Cathryn's Mailbox
Stepmoms wrote in, Cathryn replied​.
Cathryn's Mailbox
A- I love my partner, but I also wish his daughter didn't exist! (8/11)

A-About ready to throw in the towel! (4/12)

A-About to become a stepparent and am terrified!(5/12)

A-Are you in the mood for Stepmom's Pep Talk-read this! (3/15)

A-Clarifying Mission Statement for SMOMS. (11/11)

A-Do I love my stepson? Sometimes I don't know.(8/12)

A-Don't know where I went wrong. Please help me!(6/12)

A-Ever Feel Like Leaving? (5/11)

A-Feeling like invisible parent to stepson- help! (12/13)

A-Feeling like the enemy in my own house. Yes I have a teen stepdaughter.(5/15)

A-From BB: Self-awareness can hurt...why is that? (10/12)

A-Holiday traditions? Some ideas from sister SMOMS. (11/113)

A-How can I find the right balance & boundaries? (4/12)

A-How do I deal with all the hurt and anger? (1/12)

A-How to let go of the single life versus being stepmom?(8/15)

A-How to step back in after stepping out? (8/12)

A-I need some better coping skills and I'm open to new ideas.(7/16)

A-Invested so much love, time, energy & $$...seems it's never enough. (2/16)

A-It's too much work- I need help from my partner & Family!(7/12)

A-Not a step mom yet but need some guidance (7/12)

A-Right now, I HATE being a Stepmom!!! (10/13)

A-Self-Pity-an emotional numbing,energy draining tactic-find a new option. (7/15)

A-What about the rage! I "Lost it" last night. Help! (10/11)

A-What are reasonable expectations? (3/11)

A-When to call it quits? What to do? (3/12)

A-Why am I so jealous? What about my irrational fears? 7/15)

A-Why don't I matter in this stepfamily? (12/11)

B-Dealing with SD at my young age (7/15)

B-Feeling resentment towards my stepson and can't connect with him.(2/16)

B-How can I handle my stepdaughter(8) who loves negative attention? (8/12)

B-How do I deal with a bio-mom who doesn't want to get along with me? (9/13)

B-How do I handle my feelings when my stepchild stops saying I love you? (4/16)

B-How do I help her understand chores/rules don't mean that I don’t love her?(1/12)

B-How to help my stepson, when his mom encourages him to lie to us? (10/11)

B-How to make the transition between homes easier for stepkids?(12/17)

B-I am frustrated with my stepkids 99% of the! (5/14)

B-I feel left out and invisible with grown SDs (4/12)

B-I have issues with my teenage stepdaughter and the car...Ugh! (4/12)

B-I have two stepkids I can't control.(9/11)

B-I want a better relationship w/ teen stepson. (6/12)

B-I want a Closer relationship w/ stepdaughter (5/12)

B-I'm at the end of my tether... Stepchildren don't seem to like me. (12/11)

B-It feels like my 5-year old stepson throws his mom in my face! Help! (10/11)

B-Just jealous or maybe time to leave? (6/11)

B-My 3 yr old stepson seems to be crying all the time!(9/12)

B-My husband stays at his mothers when he has his daughter for the night. (10/12)

B-My stepdaughter chooses her bio-mom for school play-it upsets me. (6/11)

B-My stepkids don't recognize how much their dad does for them. (6/11)

B-Struggling w/ a jealous stepdaughter (3/12)

B-What to do about disrespectful 20 yr/old stepson? (4/11)

B-When your stepkids are away on Christmas Day. (12/12)

B-Why do things my stepkids say bother me so much? (11/11)

B-Why does my stepson idolize his bio-mom? (4/12)

B-Why does my stepson's rudeness bother me so much? (12/11)

C-Bio-mom assaulted me & told stepkids it was the other way around. (8/11)

C-Bio-mom back & I'm hurt by her impact-what can I do? (8/11)

C-Bio-mom doesn't want her kids, then does-what's going on? (8/11)

C-Bio-mom doesn't want me present at any of my skids school events.(8/15)

C-Bio-mom is badmouthing me to my stepson & he tells me and my kids.(6/16)

C-Bio-mom used me, I drew a line, she’s angry--now what? (9/11)

C-How to accept bio-mom's "bad" choices? (6/11)

C-How to deal when bio-mom returns into the picture. (1/16)

C-How to handle bio-mom who keeps asking for more $$$? (9/12)

C-No matter what I do, bio-mom still hostile. I feel hopeless and scared.(3/17)

C-What to do when bio-mom turns my stepdaughter against me? (9/16)

C-When bio-mom sends stuff from life w/your partner-what to do? (5/11)

D-How do I cope w/DH's need for perfect family? I'm more realistic. (4/12)

D-Husband still has divorce guilt and his kids are in their 30’s--ugh! (10/14)

D-I think the problem is my partner. Why is he fighting my efforts?(6/15)

D-My partner doesn't understand why my feelings are hurt. (7/11)

D-My partner feels divorce guilt so lets his ex interrupt outlives (6/18)

D-My partner w/3 bio-kids is not trying to bond w/ my 2 kids.(8/11)

