What Divorced Moms Should Know About Stepmoms

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What divorced moms should know about stepmoms

1. She isn’t “playing house” with your child and your ex-husband.

Stepmoms are trying to build their own family, a very real family that includes their husband, and children who aren’t theirs.

Some of them will grow to love their stepchildren and some won’t, but they’re doing their best to ensure the child still grows up feeling happy and loved.

They’re nurturing a marriage and trying to figure out their role in the stepchild’s life. And while you knew your place in your child’s life from day one, stepmoms can spend years trying to find theirs.

2. It’s not about YOU.

A stepmom’s priority is her marriage. When she does something for her stepchild, often the motivation has nothing to do with you. It’s not about trying to make you look bad or make you feel “less than.”

The motivation is the safety and happiness of her stepchild. The motivation is the love she has for her husband.

She’s trying to do the right thing – just like you would.

Similarly, when she supports her husband, the intention is not to go “against” you. In fact, there are times when stepmoms actually side with mom, although — unless you have a decent relationship with the stepmom in your situation — you’d never know it.

3. Stepmoms often feel powerless and alone.

Stepmoms have no legal rights with their stepchild. They understand this; their stepchild already has a mom and a dad. But it gets difficult when they’re turned away for trying to obtain something as simple as a library card for their stepson or stepdaughter. Or when the doctor’s office won’t give them any information, even though they will be the one driving the child to the appointment and giving them their medication.

It’s a hard pill to swallow, especially for stepmoms who have taken care of their stepchildren since they were very small.

It can make a woman feel unimportant and insignificant. It’s a feeling only a fellow stepmom could understand.

In addition, stepmoms are often powerless when it comes to their stepchild’s behavior. This is a struggle, because they are greatly affected by the unwanted behavior, but they don’t have the authority to do anything about it. If they’re lucky, their husband will be supportive and listen to their concerns, but this isn’t always the case.

4. When you contact their household, it often feels weird and disruptive.

Stepmoms know you have the right to call your children as often as you’d like. And they understand you need to talk to your ex occasionally about parenting issues. But it can still feel like an intrusion.

Stepmoms are constantly struggling to find ways to bond with their stepchildren. And when you call, it interrupts the activity in the house and their stepchildren are immediately distracted. Any bonding that was going on is gone.

Stepmoms may feel as though you’ve crept into every aspect of their lives. And your calling their house is another painful reminder of that.

5. Stepmoms don’t cross your boundaries on purpose, they just can’t see them.

Many moms complain that the stepmom is trying to “parent” their child. But a fundamental problem seems to be, what moms consider “parenting,” stepmoms consider “being responsible” or “supporting their husbands.”

Remember, many stepmoms aren’t sure of their role.

They’re stumbling along, figuring it out as they go. And it’s difficult to try and do the ‘right thing’ only to realize you’ve just caused mom a coronary. It’s not intentional.

Stepmoms wish there was a rule book. They wish the situations were black and white. They wish they could be on the same page as mom and dad, and know how to handle every situation.

But they don’t.

This is where neutral, open communication would be to everyone’s advantage.

Unfortunately, for many stepmoms, their first experience of mom is an emotionally-charged phone call, email or text telling her she has “no right” to do whatever it is she did. To a stepmom, this feels like you’re kicking her when she’s already down. It comes as a shock — because again — her primary intention was to help her husband and care for her stepchild.

6. A stepmom’s marriage has a 60-70 percent chance of failing.

One Boston study reported that 75% of the women who were surveyed said if they had it to do all over, they would NOT marry a man with children. That says a lot about the difficulties stepmoms face.

This may not mean much to you personally, but it means your children will have to experience the prolonged process of a second divorce and deal with the aftermath.

7. Stepmoms are often disrespected or ignored by their stepchildren.

There are various reasons for this, chief among them understandable and agonizing loyalty conflicts for the child, but regardless — it still hurts. Stepmoms are only human.

