Stepmothers Feel Like a Piece of Raw Meat

stepmothers, mothers, stepmom, stepfamily, stepchildren, remarriage, divorce, parenting, gossip, ex, ex-wife, Stepfamily help, Barbara Goldberg
Stepmothers Feel Like a Piece of Raw Meat

Stepmothers, were you shocked to find that you have been ‘left out to dry?” If you have ever felt this way, this blog is for you:

“No one seems to care about what I feel.  I planned this beautiful event and the stepkids did not come.  Yet, they went to their mother’s event.  I do all of this work, but no one seems to notice. I’m taken for granted and I’m tired of it.”

I feel like a piece of raw meat.

I am hanging from a string in a cold environment where anyone can slap me. My nerves are exposed. A mere touch sends me screaming into my pillow. Remember that scene in Rocky where he was punching the raw meat?  Sometimes, I feel punched…by everyone.

All of a sudden, everything hurts. It is like every nerve is exposed. When you are raw, you hurt easily and you are on high alert for any action, word or facial expression that might touch a nerve. The thought of that resonating pain makes you fearful and a touch crazy.  So, we (stepmothers) try to do everything right, to avoid the pain of our exposed nerves.

The more we try to hide our vulnerability, the more we live in a world of fear.  We fear that our insecurities and our weaknesses will show. We fear our hurt feelings and broken hearts. We click into that win or lose mentality.

“Why is everyone ignoring my wishes?  Why doesn’t anyone care? It’s them or me.”
Dr. Brene Brown wrote in her book, Daring Greatly:
“Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat, it’s understanding the necessity of both; it’s engaging.  It’s being all in.”

Stepmothers are ‘all in’.  We’re so ‘all in’ that the stress and fear of it has overcome our brains. This stress results in the blood moving away from our prefrontal cortex portion of our brains.  Logical thinking weakens.  The mind wants to focus on the part of our life that is out of control.  Let me repeat that.  The mind wants to focus on that part of our life that is out of control.

Now, every invite that is declined, every birthday that is missed and every greeting that isn’t given becomes a huge focal point.  Every lack of acknowledgment holds intense meaning.

“They don’t like me.  My heart is breaking because they didn’t come to my party.
The skids don’t want to come over.  It’s because of me.
I didn’t get a gift for Mother’s Day.  I feel so depressed.”
The real truth is that it is not about us.  The rest of our family members are in their own worlds.  It is our interpretation of what is happening and our sensitivity.  It’s like our emotional system has been put into overdrive. Everything hurts….like those exposed raw nerves or a piece of raw meat.

Let’s take pride in our vulnerability and that we are ‘all in’.  We’ll stoically keep hanging in there.  Although we hate feeling weak and exposed, we recognize it for what it is: our minds focusing on that which feels unmanageable.  These reactions are learned, but really have no meaning.  We’ll close up our open wounds by continuing to do what we feel is right.  We’ll stand in our own strength and courage while having tremendous faith in ourselves.

Step-mothering: It Takes So Much Time!

“Tragedy plus time equals comedy.” Lily Tomlin If you have ever wondered: How much more time do I devote to my role as a stepmother? or Will things get better over time? If so, exactly how much time? or Will time heal? How much time do you spend step-mothering? Literally, count the hours. Be sure…Continue Reading

The Stepfamily and Life: It Is All About the Playground

It’s the end of the year. There have been holidays, custody changes, vacations and aggravations. There have also been feelings of extreme joy. Some of us have received notes of love and appreciation from our stepchildren and/or our partners. Some of us feel peace in the knowing that we are making a home base for…Continue Reading

Stepmothers: Are We Too Harsh on the Ex?

Did you ever wonder why the ex-wife just can’t get over it?  Maybe, you are a stepmother who has been a part of the family for years, yet you still feel as though the ex-wife hates you.  You just don’t understand it.  As you know, we study the art and science of stepfamily management here…Continue Reading

A Stepmother Asks “How Do I Stop Myself from Asking about the Ex-Wife?”

Do you ever find yourself asking your partner: “What did she/he say?” “No, really, tell me what happened.” “I don’t care what she does.” Next moment. “Tell me what she did.” Do you feel as if you can’t seem to stop yourself? Does it feel as if you are addicted? So, why are we talking…Continue Reading


This is a guest post by Author and Stepmother, Holly Robinson There was a moment last spring when I poured a cup of tea, carried it into the dining room to read the newspaper, then froze mid-sip when I noticed the date above the headlines. At that very moment, my husband’s ex-wife was enjoying the…Continue Reading

Who is that Stepmother Woman?

It is easy to think of the stepmother as that woman your ex partner married.  If the stepmother is just that woman who is in the house, it lessens the pain of the divorce and the consequences that failed relationship has brought.  After all, the worst part of a divorce is the consequences wrought upon…Continue Reading

Stepmothers and Mothers Are Back In High School

Have you ever felt as if your stepfamily life mirrored your high school years?  Girls talking about one another?  Never feeling as if you were good enought?  Pretty enough?  Smart enough?  (Sounds like the SNL character Stuart Smalley) Life in high school was stressful. It was like you were uncomfortable in your own skin, right?…Continue Reading


  Music can make all the difference. Music is one of the great mood lifters in our arsenal. Not only can it change our attitude, but it can change the attitudes and moods of our family members. Here’s a life changing tip: Every stepmother should have her earphones in 24/7. Keep your ipod full of…Continue Reading

I Hate the Way My Stepchildren Are Treated and There’s Nothing I Can Do.

Is that true? Is there nothing that you can do to affect your stepchildren’s life? If you feel powerless, I want to remind you of The Pygmalion Effect. The Pygmalion Effect is a scientifically proven phenomenon whereby the greater the expectation placed upon people the better they perform. Another way to look upon it is…Continue Reading