Cathryn's Mailbox
Stepmoms wrote in, Cathryn replied​.
Cathryn's Mailbox
2 Youngsters I can't control.

3 yr old SS crying all the time!

A bio-mom worried about new stepmom in her daughter's life- can we help?

About ready to throw in the towel!

About to become a step parent and am terrified!

Bio mom badmouthing me to my stepson & he repeats to me & my kids.

Bio-mom back & I'm hurt by her impact-what can I do?

Bio-mom doesn't want me present at any of my skids school events.

Bio-mom is online stalking & has issues w/ pictures of skids.

Bio-mom physically assaulted me & telling skids it was the other way around?

Bio-mom used me, I drew a line, she’s angry--now what?

BM doesn't want her kids, then does-what's going on?

Clarifying Mission Statement for SMOMS-revised

Dealing w/ bio-mom who doesn't want to get along with me?

Dealing w/ Deceased Bio Mom's Extended Family

Dealing with SD at my young age

DH finds out he has a daughter-I feel terrible

DH sets no Boundaries for SD20-what to do?

DH w/3 bio-kids not trying to bond w/ my 2 bio kids.

Do I love my ss? I don't know.

Does the BB help or hurt with issues?

Don't know where I went wrong

Ever Feel Like Leaving?

FDH feels guilty about leaving BM & allows her to excessively call/text/email him.

Feeling like invisible parent to stepson- help!

Feeling like the enemy in my own house: Teen SD

Feeling resentment towards my SS & can't connect

From BB- A Ritual for you & your beloved

From BB: Self-awareness can hurt...why is that?

Help w/situation that dad, biomom & skid all agree on but I don’t feel is best

Holiday traditions? Some ideas from sister SMOMS

How can I find the right balance & Boundaries?

How can I handle my SD8 who loves negative attention?

How do I cope w/DH's need for perfect family when I'm more realistic about it?

How do I deal with a lying SD, her bio-mom & the ex-step mom?

How do I deal with all the hurt and anger?

How do I help her understand that chores and rules don't mean that I don’t love her?

How do I stop SD from lying to me, DH, BM, and BM's boyfriend?

How to accept bio-mom's "bad" choices?

How to deal w/ unkind skids, ex-wife, MIL costing me my relationship?

how to deal w/SD choosing bio-mom for school play?

How to handle bio-mom who keeps asking for more $$$?

How to handle it when skids away Christmas Day?

How to help ss, when BM encourages him to lie?

How to help when bio-mom returns

How to let go of the single life I thought I saw going to live versus being SMOM?

How to make transition easier for skids?

how to step back in after stepping out?

Husband still feels guilty, his kids in their 30’s

I am frustrated with my skids 99% of the!

I feel jealous of DH's ex & unheard by DH-Help!

I feel left out & sort of invisible w/ grown SD’s

I really love my FDH, but really wish his daughter didn't exist?

I want a better relationship w/ teen stepson

I want a Closer relationship w/ stepdaughter

I want my bed back

I would like to know how to change my attitude towards my new inherited family

I'm at the end of my tether... Stepchildren don't seem to like me.

If you're in the mood for SMOMS Pep Talk-read this!

Invested so much love, time, energy & $$...seems it's never enough

It's too much work- I need help from DH & Family!

Jealous of sister-in-law & Skids-what can I do?

Just jealous or maybe time to leave?

Local support stepmom groups???

My DH doesn't understand why my feelings are hurt

My husband stays at his mothers when he has his daughter for the night.

Need better coping skills to do so…

No matter what I do, bio-mom still hostile. I feel hopeless & scared

Not a step mom yet but need some guidance

Open for your Questions in March 2015

Right now, I HATE being a Stepmom!!!

Self-Pity-it's an emotional numbing,energy draining tactic

Someone to talk to when things come up or whenever?

SS5 keeps throwing his BM in my face! Help!

Struggling w/ a jealous stepdaughter

Stubborn DH and sexually active teenage SS

teenage step daughter & car...Ugh!

the problem is my partner...why is he fighting my efforts?

Transitions and Coparenting Struggles

Trouble coping w/BF's newborn & ex.

Venting Guidelines- A Requested approach

What are reasonable expectations?

What are these letters?

What boundaries do I need to set with husband and sd?

What can we do about the rage! I "Lost it" last night. Help!

What to do about disrespectful 20 yr/old SS

What to do when Bio mom starts turning step daughter against me?

what to do when step child stops saying I love you?

When bio-mom sends stuff from life w/your DH?

When BM causes drama, how to prevent that impacting my relationship w/ the skids?

When to call it quits? What to do?

When winning more important to bio-mom than getting along

Why do things Skid's say bother me so & what to do?-Updated!

Why does it bother me that my skids don't recognize how much their father does for th

Why does my ss's rudeness bother me so?

Why does my stepson Idolize his bio-mom????

Why don't I matter in the family?

Why so jealous? What about irrational fears?

Just jealous or maybe time to leave?
Dear Cathryn

Am I just a babysitter or is it jealousy?

question:  I know after reading many threads on the forums it's natural for a smom to feel jealous over her stepkids...however, I'm starting to wonder if what I feel is going beyond jealousy.  I love the skids and I love my SO more than I can bear.  So when they cling all over him, or when it feels as though he's taking their side (and it's wrong), it hurts.  It hurts so much that I start to question why he's even with me.  I think, "Am I just convenient?" I wonder, "Am I the only one who he could find to put up with this crap?"  I want to start a future with him so badly but he hasn't even proposed to me.  I'm starting to think I'm a glorified babysitter.  Please Cathryn, is this a relationship that's going ANYWHERE?  I'm getting to an age where it's risky to have children.  Do I need to move on?