Life isn’t always flowers and butterflies at the other household. Many children feel weird about having a stepmom. They don’t know what it means or what to do with it, so they act out or just ignore the stepmom, which is awkward for everyone.

And most stepmoms don’t have “unconditional love” to fall back on. When a child misbehaves, wreaks havoc, or throws a tantrum, parents may get angry and frustrated, but their unconditional love makes it bearable.

Stepmoms aren’t so lucky. There’s no unconditional love coming to rescue them from wanting to scream at their stepchild or run the other way, sob somewhere private, and never look back. All they have are difficult feelings and nowhere to put them.

But they do come back, day after day, because they believe their marriage and their stepfamily are worth it.

8. A simple “thank you” can go a long way.

Stepmoms wish you’d give them even the smallest acknowledgement. For a lot of women, being a stepmom is one of the hardest things they’ve ever done. Often, their needs and wants come last, their schedules aren’t their own, and they’re affected by a situation they didn’t create.

Many stepmoms take excellent care of their stepchild, with little or no reward. They get no thank you, no love from the child, and no appreciation from anyone but their husband — if they’re lucky.

They make many sacrifices in order to be with the man they love. So to only be referenced as “she” (or even worse), or to be completely ignored by you, can hurt them deeply. What they wouldn’t give for a simple “thank you” or a nod in their direction.

I believe that kind of recognition can heal wounds.

Do stepmoms ever act from ego or a sense of competition with the ex-wife?

Sure, just as some moms do.

But it’s important to grasp the implications of a bigger context here: being a stepmom is uniquely difficult and confusing. If you’re a mom, could you see yourself struggling in her shoes?

Perhaps, one day, with a better understanding of each other, the mom/stepmom relationship will be one of championing the other, instead of automatic conflict.

© 2011 Jenna Korf   All Rights Reserved

Join us for the upcoming online Intensive, Dealing with the Ex.



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47 thoughts on “What Divorced Moms Should Know About Stepmoms

  1. This would have been helpful years ago when my ex had his girlfriend move in! She’s not the most receptive person in the world so it may have been a moot point anyway. Now that I am engaged to a man with a child (and of course an ex) this shines a light on a whole new perspective. His ex is cordial and I feel that things look promising; only time will tell! Thanks for this posting!

  2. This is everything that I am feeling. Going through one of those “rough patches” as a step mom right now and this clearly explains all the thought that are in my head. I may been pass this on to my husband because I think it is good for him to see some of these things and understand where I am coming from.

  3. Can you delete my comment that’s still waiting for your approval? I decided I don’t really want to share that much negativity afterall. Thanks!

    Great article.

  4. I want to tell stepmothers your doing a great job no matter if it works out with husband or not. You are powerful and special. No matter if anyone doesnt acknowledge you for doing you best remember as long as you do the right and good things for your family like love, protect, nurture, and support your doing a great job. I am a stepmom and now that the children are older I did my best. Like it or not for the biological mom. I did and am proud of what I did achieve. P.S. I would not recommend women to marry men with children. Sometimes its just too hard to handle. I went throug too much.

    • Thankyou, your comment and this post had me in tears. I wish it was easier but unless you’re living it, the people around just don’t understand.

  5. As a Mom and a Stepmom, therefore a wife and an ex-wife, I can relate to many points in this article. As much as I know how one of my stepchildren feel for me, they still so say thank you when I do something for them. My other stepchild, will randomly tell me she loves me and will say thank you, when she remembers. I would prefer a more cordial relationship with his ex, however, there are behaviours or ways of thinking that I just cannot grasp, therefore, I think we are cordial, but in saying this, her and I were closer in the past, and since for reasons have not been.
    One thing that did happen recently and I had no control over is a remark my stepchild said regarding my child, about the relationship they currently have, and how if she told her Mom about this, her Mom would be so mad, and I just wanted to look at her, and tell her that this has nothing to do with her Mom, that this is not her Mom’s family and that if her Dad had an issue with something in our family, he would come and talk to me and we would discuss this and take it from there, but it bothered me greatly when she brought her Mom up out of no where.

