I got quite a bit of our Fathers Day Festivities on camera last Sunday but haven’t watched them until today. Take a peek at this one – my SS is describing the drawing he made for my partner. Makes me laugh when he uses his made up descriptions…”zoom flowers” LOL
Here is an article I found with a very positive perspective from a Step Daughter. She has written a book for kids to help with the transition and I thought it might be helpful to some of you!…
“Chances are, you’re a product of divorced parents…or know someone who is. Check out how one savvy Valley mom is shedding light on the sticky family situation, especially when it comes to stepparents.
Some of them can be considered evil, like in “Cinderella;” while others happen to be a blessing. Yep, we’re talking stepparents, and one Valley mom’s mission to spread the word they’re not as bad as they seem.
“I referred to my stepmom as my ‘bonus mom.’ While she didn’t replace my birth mom, she was a nurturing, caring woman,” said Tami Butcher, Arizona author.
Tami Butcher is happily married with three kids, living a picturesque life in Chandler. Besides being a wife and mom, she helps run the family restaurant biz, owning the Valley eateries, Rustler’s Rooste Steakhouse and Aunt Chilada’s. She enjoys taking her kids to So-Cal, as her hubby Mike is the pitching coach for the LA Angles of Anaheim. Seems like a good life, right?
However, Butcher’s childhood wasn’t so perfect.
“No doubt, things were tough,” said Butcher.
But not as bad as they could be.
At 11, Butcher’s parents divorced, and as the oldest of 3, she blamed herself for their split. But as time went on, both her parents remarried, reinventing a happily ever after. And instead of being a product of divorce commonly being caught in the middle, Butcher considered herself lucky—instead of feeling torn, she had two moms and two dads.
“They were never considered ‘stepparents.'”
That’s why Butcher decided to reflect on her own family dynamics in her newly released children’s book, “My Bonus Mom; Taking the Step out of Stepmom.” Her goal—changing the face of divorce, shedding light on a usually dim situation.
“I want to plant a seed in children’s minds that having a stepmom or dad can be a bonus. It’s important they’re raised to be open-minded and accepting of their parents’ new spouses, instead of automatically thinking of them as mean.”
The book is really for kids 10 and under, kindly capturing the mixed emotions children face along with divorce—dismay, fear, and anger. She writes in a way that allows children to look at the bright side, inheriting twice the attention, twice the love, and twice the fun.
“Often people focus on the negative instead of the positive. My bonus mom, Nancy, has been an incredible mother and grandmother to me, my sisters and our children.”
The book also discusses ways for kids to bond with their new bonus parents, something Butcher says it’s a must.
— Nadine Toren
Arizona Foothills Magazine”
You can purchase My Bonus Mom!: Taking the Step Out of Stepmom by clicking the Title. Please share any thoughts on the book here on the StepMoms Anonymous site so other StepMoms know if it will be helpful for them.
I have to say, I’m very excited about StepMoms Anonymous and how it’s growing. Right now, we have one of our first ads up, and it’s on http://pamsgirlybits.blogspot.ca/. Go check it out and, while you’re there, look at some of the amazing nail colours they have. In this pic, I’m wearing “I Hit My Bunny Phone” and I have about 20 other shades to choose from. Everyone needs to feel beautiful – StepMoms included 🙂
Here is an interesting article with information that would be helpful in resolving some of the problems I spoke of in my post yesterday:
“What Divorced Moms Should Know About StepMoms-A StepMom’s Perspective”
1. She isn’t playing house with your child and your ex-husband.
Stepmoms are trying to build their own family, a very real family that includes their husband, and children who aren’t theirs.
Some of them will grow to love their stepchildren and some won’t, but they’re doing their best to ensure the child still grows up feeling happy and loved.
They’re nurturing a marriage and trying to figure out their role in the stepchild’s life. And while you knew your place in your child’s life from day one, stepmoms can spend years trying to find theirs.
2. It’s not about YOU.
A stepmom’s priority is her marriage. When she does something for her stepchild, often the motivation has nothing to do with you. It’s not about trying to make you look bad or make you feel “less than.”
