Cathryn's Articles for Stepmom Issues and Relationships

Marry a man with kids: BB Compilation
Guest Smommentary--When you marry a man with kids?

This essay is a compilation of a thread started in April, 2007. It is a collection of advice from women who have been there and felt that written in hopes of helping women in the role of stepmom make the best of their situation.

Cathryn writes: This essay is a compilation of posts from a thread started by Mermaidstepmom in April, 2007. It is a collection of advice from women who have "been there and felt that" written in hopes of helping women in the role of stepmom make the best of their situation. I didn't contribute to this essay since my advice is in other Smommentary Articles.

Read on and thanks for everyone who contributed.

Mermaidstepmom writes:
Before you marry a man with kids...
I thought we could start a thread to help ?amjeep? and others that are about to embark on the journey of smomhood. Any and all advice is welcome in this thread -- situations that might come up, expectations, feelings, etc. Keep posting as you think of things!?

Make sure you know what he is obligated to do financially and timewise for his kids and know what extras (financially and timewise) that he agrees to do.??

Keep your friends and family close - you will need them. ??

Grow a thick skin - there will be things said about you by skids and BM that will shock you and hurt you.

Not taking things personal in this situation is hard but it helps.??Boundaries are a must. Read CBD's article on Boundaries.??Don?t get sucked into the drama with BM - let hubby handle her, it is HIS problem.??

ALWAYS handle yourself with dignity and grace, no matter the circumstance. Scream and rant in your closet, at your therapists office and on here! When BM starts her crap, I imagine I am Jacki O (I know this is crazy) and I think, "Jacki O wouldn't stoop to this woman's level, she wouldn't even acknowledge her) and so I don't.??

Be prepared for the possibility of attorney fees and court cases. It is not a pleasant thing and it can wreak havoc on your marriage, finances and emotional state.??

Be prepared to love your skids as your own no matter what happens and also be prepared for moments of pure joy and happiness when everyone is happy and your skids are comfortable enough to tell you they love you - it will melt your heart.

HeatherP Writes:
RE: Before you marry a man with kids...
OH yeah!! Where was this when I needed it?!!??! lol??

Yes, do be prepared to set boundaries!!! Your home is just that, YOUR HOME. Do not allow BM to step in, in any way and try to run things. This would include trying to tell you or FDH how to dress the child while in your home.??

Do be prepared to feel like you come second until your FDH can stand up to BM and put her in her place. IT IS NOT FUN, but it does happen. And it takes alot longer for some men to realize that they do not need to "take care" of her any longer. Taking care of the kids, does not mean taking care of the BM!!!!!!!!??If you have bio kids, (and this is me personally) you MAY not have the same bond with the skids as you do with your bio kids. This is normal!!! I do not feel guilty about it. It's natural.??

Put SMOMS in your FAVORITES on the top and come here whenever needed!!!!!!!!! It's a lifesaver!!!!

Lvsmoms writes:

Make sure you are ok with the relationship between DH and BM. If you are not comfortable with it before you marry him, you will be even more miserable after you are married. And don't think that you will be able to change him after the marriage.

BBsmom1 writes:
Maybe we should all compile things for a book!!! lol?

Here's my input:??
Pick your battles; there will be times you want to punish your skids but you need to bite your tongue, not always but choose the times, don't automatically react like you definitely will want to.??

Don't be hurt if skids tell you things their mom said about you, always react with a smile and something to the effect that it doesn't bother you.??

Don't ever ever ever trust BM completely!!!! (This one is important)??No matter how tempting it is, don't interfere if/when DH and BM are fighting or arguing unless you feel that the place/time is inappropriate (i.e. if the skids are around, etc.).??

Keep EVERYTHING that you don't want BM to know about, whether it's personal to just you or something personal between you and your DH, an absolute secret.

Don't expect your skids to keep anything from their mom.??

Above all, love your new family b/c that's what they will be once you get married.

Word of caution though (there almost always is) don't let it get to you if your skids don't return your feelings, they may not know it but they are kind of in "survival" mode b/c, chances are they won't know how to deal with YOU and no one will talk to them about it either.??Praying for all new smoms out there, this forum rocks and at the same time IS my rock!!

Emmie writes:
RE: Before you marry a man with kids...

Never EVER try to talk to your husband when he is on the phone with BM. I would bet the odds in Vegas that you will end up with the brunt of his anger even though you are not the person he is angry at.??

