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?

Dealing with SD at my young age
I am 23 years old. 
I have a nine-year-old stepdaughter. 
When my stepdaughter's father, my husband, first started dating, we didn't have his daughter around us all that much. He now since we are married he expects me to be around his daughter every day. He expects me to be with her more than he actually is with her. I do not want to be with her that much as we don't have a great relationship now. I really am not used to being around children so much. How do I form a bond without being easily annoyed with her? 

Cathryn Replies: 

Hi there,  I’m glad you found us.  I did read your final question (twice) and I will address that however first I would like to bring your attention to the imposition of your husband’s expectation of you.  His expectations are common but that doesn’t make them fair, right or something you have to live with.  Can you honor your annoyance as an emotional signal that something needs to change? 

Differing and unspoken beliefs about the “Rules” of being husband and wife are the source of many stressful feelings between mates.  It sounds like your husband hasn’t included you in these changes, perhaps assuming that now that you are married you will do whatever HE expects you to do as his wife?  Perhaps, he assumes you have the same beliefs?  Perhaps he’s enjoying having you there to pick up “woman’s work” without realizing how that he’s respecting you and your rights as a EQUAL partner?    I’m not trying to cause trouble between you, just help you become more conscious of the power of beliefs so evaluate this situation from the position of empowered choice. 

So often we “eager-beaver stepmoms” offer (and do) so much for our partners.  Many times we do too much all with great intentions. We want to help them. We want to be part of the new family and often, we do things as a way to be included. It’s real easy to feel left out, maybe even a bit guilty, when we’re so happy about our new relationship but our partner and his kids may still be grieving and dealing with un-healed divorce wounds.  (There’s an article about over-giving and one about divorce guilt that may be helpful you.)

As a new “wife” and woman of the house, this is an important time for you and your husband to consciously look at your beliefs about these roles.   Many older husband’s carry a passed down version of chauvinism; that it’s woman’s work to care for any children in the house.  Many women were raised to believe that too.  Thankfully, these are JUST beliefs and not laws.  We can change beliefs as soon as we are aware of them. Waking up to our beliefs is an important part of becoming wise.

When our beliefs, what’s happening and our feelings about things feel good to us….everything feels right.  However, when our beliefs or other peoples beliefs and expectations of us result in us NOT feeling good, this is the birth of resentment.  

Why?  Because All resentment is a form of anger.  Anger is telling us a personal boundary is being violated. Whether we are conscious of the specific reason or not, whatever doesn’t feel right creates a painful and potentially enraging and maybe scary conflict between what we are supposed to do, what we want to do & what is happening. (Please see the articles and case studies about resentment for much more about this important topic.)

What to do?

As you asked at the end of your note to me, you can work on your relationship with your stepdaughter. Every caring intention & effort you make to connect with her is a gift of love to her. (Pause for a moment to realize this because so often stepmoms are treated like Nannies, day care providers and they get money in exchange for their efforts.) 

It can feel good for you too. I believe that we SMOMS come into our stepkids lives to help them in ways their parents can’t.  IF you feel you are freely choosing this path this can be a beautiful relationship unlike anything she’ll have with her parents…IF she is willing.  However, if YOU feel emotionally forced, like an unspoken law, to care for her against your whole hearted will, this is not good for you or your stepdaughter because she will feel it and you will resent it.  (Not our goal for either of you.) Below is a link to a couple of idea-filled articles written as thought starters for you.

2. You can speak to your husband and tell him that you two need to discuss the care of HIS daughter as the present situation is “NOT OK” with you. (NO need to give reasons, something not being OK needs to be respected…ideally.) If speaking up to your partner about your feelings brings up any fears….this is a whole other topic that is worthy of your reflection but too big for this question. 

3. You can write out your beliefs about being the woman of the house and invite your husband to do the same thing.  This can help you see the areas of conflicting beliefs and needs.  Looking at these lists call show you where the two of you can do some important, life changing, creative problem solving.  

I’m assuming you want to be in an equal partnership and yet sometimes, because we’re so in love, we can lose some, (or lots) of our power in the name of keeping our partner happy with us. This isn’t bad or wrong…it’s just human, painful, enraging and the good news is that we can do something about it.  It requires some courage.  Rocking the relationship boat usually does AND it can lead to such a more loving connection between you and your partner when SMOM/DH’s work together consciously choosing to honor BOTH of your needs and revising beliefs to honor BOTH of you.  (BOTH is the key word here.)

Please see my article, “Nobody’s right/Nobody’s Wrong Approach to relationships” for some concrete ideas.  FYI: as a Guest Member you can read many other articles about relationships.

4. You can sign up as a Member of the bulletin board to get the support of several young sister SMOMS who can share their stories, their lessons learned and support you right now.  There is a FREE 30-day membership before you have to decide to join or not and scholarship options if you don’t have the money at this time.  The goal is to give you the compassion, support, tools and ideas that will help you lovingly & consciously stand up for your needs by honoring your feelings and making new choices. Something needs to change and it can be you!

There are so many complex dynamics going on with every stepfamily situation. It’s my belief that being a stepmom is going to bring every unhealed emotional wound to the surface.  While this can be a scary & overwhelming thought, when we can look at it as a chance to heal old painful patterns as we better understand ourselves & create new beliefs and boundaries…well then it can be a self-loving, rewarding, albeit challenging, exploration.  

When the age difference between stepmom and partner is a factor (8-10 years or more) it can make the challenge even more complex. There are many young like you sister stepmoms on a mission who are part of our group and eager to share with you, as well as offering the compassion that can be so healing.  Once you’ve read the articles and checked us out as a free Guest Member, you will know if is the place for helping you in your situation as you continue to connect with your stepdaughter and stand up for your rights as an equal partner in your marriage.

I bet you didn’t expect all this when asking a question about connecting with your stepdaughter…my hope and goal is that this gives you some hope & energy knowing that there is a pathway to reclaiming more and more own personal power ,feeling better about your future with your husband AND connecting with this lucky little girl. 

Wishing you all kinds of exciting insights.
Warm Regards to you, Cathryn
Cathryn's Mailbox
Stepmoms on a Mission®
PO Box 7, Medford NJ 08055