As second wives, it’s not uncommon to feel the brunt of the grief from the breakdown of your Husband’s first family. The children may still be unable to accept their parents’ separation, the ex-wife may still be full of resent and the father may have a lot of guilt because he is now displaced from his kids. There is no right time frame in which the first family should be expected to heal. It’s really dependent on the emotional intelligence of the family members and their willingness to move on and forger ahead. While I would not advise any woman to get involved with a new divorcee, it happens quite often. The fact of the matter is whether your mate is a new divorcee, or they have been divorced for many years, you may still have difficulty finding your place in their ready-made family. Unfortunately, many step mothers are not acknowledged nor welcomed. Your Husband may be well-intentioned, but he may miss the mark at being an effective mediator between you and his previous family. Remember, everyone is still trying to figure out their new normal. If a woman who becomes a stepmpm does not have the capacity to detach and be patient, then she may crumble from the isolation and rejection.
I recently sat down with Jennifer Zelman of Nacho Mom. She has a great relationship with her stepchildren and she has written a book called, ” I Have a Stepmom, Hooray!”, for them and other step children around the world. It celebrates step motherhood and it takes away the negative connotation of what it means to gain a stepmother. During our chat, Jennifer mentioned that her niece recently found out that she was a stepmother. This loving little girl burst into tears when she found out her sweet Aunt Jennifer was a stepmother! The mere mention caused anxiety.
I personally blame Walt Disney for helping to create the negative stereotypes against Stepmother’s -but he is not the lone culprit. It is not uncommon for biological mothers to also contribute to the bad narrative that haunts the stepmother’s in their children’s lives. They see these women as impeding on precious territory thus creating insecurities within their own identity as mothers. As we all know, insecurities breed fear and contempt. A smart stepmom realizes very early on that she can never replace a biomom. She acknowledges the biomom and establishes a relationship based on boundaries and respect and she serves as a Bonus parental figure to her stepkids. Check out the chat (below) to hear the rest of the conversation and pick up a LOT of useful tips from your stepmommin’ sisters.
Keep your head up stepmom, it gets better!
Check out The 10 Commandements of Coarenting and Stepparenting for access to life-changing tips!