What is your best advice for a new wife and stepmom?

Emilie compressed

My friend Emilie, her new husband Job and his (their) 5-year-old son Jesse. It was a beautiful wedding, but now she has a lot of new responsibility.

My 30-something girlfriend got married for the first time Labor Day weekend in a spectacular wedding on her family’s farm in the Berkshires. We were blessed that we were able to get away for 36 hours and go to her fabulous wedding. (Best wedding we’ve ever been to! More on the get-away later.)

But now the wedding is over, and it doesn’t matter that her dress was drop-dead beautiful or that her menu was amazing. Now she is a married woman with a 5-year-old stepson. (Her new little guy is a fantastic kid. I really enjoyed meeting him and chatting with him! He gave me a very detailed explanation of how the reception tent was hammered into the ground.)

So I thought it would be interesting to offer her our best marriage advice and advice on being a new stepmom. I think learning to be a great stepmom and walking that fine line with the child’s mom may actually be harder than learning to be a great wife.

The good news is she is great with children. Whenever she comes to visit us she is so interested in our children. She talks to them with respect. She plays with them, reads to them and loves to cuddle them. I think she will be a great stepmom to her new little guy. But I’m also sure there are tricks to the trade of becoming a stepmom and pitfalls she should avoid.

I’m also interested in your advice on getting married in your late 30s. I was married in my early 20s and went straight from roommates to a husband. I never lived alone. I think it would be a pretty different experience being used to having your own house and everything exactly the way you want it and then having to start compromising. I know it can be done, but I’m sure there are ways to make this transition easier!

What do you think? What advice would you give my very good friend about being a new wife and a new stepmother? Does she get to discipline the little guy? How much say does she get in decisions about his life?

82 comments Add your comment

WOW - what was she thinking?

September 16th, 2009
7:13 am

Marriage in and of itself is a BIG change, but to take on “instant mommyhood”? And to think she waited this long (over 30) – methinks she panicked big time – and this will NOT last more than 2 years – if that long!!!!

motherjanegoose

September 16th, 2009
7:14 am

Morning all…I have never been a stepmom and was married at 23, so I will got to work and then later lurk and learn from those who know what they are talking about.

motherjanegoose

September 16th, 2009
7:16 am

@ WOW…I know it is raining here in Gwinnett but did you have to dump a thunderstorm on the topic? Give it a chance….the topic and the marriage.

lakerat

September 16th, 2009
7:20 am

We did not get married until we were both 30 – first time for each of us. Kids came along at 32 & 35, so we were OLD when dealing with their elementary school friend’s parents! But, fortunately, we were more financially stable than some, and in the past 15 months have found out that we were much more financially stable than a lot!

Being old with young kids DOES keep you young, at least mentally! Would not have changed anything, but I cannot fathom being over thirty and becoming a mom, too, on the day I got married – that is way too much to think about, so I really cannot offer anything on that!

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

September 16th, 2009
7:47 am

Wow – that was negative — she was thinking she loves this man and his child. let’s try to keep it productive and positive.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

September 16th, 2009
7:48 am

I’ve got younger children than she has and lots of people are having kids late — I think the issue is more coming into it at a running pace — not getting to gear up with a baby.

JATL

September 16th, 2009
8:01 am

I think it’s to her benefit that she’s over 30 and a bit more mature than the average starry-eyed 22 year old. I know a lot of people who have been and are great step-parents. Not sure what the situation is with the boy’s mother, but as long as she doesn’t try to replace the mom and respects the decisions the actual parents make for the child, she should be fine. I think coming into the situation when the kid is 5 is far better than when the kid is 12 or 15. She has the opportunity to become a lifelong mother figure and trusted soul in the boy’s life.

Geez, Theresa...

September 16th, 2009
8:14 am

“I’ve got younger children than she has and lots of people are having kids late” – that is not the point (also, you failed to say whether the kid will live with them fulltime – if the mom has custody then her “jump” is not nearly as scary as I am making it out to be).

