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March 24th, 2008

Cinderella, fatherless child, was raised by an angry widowed stepmother with two overly indulged daughters of her own. Cinderella was cast aside as a servant girl who could do no right. Who knew or cared anything about her situation? No one. It’s just the way it was then. Suck it up!

When I married into a stepfamily with five children years ago, I sort of had to suck it up too. There was one book on the subject of stepfamilies by Emily and John Visher, founders of the stepfamily movement as we know it today. The Vishers were in a stepfamily, and they knew the challenges. They were the first to address the elephant and bring the subject out of the closet. We’ve come a long way since then!

What I remember as a young mom and stepmom, was how LONELY I was. Everyone around me had “normal” families. Everyone naturally loved their own children, who called them, “Mom and Dad”. My family was different.

I couldn’t go to my friends and explain how frustrated I was with my stepchildren. They didn’t understand. They COULDN’T understand because it’s so different from their experiences in nuclear families. Those of us in stepfamilies had to “pretend” that our family was just a regular family.

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March 11th, 2008

Every time they planned an outing, all the kids would get excited except one, his daughter Kelly. She never wanted any part. Every time they did household chores as a family, she refused to participate. All the kids loved it when Jane (the new stepmom) cooked their favorites, except Kelly. Jane was miserable. Kelly was winning, and Jane was losing… she felt powerless. This was not what Jane signed up for!

Or was it? What did Jane sign up for? Did she sign up to be loved, respected, and adored by his children? NO!

She signed up to marry her husband because she fell in love with HIM – not his kids. Of course, included in the package were his and her kids. Intellectually, she understood that but had no idea what it really meant. Kelly was the one who taught her.

Kelly pushed Jane’s buttons! She challenged her. She acted out her feelings to the point where Jane either had to grow up and be the adult–or leave. What Kelly was screaming out for was an adult who would support her, care for her, and hold her accountable…and, most importantly, STAY.

Kelly’s biological mother lived far away, and she missed her. Jane’s presence didn’t fill the void and only made Kelly miss her mom more. Luckily, Kelly had her daddy, as well as her siblings and stepsiblings who she loved.

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