Four years ago, I accidentally fell in love with a single dad with three kids. I say accidentally because marrying a man with kids was definitely not in my five-year plan. Having divorced parents myself, I know first-hand how complicated co-parenting and blending families can be. It was not something I was interested in signing up for.
Until I went on the first date with my husband, that is.
Four years later, I write a blog about our blended family life and provide support to fellow stepmoms through an Online Stepmom Support + Coaching Business.
It’s crazy how if you’re open to it, life will take you on the most unexpected paths. When I first became a stepmom I learned three things very quickly.
1. Despite having a background in social services and being a child of divorce myself, I had no idea what I was signing up for when I committed myself to a man with three kids and an ex-wife. No idea at all.
2. Transitioning from a living the bachelorette life, to living in a home with three very active children involved some serious culture shock. In fact, I think relocating to China would have been an easier transition.
3. I was on my own when it came to dealing with these new stressors, because unless you’re a stepmom yourself, you just don’t understand.
In fact, I quickly learned that being a stepmom is like a dirty secret that no one wants to talk about. Despite the almost overwhelming amount of parenting resources available to mothers, finding real-life positive advice for stepmoms was next to impossible.
The key word in that sentence being “positive”.
People always ask me what inspired me to start writing my blog, and ultimately creating online support programs for stepmoms. It didn’t start with a vision and it certainly didn’t start with a professional business plan.
It started because one night, shortly after my husband and I got married, I found myself sitting on our bathroom floor, with a glass of wine bawling my eyes out, wondering what the heck I was thinking marrying a man with three kids.
I felt overwhelmed, alone and like I was an outsider in my own home. Everything was more complicated that I thought it would be.
So, I did what we all do these days when we are looking for information. I went to Google. Unfortunately, I did not find what I was hoping for.
In fact, I was bombarded with negative comments and banter from stepmoms.
I read blog posts from women who would say things like, “I just close the door and pretend my step-kids don’t exist” and “I dread the days when my step-kids are here and count down the minutes until they leave”.
None of it resonated with me. My stepchildren are three of the coolest kids I’ve ever met. I loved (and still love) them with all my heart. I just felt like I had no idea how to handle my new life.
All I wanted was someone to tell me what to do next. I wanted to hear from a stepmom who didn’t resent their stepchildren and who wasn’t having an ongoing turf war with their husband’s ex-wife. I wanted to hear from someone who could provide me with some tips and strategies on how to thrive.
I needed someone to tell me how to handle the stressors that come with co-parenting. How to define my place in a home that was established before I was even a thought? How to develop a healthy relationship with my stepchildren and figure out how to be an active participant in these kid’s lives, all without stepping on anyone’s toes. It was not as common sense as I thought it would be.
So when my search for support came up short, I started to candidly blog about my experiences as a stepmom. It felt good to get some things off my chest.
To be honest I didn’t think that anyone would read my blog, but before long I was receiving messages from stepmoms from around the world, thanking me for saying the things they were afraid to, and begging for more support.
I found myself spending hours each week connecting with stepmoms from around the world, sharing my own tips, strategies and struggles.
About a year in, I thought, “Hey! There is a need here!”
So I decided to hang up my Child Protection Worker hat, and really give this a go.
Fast forward a couple of years, I am now a Life Coach with a specialization in Stepfamily Dynamics. I provide online support to stepmoms from all around North America, through my blog and group coaching program, The KICK-ASS Stepmom Project. I’m on a mission to open up the conversation about blended family life and debunk the stepmom stereotypes that are still so prominent in today’s society.
You see, the word stepmom is plagued with negative stereotypes, assumptions and stigma. Which is something I find crazy because stepmoms and blended families are definitely not uncommon in today’s society. Not at all!
In no way shape or form do I claim to have all the answers for stepmoms. Last week someone referred to me as an expert and I had to stop myself from giggling. I am just a stepmom who once upon a time found myself in over my head with no where to turn. For me, it’s all about preventing other women from feeling the same way!