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The summary of a discussion held during a stepmother's potluck dinner in 1999.

Q: If you were to start again in the same situation, what would you do differently?

  • Take a great honeymoon! Read and get educated
  • Talk early on, and keep talking. Then talk some more!
  • Help my partner understand what the stepmother role is
  • Define my role more carefully
  • Give more attention to the marriage/relationship
  • Take my needs (as well as others) into account
  • Expect support from my partner in being treated respectfully by hls/her children
Q: What has helped you maintain your relationship with your partner?
  • Talking
  • Counseling
  • Time Alone
  • Considering my own needs- not always putting kids first
  • Books
  • Biological parents taking time alone with their kids
  • Being concrete with partner about needs (ex. Using date-book and making definite plans/vacation time for just the two of us/setting aside 15 minutes a day to talk)
  • Taking the time to be certain divorces are "emotionally completed"

Temper, etc. Shift slowly. Keep some traditions and rituals from each family, etc.

Q: How has the experience of being a stepmother helped you grow personally?

  • Learning about letting go of control
  • Learning how to apologize
  • Developing more patience and resilience
  • Seeing myself as a success…doing something very hard!
  • Developing more self-acceptance, even of (maybe especially of!) my "darker" side

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