According to The Stepfamily Foundation, 1,300 step families are formed every day. The US Census Bureau reports 16% of all children, which is roughly 11.6 million, are step children; 13% of adults are step parents (29-30 million); 15% of men are stepdads (16.5 million) and 12% of women are step moms (14 million). There is a stereotype surrounding the perception of what people think a step parent is (like the evil step mother in Cinderella) and yet the reality is this is a tough role for many women. Which is why support groups for step moms is so important.
Hollywood’s version of step moms
Hollywood has made many movies involving step moms. In the 1985 film, “St. Elmo’s Fire,” Demi Moore refers to her stepmom as her step-monster. We all know Cinderella’s story with her stepmother. Then there was the 1998 film, “Stepmom,” starring Julia Roberts (Isabel) and Susan Sarandon (Jackie). Roberts’s character becomes the stepmom to Sarandon’s two on-screen children, Jena Malone (Anna) and Liam Aiken (Ben). Despite her good intentions, most of the storyline centers on how Isabel is scrutinized and can’t do anything right, until Jackie, Anna, and Ben, turn a corner and are willing to give Isabel a chance.
Is there a gender bias?
Are the challenges of becoming stepparent harder for women than men? Yes and no.
While research found becoming a stepdad is more socially acceptable than becoming a stepmom, both genders face challenges when they marry into an established family. According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, a stepparent can create the sense of loss and change for a child and for any step-couple trying to unite the old and the new, experts say you should allow at least two years of an adjustment phase for everyone to get used to the new dynamic and keep your expectations to a realistic level.
Carol Brady effect lives on
The notion that all stepmothers are evil couldn’t be further from the truth. When Carol Brady, a mom of three girls marries Mike Brady, a father of three boys on “The Brady Bunch,” she makes it known that the only steps in their household are the ones leading up to everyone’s bedroom. There are many pros to becoming a stepmom and a plus one to the family. Discover why welcoming another member to the team has its advantages.
You Can Be Influential
A woman who chose to remain anonymous gushed about her stepmother on Quora, a social question-and-answer website that launched in 2009. In her post, the woman shared how she and her brother lost their mom when they were one and three. Their dad remarried to a woman she described as a positive role model and because of her love, guidance, and support, the writer shared how it inspired her to become a doctor.
You Get & Give Extra Love
Supermodel Gisele Bundchen said this about ex-husband Tom Brady’s Jack from a previous relationship, “I use the word bonus mom because I feel like it’s a blessing in my life. I feel so lucky that I got to have an extra, wonderful little angel in my life.”
You Can Set The Tone
When “Selling Sunsets” star & real estate agent Heather Rae El Moussa became a stepmom to her husband Tareek’s two children she said, “These kids are truly our everything, so we decided to say our vows first to the kids and second to each other. This is just a tiny portion of what I said to the kids, but I truly meant every word: When your daddy and I decided to be fully committed, I was 100 percent committing myself to you too.”
Amy Stone, a life coach who helps adults in blended families and is a stepmom herself says, “As a stepparent, I am an outside voice and I often found this to be an advantage because I had a non-parent perspective that was occasionally helpful.”
A Trusted Confidant
On the social media platform Reddit writer, Mapper9 shared, that as the stepmom to a teenage girl, the benefits are amazing. I get to play the smarter more experienced friend and have conversations about the sensitive topics that may be awkward for her to have with her parents because I’m not her mom or dad, so I feel like she really gets the message.
You Re-Discover Yourself
When Gwyneth Paltrow was talking about her role as a stepmom to husband Brad Falchuk’s two children on her Goop Podcast, the Oscar winner said, “It’s been a really interesting challenge for me and I love them. I’ve learned so much about myself through the process.”
Kristen Skiles, a Certified Stepparent Coach and stepmom herself writes, “The reality is, being a stepmother is a choice to love, nurture, and help a child grow. It is not about the glory, and it is definitely not an attempt to replace the crucial role that only a biological mother can fill, but it is a supplement to that role. A biological mother and a stepmother work toward the same goal. Both want to raise brilliant, successful, beautiful children.
You Relive Childhood Memories
In the words of Princess Beatrice, “I had the great honor to become a stepmother, and have had the most remarkable time going back over some of my most favorite stories at bedtime.”
Stepmom support group podcasts have lots of great advice
We live in an age where Podcasts are the rage and one of the most popular ways people are getting their news, information, sports, and entertainment. Here in the United States, there are over three million Podcast shows available, and more than five million worldwide. According to Statista, the number of people listening to Podcasts has doubled over the last ten years, and currently, 62% of all US consumers are tuning into podcasts on a regular basis. If you’re a stepmom and searching for an outlet to help you during this transition, well, there’s a Podcast for that and we found 12 great ones for you to check out.
- The Jamie Scrimgeour Podcast: based on Scrimgeour’s popular website, the program is a no-hold-barred conversation about motherhood, step-motherhood, family, and relationships. (Click here to learn more and listen)
- The Stepmom Diaries Podcast: Cameron Normand, a stepmom of four, discusses blended families, relationships, and personal development. (Click here to learn more and listen)
- Other Mothers Podcast: Hosts Lindsay Cardwell, Franci Talamantez-Witte, and Ellen Clevenger share advice on how stepmoms can have successful relationships with their blended families. (Click here to listen)
- Radical Stepmoms: Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and stepmom, Christina, combined both her professional and personal experience to create a Podcast to help other stepmoms navigate the journey. (Click here to learn more and listen)
- Essential Stepmom Podcast: Parent Strategist, Life Coach, and stepmom Tracy Poizner dedicates her program to helping stepmoms and their blended families find ways to bond and get along. (Click here to learn more and listen)
- Plus HER, A Stepmom’s Journey: HostAnne-Laurie Forbes interviews experts and shares her own personal experience on becoming a stepmom. (Click here to learn more and listen)
- Stepmom Sanity: Cheryl Shumake, host & stepmom, interviews experts on the problems blended families face and solutions to fix them. (Click here to learn more and listen)
- Blended Family Podcast: Host Melissa Brown offers insight and strategies to help blended families overcome the challenges & obstacles that come from combining families. (Click here to listen)
- Crushing The Chaos: ChaVonne Sampson, a stepchild and stepmom is the host and stepmom coach of this program that explores how to get through the rough patches of becoming and being a stepparent. (Click here to listen)
- The Daily Stepmom: This is a weekly podcast where Certified Stepparenting Coach & stepmom Joslynn Flowers speaks openly about anything and everything blended families face and how everyone can survive and thrive in what she calls, “Co-parenting-ish.” (Click here to learn more and listen)
- The Pondering Stepmom Podcast: Based on Michelle Brown’s blog, The Pondering Nook, is a weekly show where Brown chronicles her own experiences as a stepmom, mom, partner, and road to personal growth. (Click here to listen)
- Raising His Kids: A weekly podcast where hosts and stepmoms Lauren, Madison, and Toni, talk about the ups and downs of being a stepmother. (Click here to listen)
For more family advice, click through the links below!