Category Archives: The Stepmoms Toolbox

Stepmom Help! Dr. Laura Schlesinger or A Soft Place to Land

stepmother help, stepfamily help, marriage, remarriage, divorce help
Stepmothers: Can We Create a Soft Place to Land for Our Children? Ourselves? Our Partners?

Dr. Laura Schlesinger always advises her clients that they should never marry a person with children.  She advises that divorced parents should focus should on the children and there is not room for another person.  She also argues that there will always be resentments on all sides.  Maybe, she is right.

The other day, I heard Dr. Schlesinger tell a client that the stepmother has no meaningful role in the family.  She said that in the eyes of the children, a stepmother is not a benefit to the family.  In fact, children only feel resentment for the time that a stepparent spends with the parent that they miss.  Maybe, she is right.

I could argue for all of us that feel we have played meaningful roles in our stepchildren’s lives.  The truth is that the divorce rate among remarried people with children hovers at the 75% mark.  Any argument that I could make is dismissed by the statistics.  I am now left to ask, “Now, what?” to those of us who have made the leap into step parenthood. Assuming we have no acceptable role, what should we do?

What if we provide a soft place to land?  A soft place to land is created when we watch from a distance and compile objective insights and observations. We remain silent on controversial issues.  We allow critical one-on-one time with the parents and their children.  We never bad-mouth.  A soft place to land is an innocuous place, almost making us invisible.  If a child wants to ask us a question or talk about anything, we provide a soft place to land.  The magic is that we never tell or judge.

If we can provide a soft place to land for our children, we can certainly find a soft place to land for ourselves.  I could be wrong, but I think we forget about our own landing pad.  Do you have a place in your home that is strictly yours?  What I mean is that it is decorated in a way that you like?  It can be one piece of furniture or one nook, but it is yours.  Do you have that friend that you can tell everything to?  It is that friend that provides the magic for you.  They never tell or judge.

Last, but not least, can we give our partner a soft place to land?  Again, please feel free to tell me if I am wrong, but I think this is the hardest place to create.  Our partners really live in a hard, tough place.  They are torn by many camps: their overwhelming concern for the children, their old life that they need to live in everyday and the new life where they need to live everyday.  How does anyone do that?  Meanwhile, we can feel a ton of frustration and it is natural to want to take it out on our partner.  If we can overcome that behavior for just one second (take a breath), let’s give our partners a soft place to land.  Let’s give them the same magic by never telling or judging.

So, Dr. Schlesinger, I understand what you are saying.  The fact is that you have the statistics on your side.  But, maybe, just maybe, the role of a stepparent cannot be seen because it is magic.

Quotes from the Tao~

The soft overcomes the hard;
the gentle overcomes the rigid.
The soft overcomes the hard.
The slow overcomes the fast.
Let your workings remain a mystery.
Just show people the results.



Stepmom Advice: One Tip to Less Frustration: Staying In Our “Own Business”

Is everything that happens in our families “our” business?  Are we often getting involved in “other people’s” business? This is the key discussion for today’s show.  What do I mean?  I have always found it challenging to discern what exactly is “my business” within the family.  We may think that everything is our business, but… Continue Reading

Stepmother Advice-Ever Feel Haunted by the “Step” Label?

A step family can be like living in a haunted house.  There are ghosts and goblins behind every corner.  Every time you think that things are going well, “Boo!” another monster comes out of the woodwork and you are back to ‘square one’.  We all have experienced these phenomena.  A snide glance or a cruel… Continue Reading

10 Tips to Find Joy in Stepmotherhood-Stepmother Help

Joy?!  What is she talking about?  I’m just trying to survive this stepfamily thing.  Remember, it’s the simple things in life that really make a difference.  How many times have you wondered, “Did I make a mistake?”  Have you harbored thoughts that you may never be happy as a stepmother?  This class gives you 10… Continue Reading

The Stepmom Toolbox Show-One Day She Become a Stepmother-Stepmother Help

One Day We Became Stepmothers. One Day She Stopped Listening to Stories of Fear and Worry and Found the Freedom She Always Desired One Day She Understood She Had Been Perfect All Along One Day She Understood She Had Been A Hero All Along These lovely sentiments are the words of MaryLou Falstreau, poet, artist… Continue Reading

Stepmother Help-Sorry, I Still Hate the #Ex-Wife-The Evil Stepmother Speaks

Even though you don’t want to be “that” evil stepmother, you find yourself still hating the ex-wife.  You are convinced that she hates you.   You think she does anything in her power to disrupt your life.  You also have thoughts about the stepchildren and often think that they are sabotaging you. You’ve listened to… Continue Reading

Stepmother Help: Where Is the Money Going in Your Stepfamily?

I don’t think you can ever talk too much about money and how it is being managed within our stepfamilies.  Money may be an issue of great divide or great avoidance.  But, we have to face it.  One of my greatest fears in taking on a stepmother role was, “What’s going to happen to me?” … Continue Reading

Stepmother Says, “I Can’t Win!!!” The #Stepmother #Olympics

Here’s  short tip for stepmothers that have ever thought or said: “I Can’t Win!” Haven’t we all said these words?  Doesn’t it feel as if all stepmothers are an Olympic trial every day of the week?  This blog is written the week of the Summer Olympics 2012.  Since all of us are watching the #Olympics,… Continue Reading

Stepmother Advice-Can You See the Forest for the Trees?-

  Have you ever heard of the The Central Park effect?  I had never heard of it until this weekend when I was channel surfing  and landed on a movie called “Birders: The Central Park Effect”.     As birds migrate from the East Coast to the West Coast, they look for places to land… Continue Reading

Stepmom Advice: The Importance of Girlfriends to a #Stepmom. Talking to Debba Haupert of @Girlfriendology on #StepmomToolbox – Stepmom Advice

Stepmom Advice: The Gift of the Girlfriend I would not have been able to survive in my life without my girlfriends. Period.  One of the best stepmom advice is to treasure your girlfriends.  Their silence and their gift of listening is a powerful tool for your stepmom toolbox.  Our girlfriends are our place to vent. … Continue Reading