relationship works best if the mom keeps her nose out of it. I know this to be true from both sides of the equation.

  14. is bonus mom like a step mom or something? i don’t think the children would be able to look them in the eye and tell their “bonus mom” that they love her after what she’s done to the family they once believed wouldn’t fail. i have nothing against step mothers, but i think they really should set boundaries.

  15. I’ve been a bonus mom proudly for several years.  The girls’ birth mother bestowed me with the title, and the entire family uses it.  Our girls are lucky to have bonus parents, grandparents, uncles, and so on.  Everyone in my family has accepted them fully into the family and treats them as such.  Everyone, children and adults, is thrilled and lucky to have more people to love them, care for them, give them hugs and support.  What a bonus.
    I stay up, or stay home from work, when they’re sick.  After major surgery, confined to bed rest, I dragged myself in to school because my bonus daughter had fallen and bumped her head.  She needed me, and I went.  I bake cookies, bandage boo-boos, solve wardrobe crises, cook actual sit-down meals with real nutrition every day, guide my older girl through puppy love and puberty, and on and on.
    So pooh to you all with knobs on it if you think I’m any less ‘real’ than a birth mother.
    This article made me cry.  The only thing I don’t like about bonus motherhood are people who doubt that it’s real.

  16. As a stepmom on my way to adoption, I am having difficulty with the bitterness you express toward woman who love someone else’s child.  You do not have the slightest idea of the pain that faces a stepmother on a daily basis and your lack knowledge shines through with your lack of compassion.  It is a tough situation and adults step on each other’s toes.  It is the kids that matter not the pettiness of the adults – whatever their roles may be.  Children know the difference between step parents and bio parents. What they need to see is adults showing compassion and empathy and letting go of the b.s.

     “it’s not like adoption or birth, you have to wait for the kids to love you back.” What are you talking about?  Give stepmoms credit or at least leave your pettiness at the door.  We all need to consider what our words and actions add to the world.  I have heard women refer to themselves as Bonus Moms to get away from the negative stereotypes attached to the word Stepmom and here you are trying to make all stepmoms into a woman who had an affair with a married man.  Please keep your issues with Leann Rimes away from creating more negative sterestypes for the amazing stepmoms out there. 

    1. So the kids married you or just the dad? It’s a bit much to assume that
      everyone loves you, don’t you think? It’s possible that they will, but I’m
      pretty sure that there’s a warming up period.

      1. Most Stepmoms – most mature adults – know that you need to build relationships between people whether they are adults or children.  I am attempting to get you to acknowledge that you are attacking a large group of women many of whom are bio moms as well as Stepmoms. 

        You need to give Stepmoms credit that most will have a basic understanding of relationships and do not expect the children will instantly love them.  Not all blended families get along well – not all people get along well.  Having stated those obvious things, you should not assume that because a woman marries a man who has children that she lacks common sense.  Spend sometimes with some of the happy bleneded families you mentioned.  It is possible that  exposure to these people will allow you to see that step parents are just people. There are good ones and bad ones but there is no reason to attack Stepmoms.

  17. Listen, a lot of women find they’re stepmoms by default.  You’ve probably coupled with a man who has a mom.  Or a dad.  Well, we’ve coupled with a man who has a son, or a daughter.  That doesn’t make you a hero, or any of us a villain.  In many cases, we’d just as soon you’d kept your marriage together, so that all the single men in the dating pool were childless.  In some cases, the problems of the stepkid (from fallout from the prior marriage) are extreme enough to interfere with us having our own kids, especially if the dad has full custody.  So we’re trying to make the best of the highly imperfect situation you left for us.  ‘Step’ is an odd and ugly word; ‘bonus’ is better, because it doesn’t taint the child against us from the start.  And until you’re ready to do ALL the parenting (come on over and tell them to pick up their socks, hang up their clothes, etc., etc.) we ARE doing the bonus mothering, like it or not.

