Cathryn's Mailbox
Stepmoms wrote in, Cathryn replied​.
Cathryn's Mailbox
2 Youngsters I can't control.

3 yr old SS crying all the time!

A bio-mom worried about new stepmom in her daughter's life- can we help?

About ready to throw in the towel!

About to become a step parent and am terrified!

Bio mom badmouthing me to my stepson & he repeats to me & my kids.

Bio-mom back & I'm hurt by her impact-what can I do?

Bio-mom doesn't want me present at any of my skids school events.

Bio-mom is online stalking & has issues w/ pictures of skids.

Bio-mom physically assaulted me & telling skids it was the other way around?

Bio-mom used me, I drew a line, she’s angry--now what?

BM doesn't want her kids, then does-what's going on?

Clarifying Mission Statement for SMOMS-revised

Dealing w/ bio-mom who doesn't want to get along with me?

Dealing w/ Deceased Bio Mom's Extended Family

Dealing with SD at my young age

DH finds out he has a daughter-I feel terrible

DH sets no Boundaries for SD20-what to do?

DH w/3 bio-kids not trying to bond w/ my 2 bio kids.

Do I love my ss? I don't know.

Does the BB help or hurt with issues?

Don't know where I went wrong

Ever Feel Like Leaving?

FDH feels guilty about leaving BM & allows her to excessively call/text/email him.

Feeling like invisible parent to stepson- help!

Feeling like the enemy in my own house: Teen SD

Feeling resentment towards my SS & can't connect

From BB- A Ritual for you & your beloved

From BB: Self-awareness can hurt...why is that?

Help w/situation that dad, biomom & skid all agree on but I don’t feel is best

Holiday traditions? Some ideas from sister SMOMS

How can I find the right balance & Boundaries?

How can I handle my SD8 who loves negative attention?

How do I cope w/DH's need for perfect family when I'm more realistic about it?

How do I deal with a lying SD, her bio-mom & the ex-step mom?

How do I deal with all the hurt and anger?

How do I help her understand that chores and rules don't mean that I don’t love her?

How do I stop SD from lying to me, DH, BM, and BM's boyfriend?

How to accept bio-mom's "bad" choices?

How to deal w/ unkind skids, ex-wife, MIL costing me my relationship?

how to deal w/SD choosing bio-mom for school play?

How to handle bio-mom who keeps asking for more $$$?

How to handle it when skids away Christmas Day?

How to help ss, when BM encourages him to lie?

How to help when bio-mom returns

How to let go of the single life I thought I saw going to live versus being SMOM?

How to make transition easier for skids?

how to step back in after stepping out?

Husband still feels guilty, his kids in their 30’s

I am frustrated with my skids 99% of the time...help!

I feel jealous of DH's ex & unheard by DH-Help!

I feel left out & sort of invisible w/ grown SD’s

I really love my FDH, but really wish his daughter didn't exist?

I want a better relationship w/ teen stepson

I want a Closer relationship w/ stepdaughter

I want my bed back

I would like to know how to change my attitude towards my new inherited family

I'm at the end of my tether... Stepchildren don't seem to like me.

If you're in the mood for SMOMS Pep Talk-read this!

Invested so much love, time, energy & $$...seems it's never enough

It's too much work- I need help from DH & Family!

Jealous of sister-in-law & Skids-what can I do?

Just jealous or maybe time to leave?

Local support stepmom groups???

My DH doesn't understand why my feelings are hurt

My husband stays at his mothers when he has his daughter for the night.

Need better coping skills but..how to do so…

Not a step mom yet but need some guidance

Open for your Questions in March 2015

Right now, I HATE being a Stepmom!!!

Self-Pity-it's an emotional numbing,energy draining tactic

Someone to talk to when things come up or whenever?

SS5 keeps throwing his BM in my face! Help!

Struggling w/ a jealous stepdaughter

Stubborn DH and sexually active teenage SS

teenage step daughter & car...Ugh!

the problem is my partner...why is he fighting my efforts?

Transitions and Coparenting Struggles

Trouble coping w/BF's newborn & ex.

Venting Guidelines- A Requested approach

What are reasonable expectations?

