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)

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

I find my self in a spot that makes me feel " Like I'm the only one in the World" going through this...

Just heard in January of this year 2012 from the woman who was in a relationship with the man who now is my husband since 2003 that she’s calling him to ask him for support for a child he and her had in 2001 . He was aware that she was pregnant and came to his house and wanting to fix their relationship by asking or telling him to marry her at the time when the child was born.

When he refused she vanished taking the child and never communicating with him till now. The DNA test has not been done YET , tomorrow I’m going to look for the Clinic to set an appointment but so very confused .

I'm in a jealous point that I wish this was never true. My husband and I have not been able to have children of our own because I had a hysterectomy before we got married. I have two sons of my own from a previous marriage .

Yesterday she called him and threatened to take him to court for payment. She called him in the beginning saying she thought it was only fair that he pay her $50 week . But some weeks are slow and work is not very productive (we are self employed) and I'm guessing she thinks we are raking in money left and right. My husband is YET to see her (his so called daughter) and has been sending her money every week or every other week.

My husband says he wants to see her and take care of her, so he could make up for all these years he has missed out on her life. The child has no idea who her father really is yet because the mother of the child thinks she needs to go to a psychologist first so she will not be traumatized or hate her for not telling the truth. But this bio-mom wants my husband to pay for it since it’s his obligation ( In which way ? I have NO idea.)

There are moments I get very upset and wish to leave him, just because he’s on cloud nine that he has a daughter. I don't know what to do.

Signed, Confused


Dear Confused,

I sure can understand how upsetting this news is, as well as the shock of getting the news in the first place. It’s quite a “curve ball.” I’m not sure from your letter as to whether you knew (or not) about the existence of this child. If not, then you’ve had a heck of a giant shock all at once. I’m so sorry for how all this is hurting you.

Whenever we experience a sudden emotional jolt, it’s a very good thing to suspend making any major decisions until you have a chance to catch your breath and get back on your emotional feet again. It’s very understandable that you would be upset. Most, if not all stepmoms understand some level of feeling jealous, envious and/or angry at the women who’ve had a child with the man we love.

If you want to join our (now private) bulletin board, I believe you will get a lot of support and compassion for your situation. Feeling like you want to leave him also seems like a reaction to the rushing emotions...especially if you didn’t know about this child or situation. Seeing him, his attentions and his enthusiasm pulled towards this unknown child while he is being “ordered” around by a former lover is going to upset most of us so I hope that you are getting lots of support from your friends at this time.

There are going to be lots of decisions to make.
Is there any way you can get some therapeutic support to help you with all the emotions that have and are going to come up for you?
Is your husband showing you the compassion that you need from him?
Does he know how you feel about all this?
Can there be a space created so that you can feel included in what is going to happen going forward?
If you wanted another child with this man (but couldn’t because of your surgery) then there’s bound to be a lot of grief that will arise, seeing him share a child with another woman. This is all very understandably upsetting.

Whether to leave him or not?
That’s certainly an option for you IF that’s what you want.
My recommendation would be to take action to support your feelings, your needs, your wounds from this shocking news BEFORE you make any lasting relationship decision. Ideally you want to be your wise, grounded, strong self whenever you make such an important decision.

If you need space, can you go visiting for a day or 2 or three?
This is certainly a game changer and a life changer for both of you (all 3 of you, if we include the child.) Is there room in your heart for this child? Do you have any interest in getting to know her with your DH?

This is a hard situation and sadly I can’t offer you much more than more questions to consider and the plea to take the time and get the support you need until you feel settled, grounded, connected to what you really want and need going forward.

I found, over my last 16 years as a SMOM, that many things occurred which kicked up unhealed emotional wounds from my past. Once I embraced whatever was happening in my life, as a chance to get curious about how and why it was effecting me in this way or that, I began to learn so much about myself and what I needed to give to myself (support, kindness, approval, freedom of expression, freedom to grieve, be bitter, feel whatever I did). This can become a powerful transformation process for you...or not. Sometimes things happen and we just know what we have to do.

You are welcome to register for the Bulletin board (if not already) to get all kinds of support from sister stepmoms. I wish you lots of healing and support so you can get to a place of feeling good about your situation.

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