She jumped into marriage AND mommyhood on the same day it doesn’t take an Einstein to figure out that one by itself is a lot, but to tackle both, no matter how much she may love the dad/husband, is not exactly a great move. But, she does look to be dishwater blonde, so that may explain a lot! Let me guess – the guy has lots of money, with alot of it going (possibly) to alimony and child support!!!!! Get back to us on this marriage and how it is working in about 18 months.

Photius

September 16th, 2009
8:16 am

Advice?

Move away from the relatives – far away. You will prosper!

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

September 16th, 2009
8:26 am

the mom does have custody much of the time so that will mean less stress for them. — — She is an actual blonde but also went to Ivy League schools. She is far from stupid or needing any money from anyone else. She runs a large company in New York. She speaks multiple languages and has traveled extensively! She owns her own home and has an apartment in another town for work.

jct

September 16th, 2009
8:29 am

Wow, there is a lot of negative on this board this morning.

On topic, I became a step mom and partner on the same day. If the son lives with them all the time I would recommend the following – have a quiet space or room. It’s amazing how much more noise and activity you will have to deal with a daily basis. This saved me. I lived alone from 22 to 34. I was not used to that much constant talking and noise.

Also, they need to figure out how discipline will be handled. I am lucky because I am a step parent to a child who was adpoted in single parent adpotion. I don’t have to deal with different rules with different houses. This will become more critical as the child grows into teen years. Even if she runs all the discipline through the father, the child needs to respect her as another adult authority.

Lastly, she shouldn’t let problems with the child or the childs mother create problems between her and her husband. She has to address any issues (with child/ex-wife) as soon as they come up so they don’t fester. It won’t always be easy but what in life is easy.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

September 16th, 2009
8:32 am

good advice jct!! i don’t know why there’s so much negativity — I really, really hoped to get her some good advice and she was very, very open to hearing what our community had to say. Now I’m embarrassed to send her the link because I don’t want her to feel this much negativity about her new marriage —- JCT I will send her your advice — let’s hope we get some other good insight –

hackbuster

September 16th, 2009
8:50 am

Tell her to never pretend to be a journalist/columnist because she thought the lady in sex in the city was, like, totally cool.

Becky

September 16th, 2009
8:54 am

@WOW, so you think anyone that has children, should never (re)marry? When I got married, my now ex had a son that was only 7 years younger than me..We had a great realtionship and even after we divorced 15 years ago, the son still tells people that I am his stepmom..

Theresa, I think I’m in agreement with jct on everything that she posted..I wish your friend, her husband and stepson the best of luck..

How is your brother doing?

Let's see...

September 16th, 2009
9:03 am

…”She is far from stupid or needing any money from anyone else. She runs a large company in New York. She speaks multiple languages and has traveled extensively! She owns her own home and has an apartment in another town for work”.

Yet she CHOSE to tackle this situation? Not having the stepson around fulltime will help the transition. And, sorry, I was just being “catty” about the blond hair thing – Good luck to her – this is still a huge step for one who is quite settled in HER ways – good luck to the new hubby, too.

Becky, how did you...

September 16th, 2009
9:07 am

… interpret anything I wrote as “so you think anyone that has children, should never (re)marry?” That is quite a stretch, especially since the topic deals with a never married female going head first into both marriage and mommyhood.

YUKI

September 16th, 2009
9:12 am

Well I did not marry a man with children…I was 29 and he was 30 though and we had our first child when I was 33. So I guess I will be the “old” parent at school as well, but at least I won’t be the only one!! Lots of my friends are having children later…it’s becoming pretty common and not a big deal anymore, people live longer anyway. I could have never handled marriage/children in my early 20’s, I would not have been the mother I am today. That’s just me though.
Your friend will be fine. She will have some adjusting to do…but since the son doesn’t live with them full time hopefully she can ease into it. I’m sure she is ready for her husband and everything that comes with him….that’s what marriage is! Plenty of people marry into families that already include children. I don ‘t know why people on here are being so stupid and nasty. I wish her the best!

