When an intact family system reorganizes by death or divorce, every family member makes adjustments to the new structure. Unfortunately for the children, the adults are often so steeped in their own emotional pain that they are oblivious— through no real fault of their own—to the unhealthy accommodations their kids wind up making. While this is certainly not optimal for the adults, it can be devastating to the emotional health of their children.
I have grown to realize that the old adage “It takes one to know one!” wholly applies to us stepmoms. No matter how supportive my family and friends have been throughout the years, it is only sister stepmoms who really get it: feelings of invisibility, red-faced awkwardness at family gatherings and concealed hurt when our stepchildren treat us with hostility or apathy. Continue reading “Stepmom Problems: Inside the October 2016 Issue”
A stepmother’s relationships are complicated. And it can be difficult to maintain your identity—the very personality traits that make you who you are (a superwoman committed to the love of your life and his kids)—as you navigate the rocky terrain of joining a family that formed well before you came on the scene. Continue reading “Stepmoms and Forgiveness: In the Aug. 2016 Issue”
Lots of stepmoms show up in my counseling office because their family doctor prescribed an antidepressant and recommended therapy. Admittedly showing signs of depression (i.e., irritability, sadness, changes in appetite, difficulty sleeping, fatigue), these women readily agree with their doctors that something is not right. What both doctor and stepmom fail to consider, however, is that the symptoms of depression are stunningly similar to signs of bereavement. Continue reading “Stepmom Grief: Inside the July 2016 Issue”
So, here you find yourself: You—a bright and articulate woman—have suddenly realized that whatever it is you’ve been doing to make this stepmom gig work hasn’t worked at all. In response, you examined your loving heart and reassessed your intentions to be sure they were pure.
My job, as a writer and a stepmom coach, allows me to wear a few different hats. Most of the time I get to be an upbeat, cheerleadery type who encourages and assures clients that, “This is really hard, but you can do it!”
As if being a stepmom wasn’t hard enough, many stepcouples face another challenge—an age gap. And, while none of us is immune to the unflattering stereotypes heaped onto stepmoms (i.e., tramp, gold digger, trophy wife and evil homewrecker), those slurs are often hurled more harshly at younger women who partner with older men.