Stepmothers and Mothers: We Should Know Better!

stepmothers, mothers, stepmom, stepfamily, stepchildren

Stepmothers and Mothers
Are We Like the Mean Girls in High School?
We Should Know Better!

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?

Do you feel the same within your own home? Do you point to the other woman as the culprit? Stepmothers blaming mothers. Mothers blaming stepmothers. Does Stepmom talk about Mom and Mom talk about Stepmom? Are they calling their friends to complain about the other? Or, are they talking to their partner/ex-partner about the other woman? Doesn’t that sound like high school when two girls liked the same boy? We should know better!

The crux of the issue is that our divorces and remarriages remind us of our high school romances. In high school, when a boy started to date a new girl, gossip and broken hearts ensued. There were teams of supporters. Your girlfriends stuck with you through thick and thin. The new girl had her posse of friends as well and the friends stayed loyal to their team.

Neuroscience teaches us that our left brain only knows what it has seen and experienced. It does not have the capacity to think whether it was wrong or right. It just knows that this happened and it was painful. The brain only knows that pain may happen and it wants to protect us. As a result, similar reactions to similar experiences repeat themselves. The same anxiety that we felt in high school could be replicating itself in our stepfamily lives.

Most importantly, how do you think our behavior looks to our children? Actually, it should look very familiar to the kids because  they see that kind of behavior every day at school. Our children look to us for security and wisdom. When we act like children, our children feel unsafe. They have no one to rely on and they do not know what to do. Our children are looking to their mothers, stepmother and mother alike, for guidance. When we call each other names and argue, we are abandoning our children. Respect is lost. The children are scared. They are stuck in between two women who should know better.

When we call the stepmother or mother a b—-, what are we teaching? When we argue about schedules and money, what do we expect from our children? In many cases, we want the children to be ‘on our side’. We are recruiting people to be on our team, just like we recruited our friends in high school to side with us. This team building was not fun in high school and it is not fun now. Our brains are recreating the same scenario because that is what makes us feel safe. We should know better by now that creating teams among mothers is no way to behave.

Do stepmothers and mothers act like bullies towards one another? They talk about each other often. They talk to others about each other. The talk is almost always negative and its purpose is to create gang support. It’s bullying. We should know better.


  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 ofContinue 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 isContinue Reading

Where Do I Draw the Line? I Am the Stepmother, After All!

One of the most annoying things about being a stepmother is that it brings hard subjects up. Often the thing that we don’t want to do, comes up in stepparenting. You know what I mean. Issues like: Drawing the line on issues like self respect, your role in the family and in life, how youContinue Reading

Stepmother Boundaries. Is it the Ultimate Self-Care?

You have to be willing to take care of you, first. Dr. Maya Angelou said, “I have to be a ninny to ask someone else to take care of me, if I’m not willing to take care of myself.” Yet, isn’t that one of our core frustrations as a stepmother? No one seems willing toContinue Reading

Stepfamilies Are a Fertile Ground for Passive Aggressiveness

Passive aggressiveness runs rampant in our stepfamilies.  I hypothesize that there is a minimum of one family member who exhibits these behaviors.  Are you one of the passive aggressive family members?  Or, are you living with passive aggressive people who drive you insane? Passive aggressiveness is when someone is agreeing with someone, but really doesn’tContinue Reading

Stepmom’s Lament: This is How I Feel. I Am Swimming Upstream.

I saw this image on the new Getty Images for Free site.  As soon as I saw it, I thought ‘this is how I feel sometimes’. I, along with my sister stepmoms, feel as if we are on the outside looking in. No matter how hard we knock on the glass, we can’t penetrate it. Continue Reading

Stepmother Lament: When Will I Get Justice?

When will I get justice?  Have you ever thought about justice?  I know that I have. Does any of this sound familiar? “I do all of this work.  When will someone thank me?” ” I am always the one picking up the pieces.  Yet, I never get asked.  It’s just assumed I’ll watch the kidsContinue Reading

The Stepfamily Definition of Stupidity

They say that the definition of stupidity is doing the same things over and over and expecting a different result.  If we were to be honest with ourselves, do we do the same things?  Do we avoid the hard work associated with change?  Do we want to avoid any vulnerability to our stepfamily members? DoContinue Reading

A Stepmother’s Legacy Found in a Starbucks Coffee

Have you ever thought about what is truly galvanizing you towards your life’s legacy?  I was moved to think about this question as I watched Oprah interview Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks.  Starbucks provides an aggressive benefits package for its employees that work 20 hours or more per week.  How great is that?  (As aContinue Reading