GeorgiaSpoon

September 16th, 2009
9:25 am

Well, I was 28 when I got married and he had a 4 year old daughter. 16 years later, my step daughter is in college and we have another daughter. My best advice…just be patient and understanding. Dont try to be anything other than your step childs friend. Anything to do with my stepdaughter, I left between her dad and mom. Of course, my husband gave me a say in finances involving her as it did affect me as well. Just be understanding and dont get frustrated when you write that support check each month!! LOL We were lucky as everyone stayed friendly and when the times came where we did have to all be together (graduations, etc.) we made it work. And now we will have wedding and (eventually) grand babies ahead, so I try to stay out of decisions unless I am asked. My husbands ex stayed close to my in-laws, so that was difficult at times, but it worked. If everyone stays mature and keep in mind the best interests of the child, all will go well! I have a step mother and my daughter loves her just as much as her other grandmother!

Second best piece of advice: Do not ever make him feel like he has to choose between you and his son!! You knew he was there before you married him and there will be times he has to be there for him, whether it is a situation you like or not! Best wishes and good luck!

Denise

September 16th, 2009
9:26 am

I’m 36 and not married, nor do I have children. When I get married there is a strong possibility that he will have children. Seeing as I’m old, my eggs might be scrambled by the time I get married, being a stepmom might be all the experience I get. I’m not claiming that though!

I have 2 friends who are stepmoms with completely different experiences.

#1 – Husband had custody of the child so he brought her into the home full time. Not to go into the details of their family, but I will say that her stepmom experience has been total hell at times. The father did not back her up – sided with the daughter, never realizing that his daughter was actually WRONG – and the child’s mother doesn’t respect the rules of their home and let’s the child run amuck. Having 2 sets of rules is confusing for children. Having a husband that does not back you up/respect your authority/underminds your every decision makes everything more difficult.

#2 – Husband had a kid from a previous marriage. Father is very strict and she knows how to fall in line when she is at her dad’s house. She is there literally 1/2 the time. She has a wardrobe there that has “approved” clothing. She knows better than to pull some low-rise jeans on at her daddy’s house. My friend doesn’t have to discipline the child too much because the father comes in and handles it immediately. No undermining of my friend’s authority ever happens at that house. The mother is a nut but it doesn’t affect my friend’s relationship with her husband or her stepdaughter. My friend treats her like her own daughter and the child respects her as a permanent part of her life and as a stepmother.

I hope your friend has the kind of situation as my friend in #2. She will be a blessing to that child and he will be a blessing to her. Tell her to get it straight with her husband, making sure they have a stated guideline on what her role/authority is in the step situation.

New Stepmom

September 16th, 2009
9:27 am

Being a new stepmom myself who is 34 and never married before with no children of my own, my two biggest pieces of advice are find some other step moms in the same situation (ask for advice and vent when you need to-your husband is not going to want to hear that you are frustrated with his child and him) and get the book “The Single Girl’s Guide To Marrying A Man, His Kids And His Ex-wife: Becoming a Stepmother with Humor and Grace.”

It is very hard to marry someone with kids who you are co-parenting, but you do not have final say in all decisions. If you are like us, you struggle with different core values being taught on the other side. You struggle with guilt over wanting your spouse to yourself at times when he wants to be with his child. BUT, you also have a smiling child who loves you very much, who probably thinks you are a bit cooler than their mom, and who makes your home complete.

I also recommend letting your step child and your spouse have some alone time, that does 2 things: it gives you a minute or two on your own and helps to make your step child feel like they still get their dad like they want and you are not trying to interfere.

No matter how bitter the breakup of the first marriage try to communicate with the mom and have your stepchild see you communicating with her. It presents a united front and it cuts down on some of the playing both sides that we experienced early on with a very bright 9yo girl.