D-Partner sets no Boundaries for SD20-what to do? (8/11)

E-A bio-mom worried about her daughter's new Stepmom. Will we help? (2/12)

E-Bio-mom is online stalking and has issues w/ pictures of stepkids. (6/12)

E-Dealing w/ Deceased Bio Mom's Extended Family (5/12)

E-Dealing w/ unkind stepkids, ex-wife, MIL costing me my relationship? (2/12)

E-Help w/situation that dad, biomom & stepkids all agree on but not me! (3/11)

E-How do I change my attitude towards my new inherited family? (4/12)

E-How do I stop SD from lying to me, DH, BM, and BM's boyfriend? (8/12)

E-How to deal with a lying stepdaughter, her bio-mom & ex-stepmom? (1/12)

E-I feel jealous of my partner's ex & unheard by my partner. (10/11)

E-I want my bed back! (5/11)

E-Jealous of sister-in-law and my stepkids. What can I do? (8/12)

E-My partner found out he has a daughter-I feel terrible (10/12)

E-Stubborn partner and sexually active teenage SS (8/12)

E-Transitions and Coparenting Struggles (3/16)

E-Trouble coping w/BF's newborn and his ex-spouse. (7/12)

E-What boundaries do I need to set with husband and stepdaughter? (11/11)

E-When BM causes drama, how to preserve my relationship w/ stepkids?(6/12)

B-How do I deal with a bio-mom who doesn't want to get along with me? (9/13)
Dear Cathryn,

Here's my question: How do I deal w/bio-mom who won’t communicate w/me AND blames me 4 everything?

OK, I’m sorry this is going to be so long. I want to thank you now for reading this and giving me a neutral party opinion.

To start off with BM left my DH and moved 9 hours away out of state and wouldn’t let DH see or talk to SD for almost 4 years. the whole time of which he paid child support. In 3 years he only got to see her for a little less than 3 weeks. she just recently moved back into her hometown which is where we live.

Me and my DH have joint custody of his now 10 year old daughter. We have her alternating weeks in the summer and 1, 3, 5th weekends and every wednesday night. When I text BM she hardly ever responds to me. DH has asked her about it and she sends him a forwarded text saying that she did text me back and always does when it pertains to SD. I feel like she is just trying to start stuff between me and DH but it won’t work he knows her games.

Well the latest thing she has done is this: Sd has a homework planner that has to be signed every night and when I sign it she signs under my name. She doesn’t do this to DH so he asked her. She said she is just making sure her agenda is don’t. (LEXIE, NOT SURE WHAT YOU MEAN HERE) He replies and asked if we should sign under her name and she says she is her mom and doesn’t need to be double checked that she takes care of what has to be done.

Well DH tells her that in our house everything is done right and we don’t need to be double checked either. Her response was that she didn’t say DH needed to be checked just me. WTH it doesn’t matter who signs it as long as her homework is done. (when she goes to school the next day she always makes 100's on her homework or tests which she doesn’t do when she is with BM) Dh replied that I can take care of it and there’s no need to be double checking me after the fact. She got all pissing saying it’s DH's responsibility to take care of his daughter not mine and that he should man up and do with SD what I do with her.

Well he helps with her homework and helps get her ready for bed. DH texted her back and said that he does everything with me except the fact he can’t pick her up or take her to school if she wanted to keep getting child support. Bm replied that she is her mom and DH is her dad and it didn’t matter if i was her stepmom or not that it didn’t matter and said I am trying to take over her position. In my house i am the stepmom not the mom but I still am respected and make sure stuff gets done. Dh replied that my SD knows BM is her mom and I am not and that nothing would change that just like her baby daddy doesn’t make DH feel insecure even though he is with her more. After that she stopped texting.

She is always contradicting her self. One day she told Dh that I was involved and helped SD with homework, clothes shopping, picking her up and taking her to school but then again she turns around a few days later saying she does have a problem with me. I am so confused and would love for everyone to just get along for SD sake. I feel like DH and I are the only ones who think about this.

I have talked to her before and explained I am not trying to replace her. I am just acting in SD's best interest to make sure everything is done. Face to face BM is fine with me and we don’t have a problem but behind my back she has all kinds of problems with me in the picture. I have tried to talk to her and see what would make the situation better but nothing works.

She also says stuff about me around SD which is not called for. SD came home one day and asked me if i was jealous because everyone else was having a baby and I wasn’t. I told her “no that it just wasn’t my time yet and when God wanted me to have a baby I would.” BM is pregnant and that just makes me curious as to what was said about the situation for SD to ask me that.

Thank you so much i am just loosing my mind trying to figure out how to handle this. LR


Dear LR, Thanks for your letter. I certainly can relate and understand why it is so frustrating for you. There are a few things to share about this and they aren’t going to be all that logical. Human behavior is often not very logical, darn it all :-)

From what you’ve said, your bio-mom is feeling a loss of control over her ex-husband and her daughter and is choosing to do what she can to have impact on you. She is doing a Power struggle dance” with you. The “problem” with you doing anything public with your skid, HER daughter is common and sad for your skid. However, it is not logical. I had this situation many many times and what I’ve discovered is that you have some choices to make if you want to stay out of the power struggle. (which I would recommend for you own well-being.)