  18. Sorry, but you’re way off the mark. Granted, LeeAnn Rimes comments and behavior were immature and cringe worthy. Not the best way to begin life as a CSM. However, your commentary is also immature and cringe worthy. What’s next, Pee Wee Herman’s “I know you are but what am I?” Wake up and smell the coffee sister. Many custodial CSM’s, including myself, have raised or are raising stepchildren with their husband’s because the FW was/is uninterested in or incapable of doing so. Doesn’t say a lot for our DH’s choice of a former spouse/partner but it is what it is.I don’t have to love my skids mother, I love their dad. Not all women who give birth to a child become mombies. Some become child abusers and worse. So save the rainbows, unicorns and dolphins speech regarding the awesomness of mothers/motherhood for your children. Grownups know better. I’ve been married to my DH and a full time custodial stepmother for more than 20 years, helping to raise my skids from the ages of 4 and 5. I know what life is like on this side of the fence. And for you to denigrate or belittle what I, as well as countless numbers of other CSM’s have done with devotion, is the ultimate in arrogance. Shame on you.

  19. I think using the term “bonus mom” devalues the biological mother’s sacrifices in bringing the child into the world and doing all that intensive early caretaking. My husband has hooked up with a much younger and childless woman and is trying his best to “plug her” into the void I left when he decided to do drugs and lie around the house.  She seems to be highly psychologically invested in being accepted by my son, but not for the son’s sake – it is for the father’s sake, to make my son’s father love her more. The father was calling them a “family” within 6 months after beginning to sleep with this young, stretch-mark-free-and-staying-that-way office chippie – who knows how long she’ll stick around in my son’s life – and packing her into bed with the two of them! Recently (she is foreign) she has begun faking an American accent so she will seem less alien and more like my son’s mom to him. Is that too much, or what (I can’t help wondering whether she has found his teen porn stash yet, LOL). Yet my son comes home and says that his father simply shuttles back and forth between the two of them, giving them separate attention – as if the stepmother is a child herself. No synergy between the three of them. The stepmother is competition for the father’s attention, and treats the child in any way she knows will earn the father’s love for doing so. Not out of a genuine affection for the child himself. Father is trying to integrate the girl more and more into his life to regain a bio-family he played no small part in destroying with his own poor conduct. Son says he can’t wait for her to leave whenever she is staying with them,and doesn’t want her attending functions. If she sticks around, maybe DS will begin to like her more but he senses no liking on her part for him in any personal sense. Right now, the father and girl are forcibly.trying to glue a bio-parent, a bio-son, and a stranger the son’s not impressed with, who may or may not stick around in his life, depends on how long she’ll put up with the father’s cr*p I guess. It devalues the term “mother” and “family” to think that you can just start having sex or sharing spaces with someone and automatically step into “family” shoes with no experience of having had babies. Parents and families are about a lot more than going through life motions related to caretaking. With all the “his psycho ex” junk you read on the web, thank you Jessica for trying to restore some rightful dignity to biological parenthood. No, childless chippie, you can cram yourself into that niche as hard as you like and call yourself whatever you want – but you will never be the real deal.  Sorry. Have your own babies and stop fake-appropriating mine.

    1. Which would be somewhat true if mom actually took care of the child at any point until bonus mom entered the picture. Only parenting when someone can see you (publicly) doesn’t make you the sacrificial mom. How about we get rid of blanket statements and the view that everyone can fit into your (collective) situation and actually let people do what works for them if it promotes a happy, healthy relationship with the kids?

  20. Perhaps if you were to step back for just a second and review the etymology of the prefix “Step-” when referring to a parental figure, you would understand why there is a need to move away from “Step-” when the Biological, or Birth, Mother is still very much a part of the child’s life.  I choose this word because I am a “bonus” in their life, not a replacement.  The use of this term helps me set language for my bonus daughters, and myself, that I am not a replacement to their Moms – I am an addition.  I do hope it is a positive addition, but perhaps there are days my bonus daughters feel it is a negative addition (they are going through puberty, so the emotions change from day-to-day!)

    Bonus Mom gives me the opportunity to set a positive tone with both the Bio Moms with whom I must share in parental responsibilities and with my Bonus Daughters.  I don’t force the term on them, but I do encourage their understanding of it (by explaining what I’ve explained above) – this only helps reinforce my reverence for their own Mothers.  

