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Below you will see a series of columns (most recent listed first) where Cathryn Bond Doyle, (Stepmom Coach and Founder of Smoms) shares her ideas, experiences and feelings about being a Stepmom. Her columns are written based on the activity on the bulletin board and the topics discussed at the SMOMS Support Groups meetings that week. Take the time to read these essays, the title and brief overview are listed so you can scan them by topics.

Feeling like you are being "mean" or selfish, fearing that your situation is unique or that you are alone can be very stressful and even scary, "What's happening to happy fun-loving me?" is a common reaction to the stress many Stepmoms face. Stepmoms can find common ground with Cathryn and the other Stepmoms on this site. If you'd like to get some feedback & ideas on your situation, please join us on our Bulletin Board. If you've found tactics, strategies, rituals and/or approaches that have worked for you, please submit a SMOMS Lessons Learned. Many Stepmoms have experienced the anger, pain, frustrations and despair that come from being so "out of control of" our own family lives and "at the mercy of" other people's actions. As SMOMS, we believe that sharing our feelings, experiences and lessons learned will improve our health, happiness AND our relationships.

Article Title (Mouse Over to read a brief Summary)

One way to deal with incoming bio-mom drama

This is from the BB and offers one more way to helpus "take nothing personally" when it comes to a hostile bio-mom. 


Strategies for a Terrific Mother's Day-Case studies from BB

Read about several Stepmoms and their concerns about Mother's Day and the emotional challenges they faced in 2012. 


The "Sounds about Right" Approach when Bio-mom's actions drive you "nuts"

This article describes an approach any stepmom can take to help preserve your energy and sanity.  Some hostile bio-moms are willing to do whatever it takes to assert their sense of power over your world. Once you realize you can't change her, shifting your attitude can bring you some inner peace.


One approach to supporting our Husband's when they feel divorce guilt or fear.

Watching the man we love, cower or defend being manipulated by his ex-wife and/or kids is very painful.  It's easy to get angry but it doesn't help the man we love become stronger, it only shames him more, provokes a defensive reaction (because he doesn't know what else to do) and drives his self-esteem further into hiding. It doesn't bring us closer.  If the man you love suffers from divorce guilt or fears, take a look and try this approach.  It won't stop the manipulation but it will keep you two closer no matter what they do.


The Stop Trying so hard and start lovingly ignoring your stepkids Plan

What can you do when you've already done everything you can thnk of and the skids still don't behave or treat you with basic courtesy or respect? Step out of the power struggle and try NOT trying with an open, not hostile heart.  Good Things can happen...if you're game to try.


Choice and Creativity can make (And Save) your Holiday.

Holidays and special occasions, which are supposed to be joyful times in our lives, can be infuriating and heart-breaking for many stepfamilies. There are so many expectations, beliefs, rituals and emotions invested in the holidays and 3 or more parental figures involved.  How can you help yourself in this stressful time?


The Allure of Blaming others-What are our options?

When things happen to us, it is a natural reaction to want to blame others. Heck we've been hurt or angered or inconvenienced and it's not our fault! The downside of Blame is that it hurts us and doesn't help the situation. Learn more about your options.


The Pros and Cons of Catastrophizing

When there are people in our Smom-life who've had negative impact on us over and over again, it's easy to get in the habit of thinking about ALL the bad things that could happen each time a new bad event occurs.  Learn more about this common reaction to another piece of bad news.


Expectations that CAN work for SMOMs

Many sources tell SMOMs to lower their expectations. Most of us understand the rationale of this advice but frankly, it's sad to think we have to give up our "Happy Family Dreams." Learn about expectations and take a look at some that are realistic and CAN be achieved.


Guarding vs. hardening our Hearts

Dealing with the stress of being a SMOM requires us to develop survival strategies and many of those strategies can result in our hearts closing down-out of necessity, causing hostility to leak from us. That's clearly not our path of choice. This is an edited version of a post from the BB from Dec. 06 and it offers another choice as we learn to heal and deal with our situations.


When Skids get away with things, SMOMS would never have done, It can make us furious. Why is that?

Have you ever noticed that sometimes our skids can do something and POW...a rage wells up in us that seems disproportionate to the single act or incident? Yep, me too! When this happens, it's a good time to hit the 'Pause' button on our actions and take some time to reflect on what just happened. Time spent in understanding what triggers us is very insightful and gives us a chance to heal any childhood wounds.  We all have them. The key is to be aware of them. See if anything here makes sense for you.


Guest Smommentary--When you marry a man with kids?

This essay is a compilation of a thread started in April, 2007. It is a collection of advice from women who have been there and felt that written in hopes of helping women in the role of stepmom make the best of their situation.


