Entries tagged with “stepmoms”.


I had pretty much convinced myself that I had this “stepmom life” down and that nothing could rattle my cage. Silly girl. I should know better than to get to comfortable in “who I am” or “what I know.” Yes, life threw me a big curveball.   

Last Wednesday was a typical summer day. Swim practice in the morning, chaotic lunchtime at home and then, since I only had three of our six kids in my care, I decided to run a few errands. We stopped at a new cupcake shop and then hit the Family Christian Bookstore and Kohls looking for some gifts for a friend of mine going through a tough time.

The shopping trip was successful and we made it back in time to watching Giada at Home on the Food Network. After the show was over I went to stand up from the couch where I was cuddled with my youngest and that’s when it happened. As I went to stand, a sharp pain like no other shot through my right shoulder and breast and I couldn’t breath. I tried to yell out for help but no voice could be heard. My lil one raised up off the couch “mommy, you ok? mommy, you ok?” she shouted. As she leaned into me I caught a breath. “Please get mommy some water,” I whispered.

My head was swirling. I thought back to all the information I’d heard from the American Heart Association. I thought I was having a heart attack and I was angry. I’ve got dinner to make and kids to get places tonight. While I’m young and live a pretty healthy lifestyle there was something inside of me that said “this is no joke. Something is very, very wrong and you need help.” As I reached for the aspirin, remembering the American Heart Association again, my oldest daughter said “mom, don’t be stupid. Call Miss Jen.” I called my friend who was a nurse and she told me to go right to the ER.

My husband called me while I was on the line with Jen and I shared with him what was going on. He came right home and within minutes was rushing me out to the hospital. The man I used to tease for driving like Mario had now become my hero weaving through rush hour traffic to get me in.

Moments later I’m in a wheelchair and getting hooked up to an EKG. Normal. Took some blood and the news came after that. The Dr. informed me that I tested positive for a blood clot but he told me there was no need to panic. At my age and health, he assumed it would be another false positive. They set me up for a special cat scan. As my body jetted in and out of the circle, I closed my eyes and recited over and over my life verse: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13. I was scared but I felt peace.

Then the news came. As the Dr. pulled back the curtain on my ER room, his face said it all. “The cat scan showed you do have a small blood clot in your right lung. It’s called a pulmonary embolism. You were smart to come in when you did. We will start you on blood thinners,” he told me. He then followed it up with compassionate words of not worrying but by then it was a blur. I just remember my husband holding my hand and me praying for strength and healing.

All I could think of was a few hours ago I was laughing with my kids and now I have this thing inside of me that could have killed me. I just wanted to go back home and keep being a wife and mom. I just wanted to be with my kids. All my kids…. my biological kids and my stepkids. I wanted my family. Didn’t the PE know that I was the caregiver and I was supposed to be taking care of others not being taken care of.

Sparing the details, I now sit at home a week later still adjusting to this new life. Adjusting to the here and now.

I feel God’s peace through this readjustment period but I’m also scared. Each time I have to do something new with this PE inside of me, I cry.

As with any struggle, there is good. Facing this has truly made me think about what’s important: Faith, Family, Friends. And not just think about it but live it. My gratitude for life has grown and I’m committed to remaining positive on this journey. Life really is about re-adjusting to the here and now. As a stepmom, I know this “readjustment” well. Now applying it to my health is a new venture on the journey of life. Believing that God has a plan for me and staying strong as I live it.

I share my story because I want other women to be proactive about their health. We all have so much to live for and it’s so important to pay attention to our bodies.

I have no control over this tiny thing in me that has taken my breath away. That is the hardest part. So I will control the parts I can. Take my medicine. Live healthy. Pray and be good to me and my family.

This is another curve on the winding road called life. I’ll readjust, cling to God’s word, love my friends and family with abandon and keep moving forward.

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Please pray for me and my family. Pray my body dissolves the pulmonary embolism and that my body doesn’t make any more. And please make sure to leave any prayer requests you have. I’m grateful for all the prayers and love and I want to pray for you too.

And please my stepmom sisters…. listen to your body. If you don’t feel right, please go in and get checked out. The Docs still say I’m “way to young to have a PE,” but obviously my body didn’t get the memo.

Valentine’s Day is a day to show love. This year as I started to think about the day my mind went straight to my stepmom sisters. A group of women who overflow with love and support for one another.

I wrote this Valentine for all the wonderful stepmoms out there to thank them for the love they show to one another. Whether it is on a blog, on Twitter, Facebook or in person… stepmom sisters are blessing each other.

A Valentine Poem for Stepmoms   stepmom love

You understand the journey and share your joys and sorrows

You never judge but listen and offer a loving word and hope for a better tomorrow

You love each other through the hard times

You share advice on how to achieve peace time

You make sure another stepmom never feels alone

You give love to another when it feels like there is none in their home

When a stepmom hasn’t been heard from in awhile

You reach out with a kind word, an offer to help, a gentle (virtual) smile

You validate one another’s joys and fears

You develop trust and gently tell one another what they really need to hear

You encourage

You inspire

You support

You are love

You are a gift!

You may not always have the best days but you will always be the best. On those days when you are down and feeling blue, please know your feelings are real and you are not alone. So many of us have shed the same tears and cried the same cries. We’ve wished for the same things and let go of the same dreams. Together we are stronger, smarter and wise.

You bless all those around you! Today on Valentine’s Day and everyday… please know you are love and you bring so much love to each other. Thanks for who you are and what you do.

Happy Valentine’s Day my friends.
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Would you share how the stepmom community has positively impacted you?

On December 14, 2012 the unspeakable happened at Sandy Hook elementary school. My heart is heavy for the families impacted. The ripple effect of pain cannot even be measured or described.

I had planned that day to write and share a post on gifts to give your stepkids. When I heard the news (actually read on twitter Friday), I wept openly at the grocery store for all the parents impacted (parents, stepparents, grandparents, all those who love the victims). My heavy heart was also weighed down with worry for ALL SIX of my kids (my four biological kids and my two stepdaughters).

When the kids came home that day, I hugged them all a little tighter and loved on all of them. Love… it’s what we want all kids to feel. I unplugged all weekend to really plug into my family. Time well spent. But today rolled around and I felt prompted to sit down and share some gifts that we can give our kids (our stepkids and our biological kids).

At Christmas, we are reminded of the love God bestowed upon us when He gave us the gift of His son. We love (or want to love) this time of the year and we want our children to feel loved. We want love for all kids regardless of the blood that runs through their veins. My stepdaugthers may not have my DNA but they do have my heart.

