Ever feel like you’re trapped in a stereotype? I talked to Alexis LLoyd of Junior magazine about it and she wrote a really smart article–props to her!
Posts Tagged ‘stepchildren’
Dr. Rachelle Katz has a new radio show on Stepfamily Central and I was lucky to be her first guest. We talked about the word “blended” and the need for public support for and a public education campaign about what stepfamilies are really like. Hope you will have a listen…
Maybe. On Valentine’s Day, remember one key to a successful repartnership with children: prioritizing and nurturing the couple bond. Remarriages or reparnterships with children are remarkably fragile and rates of divorce and dissolution are high. Child-centric parenting and step parenting doesn’t help. Too often, couples with the best intentions focus on the happiness of the step/kids of any age to such an extent, they forget to pay attention to their own. Turn that dynamic around today and every day.
I am now contributing to the Daily Telegraph’s Mother Tongue column, writing on step”family” issues. For starters, can we please stop using a term that not only doesn’t describe steplife accurately, but also makes many of us feel inadequate? Hope you will have a read….and leave a comment.
Did you make any resolutions earlier this month? I hope you will have a look at my latest post for psychology today … and leave a comment!
I have heard from a number of you about Judith Graham’s story in the Dec 24th issue of the New York Times health section. This is the kind of story the media loves, about “co-wives” who get along great and become BFFs. Sure, it’s a nice and heartwarming story of one woman caring for another. Unfortunately, the media’s fixation with these types of stories about “the ex wife and the new wife who are best pals,” and the readers’ comments–”Most divorced people I know stay friends after,” etc.–naively and damagingly imply that repartnership with children is “easy” if everybody is just “nice.” And that, if you don’t have your parnter’s ex for the holidays (or to your wedding), and if you aren’t “close,” there is something “wrong” with you.
Anyone who studies stepfamily dynamics knows these standards are absurd, but social pressure can be tremendous. Buck the pressure this holiday season by surrounding yourself with your friends who understand and support you; having realistic expectations about stepfamily dynamics; and rejecting the requirement that looking, feeling and acting “just like a first family” and being close to your husband’s ex are the only meaningful measures of partnership or stepfamily success. No, Virginia, there is no requirement that you work miracles this holiday season. Just enjoy! xx wednesday
The new issue of StepMom magazine is now available. In it, you will find sound advice, compassion and the information you need to keep yourself and your partnership strong. Hope you will have a look at my piece of Disengaging. What are the benefits of doing less in your remarriage with children? Is disengaging for you?
I am the special guest expert on CafeMom’s Stepmom Central board this week. Hope you will stop by the site and ask a question
No, that’s not a typo. Some of you who read my blog are mothers who also have stepchildren. Some of you are straight up stepmothers, and today is likely more complicated for you than it is for those stepmothers who also have kids of their own.
Yes, I just said that, “kids of their own.” Because as anyone who reads my blog knows, I am not one of those people who urges you to think of yourself as their “other mother” or a mom figure or like a mom in any way. Unless you want a whole world of trouble, loyalty binds, and resentment heaped upon you. Instead, women with stepkids can feel free to consider the whole range of options available to us–from very involved, if kids and their mom are okay with that, to not very involved at all, just a welcoming presence. There’s a whole stepmothering spectrum, and sentimentalizing and romanticizing how the “bond” between women and their stepkids of any age “should” be only sets us up for hurt and disappointment.
If your husband’s kids didn’t call you for Mother’s Day, that might just be the very best development ever. Most likely, they have a mom, and being in touch with you today could make them feel disloyal to her. It’s not about your efforts, which have been wonderful, or your personality, which I know is far from wicked. It’s just that, since parents and stepparents are not the same, it’s different. Happy Other’s Day to you. Because you’re more than “another mother”–you’re a person with the freedom to live this relationship with his kids that way that feels authentic to you.
What women with stepchildren can’t relate to what Pema Chodron writes: “The saddest thing of all is how we cheat ourselves of the present moment.”
Many of our stepmothering dilemmas are beyond our control–stressors abound in a repartnership with a man with children. But our responses to stress are, thankfully, something we can take charge of.
What part of your day is given over to ruminating over the past–the way his children and/or ex mistreated you or him, for example–or worrying about what may happen in the future? (What will his daughter’s weekend visit be like this time? What horrible thing will his ex wife do to undermine it? Etc.)? How might choosing to focus on living in the present moment help you and improve your marriage or partnership?