Intentionally Bring Peace to Your Life

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“Our thoughts create our reality — where we put our focus is the direction we tend to go.” – Peter McWilliams – A  colorful sunrise. – Contentment. – Growth. – Family to laugh with. – Inner wholeness. – Peace. – Crisp morning air. – Nature’s beauty. – Health. – Opportunity to help others heal. – […]

Why Silence is Sometimes Golden

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(Stepmoms! Tired of struggling? Register now for Jenna’s Stepmom Bootcamp!) I know many of you have been falsely accused of a variety of offenses by the other woman. Some of them completely ridiculous that left you thinking, Where the hell did that come from?? She couldn’t be more wrong! Its like she concocted some strange story […]

Are you ready to release her? When to say “when!”

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(Register now for Jenna’s August Stepmom Bootcamp!) How much energy are you spending on the other woman? How often during the day do you think about her? Have you googled her lately? Complained about her latest antics to your friends? Your husband? Anyone who will listen? And  how does it feel to be consumed with trying […]

Apologizing 101

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“I’m sorry…” Two very powerful words, when spoken from the heart. Why? Because you’re acknowledging that you’ve caused another pain, whether it was intentional or not. It’s an opportunity to express your regret about the way you behaved, the words you spoke, or the intentions you held. Without an acknowledgement of wrongdoing, how can the […]

The Power of a Name: Just-A-Stepmoms and Bio-Moms

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I sometimes like to think of weird things that might have extremely large numbers assigned to them. …How many breaths each and every creature that’s ever lived has taken, all together. …How many times the clouds have passed over the sun as someone looked skyward. …How many times you’ve eaten lunch. …How many times your […]

How I survived this stepfamily “stuff” – Part 2

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Last week, I described how my strong sense of self is partly responsible for me surviving my stepfamily journey, sanity intact. The other crucial part of this is my husband’s support. I don’t think men know just how much influence and power they hold. After all, they’re the whole reason we’re here, right? We fell in […]

Jenna takes the “Just meet her!” challenge

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As some of you may already know, Jenna has had a less than ideal relationship with the mother of her stepchildren. These relationships are contentious! But in the spirit of  showing women what’s possible with our Just Meet Her! Challenge this month, she agreed to serve as a guinea pig and issue an invitation. Lo […]

Stepmoms, 5 ways to avoid the Mother’s Day blues

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Mother’s Day has come and gone, but there are some stepmothers who are still recovering from the aftermath. What were your expectations for Mother’s Day? Did you expect your stepkids to make you breakfast in bed? Give you a card? Call and tell you how much they appreciate everything you do for them? If you didn’t […]

A challenge: Can you respond instead of react?

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On Tuesday, I posted a challenge on Facebook for all of you peace pioneers, and I was pleasantly surprised to see how many of you were ready to take it on. For those of you who missed it, here’s the challenge: For one week, when faced with an emotional trigger, wait 5 minutes before responding. […]

Co-parents: Are you keeping the kids out of the middle?

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Since none of us would be here if it weren’t for the kids, I started thinking about how some parents can’t help but put their children in the middle of their mess with their ex. And every time I think of it, I’m reminded of an extraordinary book my husband and I read, called “Keeping […]

I’m done trying to make peace with the other woman. Now what?

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  Some of you have already done this, and some of you are considering it. You’ve reached a point in your life where, for whatever reason, you’ve decided to take a break from trying to make it work with the stepmom or ex-wife. You’ve taken back your olive branch and tucked it away for safe […]

Stepmoms, is it time for you step back?

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Many stepmoms enter into their new family, and before they know it — without warning — find themselves providing transportation for the kiddies, cooking for the family after a long day of work, making sure homework gets done, dealing with their husband’s ex, and doing many other energy-draining tasks. Unfortunately, when they come up for […]

How to deal with a defensive person

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A common theme in my stepmom support group is how defensive some husbands get when their wives attempt to address an issue regarding the kids. Most of time, the issue never gets addressed, because defensiveness usually leads to one, or both, parties shutting down. If someone gets defensive when confronted, it’s usually because they’re taking your issue as a […]

Are we sabotaging ourselves?

