Claudette's Stepmom Journey
Who ever plans on becoming a stepmom? I know I didn't. It wasn't part of my life journey. Then I met Bernard in January of 1990. I thought we were a perfect match. We had a lot in common and our views on family were pretty in sync.
Believing that love would make our journey easy soon crashed our unrealistic expectations.
Parenting with another woman who’s very involved with her children, is no easy feat. We didn't see eye-to-eye on several things which made everyone's lives wretched.
And then, we were at war…
The lack of control over my life made me miserable. Bernard and I became adversaries divided along the biological fault lines. There were no boundaries – I felt as if his kids and his family were more important than me. I lost my self-esteem, became frustrated and depressed. I hit rock bottom. Bernard tried to help but I saw him as the problem not the solution.
I was consumed with family battles and forgot my own dreams and goals. During one of many therapy sessions and focusing on me for a change, I realized I wanted to go back to school.
Gaining insight helped my stepfamily...
Setting aside my fear of failure and with support from Bernard, I finally pursued my college education at GMU. I studied everything I could on stepfamilies, communication and conflict resolution. I was determined to find out what I was doing wrong.
I learned that trying to function as a nuclear family - a first family - with no past, no exes wasn't working. As much as I wanted to erase Bernard's pass, along with mine, it wasn't working. The reason behind many of our struggles.
Our relationship improved and felt more cohesive once we understood what our roles were, put in place healthy boundaries, and worked as a team.
Armed with my BIS degree, I took some professional coaching programs and joined stepfamily organizations. My degrees and certifications gave me insight into stepfamily dynamics and how I contributed to sabotaging our relationships.
My coaching certifications helped refine my listening skills, allowing me to understand the importance of empathy in our relationships. My experiences with other members of the stepfamily organizations opened my eyes to what other stepfamilies needed.
Finding help and information on stepfamilies was not easy for us then. It was definitely a wake-up call for both of us. We had to work hard to make our family function and become what we wanted it to be. We discovered that with the right tools and skills, we were able to not only create an environment where we respected and loved each other, but be role models for our children so they could one day find someone special in their lives to create a family of their own.
Bringing support and wisdom to stepmoms…
I realized that if I was struggling with my role as a stepmom, there must be other women who were feeling the way I did.
Using my experience and training, I developed ways to create strong and healthy stepfamilies. I see so many stepmoms struggling with the same issues I did: perplexed, devastated, frustrated and unapparent. Evil stepmother doesn’t have to be your role of identity. My coaching methodology will help you understand the construct of emotions that's going on behind the scenes in a stepfamily, define your own role and contributions as a stepmother, and create a new vision for your family.
It won’t be easy. Individuals and families change as we go through different phases of life. There are several directions you can take to navigate this process and there are no guarantees of loving Hallmark type endings. But if you, like me, want to be the very best person/partner/role model that you can be, then consider taking this stepmom journey with me. Those who have are glad they did and experienced a change in perspective and improved relationships even after a few consultation.
I will work with you to gently but firmly guide you through exercises that challenge your thinking and help you define not only your fears but your values in ways that permeates who you are.
Our family has experienced many ups and downs through the years and I'll share my experiences with you as we work together. It hasn't been Disney-like, but real, hard, downright frustrating and exhilarating, and sometimes it seemed to be happening all at once. My life did not become perfect and neither will yours, but it will become better.
My work in helping stepmoms.
Over the years, I've collaborated with other stepmom professionals to provide you with quality support and resources.
My very first podcast way in May 2010, before it was called a podcast. I'm in the process of revamping the show.
I'm a contributing writer for Stepmom Magazine since 2012.
And I've hosted my first virtual Stepfamily Summit in 2020.
A few fun facts about me...
After 24 years living in the States, Bernard and I still speak French to each other, our kids, and several off our grandkids. (We're talking French Canadian, Eh? 😉 )
We love RVing and plan on visiting all 48 states and the Canadian provinces. (Yes, that's me driving the truck with the RV)
My latest passion is watercolor painting.
The best part in my stepmom journey are the seven grandkids that we adore.
If you're looking for someone who understands what it's like to be in your shoes, to help you figure out what's the best strategies for YOUR life, then let's get together and talk.
Go to my online calendar here to get started.
Interested in where I got my training and certifications? Here's my list (for now 😉 )