Step Family Life: 5 Very Real Concerns of a Biological Mother

BY: - 22 Mar '17 | Blended Families

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When my husband proposed to me, I was elated. He was finally going to put a ring on it after six months of dating. This was in 1999, so I realize this may seem odd. However, I knew in my heart that he was my husband and I told him this.

I knew in my heart that he was my husband and I told him this.

I was also a mom of a beautiful six-year-old daughter, Gabrielle(Gab). She was my everything. Her father wasn’t in her life and wasn’t even trying to be.

As my wedding day drew closer, I started to get nervous. I had no idea how to prepare my daughter for her new “dad” and our new family. I had several concerns that I kept me up at night. Those concerns were real. I wish I had these conversations with Don before we got married. Those conversations would have prevented some of the issues we had.

Will he love her unconditionally?

While we were dating, Don would take Gab and I out to dinner. She liked him because he was funny. I loved that he was so attentive to her. I was working full-time and attending college. There were times I needed him to pick her up from aftercare and take her to my parents’ house.  By the time I got there, he helped with her homework so I wouldn’t have to. I let him know that he would be going from ‘Mr. Don’ to ‘daddy’. At first, he was freaked out by it. He even said he didn’t want her to call him that.

After we got married, that changed. She started calling him ‘daddy’ about 3 weeks later. After we brought two more children into our family, Gab started to feel excluded. The two younger ones are eight and ten years younger than her. Don began to make time just for Gab. They went to the movies together. She ran track and he was her coach. She is 25 years old now. He cried when she called last year to say she joined the Coast Guard. He was a proud father. At her boot camp graduation, he was right there, celebrating his daughter’s accomplishment.

Will she love him?

Gab was immediately attached to Don. It made him uncomfortable at first because he had never been that close to a child before. She has been an artist since she was little, so she would bring pictures home from school with the three of us in them. She wrote poems. In them, she shared how much she loved Don.

During her teen years, she rebelled and she started calling him her step-father. That was painful for me. I prayed so much during that time because I felt like I was stuck in the middle and helpless to do anything. I had to step back and allow God to do His thing. Eventually, she matured into the beautiful young woman she is now. She tells everyone that Don is her dad and father.

How will his family feel towards her?

I was so nervous about his family accepting Gab. I dated a guy whose parents didn’t want him to date me because I had a child. Don’s father passed away when Don was 19. His mother wasn’t in his life. His extended family is huge, so she fit right in. The minute Don’s family met her, they embraced her.

My fears were erased a few months after we got married. I had surgery and was on bedrest for six weeks. Don assured me his family would take care of Gab for us. Thank God this happened in the summer. She had so much fun with her new family. After those six weeks were up, she didn’t want to come home.

Would her father cause drama?

Even though Gab’s father wasn’t in her life, I was afraid that he would cause drama. I was also concerned that he would have an issue with another man raising his child. I had one conversation with him and he basically chewed me out. After that, we didn’t hear from him for two years.

I reached out to him to change Gab’s last name to Barnett. He adamantly said ‘no”. I wanted it more and more after that, but my husband asked me to leave it alone. In the seventeen years we have been married, we have had limited contact with her father. She told me that recently, they became friends on social media but have no relationship. I pray that God will place it on his heart to open his life to Gab.

Can I love both of them equally?

To be honest, I could not figure out in my mind how I was going to love the two of them equally. I was so afraid of giving too much to one and not the other. The very thing I feared, I eventually did. Initially, I gave my all to Gab and my new babies. My mindset was that he is a grown behind man and can fend for himself.

Get the answers before you get married…

Don was not happy about it at all. Once he brought his concern to me, it was up to me to ask God to help me make sure I no longer neglected him. What I didn’t realize was that the love you have for your husband is not the same love you have for your children. God places enough love in our hearts for our husbands and for our children.

FREE DOWNLOAD: Blended Family Checklist – 8 Questions Every Stepfamily Couple Should Ask
If you are engaged, I suggest you have hard conversations, NOW. As women, we often don’t ask questions because we are afraid of the answer. I say get the answers before you get married. Not only does it alleviate unwanted and unnecessary drama, but it is the responsible thing to do.

BMWK – what concerns, as a mother, did you have when you were getting married and forming a new step-family with your kids?

About the author

Tanya Barnett wrote 15 articles on this blog.