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Credit: anankkml The other day, during our webinar with the super insightful publisher of Stepmom Magazine, Brenda Ockun, she said something that struck me. Something that I would like to shout from the mountain tops and that I wish someone had told me 3 years ago: If you and the other woman can’t have a […]

Happy Valentines: six secrets to communicating with men!

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The relationship between mom and stepmom is a tense one.  Add a dad into the mix, and all effective communication can get thrown right out the window. Not because he’s not good at it, but because men are wired differently than women. Ever notice when you’re talking to your husband or ex-husband that a few […]

Confessions of a(n enlightened) stepmom

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I consider myself pretty successful in my transition from single girl to stepmom and I’ve always had the best of intentions when it came to my husband’s ex-wife. And yet, I’ve made some moves that seemed right at the time, but weren’t. Here’s one of them: I won’t get into the details for privacy’s sake, […]

The Family-Family Meeting Blow-up

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For a while there, whenever our dual-family family was ironing out some major issues—like which kid was living where, and for how long—we’d have these really intense family meetings. We’d all sit around the kitchen table after dinner, or in the living room, half of us sprawled on the floor… and we’d talk. One of […]

Taming the cobra – Part 2

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(New here? Subscribe to our RSS Feed or via email. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter. Check out excerpts from our book or audio book, and join us on the forum. “Since emotional processes can work faster than the mind, it takes a power stronger than the mind to bend perception, override emotional circuitry, and […]

Taming the Cobra – Part 1

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(New here? Subscribe to our RSS Feed or via email. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter. Check out excerpts from our book or audio book, and join us on the forum. One essential element that needs to be in place when you’re dealing with a high-conflict situation—or trying to change it—is self-love. Okay, so the […]

What your stepchild’s mom wants you to know about her life

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Mutual understanding is one of the most important ingredients in the ex-wife/wife coalition mix. This post is in response to a guest post from the stepmom’s perspective by author Wednesday Martin. Let the dialogue begin! It’s not easy to feel judged and misunderstood It’s not easy for me to be constantly seen at “the enemy” […]

Guest Post by Wednesday Martin: What your child's stepmother wants you to know about her life…

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Please note: If you tried to leave a comment earlier and couldn’t, please try again, as comments should be working now. Host issues – we’re working on it…. Thanks! (Like it or not, the two women in your child’s or stepchild’s life are typically the hands-on parents. Gender roles die hard! With both sides vying […]

The shifting sands of connections

There's a funny little thing that can happen with people you love that drags the relationship down without you even noticing it – until after the fact. I just came back from visiting my daughter Sophie, who moved out a short time ago into her own cool, little abode with roommates just north of the […]

A crystal ball: will your relationship with the ex-wife or stepmom ever improve?

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Here’s an easy way to know if you’re ever going to break through the impasse with the stepmother or bio-mom. Ask yourself: am I stressed? Does my stress level stay at a pretty consistent level? (Sure, you might also be thinking, Well, it’s because of HER that I’m so stressed, but not so fast, Buster….) […]

Sorry!

For the second week in a row, I've fallen off the posting wagon, so just wanted to apologize for not adhering to what I'd said I'd write earlier. Chalk it up to an extra migraine-y couple of weeks, which culminated in a two-day, back-to-back marathon spent in bed with ice packs on the noggin, that […]

New stepmom? Heading off conflict from the get-go…

Feeling your way into potential stepmotherhood? Are you dating a divorced man with kids and things are looking promising? Here are a few ideas for setting a healthy course from the very beginning that will make you thank yourself later. Bond over the good stuff, not the bad. Don’t make a part of your bonding […]

Top 10 Reasons for a Mother/Stepmother Relationship Revolution

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(Angelina Eberly* / photo by Alan P. Van Dyke) 1. While our overall divorce rate has dropped down to 49%, a staggering 75% of remarriages involving children end in divorce. 2. Moms and stepmoms are desperate to escape the feeling that a perfect stranger is constantly trying to undermine them. Who IS this person, really? […]

My fault? Your fault? It’s GOT to be someone’s!

