Lessons Learned
Three Suggestions from Veteran Stepmoms​
Mack73's List
I am 37 years old. I have been a smom for 8 1/2 years (9 in October). I am the custodial smom to SS16 and have been our whole marriage. I came into the marriage knowing that I would have SS full time. My SD13 lives 2,000 miles away with their mother. I am the biomom to my BS14. I was not married before, no contact with my BS's father. So I was a true single mother to my son. I made all decisions without any need for outside input. THIS is part of our problem I think. 

I can only think of 1 thing that I would do differently: TALK ABOUT STEPFAMILY LIFE, PARENTING STRATEGIES, FINANCIAL ISSUES, AND WHAT IS EXPECTED BY ALL PARTIES BEFORE GETTING MARRIED!!!!

This is something we did not do. I guess we both just assumed it would all work out fine. We were both living in la-la land I guess. We both were full sole custody of our kids. So we dated with kids -- neither of us had "the other parent" to interfere. I guess while dating that seemed fine and we just glossed over all the potential issues that might crop up. We talked about NONE of this stuff before. Then once we got married and tried to officially merge our families it was a disaster. Even to this day almost 9 years later we still have huge parenting differences and expectations. Not that we would have gotten married anyway, but I really wish all this stuff had been talked about beforehand. It would have saved a lot of heartache.

I think in general I had a very skewed idea of what marriage was like. I assumed that everyone was like my parents. If my parents argued, we didn't know about it. They kept it under wraps when we were around. I guess I also thought marriage was going to be all rosey just like in movies and books. I know that seems silly and childish since I was 29 when we got married. But I had never lived with anyone before DH. I dated, but never longterm living together stuff. So I had NO IDEA. 

I would suggest to others getting into the stepfamily life to talk it out. Learn to talk about things, don't be afraid to upset the applecart. Make sure you are heard and not feel like you are being walked on.
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