Hi there, I appreciate having the opportunity to offer you some ideas for your to think about AND I need to make sure you know that YOU are the only one who can answer your last 2 questions. The fact that you are raising the issues is, what my old coach would say, noteworthy. Trusting your gut here is going to be a vital element of your future choices.

Nowadays it is so common for lovers to move in together before there is a formal commitment. What you are experiencing now is, from my experience, not likely to change if you two had a formal agreement. This can be hard to hear when we are as in love with someone as you say you are. When trying to make a decision it can be helpful to try to untangle all the many feelings you may be having.

Let’s see what we can pull out:
Yes, you are right, it is normal to feel “upset” when you feel that you are not getting the attention of the one you love. Whether jealousy or more is a good question. When the skids are not around do you feel totally adored and like you are getting enough give and take from him? Can you find ways to give him a chance to have quality time with the skids AND family time that includes you. “Dates with Dad works well with young kids and with teens, just changing to outings with Dad can give him a concentrated time with each one. (Doesn’t have to be all day.) Seems when skids can get a concentrated dose of attention it can work wonders. However, if the skids are showering him or being needy for his attention whenever you are around trying to put their Dad in a “Make a choice me or her?” kind of thing, that is a matter that only the Dad can address.
Since he hasn’t proposed, are you not talking about the future or is he consciously uncommitted to you?
What would happen to your relationship if you told him that you were no longer available to do the babysitting? Clearly he is getting a good deal that he knows his kids are safe with you. However, what are you getting out of the arrangement? What about finding alternative sitting arrangements, even reducing your time to gage his reaction and your feelings about them?
Does he know about your feelings and refuses to set limits with his kids? Is he willing to have the kids see how much he loves you AND the kids? Do you ever get top priority when the skids are there? (Date night, pre-post dinner stroll just you two?) Perhaps some of these questions will give you a different perspective of what is happening at the house and will help you decide what you want and need.
How he supports (or doesn’t support) your emotional needs and your stated concerns is a BIG FACTOR for any marital relationship. (This is important-you know that old saying, “Why pay for the cow when you get the milk for free?”)
An exercise I often give to clients and friends is this, make a list of the “Top 50 qualities of the Man of my dreams.” Seriously, be brutally honest with yourself and write down this list. It is going to be more challenging for you as you feel you love this man-but since you are soul searching about it-pretend the Universe is going to bring you the man who has all 50 qualities your write down. What are they? How many does this fellow have?
How important is it to be the number 1 priority in your lovers eyes? This is a time for you to be brutally honest with yourself. When you marry a man with kids from a previous relationship, there is a chance you will be tied for 1st, or 2nd or worse. This is very hard if what you want and what he can give aren’t matched up. There is no right or wrong but you want to listen very closely to his answers to some of these questions.
Have you read, “The Mastery of Love”? By Don Miguel Ruiz? He is the one who wrote “The Four Agreements” and it could be a good, thought-provoking book for you at this point. Sometimes when we are in love, we compromise our needs or promise ourselves that we can work things out. Now is the time for you to have the conversations about these things, not only because you need to see if he will honor your needs and help you get them met, but because working together to figure out how to help each other is a life long skill you all are going to need and now would be a better time to decide if you two can create it.
Does he suffer from Divorce guilt? Does he acknowledge it and it’s impact on you? Is he getting help with his fears? Can you two use this “challenge” to become closer and develop new skills or is he a “take me as I am or get out?” kind of guy?
Have you talked to a good therapist about this? I hesitate to recommend therapists because it is my experience that so many do not really understand what we are going through and if they haven’t walked in our shoes, many tend to generalize and are not supportive in a SMOM’s process. I am sure there are terrific ones out there but I hear more about the ones that do not help the situation. I can wholeheartedly recommend a wonderful, talented, gifted, kind therapist (over 30 years) who works on the phone. She’s a stepmom, got ss at age 5, he’s now in his 20’s. She is very talented at helping people getting to the bottom of things and healing and learning. If you want her contact details, email me and I will pass them along.

I realize I am asking more questions than I am answering. Yet something tells me you are looking for the questions that help you sort out your feelings. I hope you got support when you posted on the BB.

The other factor is your own childbearing goals. If you want to have your own child, that certainly deserves your highest attention. Does he know your desires about this? I’m sure he knows your age so it is also noteworthy that you appear to feel like he is dragging his feet. It would be heart-breaking if this relationship is not what you want and need to move one. It would be irrevocably life changing if you don’t listen to your heart, trust your feelings and do what is right for you.

A line from “The Four Agreements” has been with me for many years now. “You’re lying to yourself if listen to what people say instead of paying attention to what they are doing.” You deserve to be loved, feel cherished and valued in your relationship. Maybe it is time to have a good long talk with your sweetheart. It is definitely time to have a good, long, honest talk with yourself and then TRUST in yourself!

Good Luck in your process. There are a couple of articles you may want to read about relationships in my columns. You can click over there and check out the descriptions-trust your intuition on any titles that strike you as interesting.

My Best Wishes for your happiness and well-being, Cathryn
Cathryn's Mailbox
Stepmoms on a Mission®
PO Box 7, Medford NJ 08055