I am saddended when I read of the struggles that many co-parents and stepparents face and how those challenges seem to get ramped up over the holidays. I recently read a tweet from a stepmom sharing how the mom of her stepdaughter ripped the shoes off of her feet because they were purchased by the dad and stepmom. I’ve received emails from stepmoms who say that gifts that are purchased are either not allowed to be brought to their mom’s house or are even taken from them when they are. I’ll never understand how any parent puts their hurt onto their child. (Please note, I’m not saying moms do this only. Parents who are hurting transfer their pain to their kids and that is not confined to moms.)

Maybe, just maybe the horror that occurred Friday will soften the hearts of all parents and not pit children between two homes when co-parenting is present.

Having said that I wanted to share some ideas for gift giving to your stepkids this season. Gifts that can grow the bond between you and your kids and that can’t be taken away…..

Give the gift of experience – a memory cannot be taken away. Unlike a toy that will eventually end up in the landfill or clothing that they will likely out grow or like, an experience will last a lifetime.

Consider planning a fun trip; a day out, or a simple activity like a cooking class, ski lesson, ice skating, etc…..

If you or your husband have frequent flyer miles, consider using them for a day trip. Find free things to do in your city or a big city you can fly or drive to. Use groupon or living social to find experiences you can give your kids.

With an experience, you are giving your kids the gift of time and of memories. That can never be taken away.

Give a Hallmark Recordable book- I love these books! Record your voice and/or your husband’s voice reading a story. Your child can have it with them and listen to you read them to sleep at night even when they aren’t with you. The only caveat I would caution is to know whether this book would be welcomed in mom’s home. Even though we don’t have control over what mom does, we don’t want to give our kids a gift that could cause an issue for them. Perhaps they could keep it at your home if you don’t believe mom will like it. Actually, you could consider purchasing two different recordable books; one that you record and one for them to give to mom and have her record herself reading. This would be a great way of “telling” your kids how much you love and support their relationship with their mom – that there are no loyalty “wars” in your mind.

Purchase Cooking Supplies/Cookbook - put together a gift basket of fun kitchen gadgets and cookbooks that your stepchild can use when they are with you. Help them plan special menus and items to make together.

Give the Gift of Family Time – give your kids a new game or purchase a family membership somewhere. Whether it be an interactive video game or a board game… playing games together builds family memories. Our family loves Apples to Apples, Bananagrams, Wii Sports and Wii Just Dance games. This year, we bought the kids Ticket to Ride! We are looking forwward to playing it with everyone.

Consider purchasing a membership to the Zoo, Science Center, Children’s Museum, etc….. and then make it a point to go when you are all together.

Sponsor a Child in their nameWorld Vision provides an amazing way to truly teach your child to give back while at the same time gaining a perspective on giving and how children in other parts of the country live. I started sponsoring a young girl from Albania when I was a single mom. I wanted my kids to give to other kids and connect with another child. Through the seven years of sponsorship, we have developed a close relationship. We love to write to her and send her small gifts and we love hearing from her. Sponsoring a child is $35.00 a month and when we think of how we can spend that friviously, it makes the amount that much more impactful.

Make a “Love You” jar or “Things To Do” jar – write out things you/your husband love about your child. Also, write down things you can do with each other; bake a cake, plan a movie night in, paint pottery, go to a local sports event, have a spa night at home…. Get creative. The child can pick something out of it and you can plan to do the item. If it’s a love jar, they can feel all warm and fuzzy inside knowing they are loved and cared for.

The Gift of Positive Messages - gift a chalkboard to your stepchild that they can hang in their room. Write positive messages on it. Let them get creative. If a chalkboard isn’t big enough, consider painting a wall with chalkboard paint or painting a dresser with iet. Get creative.

I also love Wallhogs. Last year I purchased Wallhogs of my two boys. They think it is really cool to have this larger than life cut out of themselves on their walls.

Give the Gift of You and Your Story - consider purchasing books, movies, toys, etc… that you loved when you were the age of your stepchildren. It’s a great way to connect and share an item and an experience.

Regardless of what you leave under the tree or send to them, I humbly caution you about giving a gift with expectations attached. When we have expectations and they aren’t met, we are often left feeling so disappointed. Even when we don’t make our kids “choose” between homes, they can feel such loyalty – “if I like this gift, will it hurt mom’s feelings?” And many stepmoms struggle with doing so much for their stepkids and feeling like their efforts go unnoticed or unappreciated.

In our book Unwrapping the Gift of Stepfamily Peace, Gayla Grace and I speak candidly and with wisdom regarding the joys and heartaches of stepfamily life during the holidays. As a bonus feature we share family traditions that you can start with your blended family. Traditions make memories and memories live on in the hearts of those you love.

Would love to hear what type of gifts you give your stepkids? What are your thoughts on the above listed ideas?

 

Compassion. It’s one of the top characteristics I seek to instill in all six of my kids. While my husband and I work hard to teach compassion and being other’s focused, too often I feel as if we are fighting against a prevalent view in society that sends kids the message that life is all about fun and perpetuates a “me culture”.

As a mom in a blended family, I strive to do things and have products in our home that supports the message of compassion, character and serving others. That’s why I was so excited when I learned about Hearts for Hearts Girls Dolls.

As mothers and stepmothers, we work hard to raise our kids with strong values. Hearts for Hearts Girls is a line of dolls that strives to do the same thing. The company says it best: “we invite all girls to become agents of change – to improve the lives of girls in their communities, across their country and around the world. We promise to deliver meaningful products and experiences and to tell all girls , ‘You can help.’”

So when I was given the opportunity to host a Mommy Party for Hearts for Hearts Girls, I jumped at it. We invited ten girls over to enjoy food from around the world (I made Ethiopian punch, Indian Mac – n – Cheese Bites, American Meatloaf Muffins and French Chocolate Chip Cookies), we played a game from Belarus called Shyla and we made Clean Water Banks and talked about how so many young girls don’t have clean water to drink, or bathe in like we do.

If anyone ever questions whether our youth doesn’t care they should have been sitting in my kitchen when we made the Clean Water Banks and listening to the girls talk. We decorated water bottles and made a slit to put loose change in. I took my jar from my laundry room (I collect loose change from the pockets of all the clothes I wash and when it gets full, I donate it) and gave the girls some coins to get started. The goal is for the girls to fill the banks and when they do to talk to their parents and donate the money to WorldVision Water Fund where the funds can bring clean drinking water to those that don’t have it. The chatter was high among the girls on this topic. One girl said her parents told her “if I get perfect attendance this quarter, I get twenty dollars. I’m going to do it and donate it to other girls for water.” The girls all were so excited to give back. They talked about how much they love swimming in a pool all summer and how most of the world doesn’t have that luxury.