    Further, I think it would be good for you to consider the level of selfless love required of a biologically childless bonus parent in a blended family relationship (or, for that matter, even one with his/her own biological child).  Here are a few points for you to consider:

    a) It takes a lot to not only love and support (often financially) children from a previous marriage/relationship fully knowing that you will never have the kind of bond/connection that the child will have with his/her biological parent
    b) I’m not saying this is the case with you, because I don’t know you, but a lot of women have children out of selfishness. Often, they are empty or have some emotional voids and they have children to fill these voids and sometimes go so far as to completely define themselves solely in their role as mother. Usually, this is to the child’s detriment…that is a huge burden for a child to carry their whole life.
    c) It takes a woman with pretty huge ovaries to put up with some of the nonsense that can come from a woman who defines herself through her child/children or uses the child/children to fill some void in her own life.

    Please feel free to read my blog post outlining the use of the term “Bonus Mom” at:

    Once you’ve read it, and this comment, I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on whether or not you still think Bonus Mom is just an arrogant term created by childless stepmothers to make themselves feel important. 

    Personally, I have a lot of other things going for me that make me feel “important” and I never had any intention of having children in the first place.  I honestly have never felt the need or want to have a child of my own.  I fell in love with my husband and he happened to have two children from two separate Bio Moms already.  I had a choice to make.  I now have something beautiful in my life I never even new I would enjoy so much because his children are amazing and I am blessed.  I owe half of that to each of my bonus daughters’ Bio Moms (even the one that drives me crazy all the time)!

  21. Wow… You should just go away. People like you are not needed in this world. Way to make it about you and not the children. You must have BPD and have a HCP.

    1. As a stepmom, your job is to support your family and encourage love between your steps and their father. Your job is NOT to parent or make decisions for step kids as long as their mother wants to be in the picture.

      You sound entitled and vain.

      Notice that bio dads and step dads don’t have these sorts of issues. Because men know how to toe the line and they live in reality. They are mature.

      Stepmothers in my personal experience are needy. Not all. Just many.

  22. Um, newsflash Ms. Genius. Stepmoms don’t just LOVE the kids right away either. They love the dad. Stepmoms also need to LEARN to love the kids. Until we get to know them, they’re just weird, smelly, little strangers. So the kids have to wait for us to love them back too. It’s a two-way street. And you’re weird if you don’t want your kid’s stepmom to love them as much as you do. Wouldn’t that be comforting to know when they are in her care? Or you would rather she just feel “meh” about them, because *you* are so insecure. Nice.

      1. Hahahahaha…
        Things are mighty fine, darling :)
        Wow, score me! Not only did I catch so much of your attention (very nice detective work with the ip, btw) but you also only responded to my my one-liner and not the other comments.
        What else would you like to know? I’m here at work, but, you already know that, right? bwaahahahaha!

  23. I call myself a bonus mom! I love my daughter(who is actually my stepdaughter) more than life itself. I would do anything for her! I call myself a Bonus Mom because that’s what I am! I am a bonus mother to be there when she falls, to be cheering for her, to guide her through life. In my situation my daughters mother physically and emotionally abuses her. Knowing that kills me. That little girl deserves the world. I feel ever scratch, every bruise, ever push my little girl feels but intensified. My daughter started calling my mommy at the age of 2. I corrected her every time, but she still insisted. She didn’t call anyone else mom except her bio-mom. We talked to someone about what to do and they said to let her. Kids know by instinct who “mom” is. She knows sees what I do for her, how I treat her, and most importantly how much I love her. It’s her instinct to call me mom. A Bonus Mom isn’t meant to replace the biological mom, but to be a BONUS! For someone to dare say a bonus mom isn’t real, just shows that if they were ever put in my situation they would be incapable of giving their life to a child that is not biologically their or loving that child as much as their own. It honestly takes a special person to be a Bonus Mom and I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one out there!
    My daughter grew in my heart, not my womb.

    1. Good for you! The word “stepmom” has become a word society deems as awful, scary and creepy. It’s the evil woman that broke up the family or what not.
      I’m glad there are women, like myself, who love our stepkids and will do anything for them! Keep up the great work!