Sometimes there are things we SMOMS can do to make things a bit easier for the a situation like this, sometimes we have to hold the line for our own dignity and self-respect. A place of personal power comes from looking at your actions and deciding “How important is doing this to me?” and “What impact is this going to have on the bio-mom and indirectly my DH and skid?” Let me offer a couple of examples.

I bet your DH could actually sign the homework, even if you are the one who did the review, right? IN this example, bio-mom’s are trying to minimize us in the eyes of the school, in our own eyes. It’s a silent, “Who do you think you are? Ploy” that sort of gives an insecure or jealous bio-mom a chance to feel she is exerting her authority OVER you. She feels an inner “Got her!” each time she does that and for a few moments, she feels powerful. Is it possible that whenever you sign it, you feel an inner, “I’m involved here too-see me!” sense of power?

If so, this is entirely understandable. So many of us have been diminished in many ways by hostile bio-moms and sometimes even by our husband’s because we are not the parent and never will be. That argument often holds a lot of power and will never change so the sooner we can step off that game board, the letter.

How COULD you react to this hostile bio-mom? There are a few things you can choose to do. The key to your decision is going to be your intention. Are you wanting to help soothe the situation? Prove you have a right to be involved? (This was my goal for a long time.) I recommend a blend of the two. Take a stand where it is important to you and give way when it is a trivial, power-tripping need of the bio-mom. Why? Because you are willing to be the more gracious person. This is a choice that is not logical and it will make things easier for you all as long as you don’t bak off in ways that make you feel disrespected or left out. I backed off too much and taught bio-mom she could threaten us and I would back off-thinking I was be gracious only to realize she was manipulating and hurting me over and over again. I was a fool so often. I don’t want you to feel that way and maybe you can learn from my mistakes.

Knowing that you have a sensitive, jealous and/or insecure bio-mom means you have to adjust your actions. It would be different if she were secure in her role as bio-mom, felt great about her ex-husband’s job as a parent and was eager for her daughter to have a good relationship with all the adults in her life. However, if that were true, you wouldn’t have found our site, right?!?

Oh yes, sometimes bio-mom’s feel angry that their ex-husband’s are getting child rearing support when they are not getting it from their significant other. It’s easier to get upset and release some of their anger at you all then to deal with the issue in their intimate relationship. Some bio-moms can cause so much stress and trouble over things we SMOMS do, even though we are legally, morally and socially right. She needs to be upset and you are the easiest target because you care and she feeds off her impact on you. Can you see that?

Often the SMOM is the target and/or rage bucket for hostile bio-moms, skids and sadly sometimes frustrated husband’s. As you get wiser, more confident and more skilled at seeing what’s really going on behind their illogical actions, you will find ways to avoid the in-coming attacks. That’s a good feeling. So, what can you do going forward?

From what I know, if I were you, I’d think about doing and not doing the following things-for the good of the cause without hurting myself:

I’d have my DH sign the school slips that she sees-JUST to avoid a nasty thought coming your way. YOU know what you’ve done. It can play on our ego’s if we are not feeling acknowledged by bio-mom and yet it will spare you and DH some unneeded nasty feelings from Bio-mom. This is a choice-wighing the cost of choosing to sign knowing she will react directly or about something else. This is NOT about right or wrong. You can choose to sign but is it worth it to you? This is the power struggle I mentioned earlier. You now have the ability to decide how to act in reaction to a jealous, insecure, perhaps narcissistic bio-mom looking for reasons to complain about you.
I’d stop texting or calling or talking with her for any reason other than an emergency and have your DH be the channel between the two homes. The less you two interact, the less chance she has to “slime” you with her energy and rob you of feeling good. In my opinion you are never going to convince her to not feel jealous. Sometimes our kind and gracious efforts to relate to the bio-mom back fire as the nicer we are the more threatened the bio-mom is and has to find less and less logical reasons to be angry. She needs to lash out. Please take yourself out of her path.
I’d give up on trying to have a relationship with her. It is AMAZING that she is willing to act OK with you in public. You may not have known to be grateful for that because of the confusion it caused you, but it is a big thing and good for your SD. Giving up on having a healthy, respectful relationship with your skid’s bio-mom will free you and un-confuse you. You can still have a civil relationship with her, whenever she comes into contract with you. That is better than many SMOMS have right now and I don’t have after 15 years.

I hope this is helpful. You haven’t done anything wrong is trying to connect. You haven’t done anything wrong in being involved with your SD and her school, etc! one of the hardest things for many of us SMOMS to realize is that many of us are not dealing with kind, healthy bio-moms eager for things to go smoothly for their own children. (If you haven’t read my post about “When winning is more important to bio-mom than getting along” Please do. it is at the top of the Cathryn’s Mialobx section.)

LR, Hang in there! I’m hoping you are registered to use the BB so you can get lots of support as you learn how to navigate and protect yourself when facing the stormy impact of a hostile bio-mom. You can do it! We’re glad you found us.

Best Wishes, Cathryn
Cathryn's Mailbox
Stepmoms on a Mission®
PO Box 7, Medford NJ 08055