In the article “Stepmother Stereotypes: Who Made Up All This Wicked Stuff, Anyway?“, I was reminded of my first “role” as a stepmom. I was the evil stepmom in my highschool’s musical “Into the Woods”. When I became an actual stepmom when I got married, I joked about being an “evil stepmom” but never really thought of where this stereotype came from. According to this article, it can be dated back to 17th and 18th century Europe. So many women died from illness and/or childbirth that the fathers had to remarry quickly since there wasn’t childcare back then as we know it today. This lead to lots of opportunity for strained relationships as I would imagine, most times, the children hadn’t emotionally healed from their mother’s death.
“Carrying a Torch: What to Do If His Ex Hasn’t Moved On” was never a concern for me, and in case my ex’s girlfriend is wondering…trust me, I have moved on…happily so! 😉 The author lists 5 behaviours the mom does that may lead the stepmom to believe the mom hasn’t moved on, including the obvious “she’s admitted it”. The other behaviours focus on the amount and topics of communication. It then becomes your partner’s responsibility to put a stop to the communications and set up boundaries for their new relationship. Your role is to work on your inner monologue, and trust your partner.
In the article “How Does Your Garden Grow? Use the 4 Ps to Help Raise Hearty Flowers and Happy Families“, makes the connection of how tending to a garden is very similar to tending to your family. Both require planning, preparation, perseverance (lots of perseverance sometimes!), and patience.
“The Mommy Club: Why Your Stepchild’s Mother Doesn’t Consider You A Co-Parent, Another Mother or A Bonus Mom” states that it’s not personal as to why the mother doesn’t see you as being part of the parenting unit. “It’s hard enough for many of them to work with their ex-husbands, let alone someone who is not related to their children”. Completely understandable. I know my ex-husband’s girlfriend is involved in my kids’ lives but I don’t see her as being part of the parenting unit…but they also don’t live together and in fact, live in different cities so she’s not involved on a daily basis.
“Lessons Learned: An Interview with Diane Greene” shares Diane’s journey. She and her first husband married, had one child and divorced after 5 years, and her second husband passed away when she was pregnant with the youngest of her two children with him. Her third husband had a daughter from a previous relationship, so that’s when she became a stepmom.
“The Ever-Present Loyalty Conflict – Why Being a Stepmother is a Call to Sainthood” discusses that the relationship between stepmother and stepchild(ren) comes down to a loyalty power struggle they feel between their mother and accepting the new stepmother. The best way to overcome this is to accept it, don’t take it personally, and don’t compete with our stepchild(ren)’s mother. It just can’t be done.
This month’s contribution to the monthly Emotional Intelligence and the Stepmom series is called “Choosing Optimism: 5 Simple Steps to Help You Start Looking On the Bright Side“. I’m intrigued to discover in this article that there’s a science called “Positive Psychology”, and that the research in this field has determined that “optimistic individuals have a better quality of life, more life satisfaction and even live longer than those who take a pessimistic outlook”. Beginning by identifying your thoughts and self-talk. Then follow five “simple” steps in choosing an optimistic approach:
- Give the benefit of the doubt
- Get curious instead of making judgement
- Make up a different outcome
- Change your expectations
- See the current situation as temporary.
Personally, I try to see the positive in situations…sometimes too much so. Admittedly, some days are harder than others. But on those days, I choose to “fake it until I make it”. 🙂
Prenups are discussed in “Gold Diggers: Are His Kids Afraid You’re Only In It For His Money?“. My parents were adamant I sign a prenup before we got married. I was shocked as we didn’t have anything. My parents pointed out that he had a child from a previous relationship and large debt, and I had family heirlooms to lose. Honestly, I signed one just to stop my parents from nagging me about it. Fast forward a few years, the prenup was part of our Court proceedings when we separated and got divorced.
Meghan was given a year subscription for her review of the StepMom Magazine.