The Postdad

April 5, 2016

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.

It’s practical.

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.


  1. Jana on April 5, 2016 at 10:24 am

    I’ll use it!

  2. Marcella on April 5, 2016 at 10:42 am

    I think you have a great point. Submit it as a new word.

  3. Papa Andy on April 5, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    I must be the post grandad!

    • Kristy on April 5, 2016 at 5:03 pm

      Heck yes!

  4. Danielle on April 5, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    Love it! Can you submit to Wikipedia? This is such a perfect descriptive for what a post parent does- you are such a thoughtful linguist!

    • Kristy on April 5, 2016 at 5:45 pm

      Thanks for the encouragement!

  5. Judy Colwell on April 5, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    I especially like the definition that denotes the place where a soldier stands guard….that fits…I approve of this message…in that the definition seems to fit better than “step”. Where did that come from?…I had a “step”father….but he was not my father…as my dad was still living…Must “google” it…

  6. Bonnie Duenas on April 5, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    You should submit it. to Webster.
    I had a step dad – but I did not consider him my step dad – As I had a Dad you passed away at age 40
    Mom had all three of us going into High School. She meet someone after I got married. He was nice but not my dad. So maybe some people might like the new wording you are suggesting .
    It sounds good to me.

  7. Sarah on April 6, 2016 at 3:47 am

    Even tough the term “post” parent might not make it into the dictionary or urban dictionary, you could influence others to use it in regards to your situation.

  8. Neighbor on April 9, 2016 at 6:00 pm

    Bravo Neighbor!! It’s perfect! I have tried my best to stay away from calling my husband stepdad. It just does not fit our circumstance. Neither does “blended family” but that’s a whole other can of worms. Love Postdad. Every example you mentioned work with our husbands, who have stepped into marrying a widow with children. I appreciate how you can articulate your thoughts ao well. Bravo!




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