Stepfamily Advice, Information & Support

National Stepfamily Day is September 16

Christy BorgNational Stepfamily Day Christy Borgeldeld, a remarried mom and stepmom, initiated National Stepfamily Day in 1997. Her goal was to create a holiday that would bring the need for stepfamily support and awareness to the nation’s forefront while, at the same time,  provide today’s modern family with an opportunity to recognize and celebrate their relationships.

In its first year, National Stepfamily Day was proclaimed by 24 states in America. In 1998 the number rose to 32 and by 2000, 48 states acknowledged the day.

In 2010, Borgeld requested President Barack Obama to revise the language on the 2010 Presidential Mother’s Day and Father’s Day Proclamations to honor all parents (biological, adopted foster and step). He honored her request.

Family isn’t always blood.
It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs;
the ones who accept you for who you are.
The ones who would do anything to see you smile
and who love you no matter what.
-Unknown

Today, National Stepfamily Day is recognized by all 50 states, Canada and the United Kingdom. One of the most common ways to celebrate the day is by hosting a family or neighborhood picnic. Other ideas include sharing a special family dinner, game night or other event that brings stepfamilies together and creates an opportunity to bond and have fun.

Leave a comment and tell us: Do you plan to celebrate National Stepfamily Day?

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A Mixed Blessing for Stepfamilies? There’s S’more to Learn from Honey Maid’s New “This is Wholesome” Ad Campaign

Stepfamily Information and Support

Brenda Ockun
Publisher of StepMom Magazine

In 1973, a postage stamp cost 8 cents, “The Brady Bunch” was in its fourth year of production and I was in kindergarten.

My teacher, Ms. Rahn, was a tall, thin woman with overly teased, brassy blond hair. We kids walked to school—where we read “Dick and Jane” books, ate cookies and drank whole milk before taking 20-minute naps. We sat cross-legged, in circles, on the floor while learning the virtues of sharing and waiting your turn. And nearly everyone’s parents were still married, as far as we knew.

We live in a different world today. And Honey Maid knows it.

Earlier this year, the graham cracker arm of Nabisco (owned by Mondelez Int’l.) launched an ad campaign designed to appeal to a generation that values diversity. Honey Maid’s “This is Wholesome” line of advertisements features same sex couples, interracial couples and now? Drumroll, please: stepfamilies.

Honey Maid Documentary: #NotBroken
It seems that the marketing folks at Honey  Maid did some demographic research and learned what stepfamily advocates have known all along—stepfamilies are becoming the norm.

Here’s proof:

  • 40% of all adults in America belong to a stepfamily1
  • 1 out of every 3 weddings in the U.S. results in a stepfamily2
  • 1300 new stepfamilies are formed every day3

Despite its repeat use of the heavily-contested term “blended,” it’s commendable for Honey Maid to reach out to this enormous, growing segment of the population. *

Kudos to them for being brave enough to shine a light on divorce and remarriage while other retailers, greeting card companies and primetime talk shows ignore the fact that less than half their audience lives in the white-picket, 2.5-child, black-lab-owning, suburban dream world they perpetuate.

There’s only one snafu (and it pains me to say this, because I love s’mores as much as the next stepmom): Their newest commercial doesn’t truly speak to stepfamilies, because it doesn’t paint a realistic picture of the average stepfamily.

Don’t believe me? Ask almost any child of divorce if they agree with Isaac—the little boy in Honey Maid’s latest ad (curiously labeled a documentary), who declares “I have two moms and I’ve got two dads,” and you’ll see what I mean. Better yet, ask any biological mom if their child’s stepmother is a second mom. Then duck and run!

Do divorced couples happily celebrate at joint birthday parties and shared holidays? Some do. Are there kids who can love their stepparents freely, without fear of hurting their biological parents’ feelings? A few. But, the truth is? The vast majority of stepfamilies simply don’t look, or act, anything like Isaac’s family.

In fact, this ad may do more harm than good.

Because, despite its intentions, Isaac and his extended and “blended” family have the potential to make the rest of us feel as if we’re doing something terribly wrong. Or worse, as if we’ve failed to “blend” when we’re unable to successfully cohabitate with one another and/or amicably co-parent with our exes.

Here’s the ad I wish Honey Maid had created:

Kids. Sitting around a campfire. As they talk, the camera pans between their faces and the individual ingredients of the s’mores they’re building. They swap stories about how long their parents have been divorced. They agree that dual birthday and Christmas celebrations are a perk. They confess that their stepparents, in reality, are pretty cool.

They joke about how annoying their stepsiblings’ behaviors are. They confide that, while they sometimes wish their parents were still together, they realize they’re lucky to be surrounded by lots of people who care about them—even if they don’t show it. The camera cuts to a dad and his wife who, overhearing the conversation as they approach with another tray of s’more ingredients, smile at one another.

It’s obvious to them—and to the viewing audience—that these kids are #NotBroken.

IT’S YOUR TURN! Share you thoughts with me in the comments below.

* Blending and blended are terms marketers love, but stepfamily experts dislike for its implication that melding together—looking and/or acting like a first family—is the only way to actually be a family. And there is no single, right way to be a successful stepfamily.

SOURCES: StepMom Magazine 1 Pew Research 2 SmartStepfamilies.com 3 US Census Bureau

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How To Find A Good Stepfamily Therapist

Did you know that the wrong therapist can actually make your situation worse? It’s true! Watch this video for tips on how to find a qualified therapist to help you work through the most common stepfamily challenges.

StepMom Magazine | How To Find A Good Stepfamily Therapist

Tell us what you think about this video. Have you ever worked with a therapist? Do you think it might help your stepfamily situation?

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5 Big Fat Lies About Being A Stepmom

The rules for stepmoms are often unclear and contradictory. Here are 5 things we tell stepmothers (and why you shouldn’t believe any of them!)

StepMom Magazine | 5 Big Fat Lies About Being a Stepmom

Stepmoms: Tell us what you think about these big fat lies! Do you have any to add to the list? Are there any stepmom misconceptions or stereotypes that really irritate you?

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How To Keep The Ex Out Of Your Relationship

Do you spend too much time thinking about your partner’s ex-wife? Watch this video and learn how to focus LESS on her and MORE on your relationship.

StepMom Magazine | How To Keep The Ex Out Of Your Relationship

Stepmoms: Leave a comment below and tell us what you think! Do you talk so much about the ex it almost feels like she lives with you? Are you ready to set boundaries and try the strategy explained in this video?

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How NOT to Become a Stepfamily Statistic

Stepfamily break-up rates are significantly higher than first marriage divorce rates. Learn the three things all stepcouples can do to stack the odds in their favor.

StepMom Magazine | How NOT To Become A Stepfamily Statistic

Stepmoms: Leave a comment below and tell us: What do you and your partner do to strengthen your relationship and overcome the challenges inherent to stepfamily life?

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The 5 Dumbest Things People Say to Stepmoms

Stepfamily life can be complicated. Well-intentioned “advice” often comes from family & friends who just don’t understand why being a stepmom isn’t as easy as it looks!

StepMom Magazine | The 5 Dumbest Things People Say to Stepmoms

Let’s hear from you, stepmoms. What’s the funniest, craziest, or dumbest thing anyone has ever said to you? Leave a comment below and, if you liked this video, don’t keep it a secret, share it!

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The Secrets Stepmoms Keep

For many women, being a stepmother is like having a dirty, little secret. Why don’t people talk about it? Brenda Ockun of StepMom Magazine explains why in this video:

StepMom Magazine | The Secrets We Keep

If you liked this video, don’t keep it a secret, share it!

 

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