Carol Sarler has this exactly correct. There is nothing inherently wicked about modern stepmothers unless you consider someone taking advantage of an 'unearned privilege' to be wicked. The title is redundant as the author points out, as in most cases there is a living mother alive and well and perfectly capable of being a mother to her own kids.
It the 50% divorce rate and high child support which is encouraging everybody and his grandmother to fight for custody now (so poor sonny doesn't have to pay too much child support to his ex-wife) that has given this modern day step-dragon her new set of teeth.
Actually many of these so-called stepmothers function as nothing but enablers for men trying to get custody, so they don't have to pay child support. They offer their services to function as 'pseudo-mothers' in ways both large and small, in an insidious attempt to negate the children's actual mothers' invaluable and unique contribution to her own children. Frequently they manage to impact custody hearings and the like, similar to what Ellen Barkin did for Ron Perlman when he was fighting Pamela Duff for custody of her five year old.
The whole thing was quite disgraceful and Ellen Barkin should have known better particularly since she has children of her own. It's one of the reasons I hope she doesn't get a PENNY from Ron Perlman in her divorce settlement NOT ONE RED CENT. She doesn't deserve it. I will be rooting for whatever attorneys Perlman hired to ensure Barkin doesn't get a dime.
Well we'll have to wait and see if karmatic justice plays a well-deserved role in that situation.
Anyway, I notice the article didn't mention stepfathers and neither did I for obvious reasons. As this problem is not often seen in men. MOST stepfathers appear to know their place and NOT overstep their bounds. Actually the usual compliment I hear adults paying to their own stepfathers is generally along the lines of: "he never interfered or bothered me in anyway, he never hit me"...In essense he left them alone.
Stepmothers, on the other hand, are usually painted as never being able to keep their mouths shut or their nose out of the kids (whose fathers' they married) business. Generally to the detriment of the children as well as their mothers. These so-called stepmothers even comprise a large percentage of the father's rights movement and are responsible for many of the postings on their websites (as well as many of the court cases instigated by their attempts to limit the new husband's cash flow to another women's household by switching custody).
But back to the unearned privilege aspect of this, why should these women have the right to personal information on someone else's kid just because they married a father? For instance, I wouldn't want someone who wasn't my actual mother having access to my medical records. What right does a total stranger have to know my personal medical history?
It should be none of their business.
Additionally, why should a total stranger be allowed to sit in on my school conferences with my teachers and know I'm failing two subjects or am on the honor roll every semester?
If I wish to tell her that I'll do so myself.
You married someone with children and suddenly that makes you their mother?
Let's face it this whole stepmothering business today has morphed well beyond even what it was in the days of Grimm's fairy tales where at least the kid's mother was dead before a stepmother started moving in to ensure her own kidlets their piece of the economic action.
As that's the bottom line here.
Men, for the most part, still make more income then women. They are still the major providers of economic resources to the family and as long as they have another women's children living outside of the household with their mothers that kid is draining resources from the 'new' family that the stepmother is trying to create.
This is the source of stepmothers' suddenly coming into fashion again.
It's another attempt by men to abuse the maternal instincts of women, who are trying to get as many resources as they can to use for their own kids. It's using the strengths of women and turning it into a weakness, the good into evil. As women harm ourselves collectively when we allow our obsession with our own offspring's well-being to cause us to hurt other women and their children.
As what Ellen Barkin did to Pamela Duff and her daughter.
She allowed herself to be used to hurt another woman and her child.
Women who do this hurt all of the rest of us as well as themselves when they allow women's natural maternal inclination to be used as a weapon against other mothers and their children. We should not allow ourselves to be used as unpaid maids, babysitters, or pseudo mothers to children of men just seeking those services in order to get custody of a child from it's mother for their own financial benefit.
Women need to just start saying no.
No only redundant
By Carol Sarler
IF WE MUST be treated to more detail of the parting of the McCartneys — and I very much fear that we must — I should like to plead for no further mention of Sir Paul’s adult offspring wherein Heather is described as their stepmother. She is not “their” anything, save perhaps their inheritance-depleting nemesis, and the use of the possessive pronoun simply proves how anachronistic the title of step-parent has become.
Once, it had purpose. When a young mother died and her widower remarried, the stepmother really did inherit the mothering of his children; she became a substitute for the mother and, for good or for bad, she would retain that role at least until Prince Charming happened by with a good fit in glass slippers
Today, very rarely does any of that apply. Certainly not following a remarriage in late middle age when the children are too grown to need mothering, or when, courtesy of an epidemic of divorce, a remarriage means that the children of the groom have a perfectly good mother at home, thank you very much, and don’t need another one.
Indeed, the use of a title implies an entitlement that might itself prove inflammatory. When Jennifer’s father recently remarried, he turned up at a school parents’ evening with his new wife, sat beside Jennifer’s mother and then introduced Mk II to the teacher as “Jennifer’s stepmother”.
“I don’t mind her showing an interest,” says Jennifer’s mother, still spitting tacks, “but she’s getting no actual say in anything; Jennifer already has two parents to do that. So what’s the point in giving her a fancy label that suggests otherwise?”
Quite so. Furthermore, far from the permanence of the step-parent of the divorce-free past, the current newcomer can promise no such thing. Her presence is entirely contingent upon the survival of a marriage whose collapse would almost certainly herald her complete disappearance.
Nobody understands this better than the children. Any fondness is adjunctive to another relationship of which they own no part. It is wholly improper, therefore, to ask them to pretend possession by saying “my” stepmother. It would be fairer to everyone, at least at first, to scrap the term altogether in favour of “my father’s wife”. Until, if all involved are very fortunate, that mutates, in time, to “my friend".