Stepmoms, Please Don't Sweat The Parent Teacher Conference

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.
photo via canva

So the kids are officially back to school!

As much as I love the lack of routine throughout the summer holidays, I am a creature of habit and there is something about September and back to school that just makes me giddy. Like many parents I love structure, routine and the predictability that comes with the Fall.

However, that doesn't mean that the back-to-school season doesn't come with some extra stressors, especially when you're co-parenting with your husband's ex-wife. A huge stressor for many stepmoms during those first few weeks of the school year is the "Parent Teacher Conference" The burning question is, should a stepmom go to this meeting? If you're a stepmom who is actively involved in your stepchildren's education, who helps them with their homework, and typically takes care of all things school related, then yes it totally makes sense for you to go. BUT that doesn't mean that you should. *gasp* Yes! I said it. I'm not a huge proponent for a Stepmom attending parent teacher conferences IF it is going to cause conflict in their co-parenting dynamic. Especially in high conflict co-parenting situations, there are many moms who adamantly don't want the stepmom at the conference. They don't think it's their place and simply don't want them there. Right or wrong, it's how they feel. In fact, there are many scenarios where a Stepmoms attendance at a parent teacher conference becomes a HUGE issue. Look in a perfect world, you'd all attend together. You'd sit in front of the teacher and present as a united front, telling her how you all work together to co-parent effectively, are always on the same page and sing oh holy co-parenting kum ba ya That's in a perfect world. Unfortunately those situations are the minority. If you're a Stepmom who is in this situation (the conflict over parent teacher conference one, not the kum ba ya one), I'm going to give you my two cents. And before you get upset, just hear me out! When you look at the big picture, the Parent Teacher Conference doesn't freaking matter. Your attendance doesn't determine the level of involvement in their education. It doesn't determine what type of stepmom you are. It doesn't signify how much you love them. It doesn't determine whether or not you're viewed as a parental figure at by the school. It just doesn't. And most importantly, it's not worth the fight. Seriously it's not. There are a lot of issues that are worth fighting for when it comes to co-parenting, but this meeting just isn't one of them. In fact, I question whether stepmoms who are adamant about attending this meeting with the ex, are more concerned about marking their territory and making a point, than they are the kids education. There are so many solutions here to help avoid conflict when the Parent Teacher Conference becomes an issue. You can introduce yourself to the teacher at a later date. You can schedule a separate meeting with you and your husband. Have your husband speak about your involvement while he is at the meeting himself and have him relay all the information when he goes home. Plain and simple, If it's going to be a big deal, just don't go! I once heard a stepmom say that she doesn't think it's fair for the teacher to have to schedule two meetings because everyone can't get along. I get it. If every family required two meetings, it would really add up. BUT do you know what's also not fair? For a teacher to have to sit in the middle of an awkward pissing match between the stepmom and mom. Look, I know I may be coming across a little harsh here but, really? Let's not sweat the small stuff here people! Personally, in our home, I am the one who is on top of the homework and takes care of everything school related. I sign the forms, I make sure lunches are made, I make sure homework is done, I do the nightly reading, and chat about future course selection and career goals. I have never attended a Parent Teacher Conference. Not because I am uninvolved with the kid's education, because I just don't see my attendance as necessary.

Ladies, it's about picking your battles, and truthfully, in my opinion, this isn't one of them. At the end of the day, even though it makes sense for all parental figures to attend, sometimes keeping the peace is better than being right.

Jamie Scrimgeour is a straight shooting second wife, stepmom of three and mom of one all about keeping it real. As a Life Coach with a Specialization in Stepfamily Dynamics Jamie blogs candidly about her blended family life and provides online support to stepmoms, through her one-of-a-kind E-Course The KICK-ASS Stepmom Project. With kids ranging from 3 to 14, Jamie is deep in the trenches of {step}parenting and blended family life. While she admits that most days she flies by the seat of her pants, she maintains that coffee, wine, gratitude and a positive attitude are the key to thriving in blended family life. Follow Jamie on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.

Popular in the Community