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In Stepcoupling — Taking Hard Times Out On the Exes and Stepkids

January 24th, 2009

Life is hard now.  Money is short and job security is tenuous.  A cloud of fearpx272008 and insecurity hovers and is felt every time we hear the news or pick up a newspaper.  I think these stresses are felt in everyone’s marriage and family.  But it may be particularly hard in stepcoupling when we naturally scapegoat the exes and stepchildren with our misplaced anger.

When the child support is due, you hear “if we didn’t have to pay so much to YOUR EX, who refuses to get a job” … or at other times, if YOUR child would at least help around the house … It doesn’t matter what the triggers are, they come out at stressful times in harmful ways.  Watch yourself when you begin to reach boiling point.

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What To Call Her — Mom, Heather or Hey You?

January 8th, 2009

I remember when we told our kids we were going to get married. They were images2excited. “Oh boy!” said my future, youngest stepdaughter. “Does that mean I get to call you Mommy?” It rolled off her tongue naturally. I immediately put the kabosh on that. I said as gently as I could, “No, Honey, you already have a mommy.”

I SO wanted to do the right thing. At the time I thought that was the right thing. There were times in the beginning when I regretted my response, but it was done. My stepchildren have called me Susan ever since.

What’s in a name anyway? Just because you’re called by your first name and not “Mom” doesn’t mean you don’t count. It doesn’t make you not important or not loved by your stepchild? It doesn’t make you LESS than the biological mom – just DIFFERENT.

Think about how and why your stepchild, who respects and cares about you, even loves you, still calls you by your first name. She calls her bio mom “Mom” because that’s who she is to the child. The truth is you didn’t give birth to your stepchild and raise her (him) from infancy. Someone else did. The name she uses with you and the name she uses with her bio mom is a definition of the relationship and of habit. Those things don’t change.

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