No matter how strong the urge is, never criticize your DH for how he deals (or doesn't deal) with BM. He has one woman who tells him how wrong he is. She can't hurt him. Your words will, however, hurt him deeply. If there is a situation that affected you, wait until the moment has passed and he is not in a ball of anger about BM to talk about it and focus on how it made you feel, not what he did "wrong".??

Find an outlet for your anger. Nothing infuriates us more than seeing our DH's get dumped on or deal with the drama. We can't let our anger fuel his. Find an outlet that helps you release that won't fuel his fire because staying angry only hurts you, your DH and your relationship.??

Love your skids in a way you are comfortable with. Not everyone can love completely their skids like their own. That doesn't make you bad, wrong or anything of the sort. If you force it, it isn't genuine and they will pick up on it. Instead, find a comfortable relationship with them and they will be grateful.??

Don't let BM get you down. Just like she will say she is the "only mom", you are the "only wife". When you are uncomfortable about something, put another woman in that place. Would I be upset if Jane called my DH at work? Well, yeah, I think I would then talk about it with your DH. If you wouldn't be upset with a friend calling your DH at work, then let it go. I always try to separate my feelings that way so I am not wrapping myself up in knots over everything.??

Above all else, treasure your DH and expect he will do the same. A second marriage is no less important than a first and a marriage is like a garden. If you don't tend to it daily, it will die and weeds will overgrow it and kill it. Tend to your marriage daily. Don't let BM consume your every conversation and thought. Be happy because you choose it, not because BM allowed it today. Live life for yourself.

Debs writes:
RE: Before you marry a man with kids...
Be aware that the stats for blended families are DISMAL. Commit to arming yourself with every piece of information and support that you can so you can SUCCESSFULLY navigate these trecherous waters.??
Learn the art of compromise. Be aware that you hardly ever get a situation to go your own way. Always prepare a list of what you want and then what you can live with. Only let yourself know what you can live with until you have to disclose it.??If one of your dreams dies (eg a perfect blended family) work on a new dream (eg a functioning blended family)??
Never give up.??Understand you will need to work harder on your marriage than ever and prepare to get hurt. Even the most wonderful man in the world will let you down when you don't expect him to.??Every member in blended family has to contribute.
It is Never only the SMOMS fault. REMEMBER THIS!!!!!
Remember the 3 P's.

Punching bag...

Mercmama write:

Get to know BM and the Skids VERY well before you make any forever plans. They will be a part of your life forever. The kids and their mom are a choice you are making for your life. Put romance aside for a bit and figure out if you really are up to putting in what irequired.??

Again, these Skids are choice like adoptive parents choosing their children. They deserve all that you can give, if you don't feel you can get along with them and love them no matter what, do yourselves a favour and walk away.??

And, probably the most difficult advice I have:??Love the Skids like you gave birth to them and respect that you did not.

LadyJ writes:
RE: Before you marry a man with kids...

Remember it is YOUR home. You have rules. Stick to them always. Children need consistancy both with discipline and love.??They may not be your children, but you ARE a good parent no matter what BM says. Believe it in your heart that what you are doing is right. It helps to overlook the 'nasties' she'll send your way. ??

Discuss matters of BM when kids are not around. Not just in another room, kids have excellent hearing. Go to your car, a walk somewhere out of earshot to discuss. Cause what they might hear will NOT be the information the relay to BM! ??

Children lie. You may think they are telling you the truth and lying to BM... but fact is, they are lying to both of you. Very early they learn to say what the parent needs to hear to make thier life easier. Even the smallest of lies when they are with you should be addressed. If you catch them, don't let them get away with it. Consider them building blocks to dealing with the bigger lies. Trust me... there will be bigger lies. ??

Loving someone else?s child will the the hardest thing you ever do!

Beachbum22 writes:
RE: Before you marry a man with kids...
This is the best. Wish I knew about this site a looooong damn time ago! =) Sigh, if I only knew....hahaha ?

?I'd like to add something that may help someone when dealing with a BM for the first time....??Realize that BM may loathe you, hate you and wish you were dead, even though she may not have justification for it. Please realize that you may never, ever be able to get her to change her mind about you. In fact, being nice, and going out of your way to do so, may actually make her hate you more. But we don't NEED BM to like us and we don't NEED to like BM. All you have to do is be civil, take the high road and always respond to her hatred with grace.?