    Yes, being a StepMom and StepDad is truly one of the hardest and rewarding roles you will ever have, but there are also difficulties with children all of a sudden becoming a family, a new parent in the home, new chidlren to get used to and nobody ever said that the children have to love or even like one another, but to just get along is nice. Even though my daughter and my stepdaughter are very good siblings..as having a crew of children, they do not all mix so easily…and I would like them all to understand that this is okay.

  6. Every point here resonated with me! Thank you for sharing. I am a wife and stepmom, and have never been ex-wife or mom, and it can be so complicated dealing with all of these emotions. You explained it so clearly. Thanks!

  7. Reading articles like this helps to know that you’re not alone and that your feeling are somewhat “normal” of the situation. My husband and I often feel that we’re playing “defense” to the bombs that are thrown from his ex, and commonly wish that there were more ways to be proactive in creating a supportive environment in our home. Although I have a good relationship with my step-kids we are aware that there are comments made and intentions to keep our family in a secondary position to the exs. It’s unfortunate and we wish my husbands ex could see it as more positivity for the kids to experience rather than an opposing side who threatens and takes away from her family. Although we’ve been together for 6 years, I still hope that time will resolve some of the issues.

  8. Thanks for explaining in such a neutral non judgemental way how step Moms like me feel and how difficult it is to be in a volatile heavily charged situation that we did not even create.

    Much love and I hope this gets to as many Moms and stepmoms as possible.

  9. Thank you! On a day when I’m feeling quite down after being totally disregarded on Mother’s Day by my stepkids, I was looking for a blog or site to help with ways to handle these emotions. I have no “expectations” when it comes to our kids (my husband’s kids) but I am a woman obviously, and we can all admit that there is still always part of us, deep down, that holds out some hope that one day our kids (and miraculously their mothers) might actually appreciate us for all we do for them… This article/blog, and the comments left, has helped reassure me that I am not alone. And that someone is trying to help make the ex wives realize we are not the enemy! Thank you!! And p.s. I also found out next Sunday is Stepmom’s Day… I wish it was acknowledged even a tenth as much as Mother’s Day… as I feel that all of us stepmom’s can agree that we may not have given birth to our stepchildren, but we sure do love them as our own and give just as much love, effort, and time, if not more in a lot of cases, as their bio moms.! Happy Stepmom’s Day on Sunday May 18th to all my fellow loving stepmoms xo

  10. I married my husband 9 years ago i have two children from previous marriage and six step children. They depended very heavily on there dad emotionally I tended to step back during there early visits they didn’t come to see me just there dad. There mum as been married again and divorce again since the divorce. Her new partner drinks is controlling and kicked my 14 year stepson out of there mums home last night. not sure of whole story yet. trying to reach there mum but her new partner has her mobile phone. This has been my life and struggles for many years. There are still two under 18 living with there mum an abusive controlling partner.

    My husband cares deeply for all his children, lucky for them we have them on holiday for three week soon so can take them away from the situation.we live in bahrain they live in the UK.

    I believe i am respected by my husband kids, had to lay down the ground rules as we have so many kids lol , I cuddle them boost their self confidence , compliment them on achievements probably embarrass them on occasions.

    The older children now adult themselves I have better relationships with these days, But I will still be classed has dads wife.

