Disciplining Your Stepkids: Inside the November 2017 Issue

Disciplining Your StepkidsDisciplining Your Stepkids: 5 Tips to Help Stepmoms Handle Day-to-Day Situations By Stacie Nielsen Bortel, MA

A young voice shouts, “You’re not my mom. You can’t tell me what to do!” A door slams. Feet stomp across the floor. This is an all-too-common situation stepmoms everywhere can find themselves in. There’s no way around it. Disciplining stepkids is a complicated prospect—one that can make you feel as if you’re trying to cross an emotional minefield—but it doesn’t have to be!

Experts like Deborah Duley, MSW, offer a wealth of advice. Continue reading “Disciplining Your Stepkids: Inside the November 2017 Issue”

Stepfamily Holiday Traditions: Inside the November 2017 Issue

Stepfamily Holiday TraditionsHoliday Traditions: The Stepfamily Investment That Yielded Unexpected Returns By Jonelle Jones

When I first became a stepmom, the word “tradition gave me the same fuzzy feelings it always had. It wasn’t until we’d traversed our first few important events and holidays before the word began to make me feel uncomfortable. I realized—unwittingly—that traditions, in a stepfamily, weren’t as simple or as magical as they had been my whole life prior.

A bit of back story is in order. I’ve been in the stepmom role for more than six years. Continue reading “Stepfamily Holiday Traditions: Inside the November 2017 Issue”

The Self-Doubting Stepmom: Inside the November 2017 Issue

The Self-Doubting Stepmom: Feel More Confident and Less Confused By Mary T. Kelly, MA

You doubt, chide, question, worry and ruminate over what kind of person you are. It doesn’t help that those closest to you naively aid and abet your critical self-examination. Take, for example, the two voices inside your head. One is reasonably sane: “You’re not a terrible person. You’ve never been a terrible person. You’re a good, conscientious person who cares about others.”

The other one (that little devil who pokes you in the shoulder, when you least expect it) shouts: “You’re selfish! You’re not trying hard enough! You’re imagining all of this drama! Continue reading “The Self-Doubting Stepmom: Inside the November 2017 Issue”

The Holidays – A Stepmom’s Guide: Inside the November 2017 Issue

Stepmom Holiday GuideHolidays Reframed: A Stepmom’s Guide to Celebrating the Season By Brenda Snyder, LCSW 

Getting through the holidays can be a challenge for everyone—stepmoms and stepfamilies included. Even the most seasoned stepmom may do little more than endure the last two months of the year. In some cases, experience makes us dread the holidays, as it takes so few brushes with these pages on the calendar to understand the reality of thwarted plans, hopes and dreams.

Why are holidays so tough? Many stepmoms eventually adopt the grit-your- teeth-and-endure style of survival, when it comes to getting through the holiday season. Continue reading “The Holidays – A Stepmom’s Guide: Inside the November 2017 Issue”

His High Conflict Ex: Inside the Oct. 2017 Issue

His High Conflict ExHis High Conflict Ex: The Do’s & Don’ts of Dealing With Her By Brenda Snyder, LCSW

Having been a stepmother for almost as long as I have been a licensed clinical social worker, I feel quite qualified to unequivocally state that the mental health workers’ bible—the American Psychiatric Association’s “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” (or DSM)—is incomplete. Continue reading “His High Conflict Ex: Inside the Oct. 2017 Issue”

Take Your Ex and Shove It! Inside the Oct. 2017 Issue

Take Your Ex and Shove ItTake Your Ex and Shove It!: A Cautionary Tale From ‘The One’ Who Got Away By Christine G. Adamo

No. I’m not obsessing over or otherwise pining away for my ex, Mike. While he and I were never married or engaged, I was hip to being a stepmom and wrapped up in loving him—certain he was The One. Similarly to how you may have expressed it to your man, I told him he was the guy I’d waded thru years of relationship rigmarole to get to. Hmpf! Continue reading “Take Your Ex and Shove It! Inside the Oct. 2017 Issue”

5 Tips for Shared Holidays: Inside the Oct. 2017 Issue

Nightmare on Stepmom StreetNightmare on Stepmom Street: 5 Tricks for Making Shared Holidays a Treat! By Laura S. Milam, MEd

When I decided to marry a man with a daughter and an ex-wife, I knew that the holidays would be a challenge. Besides the normal pull to divide time between the in-laws, we would have the complication of custody—splitting whole weeks or groups of days between two parents.

I expected Thanksgiving and Christmas to be crazy. But nothing prepared me for the terror of Halloween. Continue reading “5 Tips for Shared Holidays: Inside the Oct. 2017 Issue”

Stupid Things People Say to Stepmoms: Inside the Oct. 2017 Issue

Stupid Things People Say to StepmomsStupid Things People Say to Stepmoms: Dealing With Askholes (and Other Rude Humans) By Mary T. Kelly, MA

Stepmoms aren’t the only ones who get asked questions which are nobody else’s business. Or who get advice that’d make your head spin. Ask any woman who’s been pregnant how many horror stories she’s heard about labor and delivery—from perfect strangers— which scared the crap out of her. The numbers are astronomical. Continue reading “Stupid Things People Say to Stepmoms: Inside the Oct. 2017 Issue”

Disengaging Stepmoms: 5 Signs It’s Time to Step Back

Stepmother Disengage

By Brenda Snyder, LCSW Originally published in the July 2013 issue of StepMom Magazine.

Many stepmothers begin the commitment phase of their relationships with an engagement ring. Women who love men with children hear the statistical improbability of successful remarriage and dismiss it, knowing in their hearts that theirs is the love that will beat the odds. They excitedly embrace their new family and put every effort into making their inner reality match what is actually happening in the home they are joining. Continue reading “Disengaging Stepmoms: 5 Signs It’s Time to Step Back”

Stepmoms and Stepchild Relations: Inside the September 2017 Issue

Stepchild RelationsPsychology, Stepmoms and Stepchild Relations: Science Says? It’s Not Your Fault! By Brenda Snyder, LCSW

Many stepmothers share a common frustration—a thwarted desire to be close to their stepchildren. In her current experience, a stepmom might feel angry or be resentful of a horribly behaved stepchild who is perhaps disrespectful and undisciplined.

In discovering the narrative of her stepfamily, however, it becomes fairly evident that back in the beginning stages the stepmom envisioned their relationship much differently. Continue reading “Stepmoms and Stepchild Relations: Inside the September 2017 Issue”