I have this hesitation with Jason being called a stepdad. Our therapist tells me (very kindly) to get over it – there is no shame in the term step parent. While I agree that it’s a functional, widely accepted term, it irks me because it infers that there is a biological parent and non-biological parent sharing the burden and glory of child rearing. If someone adopts a child, that person is the adoptive parent. If a relative or friend takes accountability for a child, often religiously, they are a godparent. We use these titles as quick identifiers. When Jason needs to summarize our family structure, he defaults to the term stepparent then he’ll say he married a widow with children.
We constantly accept new words and phrases in English. If ginormous and emoji can become part of everyday vocabulary, then so should a new term for the men and women who take the baton from parents no longer on this earth and raise their children. They have the double challenge of balancing new parenthood with a relationship to a grieving partner.
I propose Postparent. Postdad. Postmom. Not Step but Post.
Post is defined as after or behind.
Other definitions of post, in both noun and verb form, have incredible parallels for what the term postparent could convey.
A post is a principal support in building, a point of attachment, a pillar.
A post is an announcement.
A post is a notice of something missing or lost.
A post is a position of duty and trust.
A post is a mission.
To post is to supply with information.
To post is to transfer or enter in due place and form.
To post is to accept a new appointment.
To post is to rise and descend with rhythm.
Will this term make it into Webster’s dictionary? I’m not counting on it.
But it’s something to think about.