Two of the girls that my daugther invited are not “doll girls” but they loved Hearts for Hearts and they said they love what the dolls are all about. And the dolls not only come from foreign countries like India, Belarus, Laos, Mexico, Brazil, and Ethiopia but also from the United States. Dell, for instance, is from the Applacian Mountains and is committed to helping people in her community. She has a heart of gold. The doll Zelia is from Brazil and she learns how her family can make changes on their coffee bean farm and the impact that can have on the rainforest. I love it!! Teaching our girls that WE ALL MATTER and SMALL CHANGES YIELD BIG RESULTS. 

Each doll comes with her own story of compassion and change along with a book, and accessories.

Let’s be honest, many young girls are dealing with some emotional stress from a variety of life circumstances and as mothers, stepmothers, aunts, grandparents, and friends we want to build character and self-esteem into our girls.  These dolls will help facilate conversation about compassion, giving back, accepting others, loving people of different cultures. They are a toy line that you feel good purchasing and giving to your children and/or to friends and family. They are quality made and spark conversation. Imagine watching your girls playing with their dolls and discussing how they are going to change the world instead of changing their nailpolish (although that is still a fun conversation to have).  

I also want to mention that proceeds from the purchase of each doll goes to World Vision. If you haven’t heard of World Vision, I strongly encourage you to click on the link and get familiar. When I was a single mom, I went to a Casting Crowns concert with my now husband. It was there I learned of WorldVision and the opportunity to sponsor a child. I signed up and six years later, I consider her a part of our family. She blesses us way more than our financial contribution blesses her. We write letters, share our dreams and we pray for her and her family. I shared our sponsor girl with the girls at the party and they loved seeing her photo and looking at pictures she had drawn and were amazed to learn that girls their age live in two room homes with large families and are happy. Teaching our kids that we are so blessed in our country and sharing how other children live is an important and humbling experience.

One added benefit of having the party was how all four of my girls (my two daugthers and two stepdaugthers) all wanted to help and be a part of it. I had a blast cooking with everyone, organizing the day and it was a great bonding experience for all of us. And to be perfectly honest, I don’t get that type of cooperation when I’m making dinner. Working on this had the girls curious about the different cultures of the dolls, food that they ate and they really all wanted to be a part of it. I’d actually recommend throwing your own Hearts for Hearts Party.

With the holidays approaching, this is an amazing line of dolls to start collecting with your daughter and/or stepdaughter. The dolls and their accessories are reasonably priced and as I mentioned they have such a positive message. Here’s a discount code for you. Just go to Heart4HeartsGirls.com and enter in H4HAUG12 and get $5.00 off any Hearts for Hearts Doll (Offer good through October 2012 while supplies last). The code is good for purchasing directly off their site. These dolls can also be found at Target, Amazon and Toys R Us.

If you are looking for a gift for your stepdaughter or daughter and they are between the ages of 6 and 10, I highly recommend these dolls.

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I was selected to be a MommyParties host as part of a promotional program with MomSelect. All opinions are my own. I was not financially compensated for hosting this MommyParty for Hearts for Hearts Girls,  I was given a doll to keep and test and one to giveaway to one of the girls in attendance. As always, I will give you my honest opinion and choose to bring to you products that I personally believe in.

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You can connect with Hearts for Hearts Girls via their website, Facebook Fan Page and have a discussion on Twitter using the hasthag #HeartsforHeartsGirls!

I’d like to hear from you. Do you have experience with these dolls? What do you think of the message they send?

This is the last article in the three part series on jealousy and the stepmom and stepdaughter. This last segment focuses on the impact that the jealousy between a stepmom and stepdaughter has on the stepmom’s relationship with her partner and offers tips to help your relationship weather storms of jealousy. Read on and share your thoughts…..

 (Part 3 of 3) Jealousy and Your Relationship

“Jealousy is that pain which a man feels from the apprehension that he is not equally beloved by the person whom he entirely loves.” Joseph Addison

Jealousy lives and breathes in the hearts of all of us. At its core, jealousy is the fear of losing something that one possesses to another person and that something is typically the affections of a third party. Given the multiple complexities and people in a stepfamily, there are boundless reasons and opportunities for members to feel jealous towards one another.

stepmom magazine, stepdaughter, stepmother, jealousy

Often stepmoms are jealous of the relationship their stepdaughter has with their dad and stepdaughters are jealous of the love their father has for their stepmom. This stepmother – stepdaughter jealousy is a triangle with the third person being the man they both love. While the jealous feelings may not be aimed directly at our partner, they often feel the impact of the jealousy.

Feelings of jealousy may be hard to avoid and it is what we do with the jealous feelings when they surface that matter and define our relationships. When jealous feelings affect our partner and our relationship, it’s time to take action to protect both.

Last month we learned that much of the jealousy stepdaughters feel towards their stepmother is based on perception not reality. Perhaps some of the jealousy that stepmothers feel towards their stepdaughter may also be based on unfounded truths.

Jealousy in a stepmother’s heart may stem from the advantage she believes her stepdaughter has over her in her partner’s life given that the stepdaughter was in his life first. The stepdaughter’s jealousy often grows from feelings of resentment of her perception of being replaced by her stepmother in the heart of her father.

Regardless of who is jealous of who, if there is tension in the home everyone feels it and every relationship can suffer from it. 

As the third and final installment of this series on jealousy within the stepfamily, this piece deals with the impact that jealousy between stepmom and stepdaughter has on the stepmom’s relationship with her partner. We will look at how perceptions impact jealous feelings in a stepfamily and then provide tips for stepmoms on how to address and deal with the jealousy to preserve their relationship with their partner and bring peace to their heart and home.

Looking Through the Lens of Your Stepdaughter’s Life

The jealousy in the home is often permeated on the perception of either the stepmother and/or the stepdaughter trying to control the man in the home. A stepdaughter perceives her stepmother’s kindness and/or actions to change things for the better in the home as a threat. The stepmother perceives her stepdaughter’s constant control of her father’s time as a clear message to “stay away.”