  11. I ended up leaving my home and husband for two months because I could no longer take it. I came back with promises of better communication and support. but of course that was just empty promises now I find myself regretting not staying out. I have 3 stepkids that think I am there to wait on them and serve them and clean up after them no other reasons…I have been to my breaking point over and over again and now have reached the point of surrender where I have stopped even acknowledging them and I let their father look to everything for them I resent having to do anything for them they are 16 15 and 19 and sometimes I wonder how they even manage to wipe their own butts…excuse my bluntness…I no longer get any alone time for me or time with my husband and I just feel consumed in a zombified state…reading others experiences help but I just don’t know where to go from here…

    • Marriage counseling. That is, if you wanted to try and save your marriage. You shouldn’t be waiting on those kids at their ages. They should have chores, responsibilities, and the 19 yr old should be in school or have a job. If your husband doesn’t support this, I’d be gone. There is too much bitterness and resentment, rightfully so is beside the point. Those kids need your love whether they admit it or not and so does your husband. If you can find it in your heart to make it work, and your husband is willing to make it work too (because it will take 2), look up marriage counseling online for your area.

  12. Step parenting is hard. Painful. An emotional roller coaster at times. Thankless. Certainly not financially rewarding in any way. Long nights and days. But so necessary. God has a special place for people who love other people’s children (His children) like their own while facing an uphill battle for the right to.

  13. Jenna this post is so great. I wish I’d seen it sooner! The next time Bay Area StepParents meet, I’m going to bring a copy to share with everyone. We miss you!

  14. Just found this.. and.. oh.. so very much yes, yes, yes… I love my step kids, i do, really, but it has been a struggle and there are times when i really, truly could just say.. fine, you want to cut me out.. then fine.. don’t bother me.. because they really have made it very hard over the years at times for me to care… i do talk to my hubby about it, but so much of it he just doesn’t get.. we’ve been married 12 years now and not once have I ever been acknowledged on mother’s day.. his kids did spend much of their time with their mother, but we did have one with us for years that I sacrificed and did some much for and was treated with scorn and was the scapegoat for that child’s anger with the world.. that child has cut us out now that they are older because we wouldn’t not provide their every whim.. his youngest is now 16 and living with us as they are fed up with their mother’s games and manipulations.. but i’m seeing so much of the same behavior that we saw with the older sibling… it worries me.. the other two siblings are a mixed bag.. the oldest I didn’t really get to know until they were practically an adult, so it’s a completely different relationship.. never had to try to “parent” that one.. but.. the others.. i don’t get.. they know what the rules have always been at our house, what the expectations were.. and yet.. they’ve decided that, now that they are older, our rules don’t have to apply to them.. even when they ask to live with us.. there have been times with this youngest one when i am just *this* close to telling them to go back to their mother’s house if they don’t like the rules here because i’m tired of it, and i really don’t want or need them setting bad examples for other children in our home..

  15. Know that It is not uncommon for tension, compromise, and confusion to rule when the role of parent is shared between a step and biological parent. Some people still feel that stepparents aren’t “real” parents, but our culture has no norms to suggest how they are different. And the less our roles are defined, the more unhappy we are as both parents and stepparents.

    Another role ambiguity is that society seems to expect acquired parents and children to instantly love each other in much the same way as biological parents and their children do. In reality, however, this is often just not so. A stepparent might feel a tremendous amount of guilt about his or her lack of positive feelings (or even the presence of negative feelings) toward the spouse’s children. Discipline might be a constant source of family conflict: You might, for example, think your ex-spouse isn’t being strict enough, when in fact, most stepfathers and stepmothers think the real parent is not being strict enough.

    As a stepparent, you might feel like an unbiased observer with a grudge because you’re an outsider and the very thing that’s making you “unbiased” is something you resent, biology. Stepchildren, as well, often don’t react to their parent’s new spouse as though he or she were the “real” parent. The irony of expecting instant “real” parent-child love is further complicated by the fact that stepparents are not generally expected to be “equal” in discipline or otherwise controlling their stepchildren.

    Another reason for a difficult stepparent-child relationship might be that your child does not want this marriage to work, and so, acts out with hostility. Commonly children harbor fantasies that their biological parents will reunite. If children had reservations about or strongly disapproved of your divorce, they may sabotage your new relationships in the hope that you will get back together. Children who want their natural parents to remarry may feel that sabotaging the new relationship will get them back together. Stepchildren can prove hostile adversaries, and this is especially true for adolescents.

