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?

Clarifying Mission Statement for SMOMS-revised
Dear Sister Stepmoms on a Mission,

According to a Pew Research Center report cited in the June 2011 issue of Parenting Magazine, nearly one in four American families is a stepfamily, and the majority report they are pretty happy with their arrangements. While that’s fabulous news for them, it still leaves a good portion of America's stepfamilies (or around 12% of American households) living with the challenging (and painful) dynamics of trying to build a new life, while doing whatever they can to deal with the leftover traumas of their old life and often an uncooperative ex-spouse.

Although the number of stepmothers out there may be on the rise, and with that greater societal acceptance and awareness of the importance that the adults involved should find a workable relationship for the benefit of the children, there are still divorced parents who are unwilling to “get along” in spite of the body of proof which shows how important these newly formed “alliances” are for the happiness and well-being of everyone involved...most especially their own children.

This reality makes the presence and intention of SMOMS (and smoms.org) even more important. When Stepmoms on a Mission was born (2000) it was to serve women who wanted to take the “high road” on a complex and often excruciating journey with the man they love. It was created as a pathway that strengthens us so that rather than falling into the bouts of rage, despair, bitterness and devastating pain that we can face in our blended family situations, we will find the energy to feel all those feelings and come out the other side, ready to take action that will help us heal, grow and become wiser and wiser.  

The site always has (and will have) a very loud ring of hope and encouragement for all the women who participate. Back in the early days, we believed that if we just kept our thoughts positive and our feelings honored, we could keep moving forward and use creativity, compassion and patience to eventually win over anyone in our world resistant to the idea of getting along. (See Smommentary-”The Cycle of a frustrated Stepmom” for more). Over the last few years, I've had to realize that some people are intractable and unwilling to put aside their anger, jealousy and narcissism...even for their own children and this makes it even more important that Smoms.org remains a lifeline to help refuel our energy which can be so easily drained by others. 

While it’s sometimes very tempting to simply rant about the injustices most of us face, it’s rarely a productive use of time and energy IF we stop there. We know it’s very important to get clear on, and vent about, our feelings before we can move into problem solving mode. We’ve found that good things begin to happen (and change) whenever we’re ready take the next step of emotional processing. That step is asking ourselves and each other, “what am I really feeling? what triggered me in this situation? what can I do differently to meet my needs? and what can I learn to become emotionally stronger and wiser?” This strategy has worked well for us. Again, there is no timetable for anyone's personal process. We are all in different places emotionally. Everyone has their own timetable. Our vent first, feel understood, get tons of compassion, feel more like your old self again, now "what's next?" process has worked well since 2000. We hope you'll reap the benefits as well.

While the “happy blended family fantasy” is a common and shared vision for most of us when we begin our stepmom journey, we now know that sometimes things work out and sometimes they don’t, no matter how hard we try! This is a hard truth to accept. When things work out-wonderful! When they don’t, sadly we’re faced with deeply felt grief and the challenge of creating a new dream-one that is possible, one that’s built around the people who do want to share a happy life together.

There are usually ways to become happy in whatever situations we find ourselves and this belief is the strength of the bond we sister SMOMS share. Our shared healing and wisdom transcends all socioeconomic categories. It’s our different backgrounds and our shared experiences that bring new insights, ah ha’s and solutions to each other. It's one of our greatest assets as a group! We help each other (and future smoms) as we fill the BB with new choices and options for action, reminders and ideas for self-care, creative problem solving tactics and constant over-flowing streams of soothing, heart-healing compassionate support. This is all good, no terrific stuff and from what many of you told me in your emails over the years, this is still unique to our site.
 
I’ve been changed by the events of the past 15 years, dramatically so in the past 4 years. My vision for what it means to be a Stepmom on a Mission has evolved and over the coming months and years, I want to share newly learned lessons, beliefs, choices and insights with you all.

Going forward on this bulletin board, may I ask the following of you as we pursue our mutual goal of learning how to “heal and deal” with whatever situations we face in our complex role as stepmoms on a Mission?:

1. Will you put the focus of your posts on YOUR feelings, YOUR experiences, YOUR search for understanding and YOUR needs so we can all band together in the common goal of supporting YOUR process? There is no time pressure to move from the venting your feelings stage to being ready to take action to help yourself or your situation. That is YOUR call completely. Depending on your situation, you may need weeks or dozens of posts before you feel known and understood by someone here. That’s AOK. You’ll know it when you feel it and when you’re ready for ideas and insights...we’ll be here for that as well.

2. When you reply to others, will you keep in mind the difference between Honesty vs Truth? A friend of mine taught me the difference between the two. They said that telling the truth is relating the facts and being honest is relaying the facts AND doing so in a way that takes the other person’s feelings into consideration. To me, this is a critical distinction. Keeping this distinction in mind may help us all choose our words more effectively and create the greatest positive impact. A line that works well when there's a disagreement is, “I see it differently and here’s why”? This can reduce defensiveness and open people to new options and outlooks.

3. About “venting.” If you need a good rant, (and we’ve all needed that from time to time) please just include in the title of your thread, “This is a vent...” This will give clear notice before anyone starts to read your post. As far as guidelines for venting, below is from a post I wrote to address my concern about language and intention while venting.

From another post: When you're on this BB sharing your feelings about someone who’s impacted you negatively, please use words that you would be OK hearing from your adorable 8-10 year old child or skid. NO, I'm not saying you're limited to their vocabulary, not at all. It's just that if they said, whatever you’re writing, you'd be OK with it, feeling it was appropriate. When in doubt, use this as a way to calibrate your choices. Certainly the wordless symbols people like to use for strong feelings are another effective way to express yourself. Bunny's Fry-pan is also good!

For Example, "I think this person is a despicable, cruel, narcissistic, sociopathic, self-centered, borderline, bi-polar, lying lazybones whom I hate, detest, despise and distrust." That's OK. And while you're not going to hear an 8 year old say whatever we might say here at SMOMS the point is that all those words are good descriptive words that express feelings and give readers a darn good idea of what the writer is feeling.

When you write about what happens to you, how you feel about it and look for help in what you can learn, understand and do about it going forward, you are 100% in line with our goals. Recapping our SMOMS goal: Women empowering women to improve the quality of our emotional lives and helping each other become wiser, stronger and more able to be our truly loving magnificent selves as we deal with the uncontrollable, unpredictable and often unfair impact and actions of some very challenging and difficult people we’ve “inherited” in our lives as stepmoms.

The work we’re doing, as we navigate stormy and deep waters is PhD level personal growth material. It’s not for everyone. I’m glad you’ve found Stepmoms on a Mission. You being here makes a difference to everyone else here. Who knows who will need your support and who will be able to support you on your journey. It’s a special place filled with special women like you. Welcome! Please let me hear from you if you have ideas and/or comments for ways we can improve the value of our site.

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