  24. This article is many things, but sad is the first that comes to mind. I, too, am a “bonus” mom and call myself such. My husband 100% completely supports this as well. My stepsons love me dearly. They also love their bio mom dearly as well. She and I get along, and in fact, she is a “bonus” mom as well now.
    What you are saying here is false, negative and just plain cruel. Imagine if you and your husband divorced and he met someone else and married her and she embraced your children and helped raise them and love them as much as you do? Would you condemn her for that or would you feel appreciative that someone else loves your kids as much as you and your husband do?
    You really need a reality check before you go around slamming “bonus” moms.

  25. I have never been so speechless. I don’t think you understand what the meaning of “bonus mom” is. When you are a 18 year old senior in high school two months away from graduating, whose father just passed away to cancer and all you have is a woman who was dating this man for just four years while two of those years he was sick. You Jessica, have no place to speak. This woman who I feel is an honorable title to tell her she is my “bonus mom” stopped her life completely to get me back on track. She pushed me to go to college, supports me mentally and when she can financially. You need to get your facts straight before you put ridiculous statements online. You upset so many people including “bonus mothers” who are entering a family which is always uncomfortable.

    You Jessica, might be the most ignorant woman I have come across.

  26. I for one am a “Bonus Mom”. We (chose this because “Step” has such a negative stereotype attached to it). I am and NEVER will or try to be our girls Mom. They have ONE Mom and I am not her. This article in my opinion is coming from a bitter and jaded person who is threatened. I gave birth to my son and am a Mommy. My ex and I divorced. We both remarried and actually travel with our families, celebrate holidays, and are genuine in our friendship. This article makes me sad.

  27. I’m a “Mom-Mom” LOL. And all I can say is to begrudge your child love is heinous and selfish. My daughter’s father’s fiance and I have had our differences. But she loves my daughter, cherishes her and treats her like a daughter. So grateful to have another person in my daughter’s life who loves her unconditionally. She is a Bonus Mom who I love and respect because she loves and respects my daughter!

  28. I concur. I’m 30 and my father is about to remarry 18 months after my mom died unexpectedly. This woman is calling herself my “stepmom” and “Grandma Lois” to my kids. It’s not ok. She doesn’t know us and never will be able to like someone who was in my life since birth. If you’re a “bonus mom” thinking you’re über special for taking someone’s leftovers, go ahead and slip on a narcissist’s shoe and tie it.

  29. It seems to be popular nowadays to defend the stepmother. Forget the biological mom, let’s stick up for stepmom.. even if she was the one to break up the marriage. Yeah, let’s condone that she broke up a family and now wants the title of mom on top of it. Right, that’s normal.
    It was absolutely disrespectful of LeAnn.
    If the bio mom doesn’t want you to be called mom then don t encourage it, back off and shut it. Period. End. Of. Story.

    1. What if the mom spent years cheating on the husband, finally settled on one of the dudes she was sleeping with, moved 1,000 miles away to be with him and left her kids behind, only seeing them every few months and during summer vacations? What if, during that time, she not only made no significant emotional contribution to their lives, but also no monetary contribution? What if they spent two of the three years she lived far away bonding with their father’s new girlfriend, who eventually became his wife and the mother of his fourth child, their brother? What if the mom is addicted to prescription narcotics and has an oppressive marijuana habit, which two facts cause her, according to her children, to “sleep all the time” so that she rarely spends any kind of quality time with them? What if, now that she lives near them again, she’s kept them home from school so much that it resulted in an action in truancy court? What if she doesn’t pay half their expenses despite sharing 50/50 custody and their father and stepmother end up having to pay at least 80% of all expenses despite making less money than mom and stepdad? What if she never takes them for haircuts, makes them do their homework, encourages them to study for tests or provides clothing that fits them appropriately?

      Under these circumstances, can we follow what’s “popular” and defend the stepmother who is doing her best to provide for someone else’s children while those kids complain and moan to their mother about how mean she is because she expects them to brush their teeth, clean their rooms, clean up after themselves and go to school, AND show her the proper respect to show an adult in their house who pays bills? Is it okay to defend the stepmother then, or do we still have to bow to the Golden Uterus?