    Although all stepchildren and stepparents are to some degree uncomfortable with some aspect of their new family role, certain difficulties are more likely to affect stepmothers, and others are more common to stepfathers. Conflicting expectations of a stepmother’s role make it especially hard. As a stepparent, your best shot at happiness is to ignore the myths and negative images and to work to stay optimistic.

    As a stepmother, yes, your work is cut out for you. In fact, the role of stepmother is thought by some clinicians to be more difficult than that of stepfather. One important reason is that stepmother families, more than stepfather families, may be born of difficult custody battles and/or have a history of particularly troubled family relations.

    Society also seems, on the one hand, to expect romantic, almost mythical loving relationships between stepmothers and children while, at the same time, portraying stepmothers as cruel, vain, selfish, competitive, and even abusive (Snow White, Cinderella, and Hansel and Gretel are just a few bedtime stories we are all familiar with). Stepmothers are also often accused of giving preferential treatment to their own children. As a result, a stepmother must be much better than just okay before she is considered acceptable. No matter how skillful and patient you are, all your actions are suspect. Is it any wonder that stepmothers tend to be more stressed, anxious, and depressed than other mothers and also more stressed than stepfathers?

    Some researchers have found that stepmothers behave more negatively toward stepchildren than do stepfathers, and children in stepmother families seem to do less well in terms of their behavior. In fact, the relationship between stepmother and stepdaughter is often the most difficult. Yet, other studies indicate that stepmothers can have a positive impact on stepchildren. Because stepmothers are much more likely to play an active part in the lives of children than stepfathers, perhaps there is simply more to go wrong.

    Still, some step-mothering situations can make this role especially complicated — such as a part-time or weekend stepmother if you are married to a non-custodial father who sees his children regularly. You may try with all your heart to establish a loving relationship with your husband’s children, only to be openly rejected, or you may feel left out of part of his life because of his relationship with his children. In addition, a part-time stepmother can feel left out by her husband’s relationship with his ex-wife; for example, non-custodial fathers need to spend time communicating with their ex-wives about their children’s school problems, orthodontia, illnesses, and even household maintenance and repairs.

    Yet, well-run by knowledgeable, confidant stepfamily adult teams (not simply couples), this modern version of an ancient family form can provide the warmth, comfort, inspiration, support, security—and often (not always) the love—that adults and kids long for.

    Gloria Lintermans is the author of THE SECRETS TO STEPFAMILY SUCCESS: Revolutionary Tools to Create a Blended Family of Support and Respect.

    For more information: http://glorialintermans.com/stepfamilies.htm; http://amzn.to/stepfamily

  16. Once again, fantastic advice! I’m going to share this with a friend of mine who is struggling with boundaries with her ex’s new girlfriend. She plans to meet with the new woman in her son’s life, which I applaud. She wants it go well, but this is a whole new world for her. As a stepmom with no bio kids, it’s been interesting for me to see the other side- the side of the bio mom.

    • Shawn, if she’s truly interested in having a positive experience with her ex’s girlfriend, I highly recommend her read the book No One’s the Bitch. Gives great perspective of what both women are likely experiencing. 🙂 Good luck to your friend. I’m always impressed when a mom wants things to go smoothly. 🙂

  17. Another excellent piece. You have helped me so much in explaining things to my husband in an eloquent manner that doesn’t feel combative. I can’t thank you enough.

  18. Our “step mom” is unlike these step mom’s ! Our Daughter died when her babies were 2yrs 8 month old boy & his sister who was 7 mos! 🙁
    Their dad took charge, just like a mom / dad would do:)
    In three years he remarried , an Angel!!! She is selfless, loving, young, capable , works in & out of the home but always has the kids will family if she is working ! They now have two more babies Sam 2 & jack 6 ! Daxton is now 14 yrs old & his sister Mc Kenna is 12!
    Our Angel has NEVER been jealous of their birth mother , only wishes she had met her!
    A “step mother” should be all of what “Olivia” is to & with our babies!! She is another mother to us!! She is all of the kids devoted mother!! Thank you Lord & Tanya (their birth mom) , for sending us our Angel to get us through such a horrific time!!