Looking at potential insecurity in our stepdaughter and a desire for things not to change may help explain a stepdaughter’s negative treatment of her stepmom and/or clinging closer to their father. Feelings of “losing dad” may be motivation for a stepdaughter to push back on her stepmother regardless of how kind and goodhearted the stepmother is to her stepdaughter.

As one stepdaughter put it “before Amanda entered the picture, dad used to ask me where I wanted to go out for dinner and what color he should paint the living room now she gets to make those choices. I just don’t feel important to my dad anymore. I wish things could go back to the way they were before HER!”

While it is important to view stepfamily life through our stepdaughter’s eyes, it often helps for us, as stepmoms, to be proactive in showing our stepdaughter that we value them and the relationship they have with their father.

The following proactive tips can serve to communicate we are neither here to replace mom nor to take dad away:

Make The First Move. If we get upset because we feel like our stepdaughter is always trying to keep us away from our partner and sit next to him at the kitchen table, on the couch, at the movie theatre, etc…. we may want to consider offering up the space instead of having it taken from us.

Offering the seat next to our mate to our stepdaughter serves two purposes. First, offering the spot lessens the pain we may feel in not sitting next to our love. If not sitting next to our mate is our idea, it doesn’t hurt so much. Also, if our stepdaughter is desiring to be close to their father because she truly wants to be close to dad than the unselfish offering will be seen as a kind gesture and can go miles in building our relationship. If our stepdaughter is seeking closeness to dad to spite us and she sees that we are offering the spot and don’t seem upset, than the motivation will wane when she doesn’t get the desired result in upsetting us. When motivation lessens so may her moves to be close to dad and purposely push us aside if that is in fact her goal.

Plan Daughter and Dad Day Out. Set up a time once a month for your partner and his daughter to go out and spend time alone. Whether it is out for a meal, to see a movie, do an activity like bowling or ice skating, or just going to the library…. when we set it up and offer the time alone it communicates that we place a value on their time together.

There is a difference in creating the time for our stepdaughter and her dad versus being made to feel that we aren’t welcome during their time together. Creating this time is a gift we give to our stepdaughter and her father and to ourselves.  Be the driving force for their time alone and see the benefits for everyone unfold.

Control the Jealousy so it Doesn’t Control You and Your Relationship

Jealousy based on perception is a total misrepresentation of reality yet feelings of jealously can be so strong and powerful they can cause us to act out. Regardless of why a stepmother may feel jealous, dealing with jealousy is essential to nurturing and preserving the relationship with our partner.

When jealousy isn’t acknowledged and dealt with it can plant seeds of bitterness and resentment deep in our relationship and lead to emotional behavior atypical of our personality. Here are some basic steps we can take when we are feeling jealousy towards our stepdaughter:

Accept Your Part. Understand and accept the feelings of jealousy and acknowledge that we have a choice in how we will allow this emotion to affect us, our stepdaughter, our partner and our relationship. Decide if whatever is making us jealous is worth having an impact on our own emotional state and the state of our relationship with our partner.

Because jealousy is an emotion inside of us, it can also be tied to other emotions. Take the time to understand if our jealousy is fueled by fear, past hurts, insecurities deep within and/or any other emotion from our past that we may struggle with.

Acknowledge The No-Win Situation For Your Partner. From our partner’s perspective, jealousy between their child and us puts them in a no-win situation. It really hurts our partner when their own child is the source of our pain and it also causes them pangs of distress when their daughter(s) is upset at our hands.

One dad told me “I’m often in a no-win situation. If I side with my wife, my daughter thinks I’ve deserted her. And if I side with my daughter, than my wife feels unloved and unwanted. I love both of them but I often feel like any choice I make is doomed from the start,”Steve, married for 5 years; father of two and stepdad of one.

Understand that your partner loves you. They have chosen to spend their life with you. Your partner loves both you and your stepdaughter in different ways. If we are concerned about any feelings our mate has for us it is best to ask them rather than assume something that could be wrong.

Communicate With Your Partner. If something is truly bothering you, talk with your partner but not at them. There is a difference. Understand that there is no right or wrong way to feel towards the relationship between you and your stepdaughter. If something is troubling you and it has the potential to pull you and your partner apart, than you owe it to yourself and your romantic relationship to address the issue.

Before talking with your partner, keep these things in mind:

First, check with your partner to make sure it is a good time to talk. Right before bed is never a good time to bring up a potentially heated topic. Also, make sure both you and your partner are in a good frame of mind to have the conversation.

Second, start off by verbally affirming your mate as both a parent and a partner. Also, counter any negative comments you share with two positive comments.

Finally, focus the conversation on how you feel not on what your stepdaughter or your partner is doing. When we focus on how something is making us feel, it takes the pressure off of our mate to fix another person and lessens the probability of them becoming defensive.

Jealousy is often self-serving and can lead to feelings of confusion, frustration and self-doubt. The important thing to remember is to not allow jealousy to consume our relationship but rather allow it to be a springboard to uncover any hidden emotions deep within us moreover to have positive discussions with our partner.

Seek Professional Help. If you find that jealousy is causing issues in your relationship that you cannot resolve together then please seek the professional help of a counselor and/or stepfamily coach. A professional can help you and your partner with tips and tools to identify jealousy and how you can work together. The reality is that it is often challenging to talk about some topics with our partner especially if they regard our stepchildren. A qualified third party can bring up the topics and provide a neutral environment in which to discuss feelings and provide tangible solutions.

Avoid Disengagement From Your Partner: Intentionally Nurture Your Relationship

No person wants to be hurt by someone they love. In our stepmom role, we can slowly disengage from the relationships that are causing us pain. We can find ourselves disengaging from our stepdaughter and our partner.  While disengaging from our stepchild is not a good thing, disengaging from our partner can have long lasting negative effects on our relationship and on our stepfamily.

At those moments when we least want to be close to our partner, are the moments when we need to be the closest. Disconnecting with the father of our stepdaughter does not happen overnight but rather is a slow fade. Passion, respect, love can slowly fade over time when we don’t nurture our relationship and when we allow emotions like jealousy to pull us away.

“It is difficult for some people to accept that love is a choice. This seems to run counter to the generally accepted theory of romantic love which expounds that love is inborn and as such requires no more than to accept it.” – Leo F. Buscaglia

Make it a point to intentionally show your partner love and respect. This can be challenging at times especially if you aren’t feeling much love or respect for your partner. Feelings follow actions and the more you intentionally show love to your partner the less affect the jealousy may have on you and the more connected you may feel to your partner.

