Last Updated on March 23, 2018

Twenty-five years ago, my two stepsons were 11 and 13 when their dad and I got married. To them, I have always been “Stepmother” or “my dad’s wife,” which is fine because that is who I am.

However, to their children, Colin (10) and Erin (6), I’m Nana — married to Grandpa. Period. They don’t know me as “StepNana.” I’ve been a part of their lives since they were born.

Not long ago, Colin and I had the opportunity to go to brunch together. Since it was a gorgeous Florida day, I decided to take him to a buffet that overlooks a golf course. Even though there was a large selection of food, he chose to pile his plate with bacon and luscious oranges. I smiled.

As we chatted, he told me about a recent visit with his maternal grandma in Minnesota. She taught him how to sew a quilt and make peanut butter pie (his favorite). I instantly felt a pang deficiency in “Martha Stewart” skills, and “Grandma Guilt” began taking over.

After awhile I asked him, “What’s your favorite subject in school?” Without hesitation he replied, “Bible Class.” Great! The conversation was moving from sewing and cooking onto something I enjoyed — faith and God’s Word. Our discussion went deep, and I was impressed by his insights.

Later that night as I was showing him how to pack his suitcase efficiently so the plethora of clothes and toys would fit inside, I realized something very important.

His other grandma teaches him excellent life skills, such as how to cook, bake, and sew. I teach him how to choose the best meal on the menu, pack a suitcase effectively, and understand more about God’s character.

Joy saturated my mind as I thought about the diversity the two grandmas are pouring into this sweet young man’s life. And what a great catch he is going to be one day for some young woman!

His wife will have a husband who passionately loves God and can make a peanut butter pie. It doesn’t get any better.

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  1. Hi Laura!

    My stepmom (who has been such for 30 + years) is my stepmom, but she is my son's grandma. I have said for years that I benefitted from my mom AND my stepmom. Each woman taught me (and still teaches me) different but equally valid things. I love that my son will now benefit in the same way, plus he has my mother-in-law as well! Your grandson sounds super blessed to have you as a grandma!!

  2. Great stuff Laura. We'll link to your page from our new solutions oriented forum for blended families.

  3. I have a step son, and am constantly struggling with trying to except his biological mom, even though she has no respect for me and talked about me in awful ways. It is hard, because she didn't really come into his life until just last summer, and now gets to take on the mom role. He goes there for three weeks during the summer and every other weekend during school days. She is teaching him that things are important, where I'm trying to teach him that God is important. She is trying to plant the seeds that he can choose whom he wants to live with when he gets older, thinking that he would choose her.

  4. Laura Petherbridge says:

    Dear Samantha- One of the hardest parts of being a stepmom is learning what you can control, and letting go of the things you can't. One of the things you can't is the biological mom.

    All you can do is speak the truth in your home, and address any lies you SS is being told without bashing his mom. "Josh, I'm sorry you thought I didn't care about your baseball game. That's not true at all. It must be confusing for you when you are hearing 2 different things, and I'm sorry if that hurts or puts you in the middle. What happened is ___ (truth). I hope that helps clear this up. Feel free to ask me or your dad any time if somehting like this confuses you. We will do our best to help "

  5. Laura Petherbridge says:

    Samantha reply cont…The Smart Stepmom book is filled with pracrical stuff like this and we have an entire chapter on the bio mom and how to address various issues. Since your SS missed out on his mom for many years, it's very likley he will drop you easily if that means he can bond with his parent.

    As difficult as it is, this is VERY normal when one parent is absent. The child will often drop a SP in a heartbeat, even if that person has raised him/her for YEARS, if it means protecting or pleasing the bio parent. It has almost nothing to do with the SP and everything to do with the child craving the bond and acceptance of parent and child. Even if that parent is neglectful, abusive, or toxic for the child.

    My heart is with you. Under Grace, Laura

  6. We’ve been married for 4 yrs now. My husband had a 4yr old son with another woman when we married. From the start, he started telling me I was wicked whenever I corrected the child. The child has no respect for me or the adults living with us. He is now 7yrs old and his attitude has gotten worse. My husband insults me infront of him and has warned me never to raise my voice at him. My husband tells him that our house is his house so he feels like he has the right to do anything he wants and i can’t say anything to him. I feel like he is destroying our marriage. My husband says i need to tolerate him and treat him well or he is ready to walk out of the marriage. The child doesn’t live with us. He lives with his mom and spends the night every weekend or every other weekend. What can i do?