ODE TO SMOMS By Debs from Australia

A SMOM from Australia wrote this in a moment of inspiration around Mother's Day 2007. It was so SMOM-like and right-on that she gave me her permission to make it a permanent part of the site. Thanks Debs!


Caring for vs. catering to our stepkids.

In our enthusiasm for welcoming Stepchildren (skids) into our happy new life, we can end up making choices that come back to bite us. This essay takes a compassionate look at our eagerness to create a happy blended family so we can make conscious choices and avoid feeling resentful and like the family servant.


You might be a frustrated Stepmom if...

I wrote this after a particularly frustrating experience. This essay is about WHY we might feel such rage at bio-moms and skids and then throw out a few examples in an attempt to twist frustration into a bonding experience for SMOMS.


Approach for dealing with hostile bio-mom.

When the bio-mom makes it clear she isn't interested in getting along with us, it's time for a new strategy. The following is a revised compilation of several earlier posts to sum up a new outlook for this enraging and painful situation.


When a bio-mom doesn't want to get along with us.

This is a revised and compiled version of a couple of posts about what we can do when the bio-mom isn't interested in being "nice" or even civil to us.


Cue Cards for Husbands married to SMOMs.

It started as a joke and ended up helping my husband see just how helpful a compassionate word could be.


Cycle of Stepmom Frustration

This essay was written many years ago when I was still hoping that there was something I could do to convince the bio-mom of my skid to get along and help us have a happy blended family.  I had to experience a lot of pain before I could break out of this cycle. 


The Loyalty Wars

Sometimes Skids are put in the terrible position of realizing that their bio-moms will give them more love and/or attention if they openly dislike, or are unhappy with, any aspect of life at Dad's.


A SMOMS Poem

This made me smile. I hope it has the same impact on you.


Putting the Skids first doesn't mean putting yourself last!

Misinterpreting this phrase has led many of us down a path of pain, anger, martyrhood and needless suffering. Why do we do it? What else can we do?


Anger Letter Process

The following is a recap for the way I was taught, and now teach, people to process their anger. It's a healthy way to authentically move the energy out of your body so you can be free and think and feel more clearly.


Things I've learned about being a Stepmom

After 7 Years of actively trying to achieve a "Happy Blended Family," wanted to share lessons.  


The Movie, Miracle inspired this SMOM.

I was struck by the similarity between the USA Hockey Team's quest to beat the Soviets and our SMOM Challenges with hostile bio-moms. This article elaborates in the analogy and shares what inspired me about the movie. 


Does anyone ever feel powerless?

This is a compilation of a thread about powerlessness. There were so many feelings and ideas shared that Ali (A SMOM from the very beginning of SMOMS) kindly offered to edit, condense and de-personalize so we could post it here as a Special Smommentary. 


Feelings Resentful?

Feelings resentful can be caused by many combinations of hurtful, painful, annoying or enraging situations. The bad news about that is WE are the ones feeling the negative impact of this crummy feeling. The Smommentary covers some positive insights and action steps can we take to free ourselves from resentment.


Reducing the pain-a story

It's often easy to find ourselves mentally obsessed with thinking about a skid or bio-mom situation to the point that we lose many, many hours of joy and peace of mind. Here's an approach Buddha teaches that I've applied to our lives as SMOMs.


Dealing with Disrespectful Teenagers (skids and kids)

Teenagers, know when they're being rude and disrespectful and yet they still choose to act this way. Read what an expert in Adolescents suggested for how SMOMS can deal with teenagers AND keep our power and dignity in tact.


Tips for reducing the impact of a hostile bio-mom on your life

If the bio-mom of your skids is choosing to be hostile, it can have devastating impact on your life as a SMOM. Read about ways to free yourself from her impact.


Building a healthy relationship with our Skids-Part 2 of 2

When it comes to investing energy and creativity in a situation, SMOMs are a talented bunch. This article is intended to share some proven ideas that will lead to fun and meaningful activities with your Skids that can improve and/or deepen your relationship. Fun is a powerful healer. Creativity seems to be a common SMOM quality. It's a good combination.


Building a healthy relationship with our Skids-part 1 of 2

The more conscious we can be, the more powerful, effective, kind and compassionate we can be when interacting with our Skids. We don't have control over a lot of things but how we behave is something we do have control over. Here is the first of a two part Smommentary. This part talks about the more emotional, attitudinal aspects of being a wise SMOM. Part 2 is more about the practical rituals and traditions we can create for our families.


Getting Angry vs. Staying Angry

As SMOMS we have all experienced a wide spectrum of angers, from mild frustration to rage. How can we use these feelings without becoming at the mercy of them? Read this post and a couple replies for some insights that may help you the next time you get angry.


Do we want to be right or do we want to be happy?

It stinks that we have to even ponder this question but making the choice to be happy is a vital path to achieving peace of mind in our often very stressful situations.


   
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