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)

A-How can I find the right balance & boundaries? (4/12)
Why does it bother me so much when my stepkids love their mom no matter what I do? Help! How do I have healthy boundaries? I go from giving everything to giving nothing...I am spent.

Hi Cathryn,

Why does it bother me so much when my kids get away with everything? eg.  I had to give our rottweiler back, we got it when it was a puppy and i fought with my husband till the bitter end and stood my ground and said no, then he finally broke me, i caved and of course i got attached the most, he became my dog, of course he became too much he was too big of a dog, and waaaaaaaaaaaay too powerful, I couldn't hold him back, and letting him run was too dangerous, so long story short, I have now ended up with my husband’s terrier (which I am not a little dog person, can’t stand them and am trying really hard to not be mean about it, but now my stepson wanted a little dog too and of course I caved. now I am at home with two little dogs, and both yap the whole time they are in their pens and I am at home alone with the noise, plus I work from home, why do people never think about me?

Thanks, UJ


Dear UJ,

You pose a few very good and very important questions. In the time I have let’s see what we can cover in your question.

Q: Why does it bother you that the skids love their MOM no matter what you do?
A: This is an interesting perspective. Can you create 2 categories in your mind for the love they feel for her and the love they feel for you? I’ve noticed that it can feel hurtful to a Stepmom when she works so hard doing so many tangible things and yet the bio-mom says “Bless you” and the skids feel she is “the Best.” It is an inequity, when it is considered something to compare. The dynamics of mother-child relationships are complex, let alone add in divorce and a mom who is not all that involved. I encourage you to stop comparing what you do with she does and look at how you’re feeling about what you do and why you do it.

Check out the thread about resentment and the case studies in case there is something there that may help you assuage some of your distress. Something is going on to cause you pain, it is about doing whatever you can to figure out what it is and how YOU can change to make yourself feel better.

Q: You ask about how to have healthy boundaries.
A: This is very good place for introspection and there are a few articles and smommentaries that may help you look at your choices in a new way. From what you wrote, your feelings and what you want are not being honored, in at least a couple of ways and you are being forced to be impacted by other people’s choice. That powerlessness is going to trigger rage and there’s a lot of power tied up there. Take a look at when you are (and aren’t) willing to speak up. Do you feel free to speak up for what you want? DO you feel punished or disregarded if you speak up? Whatever anger you are feeling is trying to tell you..”Need new boundaries! ASAP” so you are on the right track. Check out the smommentary “Caring for VS Catering to stepkids” and the 2 articles (Relationship section) about “Boundaries for Nice People.” There’s lots of food for thought there.

Q: Why do people never think of you?
A: This has got to be a very painful feeling and I can’t do it justice here. I’m betting that this is not the first time people have NOT thought of you, what you want and what you need? Anne Katherine wrote a good book about everyday boundaries that you may find valuable. It’s called, “Where to draw the line.” YOu certainly have a right to have a voice in matters of your own life. Seems like it’s time to craft a new path that isn’t about all or nothing, but about flowing in between based on the situation, your needs and feelings.

Please check out the articles mentioned so you can KNOW that you have some options. “Nothing changes until you do.” One of my teachers told me that. Seems maybe you’re getting feedback from your emotional realm that it’s time for you to make some changes. You can do it!

May something in the essays you read, light a fire under your imagination so you can create a greater sense of being respected and honored in your own world.

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