It is my hope that this three part series opens up discussion about jealousy that may prevail in your home. It is a very normal and typical emotion in stepfamilies and its important to continue to have honest conversations about those things that impact us most. Jealousy can become a vicious cycle in a stepfamily if we allow it. Recognize that combatting jealousy is often an ongoing challenge for everyone in our stepfamily where dynamics are many and stresses can be high.

This article was originally published in StepMom Magazine, November 2011.

A 3-part Series exploring jealousy between Stepdaughters And Stepmoms

Rock stars sing about it. The Bible warns against it. Crimes are committed because of it. Many stepmoms and stepdaughters are frustrated because of it. I’m talking about jealousy.

While it may be a large elephant in the stepfamily living room, jealousy between stepmoms and stepdaughters regarding dad is REAL and is having a REAL affect on both the stepmom and the stepdaughter and the man they all love.  stepmom, stepmom magazine, stepfamily

Many stepmoms and stepdaughters struggle with feelings of jealousy towards each other. Some stepmoms are jealous of the close knit relationship that their stepdaughter(s) has with their father and many stepdaughters are jealous of the new woman in their home and the impact she has on their dad’s time.

Often the jealousy turns to bitterness and resentment towards each other. This root of bitterness is planted deep in the stepfamily and can cause emotional distress for everyone.

Jealousy is a toxic cocktail and one that is difficult to digest regardless of why, how and by whom it is concocted. 

In this three part series, we will first look at jealousy through the stepmoms’ eyes. The second part will focus on the stepdaughters’ point of view and the third will speak to the impact jealousy has on the stepmom’s relationship with her partner and offer viable solutions to making peace so the stepmom doesn’t fall to pieces.

In surveying some stepmom and stepdaughter duos across the country, I delved deeper into this stress filled mystery. Part 1 reveals what fuels a stepmother’s jealousy towards her stepdaughter(s).

Feeling Like an Outsider

An overriding theme that presented itself was how many stepmoms feel jealous of how close their partner is with his daughter(s). These stepmoms feel like an outsider in comparison to their stepdaughter(s) and they don’t like it. Here’s what a few stepmoms had to say:

“I often find myself jealous of the relationship between my husband and his daughter. I feel like we (my husband and I) are so close when she is at her mom’s but when she texts, calls, or walks in the door – I become second fiddle. I hate feeling this way. It seems wrong to be jealous of a 15 year old but I can’t seem to help it. I don’t like feeling second best” – Meghan, stepmom to a 15 yr old stepdaughter

My husband and his two daughters are so close. He was a single dad for three years before we met. I feel like the girls view me as an outsider and they do everything in their power to make me feel that way. He seems to always make time to listen to their sorrows but when my heart is heavy, he brushes me away. It’s hard to see him one way with his girls and another way with me. I wish I had what they have with their father” – Tonya, custodial stepmom to 17 yr old and 13 yr old stepdaughters

Stepmoms love their partner and they desire to be one with them. Issues of stepfamily living can place stress on a stepmom and her partner’s relationship. It can be very hard on a stepmom when she seeks validation and compassion for what she is going through and gets little from her partner yet witnesses a very strong, loving bond between her partner and his daughter(s).

The stepmoms I talked to said that they know their partner is capable of being attentive, loving and compassionate. They see these characteristics exhibited towards their stepdaughter yet they often don’t feel it present in their own relationship with their partner.

I’ve spent most of my life walking under that hovering cloud, jealousy, whose acid raindrops blurred my vision and burned holes in my heart.  ~ Astrid Alauda

One stepmom told me “I never spoke this out loud until you asked but yes, I am jealous of the relationship my husband has with his three daughters. I often don’t feel as important to him as they are and that’s very hard on me. I can feel like an outsider when they are at our house. I hate it. I feel guilty saying this but I want to run and hide when they are at our home.” – Liza, stepmom to 8 yr old  twins and 14 yr old stepdaughters

The Blind Eye

Another area of jealousy for many stepmoms is the area of their partner’s “blind eye.” Stepmoms struggle when they witness their partner bend over backwards for their daughter(s) and yet be taken advantage of by them. It is extremely painful for these stepmothers to see their partner’s love and generosity taken for granted by their own daughter(s). This is especially true for the stepmom who wishes to receive the same type of love and generosity from their partner.

“I don’t know if jealous is the word I would use to describe how I feel concerning my husband’s relationship with his two daughters. It’s more of frustration in how they walk all over him and how he allows it to happen. It’s so obvious to me that they use their father, especially his wallet, but he never seems to see it. That hurts because I love him and it makes me not like his girls. It’s a real problem for me. I don’t care that he spoils them, I just would like to see them be appreciative.” Sylvia, stepmom to 8 yr old and 14 yr old stepdaughters

“He never seems to see what she is really doing or like. She is perfect in his eyes and it drives me crazy. He gives her whatever she wants and when she’s upset he validates her. I wish I would get validation for my concerns but I don’t. Somedays, I can’t stand to be in the same room as her when I know she is using her dad.” Susan, stepmom to an 11 yr old stepdaughter

Another stepmom shared her struggle with the lack of boundaries her partner has with his daughters:

“I put much effort into my family and it’s hard for me to watch his daughter walk in the door from soccer practice, ask what I’m making for dinner and then announce she doesn’t feel like eating what I’m making. Only to watch her dad jump up and start preparing her a different (special) dinner that she’ll eat. I feel like she plays her dad and it literally makes me ill to watch it unfold. He sees nothing wrong with what he is doing. I feel like he needs to set boundaries.” Stacey, stepmom to 21 yr old and 16 yr old stepdaughters

Stepmoms whose jealousy stems from the “ungrateful attitude” of their stepdaughter(s) and/or the “blindness” of their partner reported more feelings of bitterness. A challenge for these stepmoms is not allowing jealousy to evolve into resentment towards their stepdaughter and more importantly towards their partner.

Non-Jealous Stepmoms

There were a few stepmoms who noted that they did not feel jealous of their stepdaughter(s). These stepmoms also noted a stronger bond to their partner’s daughter(s).

“I don’t feel jealous of my stepdaughters. Both my husband and I made a promise that our marriage would come first. While he and his girls are very close, he also makes me feel top priority. I can’t be jealous of their relationship when he makes me feel so good” – Bonnie, stepmom of 10 yr old and 6 yr old stepdaughters

“My husband and his daughter are extremely close. That’s one thing I loved about him when we were dating. My father and I have a very close relationship so I completely get it. I don’t feel threatened or jealous at all.” – Mae, stepmom to 11 yr old stepdaughter

This stepmom brings up an interesting point. Can our relationship with our own father have an impact on how we view the relationship between our partner and his girl(s)? If we didn’t receive attention, love, validation from our dad is it harder to see our stepdaughters receive what we were never given?