Also, remember to live, breathe and to ALWAYS PUT THE SKIDS FIRST, not BM. ???Man, I was sooo naive in the beginning. FDH and BM had been broken up for so long that I figured they were friends and were used each other having BF's and GF's. But that wan't the case. BM acted like FDH had cheated on her and left her for me!!! ??I really thought BM and I would be friends and, I dunno, go shopping together or whatever. Hahahaha! Idiot!! *slaps forehead*

Perry writes:
RE: Before you marry a man with kids...
What a wonderful idea! Here are a few thoughts to add to the list...??

Understand that BM probably hates FDH (future dear husband) with everything she?s got. She blames him for everything wrong in her life and lives to make sure he is never every happy. So the happier you are together, and the happier the skids are when with you, the more she will hate you. And the more she will try to derail your happiness and wreak havoc in your lives.??

Always remember that you love your husband more than anything in the world and that he loves you equally. He chose you to be his wife. His past is over?he made a terrible choice/mistake and he will pay the price for a very long time. Unfortunately, you will pay it with him and share his burden because you love him. ??

BM has no control or place in your lives other than as the bio-mother of his children. She cannot hurt you or your marriage unless you allow that to happen.??Do the very best you can for the skids. If you find that you can?t love them for who they are, love them because they are part of your husband. ??

Remember that the skids are just children who are probably afraid, confused, and angry that their world has changed totally and their life is not ?normal?. They will react by saying and doing things to hurt you and everyone around them ? but they are really crying out for stability, safety and love. You can give that to them and change their world and their life. It won?t be easy, but it will be the most satisfying thing you ever do in your life.??

Know that the SMOMS on this board are the most wonderful people in the world ? and they truly understand exactly what you are feeling and going through, whatever it is. This is your safety net ? use it as often as you need it!

P.S. Thought I'd add something positive, too....??It may take years to happen....but the first time your skid(s) says "I love you" to you your heart will be filled with more warmth and joy than you have ever known in your life!

Proudsmom writes:
RE: Before you marry a man with kids...
I know that several of the things that I am going to mention have already been said but here goes......??

First and foremost, NEVER subject yourself to BM's crap!!! She will try to get to you every way possible. Just smile or laugh, it will only tick HER off instead of you.

Don't get caught up in the middle!!! Let DH deal with her. If you try to it will only cause more problems. If you need to vent about her, do it here or to DH when the two of you are alone. NEVER let her come between you and DH. ??

If things are going badly, DOCUMENT EVERYTHING!!!! Even if you think it's only minor still write it down. Tape conversations if you have to.

Also if you have a crazy BM take a voice or video recorder with you when you pick up or drop off the skids. You never know what BM is capable of doing.??

Be prepared for the skids to have a hard time with you coming in the picture. They will have hard feelings at first but once they get to know you they will warm up to you. Also be prepared for BM telling them bad things about you to get them to hate you. Once again, when they get to know you they will understand it was all lies.??

If you have a crazy BM, be prepared to deal with that for a LONG LONG time. She will not change for a while if ever. ??

Be prepared for the awkward situations. Like going to skids activities and BM being there. Just ignore her and act like she's not even there.??

NEVER discuss BM in front of the skids. Trust me...they WILL go back and tell her. Also don't fight or argue with DH in front of the skids. Also be careful what of the other things that you say around them. I'm sure they saw and heard enough of it when DH and BM were married. Wait to have your arguments until after they leave or after they go to bed.??

Be prepared to hear nasty rumors about you and DH that are not true. Hold on to the fact that you and DH know that what she said is wrong. The people that know you and care about you will not listen to her.??

Be prepared to have your heart broken when the skids tell you things that go on at BM's house that are not good. All you can do is love them and be the best SMOM you can be when they are with you.?

I realize that all of the things I have said are negative, but this is only from my own personal experiences. Hopefully SOMEONE out there has a good and decent BM that won't have to put up with this crap. This was a good thread!!!! I wish I could have read some of these things before I became a SMOM. Hugs to all of you!!!

Mdkdavis21 writes:
RE: Before you marry a man with kids...
If your skids seem mean or nasty. Try not to take it personal. They are children and they are also going through a rough time.??
Treasure your hubby and support him--don't control him.??Your "ideal" life isn't what you envisioned--accept that before you get married.?
?It is okay if you don't "love" your skids--relationships need to be nutured and worked on. It doesn't happen overnight--sometimes ever!
"The brightest future will always be based
on a forgotten past."

Soccermama writes:
RE: Before you marry a man with kids...
Remember that no matter how much you may do for the skids or how little their mom does for them, she is still their mom. And no matter what a mess she may make of her life they are still going to put her on a pedestal. Of course I hope this is something my SS will grow out of, but who knows. It hurts, but as far as I know, you can't change it.
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