Blended families are common these days, which means biological mothers and stepmothers are co-parenting children. It can be a difficult course to navigate when dealing with an ex-wife or the new partner of an ex-husband, but the following tips can help both types of moms find a happy medium.
Communication is important in any relationship, but especially when children are involved. All information regarding the children should be passed on in a timely fashion to avoid frustration and escalation of serious issues.
Calendars should be shared to avoid conflicts with events, appointments or travel. Under no circumstances should anything be scheduled with the intention of being inconvenient.
Both mothers should respect one another, especially when the children are present. This includes being aware of personal boundaries and not bringing up the past. If there is a personality conflict, keep it private. Children see and hear everything, and they will emulate adult behavior.
As a stepmom, trying to buy the affection of a partner’s children may seem like an easy way to their hearts, but this often backfires. Children can see through the act, which may imply the stepmom is trying to be a replacement parent. The best approach is to not treat parenting as a competition. There is enough love for everyone.
Encourage children to recognize the importance of the stepmother in their lives by celebrating her birthday and giving her a card and gift on Mother’s Day. Having a blended holiday celebration may help kids feels less awkward about acknowledgment.
During birthdays or other important milestone events in a child’s life, including the biological mother and stepmother at the celebration is a wonderful way to be inclusive and encourage positive relations. It also helps children avoid feeling conflicted during family parties and other get-togethers.
It can be difficult to deal with the fact that an ex-partner has chosen a new wife or will always be dealing with an ex-wife. The family dynamic changes are permanent but do not have to be negative. Accepting the other woman and the situation will facilitate civility and respect even if there cannot be a true friendship.
Being a mom is hard, and being a stepmom adds an extra layer of challenge. Following the above tips can help resolve strain and allow both parties to foster a respectful and healthy relationship.