Finally, your weekends with no children: ACT LIKE NEWLYWEDS!!!!! Have fun together and develop some of your own traditions that do not include the stepchild so that you look back and remember those fun times in your new marriage.

deidre_NC

September 16th, 2009
9:28 am

jct you said alot of what i was giong to say…i became a stepmom to a 6 year old girl…we had a rocky road…mostly due to her father showing massive favoritism between her and my kids…she and i eventually sorted it all out and now she is a lovely young 26 yo woman with her own family and we couldnt be closer than if she were my own. she and my ‘birth’ kids are also very close. she now barely speaks to her father…my younger daughter is her half sister–altho no one in my family ever refers to any sibs as half or step..they just all consider themselves sisters and brothers…so sweet…

anyway-as long as the couple have great communication going on they should be fine. and great communication between the step mom and the natural mom is vital also. you didnt say how that relationship is. im assuming, from her age and the things that you said about her, that she has thought about potential problems and has at least acknowledged the possibility of them. as for the child having different rules for different homes…just start things out the way they are going to be. for instance if certain chores are expected at her house..she needs to start that immediately..the way a child is expected to talk to adults…tv rules.computer rules…all these need to be decided between her and her husband right away and then implemented now….there are always going to be issues that come up that one doesnt foresee…but if you can get as many ‘rules’ in place asap that will help…the child just needs to be told this is the way we are going to have things here…at your moms house she makes the rules..here we make them. case closed. it looks from the picture like he was part of the wedding which was a great move…so im assuming she already has a good relationship with the child. that doesnt mean she will never ehar…youre not my mom or the boss of me…all kids say that…she just needs to be ready for these things and not take them personally. it wouldnt hurt to have a few family counseling sessions for ’step’ families…or there are many books on the subject.

it is my opinion that the fact that she has had an independant life will make things easier for her.she sounds intelligent so im sure she has thought and discussed the issue with her new husband…

i wish her all the luck in the world…imo the child thing can be easier than the marriage thing lol…i never speak to my ex…neither does my daughter or step daughter…but i am so thankful to have my step daughter in my life..i just love her to pieces!!…

i think people who cant have something positive to say should refrain from posting today…how embarrassing for theresa to have to send her friend these negative comments…

HB

September 16th, 2009
9:29 am

“Even if she runs all the discipline through the father, the child needs to respect her as another adult authority.”

I think this is key. Mom and Dad need to make the vast majority of rules–hopefully, they have a good relationship as partners raising a child despite divorcing (although, obviously that’s not always the case). Stepmom should have authority to enforce those rules in a way that Mom and Dad have decided is appropriate. When she’s alone with the child, she should have authority as any teacher or sitter would but shouldn’t do anything with the child the parents wouldn’t do (example — if they say no afternoon ice cream, she shouldn’t give it to him either). If she doesn’t try to overstep her bounds to show who’s boss or become a pushover to try to buy the kid’s love, she should be fine.

deidre_NC

September 16th, 2009
9:37 am

and yes…the husband has to back up the step mom….a house divided will not stand….im assuming that the couple has talked about these things and are on the same page..that is vital!!

New Stepmom

September 16th, 2009
9:48 am

You are right Deidre_NC. If dad does not back you up, you are in for big problems. I have full authority to issue punishment as I see fit. We alos recently went through a bout of I will ask StepMom if I can do something and if I do not like her answer, I will go ask dad. Nip that in the bud. THe other thing we went through was about 2months of major disrespect towards me when Dad was not around. Once I started making my step child tell her dad what she had done instead of me communicating it-guess what she stopped.

Your step child will play some games just trying to find her place in the new family and it stinks, but it is part of it.

The other thing that I have learned is you will likely have slightly different rules for your stepchildren and your bio kids. I was VEHEMENTLY opposed to that and wanted everything set up so that when we had children we worked from one rule book. Every step mom I have spoken to has said to give up on that-there will be things that you work through differently with your step child than your bio kids.

jct

September 16th, 2009
10:00 am

Also, it is important that you develop your own relationship with the child. My stepson and I LOVE zombie movies. We watch those together. That’s our thing.

deidre_NC

September 16th, 2009
10:05 am

lol..its hard enough to have one rule book between husband and wife much less add 2 moms…you just have to make sure there is one rule book in your own personal home…and the rules need to be the same for the whole family…this is so stupid..but one major issue my ex and i had…he insisted that my son clean his plate..but his daughter could dump her whole plate if she didnt want to eat it and nothing was said…how ridiculous…i have never had the you have to clean your plate rule…and even with kids that all both of the couples the rules will differ according to each child at times…you just have to make sure things are fair and there are no buried resentments towards the child…

Lisa

September 16th, 2009
10:12 am

My girls were 5 & 8 when I married my husband 9 years ago. He has no children of his own & he recognizes my children as his. Often the girls will even go to him for advice or support and it makes him feel the father role even more. There has been no negative impact on his or their part with being/having a step parent which I am very thankful for. Off topic: I took both girls to the DR yesterday and both had different symptoms. One had sore throat, swollen glands etc. and the other had stomach problems. DR said there is one new airborne virus out there and the symptoms are hitting everyone differently but it’s the same bug. Has anyone else had this among their household?

