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Those of us in blended families know that navigating their complex dynamics comes with its own set of challenges, but with the ‘glass-half full’ mindset, you can view it as one that also opens the door to unique opportunities and rewards. For this reason, there’s a term that struck a chord with me: ‘bonus mum.’ Far from the conventional stepmother stereotypes, embracing this term has allowed me to view my role as an additional source of love, support, and positivity in the lives of those around me.

Choosing to be a bonus mum is not about succumbing to labels or perceived stepmother types; it’s a mindset shift that has profoundly impacted my experience. Here’s how:

Changed how I view my role

Considering myself a bonus mum empowers me to proactively contribute positively to family life. It has a powerful way of liberating me from predefined or stereotypical stepmother roles and encourages an authentic and personalised experience with my stepkids based on genuine connections. I have also used my role as a ‘bonus mum’ as a way to inspire my stepkids to think positively as well. I often tell them that an upbeat way to think about their situation is to feel lucky they have so many people who care for them in their lives!

Opened lines of communication

Positioning myself as a bonus mum acknowledges that I’m not a replacement for their biological parent. Instead, I’m the additional figure in their lives who cares for them and has their best interests at heart. This realisation has opened up lines of communication, especially with my teenage stepchildren who feel ‘safe’ to talk to me for this very reason and makes them more willing to share their thoughts and concerns. I feel incredibly lucky that I have the opportunity to provide them with additional support and guidance in their lives – which is ultimately contributing to their emotional well-being and overall development as they move into adulthood.

Given me permission to love my stepkids

Being a bonus mum grants the freedom to love your stepchildren without overstepping boundaries or feeling like it is not your place to do so. I have biological children as well, but thinking about myself as a bonus mum for my stepkids gives me the capacity to love them all. This shift really does help create a broader, more inclusive sense of family.

Fostered personal growth

Approaching the role through a positive lens also invites plenty of personal growth. As a bonus mum, the challenges that naturally present in the course of blended family life become opportunities for you to hone your communication skills and navigate challenges with optimism, building your own resilience along the way. The flip side would be to focus on all of the negatives and things you can’t control in your role as stepmum.

Being a bonus mum goes beyond fulfilling a role; it’s about seizing the chance to create a more loving, supportive, and inclusive family. If you’re a fellow stepmum, I invite you to recognise the privilege of ‘getting to’ be a bonus mum. This simple mindset shift can be transformative, fostering positive relationships, personal growth, and fulfilment within your blended family dynamic.

I’d love to know, how does embracing the ‘bonus mum’ persona make you feel? Continue the conversation and let us know on Facebook or Instagram.