How To Cope With Jealousy As A Stepmom

‘You’re not their real mom.’

Michelle Brown
Published in
4 min readJun 3, 2019


Photo: Westend61/Getty Images

‘You’re not their real mom.’

As a stepmother, you know this. It’s painfully clear more often than not. No matter how many times you’ve made a pact with yourself to let it go, you keep coming back for more.

You keep coming back because you committed this child or children. You’ve loved them, held them, talked to them, played with them, made meals for them, worried about them, and so on.

In many of my other stepparenting posts, I’ve tried to give hope to the idea that it’s possible to find fulfillment in your relationship with your stepchild or stepchildren, even if it’s not exactly the relationship you originally hoped for.

You have to own what you do have and work from there.

Easier said than done, right?

Despite all of the positive, helpful blogs and stepmom support forums, there’s a nagging issue so many stepmoms still have to deal with no matter how emotionally and mentally strong they are.

It’s dealing with jealousy.

It’s the sadness a stepmom might feel after she’s wiped away her stepchild’s tears, planned birthday parties, packed love notes in lunchboxes, or swelled with pride at awards ceremonies — only to feel like the odd woman out.

It’s a seed of melancholy planted somewhere deep inside that flowers into an acute sinking feeling whenever she’s reminded that this child — whom she loves dearly and has put so much time and effort toward as a stepmother — is not biologically hers and never will be.

It’s the permission slips she can’t sign, doctor visits she can’t attend, and other moms in the school pickup line who act differently once they realize she’s not the ‘real’ parent.

It’s knowing that no matter how hard you try, how deeply you love, or how intensely you support your stepchildren, you’ll often feel like you’re falling short in comparison to what a biological mother can give. It’s that biological bond, you may find yourself thinking.



Michelle Brown
I, Stepmother.

Coffee Shop Gypsy. Word Practitioner. Editor of Heart Affairs + more... Like what I write? You can find more at my Substack