    • I’m so sorry for yours and your grandchildren and son-in law’s loss. I can’t even imagine how painful that had been but am so happy to hear that a good, loving stepmom and wife was able to join the family and help with the healing. However, you’re right, your “Angel” is different. She may be a stepmom by biology, but she more an ADOPTIVE mom not a stepmom because there is no Biomom in the picture. SHE IS the mom. So she wouldn’t experience the struggles of a a stepmom. I know it’s AWFUL to even think this but I KNOW from other Stepmoms that I’m not alone…we fantasize about how much easier and peaceful our lives would be if mom just gave up her rights and walked away. Again it’s awful, but I’m dealing with a mother who constantly makes plans (with her friends and family) on her days with her son and leaves him at our house instead of picking him up (we have him 4-6 days a week) then also wants child support for the same son she doesn’t have in her home because he’s with us. In and out of court, constant insults against me, the woman who is actually raising her son just as much if not more than she is and constant attacking and threats.

      So yes, again, you’re right, your angel is different, she’s an Adoptive parent, she has the rights to those children so there’s nothing to fight about. But us Stepmoms are living in a constant state of turmoil and war. EVERYTHING that directly affects us, our home, our money, our LIVES is dictated by a STRANGER a woman we never knew, a woman who is only present because she had a baby with our spouse. these laws need to change. They are based on the nuclear family that barely exists anymore. Stepparents deserve rights when it directly affects them. I should have a voice if it’s going to directly affect my life.

  19. This article is pretty much like reading my life however my husbands first wife died before we met. But the points about the childs behaviour, lack of respect etc is spot on. I’m 27 my step children are 42, 37 and 21 (youngest still at home) and its been a constant nightmare for me. I try to lay down rules but they’re ignored and never backed up by my husband. I love my husband more than anything and care greatly for the youngest child as I was there when he went through his teens but sometimes its so hard to live there. He doesn’t help around the house, treats the house like crap and barely acknowledges either of us. I moved into the family home and it doesn’t feel like I belong. We are hoping to move next year and as horrible as it sounds I don’t want my stepson to move with us because the stress and anxiety is breaking me. With my husbands life-changing health issues its to much to cope with sometimes when caring for him and doing everything else alone.

    • It sounds like you could benefit from a much needed break. I highly recommend you check in with yourself and see where your self-care is at. When was the last time you did something fun for yourself? Saw your friends? Had time alone, away from the house? If you’re a caregiver for your husband, self-care is even more vital for your well-being!

      • My husband and I have a week away at the end of August with our dogs. A quite walking holiday which is what we need. Since we’ve been together his older children wont talk to us, one because he wont get the house in his inheritance (charming) and the other because I won’t financially support her and she’s stopped her 14 year old from talking to me and we got on so well. I feel like a home breaker even though I know and my husband says I’ve done nothing wrong. I’m the main earner and have kept us a float our entire relationship with him being poorly and I don’t mind that but his family are so selfish and it makes me so angry that they take take take and don’t even get a thanks. My “friends” didn’t want to know me when I got married because my husband is 34 years older and they didn’t approve. Don’t have anyone to talk to about it.

  20. I would also add to this list: the birth mom likely only hears the negative things about the stepmom and for them to keep that in mind when the children go to her complaining or with one side of the story.