Is it even harder to witness our partner give so much to his daughter(s) when we don’t see gratitude returned, especially if they are receiving the time and attention we would have treasured receiving from our own dad? Are we more secure with a strong father/daughter relationship if we have one ourselves? These are great questions to ask if you are jealous of the relationship between your partner and his daughter(s).

Common Threads

It’s important for stepmoms to recognize that it’s not their stepdaughter personally but rather the relationship she has with her father and/or the blind eye he seems to have when it comes to her that fuels most jealousy.

You are not a bad person if you have feelings of jealousy towards your stepdaughter(s). Thinking something and doing something about it are two completely different things. You may have some hard feelings about how close they are but it doesn’t mean you are going to mistreat your partner and/or his daughter because of it.

Time as a stepmom and the age of the stepdaughter when the stepmom came into her life seems to contribute to the level of jealousy a stepmother feels. The longer a woman is a stepmom, the less jealousy she seems to have for her stepdaughter. In addition, those women who partnered with a man when his daughter was in her tween/teen years reported feeling the most jealousy.

What can a stepmom do when she feels jealous?

Own the feeling. Allow yourself to recognize the jealous feelings. Know that feeling some jealousy regarding the relationship is typical and normal. The truth is that it is hard to see your partner laugh, connect and share with their daughter(s), especially when you don’t feel like you get that type of connection.

He that is not jealous is not in love.  ~ St. Augustine

Identify the situations that make you feel jealous. Is it when he jumps at any request his daughter makes? Is it that he never seems to see anything wrong that she does? Is it that he buys his daughter whatever she wants without checking with you (even if it’s a big ticket item)? Etc….

Spend time figuring out what situations trigger the jealousy and then address them. Talking with a counselor is a great way to work through this challenge. Breaking down what triggers these feelings will help you develop a game plan to talk with your partner and work through them.

Communicate with your partner – The focus of the conversation needs to be on how the events in the home make you feel not on what he and/or his daughter(s) are doing. Focusing on you and your feelings will allow your partner to make those conclusions himself. It’s when we go into attack mode and tell our partner everything he and his girls are doing wrong that he will very likely shut down. Once your partner shuts down emotionally and physically, they won’t hear anything you have to say. This only leads to more frustration.

Time is on your side - The converse relationship between length of time a woman is a stepmom and the depth of jealousy they feel towards their stepdaughter indicates that slow and steady wins the race. Things will likely get better as time goes on. At some point, stepdaughters grow up and move on with their life. Right? With maturity developing in the stepdaughter and understanding in the stepmom, time seems to dissipate feelings of jealousy.

Next month, we will examine jealousy through the stepdaughter’s eyes. Yes, many stepdaughters are jealous of their stepmoms and these girls really opened up and their truths will hopefully lend insight into why they do what they do with their father and reveal their motivations for purposely making stepmoms feel like an outsider. Yes, these girls admitted to it! Stay Tuned!

My article originally appeared in the September, 2011 issue of StepMom Magazine.

What are your thoughts on Stepmom and Stepdaughter jealousy? Can you relate? Let’s start a real conversation on this topic. Thank YOU!

The love that Tiffany has for her husband, two stepsons and son will melt your heart. She beautifully articulates the love that a stepmother brings to her home and into the hearts of her stepchildren. She has lovingly filled a void in their lives. Read her beautiful story:

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When becoming a stepmom we volunteer to take the responsibility to be a mother of someone. The role of motherhood alone is a very rewarding yet scary task to take on. Then you add ‘step’ in front of that. Stepmothers exercise the act of giving beautifully. We give out of our hearts. Like most biological mothers, we give with the same motivations considering the children’s best interest.

For me, I took on the full-time stepmother role when my two stepsons were almost 2 and 4 years old. Their dad did an amazing job raising them as a single parent from when his youngest son was just 5 months old. The boys were so kind hearted and so well behaved for what they had been through at such a young age. 

My stepson’s biological mother choose a path in life that led her far away from her young innocent children. When meeting my stepsons they latched on and quickly created a motherly bond with me. They didn’t truly understand at that age what the word ‘Mom’ meant due to her absence. To show them unconditional love has been a gift. It has not been easy dealing with the hurt she has caused and continues to cause but it’s all worth putting up with for my stepchildren. Their biological mother is in their life limited to what the court allows.

My main goal in becoming a stepmom was not to replace their biological mother but to give the innocent children a stable family environment and deep motherly love. I feel that’s mainly what children need. They need to feel important, wanted and loved. I was given the blessings of potty training the youngest, bottle breaking, going thru teething, enrolling in preK, kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade, taking them to school and all doctor visits, etc. The list can go on and on.

The love and trust I receive in return from them is the most rewarding feeling. My stepchildren know they can always count on me. I have had them full-time for years other than her visitation of three weekends a month. They can see I choose to be there for them out of care and not just there because it’s on a court order. Each Mother’s Day I have received the same amount of sincere attention from them.

To add to our happiness, my husband and I gave my stepsons a little brother in March 2010. My stepsons adore their little brother and call him ‘their baby’. Having him has added strength to our blended family environment. I feel honored to be raising three sons. Regardless if ‘step’ or ‘biological’ I have the same amount of love for each son. I hope everyone can have respect for all that has a motherly role because it is not easy work. Like the saying goes ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ I couldn’t agree more.

We all need to lean on one another! To all the stepmothers out there, your hard work does not go unnoticed! Every day is Mother’s/Smother’s Day!

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My name is Tiffany Helkenberg and I live in Southern California. I’m a wife to a loving and hard working husband. Helping others and being a caregiver is my passion. I spent years working in the medical field prior to becoming a stay at home mother. I spend all my time devoted to raising my step sons Mason age 7, Konner age 5 and my biological son Logan age 2. You can connect with me via Twitter at @Smom4Life

This is the first post in the second edition of The Gift of StepMom Collection. I started this series last year and the response was amazing. Reading stories from other stepmoms encouraged and inspired many. This year, I have had so many wonderful stories submitted that I’ll be sharing a different one each day leading up to Mother’s Day!

