When Even a Toddler Can Tell You Don’t Belong


Brian Rea

I used to drive the morning car pool with my son, Angus, and another boy, Niklas, and one day Angus gave Niklas a crash course on the blended family. He told Niklas that my husband had been married before, that he had two children who were Angus’s brother and sister, that I wasn’t the mother of those children but I was the mother of Angus and his little brother, and that there was another wife somewhere (Angus was a little shaky on that detail).

Niklas was quiet for a moment and then asked, “So where’s Angus’s real mom?”

“I’m Angus’s real mom,” I said.

“Not that other lady?”


Another pause. “You don’t seem like a real mom.”

“Why not?”

“You’re not … serious enough.”

Yes, well, that has been an issue, me being taken seriously. Although up to that point I thought I could at least fool a 10-year-old. “I am serious,” I said.

Source: The New York Times