What are these letters?

What boundaries do I need to set with husband and sd?

What can we do about the rage! I "Lost it" last night. Help!

What to do about disrespectful 20 yr/old SS

What to do when Bio mom starts turning step daughter against me?

what to do when step child stops saying I love you?

When bio-mom sends stuff from life w/your DH?

When BM causes drama, how to prevent that impacting my relationship w/ the skids?

When to call it quits? What to do?

When winning more important to bio-mom than getting along

Why do things Skid's say bother me so & what to do?-Updated!

Why does it bother me that my skids don't recognize how much their father does for th

Why does my ss's rudeness bother me so?

Why does my stepson Idolize his bio-mom????

Why don't I matter in the family?

Why so jealous? What about irrational fears?

When bio-mom sends stuff from life w/your DH?
This was a Post from the BB-seemed important and common topic so I am posting the post and my reply here. Thanks to the SMOM who wrote it!

Her Post:

Here’s what happening...both SS's are coming back from their BM's in tees that they got on vacations that DH and BM took them on, by now even the ones that fit OSS are too small for YSS but they are still being worn and now BM has started putting HER tees from vacations that she went on with DH on OSS...WTF!! I think I preferred the scruffy look! They just go right back to where they came from...

CATHRYN’S REPLY

Hi SMOM, I know I replied a short message to this post the other day but I woke up thinking about you and the situation and wanted to elaborate on some options and maybe even an alternative approach and response to bio-mom’s actions.

Here’s what I’m thinking:
Therapists agree that the things kids remember from their childhoods are NOT the daily living situations but are vacations, holidays and family rituals.
Kids know they are part of both parents: This is the reason it’s important to do whatever we can to minimize the negative talk about any hostile/dumb, thoughtless bio-mom act because children all know they are 50-50% part Mom and part Dad. Whether they’re conscious of this or not, it does sink into their psyches and can have a life long negative impact if the negative behavior of a parent goes unaddressed/unchecked as they grow up. With this knowledge we may be able to be more enthusiastic about actions of the bio-mom when the skids present it to us. Ex. They come over in the t-shirts and reminisce about the happy vacation they had with Mom and Dad (UGH, from one perspective that stinks) and yet if we realize they are wanting to remember a happy event AND it’s important that they get our attention and acknowledge that something good happened with biomom and bio-dad, we can give them our enthusiasm because it is a gift to THEM. This is not what the bio-mom may have wanted but it’s a way to turn annoying, tart lemons into lemonade.
These bio-mom actions are what we SMOMS used to called, “Trojan-horsing.” If you read the Smommentary about “The Loyalty Wars”, you can read more about it. Also we can compose ourselves to support the skids “Hey look at me” emotional needs, knowing we’re giving the skid’s much needed reassurance, we can process our disgust or upset just as you did...by coming to SMOMS.org and getting all kinds of support and emotional outlets and ideas.
OK, here comes the good part. With all the factors above...what about creating a new family ritual at your house, where you all get t-shirts from the events and places that you, your hubby and the skids do and go? Giving her, in their eyes, the credit for a wonderful new family tradition!?! (They can feel good) Going forward and as they grow, the times you all have together are going to give them a new wardrobe, tons of good memories and if they come over with some new t-shirt they got when doing something with their bio-mom, you can very graciously give them a chance to share their experiences with you all. (again a chance for them to feel good). This new attitude (which they will feel) reduces the annoyance you will feel and gives them time to share (tangible action on your part) and shows them, in a powerful way, that you and their Dad are AOK with them having a happy life in both homes. It’s such a deeply essential healing balm for kids of divorce and yet it something missing for many of our situations. What do you think?

By reframing her actions from something annoying into an idea for something that will create more and more fun things for you and your family, she may or may not stop but it will never have the same power to annoy you again.

I’m smiling as I think of them growing and ultimately seeing how gracious you and your hubby were/are. One day the boys will see their Mother for the person she is-people all do eventually. In the meantime, your are giving them such a gift. Sincerely, Cathryn
Cathryn's Mailbox
Stepmoms on a Mission®
PO Box 7, Medford NJ 08055
609.206.2009
Cathryn@smoms.org