The motivation is the safety and happiness of her stepchild. The motivation is the love she has for her husband.
She’s trying to do the right thing – just like you would.
Similarly, when she supports her husband, the intention is not to go “against” you. In fact, there are times when stepmoms actually side with mom, although — unless you have a decent relationship with the stepmom in your situation — you’d never know it.
3. Stepmoms often feel powerless and alone.
Stepmoms have no legal rights with their stepchild. They understand this; their stepchild already has a mom and a dad. But it gets difficult when they’re turned away for trying to obtain something as simple as a library card for their stepson or stepdaughter. Or when the doctor’s office won’t give them any information, even though they will be the one driving the child to the appointment and giving them their medication.
It’s a hard pill to swallow, especially for stepmoms who have taken care of their stepchildren since they were very small.
It can make a woman feel unimportant and insignificant. It’s a feeling only a fellow stepmom could understand.
In addition, stepmoms are often powerless when it comes to their stepchild’s behavior. This is a struggle, because they are greatly affected by the unwanted behavior, but they don’t have the authority to do anything about it. If they’re lucky, their husband will be supportive and listen to their concerns, but this isn’t always the case.
4. When you contact their household, it often feels weird and disruptive. Stepmoms know you have the right to call your children as often as you’d like. And they understand you need to talk to your ex occasionally about parenting issues. But it can still feel like an intrusion.
Stepmoms are constantly struggling to find ways to bond with their stepchildren. And when you call, it interrupts the activity in the house and their stepchildren are immediately distracted. Any bonding that was going on is gone.
Stepmoms may feel as though you’ve crept into every aspect of their lives. And your calling their house is another painful reminder of that.
5. Stepmoms don’t cross your boundaries on purpose, they just can’t see them.
Many moms complain that the stepmom is trying to “parent” their child. But a fundamental problem seems to be, what moms consider “parenting,” stepmoms consider “being responsible” or “supporting their husbands.”
Remember, many stepmoms aren’t sure of their role.
They’re stumbling along, figuring it out as they go. And it’s difficult to try and do the ‘right thing’ only to realize you’ve just caused mom a coronary. It’s not intentional.
Stepmoms wish there was a rule book. They wish the situations were black and white. They wish they could be on the same page as mom and dad, and know how to handle every situation.
But they don’t.
This is where neutral, open communication would be to everyone’s advantage.
Unfortunately, for many stepmoms, their first experience of mom is an emotionally-charged phone call, email or text telling her she has “no right” to do whatever it is she did. To a stepmom, this feels like you’re kicking her when she’s already down. It comes as a shock — because again — her primary intention was to help her husband and care for her stepchild.
6. A stepmom’s marriage has a 60-70 percent chance of failing. And one Boston study reported that 75% of the women who were surveyed said if they had it to do all over, they would NOT marry a man with children. That says a lot about the difficulties stepmoms face.
This may not mean much to you personally, but it means your children will have to experience the prolonged process of a second divorce and deal with the aftermath.
7. Stepmoms are often disrespected or ignored by their stepchildren. There are various reasons for this, chief among them understandable and agonizing loyalty conflicts for the child, but regardless — it still hurts. Stepmoms are only human!
Life isn’t always flowers and butterflies at the other household. Many children feel weird about having a stepmom. They don’t know what it means or what to do with it, so they act out or just ignore the stepmom, which is awkward for everyone.
And most stepmoms don’t have “unconditional love” to fall back on. When a child misbehaves, wreaks havoc, or throws a tantrum, parents may get angry and frustrated, but their unconditional love makes it bearable.
Stepmoms aren’t so lucky. There’s no unconditional love coming to rescue them from wanting to scream at their stepchild or run the other way, sob somewhere private, and never look back. All they have are difficult feelings and nowhere to put them.
But they do come back, day after day, because they believe their marriage and their stepfamily are worth it.
8. A simple “thank you” can go a long way.
Stepmoms wish you’d give them even the smallest acknowledgement. For a lot of women, being a stepmom is one of the hardest things they’ve ever done. Often, their needs and wants come last, their schedules aren’t their own, and they’re affected by a situation they didn’t create.