Joyce

September 16th, 2009
10:15 am

Speaking from experience, (i.e. what *not* to do) definitely make sure that you’re backed up on discipline. Also make sure you’re not the one adminstering it all the time. You may want to have the boy’s father be the one doing that, with your input behind the scenes.

Cammi317

September 16th, 2009
10:19 am

The story about the Army Reservist Mom being beat for no reason in front of her child by an irate old man would have made a better topic this morning.

Becky

September 16th, 2009
10:54 am

OK, maybe I did interpret it wrong..Sorry about that..I just think that if they had dated for more than a week before the marriage, she knew that he had a son, so when she accepted his proposal, she knew what she was getting into..

Sometimes though, it doesn’t always have to be an “evil” stepmom..My ex also had a daughter that her mother always talked bad about her father to her..She always told her that her Dad never paid child support, which he did..Not only did he pay child support, he paid for all other expenses involving the child..i.e. band, insurance, braces, clothes..It back fired on the mother though, two days after the daughter was out of high school, she mariied and within 4 years had 2 children..As far as I know, to this day, the mother still hasn’t seen the children nor spoken to the daughter..

Sorry for the long post and that some of it was slightly off topic..

Wiblets

September 16th, 2009
11:08 am

What about the 2 year old who was called a “little f*cker” on the receipt at Cactus Joes? I figured that would get all the parents stirred up for a good debate!!!

Michelle

September 16th, 2009
11:19 am

OK…I have been both the step child AND the step parent! They both have their pitfalls.

1. Love the child as if he is your own, but be sure to reinforce that she is NOT the mother nor is she trying to take over that spot. This will help keep the lines of communication open with the real mom.

2. NEVER badmouth the mother in front of the child no matter how angry or upset your are!! They will never forget feeling like they are in the middle and had to try to defend one parent or the other.

3. Make sure she and her husband agree on conflict, punishment, etc. now. Once things happen, it is much more difficult to give the punishment when you don’t agree. He should allow her to treat the child as she would treat her own. If not, that is going to be a MAJOR problem.

4. As the child gets older and smarter, do not allow him to manipulate parent vs. parent. Be sure to keep in close communication with the other family!

5. When your own children come along, do not treat them any differently than the step child. Give the same kinds of punishments and rewards that you did the other one!

There are SO many things that are unique from family to family. I just hope that her husband has a decent relationship with his ex and will defend/support his new bride. Being a step parent can be VERY hard but rewarding.

Pick your battles. If it is something you have strong moral feelings about, I would fight, if it is something that is really not “that” big of a deal, let it roll! Yes, that is MUCH easier said than done!

Good luck!

Becky

September 16th, 2009
11:29 am

Wilbets, I didn’t hear anything about that, where did this happen?

Cammi317

September 16th, 2009
12:10 pm

JATL

September 16th, 2009
12:34 pm

Theresa, I think one person posted under several names to flame up the board. Said person obviously either has some bone to pick with you or had a terrible experience in this situation and has decided that no one can have a positive experience in the situation. Ignore them and tell your friend to do so because some great posts have come in now from people who have been in the situation and are actually offering good advice. Remember, when it comes to blogs there are always trolls lurking about!

deidre_NC

September 16th, 2009
12:39 pm

jack.5656

September 16th, 2009
12:40 pm

@Theresa…when you wrote “Now I’m embarrassed to send her the link because I don’t want her to feel this much negativity about her new marriage”….PLEASE tell us you informed her that she was going to be the topic of your blog today.