      Here’s my problem – I do not refer to myself as my stepkids’ “bonus mom.” They have a mom. She’s a waste of human flesh, but she is the only mother they have. They love her. I don’t mess with that. I keep my opinions about her between myself and my husband.

      That said, I deserve respect from these kids. I have now been more consistently in their lives for longer than their actual mother. I have provided more for them, been there for them more and spent more time getting to know them as people than she has. In her eyes, her 10, 11 and 12 year old children are infants who require nothing more than cuddling and kissing. Their counselor has told her over and over to stop infantilizing her children and start mothering them. But she thinks I’m a terrible person who is the cause of all of her kids’ problems, and I think that’s BS, frankly. I’m doing the best I can raising someone else’s kids because she’s too lazy and self-centered to do it. I will not be villainized for her shortcomings. Period.

  30. This article was horribly inaccurate. I have 2 biological children and 1 adopted child. I love all 3 the same. My children have a step mother and a step father that are absalutly amazing to them. They have step sisters with their dad that they are close to. My new husband and my ex husbands new wife love my children unconditionally. I see this daily. Infact when my husband was in a car wreck his quick thinking and all he could do was to spin the wheel so he took the brunt of the force. Not my son. This doesn’t come from faking feelings. It looks like you are petty and jelouse of anyone capable of having a relationship with you child. Shame on you for your heart is two sizes too small.

  31. THERE IS SUCH A THING AS A BONUS MOM….THANK GOD….I can say this because I have been lucky enough to watch my grandkids with theirs. Her “bonus mom” title was something I have her because thats exactly what she is. She is the incredible woman who stepped up to help raise not only my sons son but his ex wifes daughter that she brought into the relationship from another man. I am sure that the majority of the Mommys on here are wonderful women and amazing Moms and I can understand why the term could be a little offensive but lets not forget while some kids are blessed with Mommys like you others get stuck with women who push out baby after baby after baby as a paycheck and a means to get their own selfish desires met. Just because those girls can push out a baby it doesnt make them a Mommy, and for kids like my grandkids, The young lady my son has brought into their life TRULY IS A BONUS MOM…. be blessed Mommys…God bless you for doing what you do ….

  32. It looks like it took a few years, but finally some people with sense decided to comment on your horrible blog post. As far as we can tell, you are projecting. You are making judgment on someone else’s life and experience– something I imagine you would say was out of line if they made judgments about your family and life experience.

    I think Oprah nailed it when she said “So you just sit around and write all day?” I can’t imagine anyone who is privileged enough to lack self-awareness, spouting out whatever comes to into her head every minute, has the time to sit around and judge people for their tweets. I came to this blog looking for help for one of my clients, but all I found was a sad post with misdirected hurt.
    I hope you have grown since 2011 and have expanded your scope of questionable influence to put something more productive into the world.

    1. Post
  33. I agree with their article. I am a mother and a step mother. The children are 5 years apart, mine being the oldest. I’ve been a part of my step sons life since he was 1. Bio mom has lost all custody and visitations rights due to drug use. I have stepped up to the plate and sacrifice my time, attention, and money for my step son. I am not his mother tho. My husband has gotten in a huff more than once because I’ve dropped my step son off with his grandparents (who love him dearly and spoil him unconditionally) because I wanted to do something special with my son, like take him to his first concert. Sorry, I’m not taking a 5 year old to a 21 pilots concert. My husband travels and is home maybe 2 days a week. So I am rearing my step son pretty much full time and rarely have one on one time with my son. I’ve had to explain to my husband on several occasions that I’m not my step sons mother. I love him and care for him, but I don’t have the same bond with him as my son and I need to nurture my bond with my bio son differently than my step son sometimes. But I get treated like a bad person when I do this. I do not treat my bio son at the expense of my step son. I do lots of fun, loving, inclusive activities with my step son, too. But, the shoe fits on both feet. We are told as step moms we are not real moms, so dont berate us step moms when we need a break from our step children and want to spend special time with our own bio kids.

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