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    Are you a Stepmom or Thinking of Becoming a Stepmom?

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    Being a stepmom can be hard, especially given that images of the evil stepmother are prevalent in folklore and stepchildren who ‘go after’ the new stepmother are depicted in movies. At the other extreme is the mythical Brady Bunch where everyone gets along (just like a first family) from the very beginning. It is unrealistic to expect your stepfamily to mirror the Brady Bunch from day one. Bonds that develop naturally in a first family take substantially more time to develop in stepfamilies; and forethought needs to be given to how these bonds will be established and then nurtured.

    Marrying a man who has children from a previous relationship brings with it extra ‘stuff’ as you will potentially be placed in a parental role without the accolades of being the biological mother. In essence you may feel as though you do all the work with none of the glory. Do you fear dealing with his ‘ex’ for as long as the children are under 18 years of age, and potentially long afterwards? How will his finances be divided up; will there be any funds left over for you and him to enjoy? What about your money, will it be placed towards caring for his children since his is tied up in alimony payments?

    Each of these questions can make becoming a stepmom daunting, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. And although your efforts may go unnoticed which could result in you feeling unappreciated and unsure of the role you play in your stepfamily, stepmothers are in the unique position of becoming an ‘intimate outsider’ (as referred to by Dr. Patricia Papernow) as you may become the one adult in your stepchild’s life whom he and she feels comfortable confiding in. This is a special relationship that the biological parent is unable to fulfill.

    Although being a stepmom has its difficulties, it can be a very rewarding relationship. Sometimes strengthening relationships with stepchildren starts with strengthening the relationship you have with yourself and your partner. If you share some of the common stepmom complaints below, contact Christina Roach and let’s start making your experience ‘in step’ a successful one!

    Common Complaints of Stepmothers  (Dr. Jeannette Lofas, The Stepfamily Foundation)

    1. Everyone in his life comes before me.
    2. He expects me to treat his kids as if they were my own children; I am not their mother.
    3. I want a child of my own and he’s had enough.
    4. When his ex calls he jumps at her commands. She has more influence than I do in our marriage.
    5. My money goes to support this family because all his money goes to his ex and children.
    6. His ex never says thank you for all the things I do to care for her children.
    7. His children treat me like a maid; I’m expected to do everything their mother would do for them but I don’t get any respect or appreciation.
    8. My husband thinks that buying his kids stuff or entertaining them is parenting.
    9. Guilt runs his relationship with his children.
    10. I think I’m becoming a cruel stepmother.
    11. When his children come over we have no sex life; he expects me to be kind to his kids, cook for the, and accompany them on outings, and then when we go to bed he is too guilty or ‘wimped out’ to make love to me… and he wonders why I’m in a bad mood.
    12. All his kids can say is “Buy me this, drive me, do this for me…”
    13. We disagree completely on discipline.
    14. I work hard all week and then he expects me to be there for them on the weekends; this is my time to unwind.
    15. Sometimes he expects me to put my life on hold to babysit his kids.
    16. I want to come first in his life.


    Lofas, J. (2004). Stepparenting; everything you need to know to make it work. New York, NY: Kensington Publishing Corp. (Cited from page 38 of referenced text). 

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