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?

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

I’m a young smom started when I was 19 and am now 21. I began a relationship with DH when BM was pregnant with their 2nd son, which I understand has all ready created an awkward situation. DH and I were in a relationship and living together for 7 months before she wanted to meet me. She has never seemed to like me and does not seem to face the fact of how much my parents and I do for her sons. Now DH and I our getting married next year and have a great relationships with both boys, even though we only get them every weekend (she has full custody but we have never been to court).

NOW THE PROBLEM
Recently we started to put OSS into swimming lessons every weekend that were pre-paid. First when we told her we did this she didn’t seem to be happy, didn’t thank us.. considering she said she was going to but couldn't afford, a thanks would have been nice (we do pay child support, but she seems to spend the money on things like nails, new car, laptop etc.)
Then one weekend she says he can not make his next swimming lesson because they are going camping, he failed the lesson because of this and when we told her she did not seem to care at all. She always says "oh well I have plans with the boys so you can not have them"... WE HAD PREPAID PLANS!!! AHHH!!

BM started dating a new man, with 3 kids.. and now she and the boys are spending weeks at a time at his 2 bedroom apartment! Dh and I do not think this is right and have told BM this because their life is already all over the place with two homes.. it doesn’t need to be 3! She said it was not a big deal!! AND to top if off a couple days out of the week when all 5 kids are there they sleep in the same BED! We do not mind her moving in with her new man but at least make it so it is their home and they all have separate beds and at least 3 per room. Her car does not work so now she, her man and 5 kids all have to drive around in a 6 person truck.. and SS5 has to share a seat and not be in his car seat!! WHICH IS ILLEGAL! every time we bring stuff up to her she says it’s not true or not a big deal!! I CANT TAKE IT.. DOESN’T SHE CARE ABOUT THE WELFARE OF HER SONS! She doesn’t help SS5 with getting ready for kindergarden.. and the 15 month old still doesn’t walk or know how to say any words!

When DH gets mad at her she says we can not have the boys! I’m so afraid she will take them away from us. WE can not afford to go to court. I’m a student still.. I only wish I had a full time job to get custody of them.

I do not know what to do! I feel like I’m going to BLOW UP in her face, I can not take this any more.. Any advice?
Thank You

Cathryn’s Reply

Hi, You have taken on a lot of responsibility at a very young age. Your Beloved is lucky to have you, so are his sons. I hope you will post this question (if you haven’t already) to the general BB for I bet you will get many good ideas. Here are a few thoughts I have for you:

As a stepmom, it is hard to accept (find peace with) the reality that we can’t control the upbringing of the skids we love. It can be infuriating to see the power of bio-moms and not be able to do anything about it. Unfortunately, you are in for a long haul with this bio-mom and the sooner you can find a way to accept what you can’t change, the better. If you read our SMOMS Serenity Prayer you’ll see what I mean. It is sort of like getting to a point where you end up saying, “Sounds about right.” whenever the bio-mom does something that might annoy or upset you. Recognizing that there is No reason for her to change-you are the only one who can change and thank goodness that is something you have control over.
Do see if you can get a copy of “The Four Agreements” BY Don Miguel Ruiz and read pages 47-63. It may take a few readings (i’ve read those pages hundreds of times, but it will help. It is about not taking things personally. It’s not going to change the other person, it’s an attempt to help you so you don’t have to go nuts whenever she (or anyone) do things that upset you.
See if you can find free/pro bono legal support to get your custody arrangement in writing. While it doesn’t guarantee people will honor it, it gives your FDH something to stand on if things get worse. Others may know more about your options here.
Keep a journal of the things that happen with the bio-mom. This doesn’t always help in court but it gives you something to do with your pent up energy and it CAN help.
Check out the rules of your state. Many, if not all states require that the kids have their own bed in both(all) homes where they sleep. In terms of any other laws she is breaking, see if you can get some free legal advice about how to proceed. There used to be a divorced Father’s Advocacy group to help divorced Dads with this kind of thing. Use your energy to search out these options and it will be helpful to your FDH.
There are several Essays about dealing with bio-moms under my “essays on SMOM-ing” please check them out. At some point, hopefully before you get sick or depressed or overwhelmed with rage or despair, you will realize that we have to choose our battles with the people that we can’t work with (or control). Soon, our “Lessons Learned” page will be up on the site and it is advice from dozens of Sister SMOMs who are all offering ways for you to help yourself.
Focus on what you can do! Yes, I know it can drive you crazy to think about the other stuff but as tempting as it is, when something happens, ask yourself, Does this sound about right for her? If so, move on to the next question. “Can I do anything about this specific thing?” If the answer is “Yes,” do what you can as wisely as you can. If the answer is, “Nope.” Change your attention. Write it down in your journal, come to SMOMS.org BB for compassion, support and ideas. Then when you think of things you can do-focus your loving, energetic self on those ideas. The sooner you learn this skill, the better off you are going to be.

It sounds like you’re doing a great job. Goodness I know this is a hard thing to accept. Been there and no matter how many times we think about it-we are still not going to be able to provide care for the skids some of the time. It’s a tough reality to let in. Hopefully you find some legal assistance and advice and get some ideas from the BB here. This experience is going to give you lots of opportunities to learn, grow and gain lots of wisdom in this challenging role you’ve taken on so young. What lucky fellows those boys and their dad are to have you in their lives!! Good Luck in school, with your wedding plans and your search for support.

Best Wishes, Cathryn
Cathryn's Mailbox
Stepmoms on a Mission®
PO Box 7, Medford NJ 08055
609.206.2009
Cathryn@smoms.org