It is so true, stepmoms are the heart of their blended family and it’s important that we celebrate our role and the gifts we bring to those we love. I am honored to share this heartfelt piece by Kim Hartsock. I am grateful and blessed to have connected with Kim via Twitter. Please enjoy her Gift of Stepmom:

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I never thought I would end up divorced, a single mother, remarried and now a stepmom. I know the Bible says that God declared ‘I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’. That tells me that no matter our choices in life, ultimately God’s plan comes through.

I believe that some of us choose shorter or longer paths to those plans but in the end, we live out God’s plan for our life. I believe that God’s plan for me is to be a wife to the love of my life, Steven, and to be a mom to Caroline, Benjamin and Sullivan. I strive everyday to be the wife and mother that they all deserve. It isn’t always easy but it is the most rewarding job I have. 

The definition of ‘mother’ is a woman who has raised a child, given birth to a child or supplied the ovum that united with a sperm that grew into a child. When I think about Mother’s Day, I think how grateful I am for my mother, her mother and for all of the amazing women in my life who have in some way influenced my life. That is a very long list! I also think about how grateful I am for the 3 beautiful children God has blessed me with. I only gave birth to one of those but that doesn’t change the fact that they are my children.

My son has a stepmom and I am grateful for her. She loves him and plays a very active role in raising him. I do not feel threatened by her and I definitely do not wish she was not in his life. My son did not ask for his father and I to get a divorce. This was the life we chose for him. My acceptance of his stepmom is in a way, my way of helping to make his broken home complete. And equally am I thankful for our other kids’ mother.

When I married their father, I was not replacing their mother but rather agreeing to become a part of their already formed family. Steven and I chose each other, part of us was our children. Our wedding wasn’t just between the two of us, it was between the five of us. That is a big reason why all five of us stood at the alter with the minister and made our vows to each other and to God.

I believe we are a family. Granted our children have larger families than most. I don’t think it’s better or worse, just different from some other families. Each family has its own dynamics. Ours includes stepmoms and stepdads.

I believe that love makes a family. Our family is full of love. Our children are loved. They are growing up seeing two people live out their vows on a daily basis. So when I celebrate Mother’s Day, I celebrate the love my mother showed me and the love my children’s mothers show them. I don’t think it matters whether or not that title has the word ‘step’ in it or not.

So when you set out to celebrate the mothers in your life, think about the sacrifices these ladies make each and every day for the children they are raising and celebrate the love it takes to commit to that responsibility.

Here’s to all of the amazing women out there that God has chosen to be mothers!

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Kim Hartsock (@kimsock) is a CPA in Atlanta, GA. She and her husband, Steven, have three beautiful children (aka the Lil Socks). Kim is passionate about blended families and encouraging women, especially stepmoms. She also serves as Treasurer and board member of the Susan G Komen for the Cure Greater Atlanta.

 

Note: Read to the bottom for an opportunity to win a fabulous Treat for yourself!

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I was recently asked to finish this sentence “My ideal Mother’s Day treat would be…….?”

Immediately, my mind went to “….for my kids to all get along!”

Seriously, my ideal Mother’s Day treat would be for me to enjoy my husband and all six of my kids doing the things we love to do. I love how the kids make me breakfast in bed. While I typically don’t eat fruit loops, dry toast, pop tarts or pickles for breakfast getting them delivered on a tray with beaming smiles makes the food taste like it came from a five star restaurant.

cafesmom, mother's day, treat

Card from Treat.com

I enjoy going to Church with no complaints and no requests to use the restroom while we are in the worship center.

I enjoy cooking dinner with my husband. He makes an amazing Mexican Lasagna and it’s my favorite dish of his. And I have to be full disclosure here. Typically when we cook that means he is chopping, slicing and dicing and I am managing kid drama, fielding phone calls and chatting with him while he does it. I love to cook but for some reason when we cook together I love to watch him and be in the kitchen with him but truth be told I don’t do a lot of cooking. Maybe I’m just distracted by his handsome good looks!

And I’d like to watch a family movie at the end of the day of my choice. This year it may be the original Yours, Mine and Ours with Lucille Ball and Henry Ford. I love the classics. Until my kids went to school they thought my classic movies were current movies.

Now, if I could give every mother – bio, adoptive, foster or step a treat on Mother’s Day – it would be for them to know they make a difference in the lives of the children they love. I would make sure they feel celebrated and know that their efforts do not go unnoticed!

I believe all types of moms should be celebrated on Mother’s Day! But sadly, the day can be difficult for many “non-traditional” moms whose children may not be with them on Mother’s Day and/or they don’t receive a thank you or a show of gratitude for the way they love and serve their family. Typically, it is the kids who celebrate their moms on this special day. For stepmoms, sometimes the kids get caught in an emotional loyalty battle and feel they can’t celebrate their stepmom out of fear of offending their mom. Even if the kids are grateful for there stepmom they may not show it. This can be heartbreaking for a woman who pours herself daily into her husband and her entire family.

cafesmom, mother's day, treat

Card from Treat.com

As girlfriends, we have the power to knock this holiday out of the ball park for our fellow stepmoms and for all moms we know. We can send a card to each of our friends who are Smoms and/or moms telling them how much we love and care about them! We can thank them for the unconditional love the give their family. As women, we know the power of girlfriends. Getting an uplifting note from your girlfriend can really lift spirits.

If you are like me it’s not thinking about who to send the cards to but finding the time and the right words to say that can present a challenge. It’s in the evening hours when I have time to sit down and think about sending cards but by that time its to late to go to the store. And even if I have the cards on hand I typically don’t have the stamps. If only there was a way for me to make great greeting cards from my home computer and have them physically, not digitally sent, I could shower my friends and family with cards of encouragement any day of the year.  As if someone was reading my mind, in walked…..

Treat – is a new greeting card company by Shutterfly. They offer customizable greeting cards that you design via their website. You supply the address and pay for the cost of the stamp and card only and they mail it for you. In addition to the convenience, what I love is that they recognize that not every relationship is cookie cutter and therefore cards shouldn’t be either. Duhhh! You are talking to a stepmom here. To say that the relationships we inheret when we say “I do” is complex is an understatement.

I could go on and on about this new company and the line of cards but I’ll let you take at look at the site for yourself.

Treat has truly built something new and revolutionary – refreshingly personal cards made by you.

Treat is an easy and innovative service for people to create personalized greetings that reflect their style, personality and special relationships. Just choose your card, and if you want, make it personal by adding photos, nicknames, inside jokes or whatever kind of goodness you’ve got going. Let your creativity shine through—as little or as much as you want. Go ahead and be funny, heartwarming, sarcastic, sappy or thankful—at Treat, YOU get to decide. And if you can’t find the right words, we’re always here to help.”  They say it so well that the above description is taken from their site. They’ve got something great going on.

