I wrote last week about attending my attending my stepson’s open house and how important it was for me. I wrote that I needed to be there because I was a parent in his life and I needed to know what was going on at school.
Apparently, other people disagreed.
I received an email from a woman who wrote, “I get that you have a bond with them and all, but do you ever wonder how the kids’ teachers feel when two moms come in the room? They will never know which one of you is the mom and which one of you is not. They won’t know who to expect during pick-ups or who to talk to when he has had a bad day. I think it’s just confusing for everyone involved and it doesn’t make any sense.”
Well! Here’s where I act all mature and say “YOU DON’T KNOW MY LIFE.”
I’m kidding. (Although you totally don’t.)
I guess I can understand why someone might be worried that my stepson’s teacher is going to get confused about his mom and me, but that’s assuming that this someone thinks I’m not going to introduce myself.
Here’s one of the best tips I can give to a stepmom, especially when you’re as involved in your stepchildren’s lives as I am: Introduce yourself.
When you go to an open house or a gymnastics practice or to the babysitter’s house, introduce yourself.
Shake the teacher or coach or caretaker’s hand and say, “Hi! I’m Sarah, I’m Billy’s stepmom! I’ll be picking him up every other weekend.”
Let them know who you are. These people are spending hours with your stepchildren, teaching them their colors and making sure they take a nap. I promise you, no one is going to confuse you with their mother. They’re going to know which one of you is the mom and which one of you is the stepmom. And, I hope, they’re going to feel extremely comfortable being around you and talking to you. They’re going to think it’s pretty cool how involved you are.
Without introducing yourself, you’re setting everyone up for a lot of real confusion and concern. At my stepdaughter’s school, you have to have a security pass with her name on it to pick her up. There’s only one and my stepkid’s mom and I pass it back and forth during pick-ups and drop-offs. But, last year, after a few weeks of arriving at the school, I introduced myself to my stepchild’s teacher and made it a little easier to pick her up. She now knows me as well as well as she knows my stepdaughter’s mom and it makes all of us feel a lot more comfortable during pick-up. She can tell me if Chloe had a bad day or if her lunchbox leaked all over the classroom cubby. She knows who I am.
And, I promise, I’m not asking you to introduce yourself to the grocery store clerk who says “Ask your mommy if you can have a cookie!” or to every person who happens to walk past you standing in line to see Santa. Just remember that the people influencing your stepchildren are important and they need to know who you are.
Because you’re an important influence, too.