Labor Day brings with it family BBQs, back-to-school lamentations (by the kids) and back-to-school celebratory fist pumping (by parents and stepparents). Transitions and family, however we define it, are likely on our minds. This fall we also experience the energy generated by upcoming political primaries. If history repeats itself, Continue reading “Stepmothers Worldwide: Inside the September 2018 Issue”
Books for stepmothers tend to perpetuate certain myths. The myth of the blended family and the myth of the maternal stepmother are the most glaring examples. These books’ relentlessly upbeat tone can make stepmothers feel as though our own occasional negativity and impatience regarding his kids are freakish. Other books on stepmothering are so lighthearted, so insistent that we see the humor in our situation and in our responses to it, that reading them feels suspiciously like being told that our concerns don’t matter and that we just need to lighten up. Continue reading “Lies We Tell Stepmoms: Inside the July 2017 Issue”
No matter what I did, they didn’t like me. His kids didn’t like me. And his ex hated me. I turned myself inside out trying to please the kids. They still hated every cookie I baked, every meal I cooked. Some days it felt like they hated me for breathing. Meanwhile, I bent over backwards to show his ex I was a good and kind person she could trust with her children. Continue reading “Stepmom Help: Inside the August 2016 Issue”
If you have stepchildren of any age in your life, you—I would wager—have arguing and even fighting (by which I mean arguments that go ballistic—with criticism, contempt and stonewalling ruling the interaction) in your life. Perhaps, at certain points, particularly the first five to seven years of your remarriage or repartnership with children, lots of arguments and fights: Continue reading “Stepmom Conflict by Proxy: Inside the July 2016 Issue”
The woman’s tone was urgent, almost anxious. She had called into a radio show I was doing to promote my book, “Stepmonster,” and I wished I had longer to talk to her about having what the experts call “a mutual child.” For the women I interviewed while writing my book, the issue of whether to have one (or more) kids together or not was often a deal-breaker.
“I decided I wasn’t going to marry Jack and take on his two girls—cute and lovable as they are— without us having a child together, too,” a woman I’ll call Laura told me, explaining, “What can I say, it just felt like having a baby of our own would sort of even things out.” Continue reading “Expecting Stepmoms – Inside the April 2016 Issue”
It has been said over and over: Children, even grown ones, feel threatened, displaced, hurt and scared when dad remarries. Less often do we hear how the stepmother experiences this reality: Hurt and threatened stepchildren are also frequently angry and jealous—and they want us gone.
Let’s talk about stepcouple sex. Sex is different for stepmothers.
Let me explain. Sex is sex, of course, and in marriage it is frequently, well, vexed. Too much. Not enough. Too tired. Too stressed. Too worried. Too busy. But interviewing women with stepchildren and reviewing the psychological and sociological literature for my book “Stepmonster,” I found that women married to or partnered with men with kids face several very specific hurdles to a satisfying sex life. Continue reading “Stepcouple Sex – Inside the February 2016 Issue”
In the course of researching my book, “Stepmonster: A New Look at Why Real Stepmothers Think, Feel, and Act the Way We Do,” I was reminded time and again that there are a handful of emotions that are just too taboo for those of us married to men with kids to admit having.
Often an interview with one of my subjects would have to go on for 30 or 45 minutes before the woman speaking with me felt she could express feelings she feared I might judge her for having. More than once, I had to pave the way to disclosure by going first: “There were days I was so angry at my husband and his daughter for shutting me out that I wanted to leave.” Continue reading “Stepmom Resentment – Inside the January 2016 Issue”