deidre_NC

September 16th, 2009
12:42 pm

ditto what jatl said…only people who have lived this can offer realistic advice….so go with that…there always has to be people here who like to stir things up….i pray these ones get a life soon…

ATL06

September 16th, 2009
12:45 pm

I grew up with a stepdad that I refer to as my dad. My parents met when I was 9 and got married when I was 11. I think that it is extremely important for the children to meet the step-parent and bond with each other before the marriage. Before my parents got married they would get us all together for the weekend and we (stepbrother,stepsister and myself) would each get to do something that we liked (rollerskating, movies, bowling). You can’t just thrust a child or the new parent into a situation like that and expect it to just workout it takes time. My stepdad and I have a great relationship my mother and my stepsister and stepbrother not so much mostly because of interference from other family members.
Both parents need to be on one accord because children will sense a rift and use it to their advantage. I think it is important for the child and the step parent to get along well. I wouldn’t marry someone who doesn’t get along with my child, in the long run it just wouldn’t be worth it to me.

motherjanegoose

September 16th, 2009
12:56 pm

A JATL, I am so with you.

I am so over those who simply cannot make a decent comment but have to stir things up. As I have said before, it takes more intelligence to make a valid point ( even if no one agrees with you) than to just hop on and stir things up.

Remember, if posters who may actually have a contribution to make succumb to those who are simply mean, there will be no blog as they will all be ranting at each other with , finally, nothing to rant about.

I am sorry Theresa that some folks simply cannot be civil.

My Dad married my step mom when her son was out of the house and about 23. She is still very close to her son. My Dad is not close to myself nor my sisters. He once fussed that she spends too much time with her son when he comes in town for a visit.
I reminded him that blood is (usually ) thicker than water and that she is lucky her son is close to her. I feel that that my Dad will never take the ultimate position over her son, no matter how much they love each each other as a couple ( being my Dad and Step Mom). My step mom reared her son alone or many years and made a lot of sacrifices for him. He is now a wonderful adult who is married with a great job.

@deidre_NC...

September 16th, 2009
12:59 pm

“these ones”??? But I do agree that “only people who have lived this can offer realistic advice…”

@JATL – “Said person obviously either has some bone to pick with you or had a terrible experience in this situation and has decided that no one can have a positive experience in the situation”. Au contraire – nothing I said was negative to the topic, only negative to the issue of whether the bride really thought this through, and now that it is reality she is seeking some guidance as to how to handle it. THAT is what was the center of my comments.

And, I love Theresa, and as Paul McCartney once sang, “what does it matter to ya, if you’ve got a job to do you got do it well, you got to give the other fella hellllll” – and she does it well!!!!

b237

September 16th, 2009
1:10 pm

As someone in there late 30’s who married 2 years ago, I can say with some confidence that most of us are not looking for a sugar daddy and did not hunt down a man just to procreate. And despite the fact that I a blonde, I managed to get an education, and live on my own quite well for years. I’m also the stepmom to an 8 year old. I am her “bonus parent,” and I discipline her just as I would a child of my own. If I think that there are issues coming up that I’m not sure how my husband would handle, I talk to him privately. If you let the biological parent do all the parenting, you will have problems on your hands when you are with the stepchild alone. But, don’t overstep the biological parents’ boundaries – for example, you should not be the one to decide to let a child pierce their ears, try a radical new haircut, etc. We have her about 1/2 the time, which I think makes things easier, she is familiar with our home and our routines. She also knows that her mom handles discipline differently than we do, not drastically but a different approach. We taught her that both approaches are acceptable and is no different than consequneces being different at home and school. The biggest thing that will help is her husbands relationship to his ex, they don’t have to be friends, but they have to be civil and working towards the good of the child. Unfortunately that doesn’t always happen.

Irene

September 16th, 2009
1:14 pm

Everyone will handle it differently. I turned down a proposal because I didn’t want to raise someone else’s kids. Yes, I was selfish and I am glad that I was.

motherjanegoose

September 16th, 2009
1:14 pm

Is this a new trend… we are supposed to be posting under names that correlate with our gripe or who we are griping at? Am I the only one who is confused and finds it hard to follow posters who change their name each time they post? Guess I’d better go back to Kindergarten as I had fun there today!

