What is a Bonus Mom?

Leave that stepmonster behind.

By keeping the following rules in mind, you'll be proactively nurturing a positive relationship with your bonus kids. That's good news for the whole family, as well as your relationship with your husband.

Tips for gaining bonus mom status:

• Before you marry, have a clear idea of what is expected of you. It's not uncommon when dads remarry for them to expect the stepmother to perform the "mom" chores in the new relationship. Initiate conversations before you marry that specifically spell out your new stepmother responsibilities so you're not surprised when it comes time to perform unexpected "mom" duties -- such as making a quick lunch before school, taking time off work to go to the emergency room, or filling in as room mother. Be upfront about your willingness, or unwillingness, to take on these responsibilities. Surprise translates into resentment. Resentment translates into stepmonster.

• Don't try to take the place of the children's mother, even if the mother has passed on, is a drug addict or has abandoned the child -- and certainly not if there is a mother actively participating in the child's life. Better to be the best-trusted adult friend your stepchild could ever want.

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