My Stepmom Journey
Becoming a stepmom was not part of my life plan. But when I met Bernard in early 1990, I thought we were a perfect match. We had a lot in common and our views on family were pretty in sync.
I believed that love would make our journey easy.
I never realized just how challenging raising another man’s children could be. What I also found difficult was to parent with another woman who was very involved with her children. She and I didn't see eye-to-eye on several things which made everyone's lives miserable at times.
And then, we were at war…
I had no control over my life or home. My husband 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. My husband tried to help but I saw him as the problem not the solution.
I had become consumed with family battles and forgotten my own dreams and goals. When asked by a therapist what I’d do if I wasn’t worried about the family, I realized I wanted to go back to school.
Gaining greater insight to help my family...
Setting aside my fear of failure and with support from Bernard, I finally pursued my college education. At the age of 35, I went back to school and studied everything I could about stepfamilies, communication and conflict resolution. I was determined to find out what I was doing wrong.
What I learned was that we were trying to function as if we were a nuclear family - a first family - with no past, no exes. Just us.
That's why we struggled so much. Once we understood what our roles in the family were, created some healthy boundaries for all of us, and started to work as a team rather than us against them, our relationship started to feel more cohesive.
Armed with my degree, I joined professional coaching and stepfamily organizations and became a certified coach. My degree gave me insight into stepfamily dynamics and how I contributed to sabotaging our relationships.
My coaching certifications refined my listening skills allowing me to understand the importance of empathy in our relationships. My experiences with other members in 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 very 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 we also became role models for our children so that they could one day find someone special in their lives to create a family of their own.
Bringing support, wisdom, and order to your life…
I came to realize that if I was struggling with my role as a stepmom, there must be other women who are feeling the way I did, way back when.
From my own experience and my training, I developed ways to create strong and healthy stepfamilies. I see so many stepmoms struggling with the same issues I did: trying to find their identity, no self-esteem, frustrated and seemingly forgotten. Evil stepmother doesn’t have to be your role of identity. This program will help you understand the matrix of emotions going on behind the scenes in a stepfamily, analyze your own role and contributions as a stepmother, and create a new vision for your family.
It won’t be easy. Individuals and families are changing all the time as we age and go through different kinds of life experiences. There are many ways 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 woman/mother/role model that you can be, then consider taking this 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 to challenge your thinking and help you define not only your fears but also your values in a way that permeates who you are.
I have experienced many ups and downs through the years and will share my experiences with you as we work together. It has not been Disney-like, but real, hard, downright frustrating and exhilarating, sometimes it seems, all at once. My life did not become perfect and neither will yours, but it will become better.
I've collaborated with other stepmom professionals to provide quality support and resources.
I did my very first podcast in May 2010, before it was called a podcast. I'm in the process of revamping the show.
I've been 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 in the States, we still speak French to our kids, a few of our grandkids and to each other. (That's French Canadian 😉 )
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 is 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 are the best strategies for YOUR life, then let's get together and talk.
Go to my online calendar here to get started.