Now I will say that Treat does not have any cards specific for stepmoms however, they do have cards for “like a mom” and you can create and customize their great Mother’s Day selection any way you like. You have control over the card which is something that we often lack in our stepfamilies given the complexity of relationships.

Check out their Mother’s Day Cards! It’s so easy. You choose the card, you personalize it (with words and/or photos) and Treat mails it for you directly. One of the reasons I love sending cards is actually writing a message and I thought I would miss that digitally but I don’t. The reason I love writing things in my cards is because I enjoy personalizing it for the person I’m sending it to. You can write a very personal note in these cards. The person who receives it will know that you wrote it!

I love when I get a chance to treat my readers. I am super excited to give away a one year VIP membership to Treat – this is one full year of free greeting cards and stamps (100 individually customized greeting cards and stamps – a $350 value)!!! There are many ways to enter but all entries must be received by midnight on May 7th.

Ways to enter:

Follow Treat on Twitter 

Like Treat on Facebook

Connect via Google plus+

Connect via Pinterest

Sign Up Above to receive CafeSmom posts via RSS

Like CafeSmom on Facebook

Leave a comment for each entry that you make. If have already done any of the above previous to reading this post, leave a comment to let me know. You’ll be entered.

Don’t forget to check out Treat and start sending the love!

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In full disclosure, please note that I have been compensated for my participation in writing this post. Also note that I only work with brands and/or companies that I believe in and use myself. I will never bring a campaign to my readers that I don’t back personally. You will get my personal seal of approval. Integrity matters to me. I have physically seen and held the cards sent out by Treat and the quality is superb!

 

Last week, I had the fortune of spending five days in sunny San Diego. By myself. Yes, that could be a post in and of it self because I did not feel one ounce of guilt going to San Diego. This is not how I would have traveled four years ago. Back then, I would have had to pay extra for the second suitcase of guilt I would have checked with customer service for doing something without the kids.

Barb, Myself, Lisa, Debra at BlogHer11

So there I was in grown up clothes that were neatly pressed and crumb free at BlogHer11 which is an amazing conference for bloggers. Among the over 3,600 women in attendance I had the fortune of meeting up with women of whom I respect and admire for their contribution to the stepmom and co-parenting arena. When we actually met, I felt like I had known them for years from all the sharing we had done through our blogs, on Twitter, interviews on the StepMom Connection webshow and some phone conversations. These women are authentic and wonderful!

I had the extreme pleasure of meeting Barb of Evil StepMom Speaks, Lisa of  HersHisandOurs, Deesha of CoParenting101, Diana of A Life Well Blended and Debrae who is going to be launching a blog soon (I’ll let you know when). I also met a non stepmom, Colleen of MommyAlwaysWins who was bravely checking out our stepblogger room of your own at Blogher.

Meeting these wonderful women was a true blessing and further fueled my passion for creating a strong community of positive thinking stepmoms. Each one of us has a different story. Each one of us is in a different stage of stepmothering. Each one of us cares deeply for all stepmothers and the children they love and care for.

In addition to these wonderful women, I met countless stepmoms who were attending the conference. Many of these women spoke with me at length about my site only to tell me in  a whisper at the end of the conversation “actually, I’m a stepmom too!”

Stepmoms are all around us but they don’t wear Tshirts shouting I am a stepmom (although I do know where you can get some:). Barb and I were talking about how often we talk with women only to have them “admit” at the end of our conversation that they are a stepmom and it’s usually in that same ol’ whisper.

I have found that the response I get when I tell someone what I do for a living and the type of blog I run, falls into one of three categories:

Mainly, I get Oohhhhh! Those long, drawn out oohhhhs usually come from non stepmoms whose children either have a stepmom that the woman doesn’t care for or they just have a stereotypical view of stepmoms. They are always polite and kind but I get the feeling that they think they are going to catch the “stepmom bug” from me.

Secondly, I get Ooh! In an excited way and they seem interested but don’t tell me that they are a stepmom til the end of the conversation and then they want to share their horror story and seek advice. These are typically newer stepmoms and/or stepmoms who are in the middle of a very tough stepfamily situation.

Thirdly, I get Wow! That’s great!. This response mainly comes from veteran stepmoms who indicate that they wish they would have had online support when they started out “15 years ago”. These women have stayed the course and they are all about the high fives and support.

So, why all the Oohs??? I think its because our culture still has a negative view of stepmoms. And because of that, many stepmoms don’t feel comfortable saying out loud what they are feeling inside. There seems to be a fear of judgement for some stepmoms. Its when they know for sure you will not judge them for their stepmom role that they open up, share and seek connection.

Meeting fellow stepbloggers was pure joy. We shared our personal stories and our missions for helping stepmoms. We talked about how we can support one another. We laughed and we cried. We connected. We created community in that stepblogger room of our own. There was no judgement. There was no competition. There was only community!

Deesha and Me at BlogHer11

I want the conversation that we all shared to be extended to all stepmoms. I want stepmoms to feel free to express their joys and their struggles without fear of judgement.

Lisa and I spoke about how we all want the stepmom community to be where the mom community now is which is a place where we can feel free to share our hearts without fear of being judged or fitting into the “evil stepmother” persona that Mr. Disney created decades ago.

On Tuesday, August 9th, Matt Lauer on The Today Show was covering a story about a man who was ordered to take down his blog about his “psycho ex-wife” as the couple was embittered in a custody battle. Matt made a comment to the effect that this judge must not look at blogs, because they are all about the negative and untruths.

Au contraire, mon frère Mr. Lauer. On the contrary, I am proud of the work that many stepmothers are doing to demystify the “wicked stepmom persona” and offer support through personal stories and encouragement. I just met some of those stepmoms in San Diego.

Stepmoms often live under the lens of false judgement of society. Our positive community is important because as stepmoms, we don’t judge each other. We listen, support and encourage one another. Personally, I may not agree with another stepmom’s choice but I will NEVER judge her character. There is no cookie cutter way to be anything in this life we live.

That’s one of the beautiful things about our community. Our stepmom community is about support not judgement.

What response do you get when tell someone you are a stepmom? Do you feel judged because of the role you play in your home? Have you benefited from the community of positive stepmothers that social media has allowed us to create? Have any of you thought about starting your own blog about the job of stepmotherhood? Please Share.

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