Most people hate conflict. For some, like my husband Bernard, avoiding conflict is their way of “resolving” it. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always work. In last month’s edition of StepMom, I shared with you the importance of practicing Maintenance first—making it easier to bounce back from conflict after an argument. I offered tips for getting in a Maintenance Mindset and shared a plan for logging the six hours needed weekly to maintain (Editor’s Note: see Oct. 2018 Back Issue). Continue reading “A Stepmom’s Guide to Marriage: Inside the November 2018 Issue”
As both a mom and a stepmom, I understand how conflict around the stepkids or the ex can erode a long-term, loving relationship. There are times when you’re wondering if all these struggles and challenges are worth it. For Bernard and me, it certainly was. It continues to be so. That’s one reason we keep investing in new ways to strengthen our relationship with each other. Continue reading “A Stepmom’s Guide to Marriage: Inside the October 2018 Issue”
What’s worse than feeling invisible, ignored or unappreciated?
Being treated like a doormat. You do your best, as a stepmom. You give up time and money to be available for your stepkids. You listen patiently to your husband’s complaints about his ex. You grit your teeth, while said ex makes unreasonable demands on both you and your family. Continue reading “Setting Boundaries: Inside the January 2018 Issue”
Have your plans ever been foiled by an ex wanting to take a spur-of-the-moment holiday trip sans kids? A wacky plan to which your partner said, “Yeah, we’ll take ’em!”— thus extinguishing your sugar plum visions of dinner and dancing with the sweetie on New Year’s Eve? (We have.)
Many stepmoms get frustrated when their stepkids lie about one thing or another. The lies can be major, in an attempt to gloss over breaking curfew, doing drugs, drinking alcohol or stealing. They also can be a series of small lies related to homework, chores or anything else imaginable.
One of the reasons stepmoms seek my help is to deal with such situations. They’re simply not sure of how to handle lying—whether it’s their stepkids fibbing, their partners routinely omitting key information or the exes in their lives embellishing on reality until it’s unrecognizable. Continue reading “Stepfamily Secrets: Inside the October 2016 Issue”
Stepfamilies are not created equally. We know this from reading one another’s forum posts, seeking out blogs and listening to one another’s stories. The challenges we face are as complex as our families themselves.
One type of stepfamily dynamic we don’t seem to talk or hear enough about is being married to a former widower. According to The Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory, which is a ranking of events and their impact on our ability to readjust socially, the death of a spouse holds the No. 1 spot as a stressor in people’s lives. Continue reading “Stepmoms and Widowers: In the September 2016 Issue”
Think of the word “stepmom” and it’s hard not to envision Cinderella’s evil stepmother—a woman willing to do just about anything to get rid of her step- daughter. So many examples of wicked stepmoms surround us in a social context that it’s difficult for most people (our stepkids, the ex, coworkers) to avoid falling back on them as they typecast us. Continue reading “Stepmom Stereotypes: Inside the August 2016 Issue”
During the cycle of life, we encounter many major milestones that transform our families. They force us to interact with people we may not be excited to stand alongside, including mom. Stepmoms sometimes dread the most significant milestone moments, in which the occasion is inevitably shared with their stepkids’ biological moms: graduations, weddings and babies. Continue reading “Stepfamily Events: Inside the July 2016 Issue”
Being in a stepfamily is no walk in the park for any of us. There are times when things are great and everyone is getting along— even having fun together. Then there are other times when being in a stepfamily is a nightmare. As stepmoms, we know this only too well, but it’s also true from the children’s perspectives.
While living through the separation and eventual divorce of their parents, our stepkids experienced a lot of insecurity. Where would they live? Who would they live with? And for how long? At the time, they were (and probably remain) understandably scared, unsure, angry and distraught at losing control over nearly every aspect of their lives. Continue reading “Understanding Your Stepkids – Inside the January 2016 Issue”