To the Under-Appreciated Stepparent: I See You


Dear Parent Left in the Shadows,

I see you standing there. I see you loving that child with all of your might from the sidelines. I know that everything within you just wants to feel like you have a say in this human’s upbringing. I know that you want to feel respected and appreciated by the other side. I know that sometimes you want to throw in the towel because it’s just.too.hard.

I know that there are days when you feel like your spouse is being pulled in two different directions. You feel like they’re having to choose between making you happy and avoiding a fight with the ex. I know that when you feel this, you keep your mouth shut and struggle with your inner feelings so that you don’t contribute to the stress of the situation. I see the look on your face when your spouse tells you the other parent doesn’t want you at parent-teacher conferences. I see the loneliness when the other side acts like you don’t exist at school functions, sports, and recitals. I know that you just want to scream “I LOVE THAT KID, TOO!”

I know that when your “step” child is at your home, you do everything in your power to make them feel loved. I see you playing silly games. I see you making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch. I hear you talking about the Hatchimals and Legos that you bought just so you could have a conversation with the tiny human(s) that you’ve embraced. I hear the TV in the background playing Toy Story for the thousandth time. I see you talking about make up and clothes, boyfriends and girlfriends with the older kids. I know you try to be cool, because most days you can’t figure out what role you’re really supposed to have.

I see the sadness and guilt on your face when people ask where the child is at a family function and you have to reply “at their mom’s house.” I know that all you want is for the child to be part of your family 100% of the time even though you know that’s just not how split families work. I see you struggling to comfort your spouse when the kid(s) can’t be at your holiday gatherings and when birthdays are spent apart.

At the end of the day, I see you standing in the door lovingly staring at the sleeping child. I know you’re wondering…hoping…praying with all your might that your impact is present. I see the tears fall down your cheeks when you wonder if they love you the same way that you love them. I know that you wish the world could understand the feeling you have for this child that is not biologically yours. 

I know your pain. I understand that deep unexplainable love. I share in your loneliness and struggles. You’re not alone…I see you.


A Fellow Stepparent

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Sarah lives in Wildwood with her husband, Steve. They have two daughters, Maddie and Brooklyn, along with fur-baby Reba. Sarah was a teen mom and is a stroke survivor. She works for La Salle Retreat Center as the Director of Guest Relations. When she's not working, she loves shopping with her girls, walks with her pup and hubby, watching crime shows, and reading who-dun-it novels. She's also an admitted chocolate and Diet Coke addict.


  1. Thank you for this! I’ve read a lot of blogs but, until now, had never found one that articulated the way I feel. She’s an adult now, with a child of her own, but this took me back… So thank you, again, for “seeing me.”

  2. So darn true. While they are adults now I don’t think they get it. It is now happening with the grandchildren and it breaks my heart. They will never understand and will never see
    Mistakes their mom made too.
    Our feelings will never matter even when trying to provide them our perspective because they think we are attacking their mom and can’t see we have been hurt ourselves.

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