Jacque Fletcher, author of the important and supremely helpful book Becoming a Stepmom and www.becomingastepmom.com, invited me to discuss "Stepmartyr Syndrome" with her several weeks ago for her terrific weekly podcast series. Here's the show. Have a listen and then tell me about it: Have you ever done so much for your husband's kids or your husband and his kids that you started to resent it? What were you doing? How did you change it. Are YOU a stepmartyr?
Today I'm running a special guest post by Mary Kelly-Williams, MA, a therapist and stepmother in Boulder, CO about boundaries. You need them if you're a woman with stepkids, but sometimes it's hard to know how to maintain them, how to assert them, for fear of being disliked or perceived as wicked. Here's Mary on how and why it's important to have your boundaries in the stepfamily, and protect them. Otherwise, you'll likely find yourself exhausted, depleted, and resentful. Have a read...and leave a comment!
As a follow-up to Kela Price's recent guest post about how to find a therapist to help you and your remarriage/partnership with stepkids, a couple of other things that might interest you as we wend our way toward Top Stepmother Concern #3 in the next few days.
As we're addressing the concerns of you, women with stepchildren, a reality is taking shape. Namely, many of you could benefit from counseling. Either couples work or individual work, but something. But as stepfamily researcher, social psychologist and stepmother Elizabeth Church, Ph.D. notes in her book Understanding Stepmothers, it's possible that a therapist treating a couple in a repartnership with kids will do more harm than good. Church details that many of her patients came to her after being treated by therapists with no training, familiarity, or real experience helping remarried couples with kids. The results were unfortunate: therapists telling women to "treat stepkids just like they're you're own" and otherwise importing a first-family model to address stepfamily or stepcouple reality. Since stepfamilies are different, that doesn't work. These couples understandably became frustrated, discouraged, even hopeless before finding real help.
La Belle Mere, a self-described "sprogless Brit stepmum blogger" who likes her "fags and adult bevvies" (I'm paraphrasing here) has written a three part series about why women with stepchildren sometimes feel inadequate, unhinged, and frankly insane.