Many stepmoms take excellent care of their stepchild, with little or no reward. They get no thank you, no love from the child, and no appreciation from anyone but their husband — if they’re lucky.
They make many sacrifices in order to be with the man they love. So to only be referenced as “she” (or even worse), or to be completely ignored by you, can hurt them deeply. What they wouldn’t give for a simple “thank you” or a nod in their direction.
I believe that kind of recognition can heal wounds.
Do stepmoms ever act from ego or a sense of competition with the ex-wife?
Sure, just as some moms do.
But it’s important to grasp the implications of a bigger context here: being a stepmom is uniquely difficult and confusing. If you’re a mom, could you see yourself struggling in her shoes?
Perhaps, one day, with a better understanding of each other, the mom/stepmom relationship will be one of championing the other, instead of automatic conflict.
(Disclaimer: these descriptions don’t encompass all situations. There are outliers and extremes and hundreds of different scenarios. But these are the most common experiences for many step moms.)”
This is from the book:
There is something that has been on my mind for a while. In many cases of divorced families, it is the BM and SM who struggle to get along. You rarely hear of issues between the BioDad and StepDad, in fact, I’ve asked the question to many BD’s and SD’s and, apart from it being a bit awkward, there are not many problems. I find it funny that a BM would prefer to play nice with the man she is divorced from and has tons of history with (not always good) but not with a new woman who came into the family after the divorce.
What is it about this specific situation? Why does it have to be so hard? I’m not looking for the usual “because women are catty” or “women are bitches” answers – god knows I’ve witnessed men being just as ridiculous. I’d love some well thought out answers. I’m quite aware that this is not the case in ALL SM/BM situations, mine isn’t quite that bad but a LOT of the situations out there are.
So, tell me, why does it have to be so hard and such a struggle for the BM and SM to get along?
Well, this weekend is Fathers Day. This is the 3rd one I’ve spent with my StepSon and partner. I remember on the first one, I didn’t really know what was acceptable of me. I think the ex-wife gave my partner a chocolate bar “from” my StepSon (he was probably only 2 years old then) and that was it. Since then, I’ve felt very comfortable in my role and plan little Fathers Day things with my StepSon. It’s a nice time to bond with him and get my partner something special. This year, we will do a little breakfast in bed, give my partner his cards and we made a photo album with pictures of the two of them in the past 4 years. I hope he loves it.
What about you? How do you fit in to planning Fathers Day with your StepKids? Do you help them or do they not want your help? Is the BM still involved with getting your partner something?
After yesterday’s anonymous submission in the SMA Exchange, I found this article that is relevant may provide a bit of insight from another person in a similar situation.
“When people ask me if I have children of my own, I usually answer with an apologetic, “no.” My brain then floods with a string of excuses from which I choose my next sentences depending on my listener’s facial expression.
“I am an educator, so I have hundreds of children.”
“I tried, but it wasn’t in God’s plan for me.”
“I have a brood of great nephews and nieces and love being an ideal aunt.”
Nearly seven years post-menopause, I still have people gently pat my hand and tell me there’s still time. After acknowledging the unintentional compliment, I make a joke about a miracle.
My identity as a married woman without children took an odd turn when, at age 50, I remarried a divorced father of two teens. From all outward appearances, I now have a unique version of the life I always imagined for myself. I am quick to post online photographs of my newfound family, while friends and relatives are quick to celebrate my status.
But here’s the reality: For the entire first year, I felt more childless as a stepmother than I did before I remarried.
My husband’s children like me well enough; we get along fine. They are respectful, obedient, charming, funny and affectionate young people, just like my students and my nieces and nephews. The difference with students is that you see them everyday and the relationship expectation is bold and clear: As a teacher, you may be the one person who makes a significant difference in the direction of their lives. And the boundaries of these relationships are also clear and agreed upon in advance.
Similarly, the beloved aunt has her special, clearly understood place: blood-bond; in no uncertain terms family; you can’t get rid of her if you want to; and the added bonus of similar-looking noses, curly hair or a quirky laugh that only shared genes can transmit.