  21. Growing up for the last 13 years with a step mom and now being a step mom I have experienced both sides of this spectrum. My step mom and I did not get along because she had a hard time balancing trying to be friends with me and being a parent, I was very accepting of her at first but it was always a competition and she was very jealous of mine and my dads relationship. My step son now is only 4 so he’s still figuring out that mommy and daddy aren’t together and how things are having 2 different houses. He is still shy around me and doesn’t quite understand what role I play. It’s an everyday challenge, my husband still does things for her “to keep the peace” which is something we’re working on, it’s an uphill battle we will be dealing with for awhile. Luckily my husband and I have great communication and he’s great about understanding where I’m coming from when problems arise. 🙂 I’m sure things will get tough but nothing that can’t be worked on!

  22. I’m the mom not the stepmom, but as I’ve been trying to make the mom/step mom relationship better. I thought it was going great we even tried to do something with our daughter Friday night. Even though things didn’t go as planned, it was ok. We talked and said maybe another night. Then last night, the children called to say good night to me and we hung up. Her phone called me back and I heard her saying things about me. I felt like a idiot! I truly was hurt! What can I do to let her know what I heard and that it hurt me because I want us to be the best parents (all 4 of us) to our 2 babies!?!

    • I’m so sorry, Julie. That’s really awful. I would suggest being honest with her, when you’re calm and not emotionally charged. Just say what you said in your comment, that you heard what she said, but that you’re hoping to be able to co-parent with her. I’m not sure what she said, but you could ask if there’s something she’d like to address with you and that you’d be happy to have a conversation with her. I hope that helps. And good luck. Your kids are so lucky that you’re open and willing to try! 🙂

      • Thank you so much! I like to try and see things openly as I’m not and have never been in her shoes. She stated that I didn’t allow our children to talk to them when they (kids) call. That it’s short conversations when they are with me. But it’s long talks when they are calling me. I have always encouraged my kids to talk to their dad as long as they want to and even when they don’t talk I tell them they should talk to him not be short. I’ve even said it with him on the phone so it was known I was encouraging the calls. The only downfall to the calls is they aren’t at a set time, as they (dad and stepmom) said let them call either home whenever they have time and when sports and/or homework was completed. I suggested setting a time so that would not be an issue and it was totally shot down. I am open to advice and/or suggestions to make this situation better.

        • Hm, I might let her know that if she’s not happy with the current arrangement that you’re open to discussing other options. I’d let her know that the calls are not short on purpose and that you encourage them to talk as long as they like. 🙂

  23. This nail it, how we stepmother feel. There has been many times that I just wanted to give up. One year we actually separated and was about to call it quits because the ex wife even went as far as turning my mother in law against me. Its been over 2 years now and my husband still has no relationship with his family because he defended our marriage against all the crazy things said by his ex. I don’t understand why they act and dislike me. Reading this help me not feel so bad, if she can just read it. I try to have open communication with the mom, letting her know I am the one that cares for the 2 girls, at the end of the day its the mom in the house not the dad. The girls make comments to me about comments made around them about me, not going to lie it hurts. Not knowing why a person can spared hate about another for no reason. I never in 7 years that I been in the girls life has been so evil like she has to me. I even have apologized to her if I overstepped or made her fell like I was mean to the girls. I grew up with a stepfather and always felt I was missing love, so I always made sure the girls felt how much I do love them. At the end I never get it right, I go on vacation and if I take the girls she will make it so hard to enjoy it, if I don’t take them then I get accuse of not loving them. Once she told the girls I didn’t care about them if I didn’t go to church when they went, really? It little petty things but it all adds up and creates issues with the marriage. All I ask for is to respect me and communicate with me.

  24. I understand the sentiment behind this and concede the points are well thought out and respectful. However, I think the problems show up when one says things respectfully, says “I know they are your children”, etc but the actions speak a different language. Complaining about having no rights to children that aren’t yours isn’t something that makes your life more difficult unless not having rights to your nieces and nephews, who you may spend time with apart from their parents, is also difficult. If you want the kids to have a library card just have the parents do it or have the child take it back and forth from the parent that did obtain one.

