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Should Stepdads be Remembered on Father’s Day?

Dear Stepdadding,

I want to know if it’s good etiquette for my wife to acknowledge me on father’s day. I am a stepfather since October last year and feel hurt that on this father’s day she didn’t get me a card or even say thanks for all I do for her and her son. She has a chronic health condition and I stepped in and bought a house. I take care of most of the bills and try to have a relationship with her son. Is it wrong that I thought I would get acknowledged on Father’s Day? -Pete


This is something many Stepdads wonder about. You don’t have to be called dad to fill the role of a parent. I don’t know your specific situation but I can’t imagine a good reason a Stepdad should be ignored in this way on Father’s Day.

I posted a quick poll on the Stepdadding Facebook page. The unanimous response was that your wife should have acknowledged you in6.15.14some way. Here are a few of the comments:

“In many ways, it is much harder being a stepfather. It is always nice to be appreciated for the effort. If the kids don’t acknowledge you, the wife most certainly should.”  -Ric C.

 “As a step-dad, I would think that you should be acknowledged. I personally don’t mind either way. My gift is my fiancé’s son. My fiancé gave me a card and told me how much it means to her to have me in her and her son’s life. I would have a talk with her about it if I were you. I think it is disrespectful for her to not acknowledge you, at the very least (she should) say thanks. I want to say thank you for being a step-father. I know it is not easy, but it is worth everything. You are impacting a child’s life… and I thank you for being a good brother. So thanks and good luck” –Ross N.

“I believe you deserve recognition, for sure.” –Emily A.

Saying “happy Father’s Day” is a simple courtesy. Today I had six people (other than my step-kids) say this to me: my mother-in-law, my brother, my wife, my sister-in-law, my cousin and my best friend’s kids. Even the checker at the grocery store said it to me. It would be a natural reaction if your feelings are hurt and you feel neglected. I agree with one of our reader who said it’s worth talking to your wife about. I also agree with several others who extended their thanks and appreciation for the job you’ve taken on as a Stepdad.

Stepdad is a title of honor and a position that requiresSONY DSC personal sacrifice. That’s why it’s always capitalized on this site. Some men become parents by the simple fact of birth. They instantly have a duty and responsibility many choose to neglect. Stepdads accept the weight of parenthood even though they aren’t required to. I thank you for being a Stepdad.

Happy Father’s Day to all the Stepdads out there: especially those who were forgotten today.

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