As a stepmother, I am proud to say that I have none of the jealousies found in young wives who dream of having a man all to themselves, despite the fact that he has children from a previous marriage. I am a self-made woman, so nothing material they receive from their father is in any way a sacrifice on my part. The shopping, cooking and cleaning that many young stepmothers complain about is taken care of by my husband, who sees his children so seldom that he delights in any care-taking they need. And they are teens, so self-sufficiency is growing as quickly as their feet.
Yet, I still feel disingenuous calling them my children. They aren’t. Even though they have bedrooms in our house, I sometimes feel like a guest at the dinner table. The discussions about past holidays, childhood remembrances, blood relatives, insider jokes, lifelong likes and dislikes leaves me feeling like a an outsider and causes me to be even more aware of what I missed in not having children. It’s kind of lonely being a stepmother. It tends to keep pushing the lack in your face. To compound this, I don’t cook like their mother. The ways I bundle socks, line up condiments in the refrigerator, load the dishwasher, sometimes grimace, burp or (god forbid) fart are clearly noticed as foreign and gross, but never commented on because they have learned to be polite in the company of strangers. I am an outsider. My gifts are suspiciously viewed as trying too hard. The framed photographs of my family are just a bunch of strangers on a once familiar mantle. My dog smells bad to them. Still, as far as step-mothering experiences go, I know I have it really good. It’s just that being a stepmother is nothing like I thought (or dare I admit, hoped) it would be.
As soon as I knew marriage was the next step in my relationship with Jeff, I began writing letters to his children to give them at our wedding. As a stepdaughter myself, I knew everything necessary to alleviate the anxiety of displacement the kids could feel when I entered their father’s life. So, I wrote letters explaining how much Jeff loved them and described all the ways he showed me he honored them, missed them, loved them, grieved for their company when we were not with them. I was determined to be as unthreatening as possible. The unopened letters sit still wrapped in the white satin ribbon on my stepdaughter’s desk.
As soon as we were engaged, I took it upon myself to try and befriend their mother, as well as speak highly of her in their company, even though she drives by me on the street without as much as a wave. Alone time is important to dads and their kids, so whenever it is appropriate, I bow out and let them have bonding outings without me. They are kind children, but they don’t need me in their lives. Not now, at least.
I dreamed of being asked for advice, attending their school functions, introducing them to my friends and family. I imagined sharing secrets, fixing warm soup when they felt badly or listening to their hopes and fears. I envisioned text messages, phone calls, long walks in the park, doing dishes together, meeting their friends.
They are teenagers.Their parents got divorced. It’s not about me.
But there is still time.
Being a good stepparent is about the future. It’s like a bank account where a lifetime of little deposits may one day return as a great gift of appreciation. At least that is what I am banking on. My hope is that one day, after years of my consistent generosity, they will love me. And this love will be different than the love they feel for their teachers or their aunts because I will see them through all that is yet to come.
When they graduate, I will be there. When they fail, I will be there. If they marry, if they are heartbroken, if they have children, when they get promoted or fired, I will be there. And even if they are never able to meet my expectations, I know that love endures and is well worth all the tiny griefs along the way.
Loving someone with no promise of any return is a sacred kind of love. Because of its unconditional nature, a true stepmother who loves mightily from the background is maybe one of the truest forms of parenting. While I am not a birth mother, I now know that I am a universal mother. For me, that is more than enough.”
This article is from The Huffington Post and can be seen directly here…
So I’ve been very open about my relationship with the BM in my life. For the most part, it’s ok. She’s a pretty level headed person. I’ve had my ups and downs where I felt hopeless and angry by how I was being treated by her but, it hasn’t been too bad.
At the moment, it’s good. Most recently, I asked for pictures of my StepSon for a book I’m going to make for him. She replied with a bunch of pics of him in his first couple years of life, including the ultrasound pictures of him. I think that’s a pretty personal thing and feel happy that she was ok sharing those pictures with me.
The book I make my StepSon will have pictures of everyone in his life – including his mom. I wasn’t sure if I should do that at first, but I want to be a StepMom that brings everyone together rather than try and live completely separate lives.
How is your relationship going with the BM? What have you done to try and make it a good relationship and was she responsive?