    A second marriage, with or without kids, has a higher chance of failure than a first marriage. Subsequent marriages have an even higher rate. Women are often the ones that file for the divorce. None of this is mom’s problem. None. Focus on your marriage, leave the parenting to the parents, respect both parents, understand they will raise their kids just fine their way, and find your own happiness outside of their kids.

    If you’re looking for gratitude, talk to the man in the middle. After all, you’re trying to make a family with him and are doing it all for him and the kids (and are doing what any adult should be doing by keeping the kids safe and cared for). Look to him for the thanks. If he isn’t giving it to you take it up with him, but don’t expect it from mom if your lips are saying something different than your actions, if you are crossing her boundary lines, or if you’re only doing it for the gratitude.

  25. I think what this article fails to realize is that parenting is tough regardless if you are a parent or a step parent. My exhusband has recently become engaged to a woman that he’s known for four months. She’s not been married before and has no children – off the bat both she and my ex decided it would be okay to have me over for dinner and my ex started to act like he somewhat cared about co parenting after 7 years of caring less about working together for the best interest of our son. To make a long story short, the only reason for inviting me to their home and acting nice was because they thought it would be great to have me babysit my son during the time he’s suppose to be with his dad because the fiancée wants to make sure she gets to have date nights and take weekend getaways with my ex without our son. Although they make plenty of money, they have an issue with paying for a babysitter when they want to have a night on the town. My ex has been manipulative over the years and I’ve told both of them I’m not going to be treated like a doormat. Step moms or soon to be step moms need to evaluate their behavior and be respectful of the role of your stepchilds mother. The woman that is marrying my ex seems far more interested in superficial topics such as the name brands of the clothes my son wears. I want nothing to do with this woman and I’ve let her know I am not the least bit interested in having any relationship with her. As a mom, how can I trust a step mother who seems more interested in lining up a free babysitter for date nights instead of showing interest in understanding my child’s school interests, activities and medical issues?
    When I talk to other single moms, we all agree that step moms think ex wives simply need to bow down and comply to whatever is is they want.
    There are clearly two sides to every story – yes, I’m sure that there are some ex wives that are unstable, but step mothers need to understand what happened in the former marriage and make sure your ex husband is dealing with his ex wife in a proactive manner. If your husband shrugs off his responsibilities as a co parent, then that could be one of the reasons why the ex wife is less than willing to be amicable.

  26. I have been lucky to have been blessed with an amazing step mom for our( and I say that with the utmost pride) children, although in the beginning we had our problems, but I thank God for her daily.

  27. For the step moms out there that want to be told “thank you” from your exhusbands wife, giving and showing respect as well as respect for boundaries goes along way with the divorced mom. My ex became engaged to a woman who he was living with for less than 3 months and when I found out about the relationship, there was no respect for my role as my sons mother (my ex’s relationship with our son was to see him once a month because he chose to live two time zones away because he was having an affair with a co worker and chose her over his family). Now instead of this new woman thinking to call me and want to learn more about my son, she suggests we need to sit at my sons activities together like one big happy family because of her perception of how things have to look a certain way. Prior to this woman coming into my ex husbands life, he wasn’t interested in co parenting.
    For those new step moms out there, you need to respect boundaries and understand that you can’t make demands on others in terms of how you expect things to be. Most bio mothers don’t want to have anything to do with the step mothers because most of the time, you are not looking to have an authentic relationship with the mom. Being a divorced single mother is a tough job and my time is valuable. Why would I want to have a relationship with my husbands new wife when the only time she wants something is when she and my ex want to go on a date night or want to go on a childless vacation and they want me to babysit or change the parenting schedule? It’s not the divorced moms role to be a free babysitter for the step mom.

  28. While most stepmoms are “doing what they feel is best” my child’s stepmom encouraged her to lie to me! And used foul language in texting while my child was on vacation with me. Clearly undermining a parent is wrong. And where does that leave me? Sorry but SOME stepparents are NOT doing what is in the best interest of their stepchildren. 🙁

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