Category Archives: Stepfamily Day

A Stepmother Wall! And The Family Will Pay For It!

stepmothers, mothers, stepmom, stepfamily, stepchildren, remarriage, divorce, parenting, gossip, ex, ex-wife, Stepfamily help, Barbara Goldberg
My Stepmother Wall has a long couch. I’m setting boundaries.

If you have ever been told that you do too much for others, this blog is for you.  Do you feel that you can’t say ‘no’ to people?  Are you sorry you said ‘yes’ and then resent it later?  Welcome to the club of people that know what it feels like to be used.  The motto of the club is that being ‘liked’ takes precedence over all other considerations.  It is like we are human Facebook pages.  We judge ourselves by how many ‘likes’ we have.  Instead of having a place to ‘click’ on us, we do favors for people and buy them stuff.  It is an unending search for love and acceptance.  I am exhausted just writing about it.

If you are also exhausted, it is time to build that wall around yourself.  That wall or boundary is going to teach others how you want to be treated.  You can let in those that show you respect and shut out those that do not. Only you have the keys to your wall. Once you become encased with your private barrier, you no longer have to answer immediately.  When requests come in for your time and resources, you can say things like, “Let me get back to you.  I’ll let you know.”  Now, you can breathe and think at your leisure.  Now, you can deal with the anxiety that is sure to arrive as you learn how to say ‘no’.  Now is your chance to watch as your true friends strengthen you and the fake ones leave.  Now, you can lessen the load!

You can decorate your wall.  It can be any color of your choosing. Any pattern.  Any image.  It can be plain. Your wall is built with your confidence and your happiness and joy.  Terms like “I have to” and “I don’t have the time” ring alarm bells within your private world.  When these alarms go off, there is a good probability that we are about to say yes to something that we do not want to do.  Or, worse yet, we are about to turn down something that we want to try.  Maybe, it’s time to do the opposite of our gut reaction.  “No thank you”.  “Yes, I’d like to try that.”

As you place each brick, the uncertainty will grow. Am I doing the right thing?  I’m scared.  I’ll be left all alone.  No one will like me. Time to take a hard look at the wall’s foundation.  It is built upon the lessons of childhood.  Parents. Teachers. Observations and interpretations.  All the stories that we were told and that we believed were right.  “Children are to be seen and not heard.  Do as you are told.  Listen to authority figures and do what they say.  You have to do things for people.  Good people do things for people and give them things.  If you give people things, they will like you.  If you say, “no”, you are not compliant.  You have to do what you are asked.  No = a message of dislike to the other person.” Actually, it just means “no”.  Are these lessons from your childhood a mantra for the future?  Have you changed? Are you exhausted?

Someone has to pay for the wall and it will be your family. They will have to adjust to the new ‘you’ who makes mindful choices.  The family may see you more often now.  They may see you reading, playing tennis or taking a private retreat.  “Who is that woman with the wall around her?” they may ask.  “It’s me!”

 

 

The Three Magic Words that will Save Your Stepfamily

Join us for our 2017 Stepmom Retreats! Stepfamily 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… 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

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

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

STEPFAMILIES: CAN YOU REALLY CO-PARENT WITH HIS EX? by Holly Robinson

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

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