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Check out a lively conversation taking place over on The Step Mom’s Toolbox at the moment. Peggy Nolan wrote three posts (One, Two and Three) about the element of self-deception and how it plays itself out as a stepmom, and just extended family relationships in general. A funny conundrum: if you’re unwilling to consider that […]

Erasing the enemy – Part Two

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(If you missed Part One, it’s here.) The stepmother clicked the button to end the call before it started ringing. Then she took a deep breath and began to dial again. She stopped halfway, remembering some of the worst verbal insults that had made their way back to her, some of the angry and hateful […]

Erasing the Enemy – Part One

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Once upon a time, there was a mom and stepmom, stuck with each other in their lives, like a splinter in their thumb that couldn’t be removed. Thumbs get used a lot, so this was a bad thing, this constant, wincing reminder of the splinter as they went about their days. It was a pretty […]

Shoring up against potential (family) erosion…

I was talking to my friend Bernadette yesterday from Slow Family Living about putting together a panel for next year's SXSW — and was surprised at her surprise by a part of our conversation. Context: she has four kids under the age of 11. My two girls are 14 and 18, with one already out […]

Cold Hard Facts

Welcome to our first guest post! It's by Katherine Shirek Doughtie, one of the co-authors of a "sister" site, the fabulous, but sadly currently dormant The DHX: The Doughtie Houses Exchange — which is also about creating cooperative mom/stepmom relationships. (Katherine is the mom and Jill Doughtie is the stepmom.) The post is actually a […]

What if you've been betrayed?

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So what if you extended yourself with the mom or stepmom and it went poorly? What if you reached out to her and she screwed you? Or you were just going about your business when you suddenly realized, Whoa! That is totally unfair? Happens to all of us. Stepmom/mom scenarios are rife with little exploded […]

Blog round-up/shutdown

A weird thing happened on my way to a new post…. I thought I'd peruse a few blogs on our link list and see what folks have been up to so I could point readers in an interesting direction (kind of the lazy way to generate content, but sometimes, that's all you got). My first […]

Dealing with social awkwardness

Jill at the Doughtie Houses Exchange (or DHX, for short) has two great posts on dealing with socially awkward situations that actually apply to both stepmoms AND moms. In the first post, “How to make small talk with stepmoms“, she gives some great suggestions for moving ahead in a conversation without stepping on any toes, […]

The Fragile Bridge of Trust

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When Indiana Jones threw sand out into the precipice, suddenly revealing an invisible bridge, he found the magical solution to quickly getting across, away from his enemies. But… he still had to actually cross the narrow bridge without falling off. Trust between you and the stepmom or mom is like that same skinny bridge made real […]

One thing you can do when the other woman makes you go "Grrrr…"

How’s it going with the ex-wife or stepmom in your world? On a misery scale of one to ten, with ten being the worst, are you pushing an eight? A 9.5? Is the dial turned to eleven? When it comes to pick-ups and drop-offs, does your stomach clench up within two miles of their front […]

Ten Seconds to Peace Between Divorced Moms and Stepmoms with Eric Maisel – Part 2

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(This is part two of our conversation with therapist and writer Eric Maisel PhD, author of the book “Ten Zen Seconds: Twelve Incantations for Purpose, Power and Calm.” Part one is here.)   The relationship between mothers and stepmothers is traditionally considered to be helplessly antagonistic, but it doesn’t have to be. How can the Ten […]

The Bitch Has Left the Building…

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It’s a nasty word, bitch. Fine, if you’re rightfully defending your kids against some injustice in the school system or you need to stubbornly not give up your seat on the bus or you’ve got a hellish journey ahead of you to do the right thing – then – who cares if anyone thinks you’re […]