Tanya Barnett is a relationship strategist, speaker and the “Real” Wife Coach. She is the author of Being a Wife Just Got Real: Things I Wish I Knew, Before I Said, I Do”. She founded the Real Wife Movement™, where she equips single and married women with tools to create strong marriages and families. She is also the founder of Forever Free Books, a mobile literacy nonprofit, which delivers free books and story time to low income children in their neighborhoods and communities. She is a marathoner, triathlete and a serious book lover. She and her husband, Don, have 3 awesome kids.


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Should I Commit to Marrying a Woman With Six Children?

BY: - 10 Apr '18 | Blended Families

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I usually do not share my business on social media because people are too judgmental, plus I grew up with the ole school saying, “What happens in my house stays in my house.” However, I am lost and need some guidance. That old saying is not helping me out so I decided to write you. I am going to get straight to the point. Should I Commit to Marrying A Woman With Six Children?

I am a 48-year-old black male with one 16-year-old son. I recently got divorced and met this 30 year-old young lady that I really like. We get along really well and I believe that she is marriage material with the exception of one challenge. She has six young children by six different men and she does not have a good job. My family thinks that she is looking for a sugar daddy and I think that she is looking for someone who can truly love her. I am torn between what I feel and the potential financial burden that this relationship can cause me. Should I Commit to Marrying A Woman With Six Children?


Ole School

Ask Dr. Buckingham

Dear Ole School,

I appreciate your willingness to disregard old sayings that inhibit personal and interpersonal growth. I am not sure if I can answer your question without a little more detail, but I will attempt too based on the information that you provided. In my professional opinion, the decision to marry the young lady should be based on three factors.

Factor #1: Your ability to love the young lady and her six children unconditionally.

You are stepping into a situation that has many potential downfalls ranging from the age difference to the negative family talk. With this in mind, you must be willing to love the young lady and her children unconditionally. I mention the word unconditional because you cannot allow naysayers to cause you to question your love. You have to love the young lady despite her shortcomings. If not, the naysayers will cause you to question your love and actions.

She might not be perfect and that is okay as long as you can love her without wanting to change her. Also, make sure that you cope with the “sugar daddy” talk in a positive manner and do not attack her because of what others think about her. Take your time and get to know her for yourself. If you are not a good judge of character then please seek professional help. Lastly, whatever you do, just know that the goal of marriage should be to remain together forever and this is only possible if unconditional love is present.

Factor #2: Your ability to deal with the age difference in a realistic and healthy manner.

While age is not a big deal for some people, it can become a burden for others. You need to make sure that you are prepared to deal with the 18-year aging process in a positive manner. There are many couples who have significant age gaps and they do well. However, I have also seen some couples with significant age gaps drift apart over time. Age differences can be either good or bad so make sure that you find the good in your situation and build on it.

Factor #3: Your ability to provide for the young lady and her children financially.

Some people say that money cannot buy you love. I agree, but it is needed to buy everything else. Taking on the financial responsibility of six children, your future wife, your own son and yourself can be challenging if the money is funny. If I were you, I would develop a financial plan that addresses all the foreseeable expenses and make sure that you have enough money to maintain the kind of lifestyle that you desire to live.

The young lady may love you for you, but please keep in mind that some people do not show their true selves until the money is funny. It is not my intent to minimize or make light of the love that might be present, but I want you to know that financial difficulty is among the top three contributing factors that lead to marital discord and divorce.

FREE DOWNLOAD: 5 Ways to Prevent Blended Family Challenges From Breaking Up Your Marriage. Don’t give up on your marriage because of stepfamily issues. You can get help and this is the first step plus it’s free! Click here to download your FREE eGuide.

I will close by saying that the number of children that a woman has does not determine if she is marriage material. Also, the number of children that a woman has does not determine who she is or who she can become. Do not judge the young lady, but do not overlook red flags. Remember that love does not have an identity until it shows its ugly side. Make sure that you know what you are looking for in a woman and do not overlook the obvious red flags.

I wish you well and hope that you arrive at the best decision for you.

Best regards,

Dr. Buckingham

If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please send an email to

Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions, and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.

About the author

Dwayne Buckingham wrote 216 articles on this blog.

Dr. Dwayne L. Buckingham, author of Qualified, yet Single: Why Good Men Remain Single and Unconditional Love: What Every Woman and Man Desires in a Relationship, is a highly acclaimed international clinical psychotherapist, life coach, relationship and resiliency expert, motivational speaker and corporate consultant. He is also the President and Chief Executive Officer of R.E.A.L. Horizons Consulting Service, located in Silver Spring, Maryland. To learn more about Dr. Dwayne L. Buckingham visit his website at


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