Stepmom Confessions: It Is Time to Soften


It is time to soften.

We (all women) have forgotten how to soften.  We are pressed with unspeakable demands every day which has encouraged us to act like men.  We have to be tough.  We have to make a living.  We have to do it all.  Let’s face it.  Our society has encouraged this skillset.  Women who have chosen to stay at home are often degraded either openly or secretly in our brains.  I admit as one of those ‘do it all’ moms, that I have equated the idea of softening with weakness.  The one thing that I haven’t wanted to be is weak.  I have been wrong for a very long time.

Softening means that you treat your partner with kid gloves.  You use soft words.  You use a soft tone. You are kind.  You listen.  When I first heard the concept, I thought that softening had a feminine ring to it. I wondered if softening meant that I was losing my edge.  Then I realized that I had lost my soft side over the years.  Being a stepmother certainly hadn’t helped.

Somewhere along the way, I focused on my career and my independence.  I believed that I had to do it all.  Frankly, I still do.  The notion of softening ran counter to my idea that I had to bring home the bacon as well as fry it in the pan.  I also operated on the notion that the home was my domain.  So, when all of the children, bio or step, entered that domain, I was responsible. This idea became responsible for much of my bitterness, resentment and lack of sleep.  In other words, I felt as if I was in a war every day.  Life was a fight.

Had anyone even suggested the notion of softening, I would have felt it was a weak move.  There was no room in my world for weakness.  After all, who else would get things done?  If I softened, I couldn’t bark orders either.

Now, I understand that you are more convincing when you are light and soft than when you are heavy and loud.  Men are way more responsive when they hear a sweet female voice.  It isn’t manipulative.  It is just a fact.  Why?  Because a man’s core instinct is to take care of their women. They were built to provide and protect. When you talk quieter and kinder, a man will respond.  When you speak when he can focus on what you are saying, you will have better results. Even if you have built up a great deal to say in a day, greeting a man with a constant round of jabber will get you no where.  They can’t hear you.  It is all in their DNA.

If you are barking orders and demanding things, it can manifest itself as emasculating.  When a woman degrades a man, he loses his power.  You don’t want that.  You want a strong male figure next to a strong female one.  The challenge is understanding the qualities of each.  A strong women is soft. It is in our DNA.  A strong man loves when his woman is happy.

I need to soften.  Maybe you do, too.

“Honey, let me know when you have time to talk with me.”

“Honey, when you finish what you are doing, let me know.”

“Honey, thank you for everything you do for me.”


4 Responses to Stepmom Confessions: It Is Time to Soften

  1. Nope, no softening. I have to take care of myself now. It’s been 30 years of heated exchanges with the Ex-wife and her kids. yep she abused and molded her kids into ne’er do wells and pretend you don’t have a dad type people. she abused them. now there’s no communication between kids and my husband, their dad. so what? If I mention one the kid’s names, he throws a fit, like I am unworthy to mention his kids. I’ve told him to leave, I’m tired of being the target in his unfinished life with his Ex and kids. but he won’t, so I didn’t soften, I shut up about people who don’t live close and who I care nothing about. YES!!!

  2. What if you have tried the softening and it is not working? I am new to the stepmother thing. I’ve only been married to my husband for a few months. My step daughter did not live with my husband when we met but once we got married she decided she wanted to live with us. I was never asked if it was okay for her to move in. No one asked my opinion at all. She came to visit one weekend and never left. I feel disrespected in my own home. My husband and I have no privacy. My step daughter is very needy and requires a LOT of coddling (did I mention that she is 18 years old?) My husband and step daughter both know that I am a neat freak but she refuses to do her part around the house. She won’t even keep her areas clean much less help out anywhere else. I have gently voiced my opinions and my concerns to my husband but instead of making her do things, he just does them for her so that I won’t be upset about the house being messy. She enters our bedroom without knocking and she does not respect our privacy as husband and wife at all. I am at my wits end.

  3. Personally, as a man I do not think that being soft should be equated with weakness. In this society unfortunately being humble, being considerate, being patient and being kind are often misinterpreted for being weak when they are not necessarily anything of the kind.
    I value women who can be as tough as nails when required but can also be soft, sweet, empathic, kind and understanding.
    Women have their own strengths they do not need to adopt male attitudes to be seen as strong or effective because by doing so they are neither.

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