“She’s not my Mom!”: The Case of Mistaken Parental Identity

Posted on Aug 20 2013 - 12:12pm by ADS

So there we were, checking out at a Sheetz (which is a gas station/food/convenience store for those of you not on the East Coast) when it happened. Our first encounter with a stranger who had no idea that my bonus daughter and I were not related…

“Well aren’t you being such a good girl for your Mommy!”





“She’s not my Mom!” 

My bonus daughter, who was seven at the time, was flabbergasted. How could this women even suggest such a thing? Her young mind just could not process this situation at the time, and who could blame her?

This was our first encounter of someone assuming that we must be mother and daughter. Looking from an outside prospective, I wasn’t at all surprised by her assumption and the assumption of most people. My bonus daughter looks very much as though she could be mine (though I would have had to have her at age 15).

The point stands that people we encounter on a day to day basis have no way of knowing that we are not biologically related to one another. Most people just conclude that if you are an adult out in public, holding the hand of a young child, then you must be that childs parent. Society does not typically have its eyes open for blended families, even though we are becoming the “norm.”

Years have passed since this particular incident and my bonus daughter and I have had a lot of time to get used to being out in public together. There have been more instances of mistaken parental roles but my bonus daughter no longer gets offended. She just smiles, as do I. There is no sense in explaining that I am “just” a bonus mom to her. I take the mistaken identity as a compliment these days, as it must mean that I am portraying love and care for my bonus daughter and vice-versa.


Please share your stories of Mistaken Parental Identity!  I’d love to hear how your family handled these situations.

6 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Marybeth August 22, 2013 at 9:28 pm - Reply

    Love how you presented this! Never happened to me but I get asked EVERYWHERE I go if she is mine since she looks nothing like me. 🙂 I have decided to smile and say “Yes she is!”

    • ADS August 22, 2013 at 10:44 pm - Reply

      Sometimes that is the best option! No need to explain whether they are or aren’t your children, so long as they are safe and loved in your presence. 🙂

  2. Jennifer August 26, 2013 at 11:24 pm - Reply

    Same here! My SD8 smiles and gives me a hug when this happens in public and says ” I love you Jen!” Then the person who assumed I was her mom had this bewildered look on their face!

    • ADS August 27, 2013 at 7:36 am - Reply

      That’s so sweet! It really isn’t the easiest thing to explain to other people, especially if they aren’t typically exposed to blended families. Sounds like both of our bonus daughters have adapted to these situations!

  3. Carolyn Mandache September 2, 2013 at 9:19 am - Reply

    I have two sons, and am now raising my two nieces. I didn’t like people assuming the girls were mine at first, I felt awkward and like people were judging me for having 4 children. I try to ignore any negativity towards my family now, and no longer correct people. I am very proud we are giving two girls the chance of a happy, healthy childhood, I don’t care what people think.

    • ADS September 2, 2013 at 9:50 am - Reply

      Thank you for your comment Carolyn.

      It is wonderful that you have chosen to raise your neices in order for them to have a great childhood. That is what is truly important, no matter if others judge your situation. You are doing the right thing and that is all that matters!

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