Embracing the Step-Father on Father’s Day

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With Father’s Day quickly approaching, we’re preparing to celebrate the amazing fathers in our lives. But what about the step-father? What about the man with no title, just his first name? What about the man that has taken on a role that’s been filled already? How do we remove the negative stigma that is associated with the word ‘step-father’? As a mother looking to remarry soon, I want my children to feel comfortable being able to celebrate their father AND my husband without any guilt.

As parents, the last thing we want is for someone to come in and take our place in our child’s heart. We might inadvertently say or do something to make our child less accepting of the new person coming into their lives. It is hard to trust a new person with one of our most prized blessings, but we have to have faith that the other parent has made a wise decision in the partner they plan on spending the rest of their lives with. We hope that person will love our child just as much as we do. Try not to look at it as someone coming in and attempting to take your place, but more like there is an additional person that wants to come in to love, support, and encourage your child.

There is no such thing as too much love when it comes to our children.

Growing up with step-parents, I remember how I felt when my mom remarried and wanted me to call this man I barely knew “dad.” I didn’t have a problem with him or  with my mom getting married, but something in me instantly got defensive. I already had a dad. I just knew it would hurt him if I called someone else by his name. I was young and didn’t know any better but I just didn’t get it…why did my mom want me to forget my biological dad and embrace this new individual???

As an adult, I know better. I get it now. Over the years I have grown to love and admire my step-father in more ways that I can even put into words. I seek him for advice in a lot of things in my life. He makes sure whenever he is in town to shower me with gifts (ladies we are never too old for that, am I right?!), and I always enjoy just spending time with him. We have a very close bond that I wouldn’t change for the world. He calls me his daughter, and I love him as a father, but I call him by his first name. I believe if I was given the opportunity to set the tone for our relationship in the beginning, then maybe I would’ve given him a cool name like Pops or Pa. 

Fast forward to today. I am in the same position as my mother once was. How do I introduce this new man in my children lives when they have an amazing dad? I am allowing time to do that for me. My new husband will have to build relationships with my children individually; they can’t be forced. We have to be intentional about how we interact as a family and the time he spends with each of them one-on-one. Each relationship will be different because each child requires something different. One thing I do know is that you don’t have to call a man “dad” in order to love and respect him as a father. I know firsthand that you can love as many people as you are blessed to have in your village. Just because you don’t carry his DNA does not make him any less special or any less important. I know that I can celebrate my dad and step-dad – both of my fathers – on this day. Because they deserve that, and so much more. 

So yes, your child may have a step-father and he is just as important as dad. “Dad” may not be their official title, but it is the role they signed up for. So make double the macaroni neck ties, the handmade cards, and the flower bouquets made from the weeds in the front yard. Don’t spend the day feeling like you have to choose one over the other. There is so much love to give we can give it out in abundance. 

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Angela has Memphis running through her veins. Born and raised here, she loves traveling but Memphis is always home. There is no other city like it. Angela is the mom of three amazingly unique girls: Jordan (June 2003), Carmen (January 2009), and Norah (June 2014). Jordan has Autism and is a talented artist; Carmen is the entertainer that loves dancing and competitive cheering (yes, she is a cheer mom!), and Norah has Down Syndrome and is full of sass. Besides being a full-time mom and a full-time employee, she is also a full-time advocate for her girls with special needs. She enjoys spending time with her family creating memories, vacationing whenever the opportunity arises, and dancing in the kitchen while cooking. Her mottos for life are: with God all things are possible, every day is a new day to be grateful, and live to love and love to smile.

9 COMMENTS

  1. This is amazing and so true. As a step-parent myself this speaks volume. I love it. Great article Angela

  2. Very well written and so very true. I couldn’t imagine calling anyone but my dad, dad but for some that was the situation. Heading towards marriage I never wanted to force that title on my intended or making my children call him dad. They’re all comfortable with his first name and the role he plays. Whether it’s advice or a laugh they know he’s there. It’s a blessing to have a father figure but to have ….Wow.

  3. Very well put Angela, such a great article. I’m so glad you and my son connected after all these years, so happy for the both of you. WELCOME to this wild and crazy Family!!!

  4. I love this article Angela. You are a wonderful writer!! This was a much appreciated article ?

  5. I Love this. I know this all to well. My mom always taught me to be thankful for 2 fathers in my life. My birth father was doing his own thing, so my dad( my step father) step in a took over WITH NO Complaints!. I adored and cherish my dad, ( step father wasnt a word we used in our household). He actually was my hero, my diary, coah ( He taught me how to fight, fish, and ride a bike). He was everything to me and is my reason for writing this now. He left me a year ago, (RIP L.M) and I thought I would be lost without him. I’m so thankful for God giving me a man who Loved me and encourage me to be great. I spent the best of my Life with my dad. My memories are dear to me. Enjoy the dad God gave you, because you never know when God will call them back home. Thanks for this Angela, so on point?

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