The Three Magic Words that will Save Your Stepfamily

stepfamily, stepmother, stepmom, stepkidsStepfamily life is tough. The only thing that is tougher than blending the family is keeping your marriage intact.  Statistics vary from a 50% to 75% divorce rate in a marriage where there are children from a prior relationship.  Anyone who is a member of a stepfamily will attest that they had no idea what they were getting into. Parenting and the relationship with the ex will often take the front and center role in your life. In fact, you may find that parenting and the ex are the only things you talk about.  Why?  Because both of these subjects are ones where we all have strong opinions.  We may not even realize that we have such deep-seated opinions until we are in a stepparent role.  Whatever we have seen or heard from our childhoods and the media mixes into a brew full of passionate opinions:  on both sides.

There is a secret that can stop the arguing before it begins.  Three magic words can avoid the entire heartbreak.  If you think it is ‘I love you’, you would be wrong.  The three magic words are:

I TRUST YOU.”

“I trust that you know your children and you will make the best decisions for them.

I trust you will protect me.

I trust that you know how to handle your ex.”
“I TRUST YOU.”

No truer or scarier words were ever spoken.  The truth is that living in a stepfamily means giving up control.  It means going with the flow, even if we think we know better.  It means giving the decision-making control to some people who we may not even know.  Or worse, it means giving up control to people that we think we do not like or trust. For those of us that have a deep-seated need for certainty in our lives, this is a terrifying prospect.  (Google The Six Human Needs) Even if we say that we trust our partners, actually giving up control is a whole other matter.  Is it possible that we dislike the ex because she has control over portions of our life?

The real truth is that the parents probably know what is best even if we have fantastic ideas on how to raise our stepchildren.  We may have objective, rational suggestions on how to handle the relationship with the ex.  In fact, we may be right.  Either way, it is none of our business.  It comes down to trust and faith in the future. When we lose the trust in our partners, we lose a key to our marriages.  When we think we know better, our egos take over and the heart is left behind.  When you let your partners know you trust them, their faith in themselves grows. Your relationship strengthens and you have more time for the things you want to do.  Resentment lessens as you take that leap of faith.  I trust that you can do it.

 

I ENTERED THE OLYMPICS WITHOUT TRAINING

Would you enter an Olympic event without training?  Envision yourself diving into the pool next to Michael Phelps.  Stand next to Simone Biles and, together, perform a floor exercise.  Meet Katie Ledecky at the pool and race her in the 400 metre free style.  Close your eyes and see yourself in any of these scenarios. … Continue Reading

Who Would Buy from a Stepmom Store?

When I heard that Marni Price had invented a website called Stepmom Gifts, I was surprised.  A store devoted totally to gifts for stepmoms, reminded me of the scotch tape store sketch that was on Saturday Night Live years ago.  (If you don’t remember it, google it or check out Hulu.)  The joke was about… Continue Reading

4 Tips to Avoid the Summer Divorce Schedule Blues

Oh, boy!  The school year is ending and for many of us it means that the children’s schedules are changing.  We may have the kids for half the summer or camp schedules are starting.  First tip is to remember that every time there is a change, even if it is minor, it will get exaggerated… Continue Reading

My Resentment is All-Consuming

When you feel resentful, do you feel disappointed in yourself?  Feel as if you are a bad or selfish person?  If you feel any of these things, know that you are not alone.  Resentment is that feeling you have when you are doing something that you just don’t want to do or that you feel… Continue Reading

I Hate Feeling So Resentful!

Don’t you hate feeling resentment?  Resentment is that feeling of doing things that you just don’t want to do, yet feel obligated to do.  When I feel resentment, I feel as if I am being childish. I feel guilty and I feel bad about me.  Usually feelings of resentment center around thoughts that we have… Continue Reading

How to Resist Terrorism at Home

When you are at war, you feel alone, isolated and as if no one cares about you. Think about it.  Have you ever argued with someone and found yourself repeating the story over and over again in an effort to get people to be ‘on your side’? This is your effort to not feel alone… Continue Reading

Stepmoms: Are We Too Harsh on the Ex?

Haven’t we all said it or thought it.  Here is the rant. That ex is insane! I mean it. Really insane. How can a mother treat her children that way? That ex is so mean to my partner.  She is completely unreasonable.  What the hell, Bitch? The question is whether or not we are being… Continue Reading

Stepmother’s Lament: OMG! I’m a Nag!

Do you recognize yourself? When was the last time you pointed out a negative characteristic of your partner?  Their ex wife?  Their children?  If you do not have to think very hard, this blog may be for you. Nagging.  By definition, nagging is the pointing out of negative qualities to someone.  It is the ultimate… Continue Reading

Stepmother Lament: I Will Always Be An Outsider

“This family makes me feel like an outsider. I do all this work and I am still an outsider. When will I ever feel like I belong?” It’s a common stepmother lament. We cook, clean, run errands, pick up kids, buy them clothes and, yet, we feel like a third wheel. It is just this… Continue Reading