Articles by Jenna

8 Tips for Liking Your Stepchild – When You Don’t


For years, I thought I didn’t like kids. It turns out I just didn’t like badly-behaved kids. But then again, who does? The kids’ parents, that’s who! The biological bond enables parents to love, forgive and accept their children — even in the worst scenarios. Most stepparents aren’t capable of that, so they find themselves struggling with the fact that they don’t really like their stepkids. The truth is, some kids aren’t likable. And you certainly can’t be expected to love or even like a child just because you love his or her father. That’s an unrealistic expectation and it will set you up for failure… Read More

Why Stepparenting is Harder Than Parenting


In working with stepfamilies, I’ve found that a common expectation from divorced dads is that their partner will step in and parent their children. They might think that if their partner spends more time with the child, a bond will occur quickly and they’ll be a “real” family.But this can often backfire as there are many challenges a stepparent faces that usually don’t exist for the parent; challenges that make it exhausting, and sometimes impossible, to “parent” another’s child, especially early on in the relationship.. Read More

8 Tips for Stepmoms Experiencing Outsider Syndrome


Why do stepmoms often feel like such outsiders? Because they are. If you’re a stepmom you know exactly what I’m talking about:

  • The kids walk into the house and ignore you
  • You answer the phone and they say “Is dad there?” – Not “Hi, how are you?”
  • You’re sitting on the couch next to your spouse, but the kids only say goodnight to him
  • Your stepchild offers to get his dad a drink while in the kitchen, completely ignoring the fact that you might be thirsty too. Read More

Stepmom Burnout: What is it and what to do about it


Burnout is, unfortunately, very common among stepmoms. It happens when your emotional (and sometimes physical) tank is on empty and you just have nothing left to give, which is why the littlest things are suddenly enough to set you off. Read More

One Woman’s Frog is Another Woman’s Prince

From:, Nov 2013

In the three years I’ve been blogging for No One’s the Bitch, I’ve noticed a couple of common complaints among some divorced moms regarding their ex-husbands.The first complaint is that if he’s remarried and the stepmom plays an active parenting role, then he is being “let off the hook.” The stepmom has stepped in and therefore dad doesn’t have to step up to the plate. He can fade quietly into the background. Read More

Stepmoms: When Your Husband’s Ex Carries a Torch For Him

From:, Nov 2013

Having to share your partner with another woman because he had a child with her can be difficult enough — especially when she refuses to acknowledge your existence, but when that woman didn’t seem to get the memo that they’ve divorced, it can send your internal threat meter into the red zone. Read More

Step-parenting a Strong-Willed Child

From:, Jul 2013

On a good day, step-parenting a well-behaved, easygoing child can have its challenges, but step-parenting a strong-willed child can seem nearly impossible. Read More

Why Your Husband’s Ex-Wife Might Hate You

From:, Oct 2012

1. She doesn’t hate you, she hates what you represent: The failure of her marriage, the breakup of her family, the woman her ex-husband became a better man for, the fear that she might have ruined her child’s life by not being able to make the marriage work. Read More

Mother’s Day vs. Stepmother’s Day: Who Owns It?

From:, May 2012, with Jennifer Newcomb Marine

Mother’s Day. As if divorced moms and stepmoms needed yet one more reason to feel at odds with each other. Read More

Help For Parents of Troubled Teens in The Bay Area

From:, January 2011

Parenting/Step-parenting is difficult enough when you have a well-behaved child, throw in a teenager with behavioral problems and it becomes damn near impossible. Luckily, there’s help. And it’s called The Parent Project. Read More

How to Forge a Relationship with Your Step-Children

From:, September 2010

Step-parenting is one of the most challenging experiences never talked about. One of the struggles many step-parents face is trying to figure out how to have a relationship with their step-kids. Read More

Mom and Stepmom Relationship: Can’t We All Just Get Along?

From:, September 2010

The relationship between mom and step-mom can, unfortunately, be one of the most difficult relationships a woman will ever encounter.  Through my research, I’ve discovered that many moms, and I’m talking intelligent and successful women, not your recurring guest on the Jerry Springer show, turn into insane, out of control women at the thought of another woman coming in and being part of their child’s life. Read More

Self-Care: Why Stepparents Should Make Themselves a Priority

From:, August 2010

I’ve come to learn this not only through personal experience, but via the many step-moms who attend my step-parent’s support group in the SF bay area and through a great step-mom group coaching class I attended offered by Jennifer Newcomb Marine. Some of what I say here may be hard to swallow, but ask any step-mom who’s figured out what it takes to make it work and this is what she’ll tell you: the two most important things a step-mom needs is self-care and support from her husband/partner. These two have to go hand in hand. I can’t say one is more important than the other. Read More

Tolerance and Compassion: A Necessity of Stepfamily Life

From:, October 2010

According to Webster’s dictionary, the definition of tolerance is: capacity to endure pain or hardship. The definition of compassion is: sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it. If we’re to survive step-family life, we need tolerance and compassion for all family members, including ourselves. Read More