New Stepmom

September 16th, 2009
1:18 pm

b237-great points. I agree that you cannot be the mom, but you cannot just be a friend. You summed it up PERFECTLY!

I have also found that there is a fine line you walk trying to be involved at school. We pay half the tuition and try to be present at most events, but I do not go to “mom’s” events because I feel like that is stepping on toes. I would never sign up to be homeroom mom, but I will volunteer to help at events.

I told my husband recently that if we get my step child raised and she thinks of me like I think of my favorite aunt, I will have succeeded. I will not have taken on her mom’s role, but I will have helped to raise and guide her into the young woman she becomes.

Deelite 31

September 16th, 2009
1:27 pm

On being a stepmom — Treat the child(ren) better than you expect to be treated. Never make differences between them and the child(ren) you and hubby have.

On marriage — I backed out of an engagement in my 20s. However, I took the time to get to know the real me and am glad I did. I married the love of my life when we were both 33. It was and will be the first and last marriages for us both (our pledge to each other). I love my hubby because we can openly talk about any and every thing, and we support each other in our endeavors. One last thing about marriage, keep certain people out of your business. Remember, gossip is not a disguise for concern.

JJ

September 16th, 2009
1:30 pm

Waaaaaay back when I was a step mom, I was delighted when my stepdaughter’s mom referred to me as the child’s “other mom”, when introducing me to her friends.

Sad Stepmom

September 16th, 2009
1:34 pm

I think there are some very good previous comments. The bottom line is to remember her husband’s son isn’t her son, and she isn’t the mom. And never talk about the ex, trust me, there will be times she will want to!

I got married at 33 for the 1st time, we’ve been married 9 years. My daughter was 3 when we were married, his kids were 6, 8 & 10. The 6yr old is a girl, the others boys. I thought I was a great step-mom. I planned vacations with my step kids, planned events when they were at our house, did vacations with my family with them, the whole nine yards….well, that all changed a summer ago, when while my daughter was at her grandparents, I came across her locked diary, with things she wrote in it I prayed weren’t true…..it turned out they were, and my stepson confessed to molesting several times, at our house, after everyone went to bed. I guess what I’m trying to say is when you have blended families, be very careful, especially when there are boys and girls…

I do still love my stepkids although they no longer talked to me(I think that’s the mom doing that), and for my stepson, I agreed to not have him locked up as long as I had a court order keeping him away from my daughter….

Best of luck to her!

Elizabeth

September 16th, 2009
1:42 pm

I got married at 38. I was a single, career woman who had lived alone since college.

I am always amazed that early marrieds or parents have strange ideas about the lives of single people. They assume that I must have been lonely or that I had all this free time. Neither was the truth. I wasn’t longing for Mr. Right either to make me “complete.”

I was happy, productive and merely stumbled across a much older man with adult children. Being single was GREAT and being married is GREAT, too.

HB

September 16th, 2009
1:44 pm

New Stepmom, you really have a great attitude about your role in your stepchild’s life. My mom approached things much the same way with my stepbrother, although she perhaps had more of a mom role as he rarely saw his own mom. Good example, he had VERY few tickets for high school graduation. While of course she wanted to go, she went to him and let him know that she understood it was going to be tough for him to decide who to invite as he wanted his mom and her mother, as well as his other grandmother and an aunt who played large roles in raising him before my mom married his dad. She told him if he came up one short that it really was ok if she didn’t get to go. He did find an extra ticket but was trememdously grateful that she was willing to bow out to make his special night less stressful. So yes, she was like a favorite aunt to him.

His father was the opposite — largely aloof as a parent to his own children and a bully to me in a weird attempt to assert his authority. He would constantly try to overule my mom on what I could and couldn’t do, yell at me daily for any little thing he could think of (including how I arranged things on my bookshelf in my room!), give me instructions on how I should be organizing and completing my schoolwork (I was at the top of my class throughout high school and didn’t need help from a man who ignored his own children’s Cs and Ds, thank you very much), etc. That is how NOT to be a good stepparent.