Talking Tips for Stepmoms
Navigating Your Way Through Awkward Conversations
BY KELLY PALMQUIST, MSW
When I became a stepmom, no one warned me about the frequency with which I’d be having awkward conversations—not only with my family and friends but with total strangers! For example, when you fill out paperwork at the doctor’s office it’s common to be asked: How many children do you have?
Are they asking how many pregnancies I’ve had or are they asking me how many young lives I’m responsible for? Likewise, when you first meet someone they often ask the dreaded question: How many children do you have? From paperwork to daily conversation, stepmoms face a unique burden of having to navigate through weird conversations, awkward moments and uncomfortable situations.
Who among us has ever had an awkward moment and thought, “Gosh, I wish I would have handled that better.” I know I have. Never fear! There are tools you can utilize. I’ve come up with a strategy for triaging my way through these moments, critically assessing those situations and then determining a strategy based on differing levels of priority.
In this context, I’ve prioritized level of importance based on relationship type and assigned a related strategy based on four levels of intimacy labeled 1 to 4 (least-to-most intimate).