Stepmom Bloggers: Too Angry?

1 04 2009

M’Ladies:

There’s a hot debate going on right now over a post at the parenting website Babble. Writer Katie Allison Granju is a mom in a remarried family of her own whose husband is also remarried. Her post Blogging Through Divorce talks about the proliferation of angry stepmom blogs. I’d love to know your thoughts about this. I wrote my thoughts as a comment on her post and have reprinted them here:

“Thank you for your brave post. As a stepdaughter, stepmom, mom, and author of a book for stepmoms I can appreciate all sides of blended family life. While interviewing stepmoms across the country I found that a majority of them feel silenced in their homes. On top of that, when women ask for help from friends and family who are not stepmothers themselves, their advice can often make a stepmother feel even more isolated because they simply don’t understand how challenging the experience can be.

I am not at all surprised that many women turn to blogging as a way to vent their negative feelings. There’s a joke among stepmothers that we have scars on our tongues from biting them so often. But the Internet has created a place where stepmothers can reach out to each other for support–and as you’ve seen, many women have used it as a forum to air their grief, anger, and frustration.

That said, I completely agree with your sentiments about protecting our families from our negativity. The last thing a child needs is to read about the emotional struggles the adults in his/her life are going through. And what you write on the Internet is there for public consumption. It could seriously harm a child, disrupt relations with the other household you’re co-parenting with, or hurt your relationship with your spouse. 

We all need a place to vent but we also need to take the emotional journey to the next level so we’re not just stuck in hostility. It does no one any good.

When my stepson wants to tell me a fictional gory story about a shipwreck or a plane crash, I always ask him to give me a happy ending. And that’s what I want from stepmoms. Get your anger out…but then what? How can you evolve to a place of peace?”

When I wrote A Career Girl’s Guide to Becoming a Stepmom and in the essays I write for this blog, I have had to evaluate the content carefully. I need to tell the truth because it’s important that stepmoms have a voice. Somebody has to tell it like it is! But I also write under my own name so I have to be careful. The last thing I want to do is blow up my family because of something I’ve written. There are stories about my own family that I refuse to write about. But the funny thing is, the stories about blended family life are so common that other women I interviewed have told the stories I haven’t.

A final thought on Katie Granju’s post: Remember that every single person within our blended family has a unique and compelling story to tell. If we listen with open hearts to the ex wives in our lives, I bet we would find something to feel compassionate about. We are all human. Even the exes.

So tell me what you think! Are stepmom bloggers too angry? And if you’re blogging, how do you walk the line between truth and harming your family? If you’re writing anonymously, what do you think would happen if you were found out?

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9 responses

1 04 2009
blueydmuse

I don’t think we’re too angry. Those of us who have especially difficult situations need the outlet, but we also do our damndest to keep it anonymous and private. My blog is passworded and no real names are used. I am very careful about giving out the password.

Being a stepmother is harder than anyone can possibly imagine unless they’ve been one. I think it’s unfortunate that Katie felt the need to judge those of us in especially difficult situations when she has no idea what it’s like to be in our shoes. Her assumption that we only want to blog about these negative things is totally incorrect. I’d love to be blogging about much more positive things.

Friends and family often don’t really understand, either. The only folks I’ve found who can truly empathize are the ones who have been there or are there themselves.

1 04 2009
Jacque

blueydmuse: I know what you mean. A dear friend of mine whom I’ve known since grade school secretly thought I was crazy when I would talk about my experiences as a stepmother. But when she became one herself she called to apologize. She said, “I’m so sorry! There’s just no way you can possibly understand unless you’re a stepmom, too!”

Amen, sister.

Jacque

2 04 2009
Bonus Mom

In my blog, The Step Moms Toolbox, I have a post called, “The Opportunity to Relinquish Hostility.” The post stemmed from months of my own silent hostility (yeah…those scars on my tongue!) and the process I went through to give it up. Being angry and silently hostile was only hurting me…

My husband knows about my blog and he’s read several of my pieces. He also knows I help other Step Moms on a forum I stumbled into two years ago, when things with his son hit critical mass.

As a step mom, I have it better than most. I don’t have a crazy ex-wife to deal with, child support issues, financial woes, or any of the most pressing problems of a step mom. Most of the issues I personally deal with have to do with my role as a step mom and not intentionally crossing the boundaries of that role. As a custodial step mom, I do more mom things with my step son because he lives under my roof 24/7…but keeping in mind that he has a mom! Tough spot to be in sometimes!

Some of the things I write about remain in my journal…hec, there are things from my divorce in 2002 that will never see the light of day because there is no reason why my own two daughters should ever read my trashing of their dad…

2 04 2009
Carrie

Jacque, I really like your comment about the friend who became a step mom. It reminded me of my own ‘Aha!’ moment: When I became a step mom, I suddenly had a HUGE appreciation for my own step mom. Oh, the stuff she had to put up with… and she never blew her top. At least not in front of us. I love her more today because now I know the oh-so-real challenges of being a step mom.

2 04 2009
The Smirking Cat

I’m angry that little to nothing is done to repair a grossly warped family court system, or that a wad of cash for an expensive lawyer means more than children’s rights to safefy.

I understand not every stepmom deals with such extreme situations, but too many do to not be angry.

As for the argument that posting my thoughts and feelings online is somehow damaging to the kids, I don’t buy it. First, the kids are never online in our home without their father or me in the same room. Second, I only write what is true. If the truth hurts, then I’d like to see more real action to change a warped system that allows the kids to be ground up, than such efforts to silence those who are dealing with it as best as they can every day.

7 04 2009
Diane/Mama J

Those of us who are stepmoms know that anger is real, though we each may feel it for differing reasons. This topic must be in the air as I just blogged about “Sometimes I Feel Angry” at Mama J’s Parenting Posts on April 1st…and I said my anger was NO FOOLIN’! I do use names sometimes, though not in that post. What I make sure to do is not only comment on other’s actions and behaviors but also comment on my reactions and behaviors. I figure that if I point out I’m not perfect either, maybe we can turn the situation into some real learning.

8 04 2009
Some other Thoughts about Anger « Mama J’s Parenting Posts

[…] I blogged about anger, and the very same day another of my stepparent colleagues also blogged about stepparent anger.  Are we affected by the upcoming full moon, or is this a […]

23 04 2009
Shannon

So happy I found this post. I thought I was the only one who had the “scars on her tongue”. However, I love my husband enough to keep biting. Glad I found that there were these other people, who feel the same way.
I don’t blog about my stepson. Not any negative things anyway. I don’t think it’s conducive to our growing relationship, whatever it may become. And second of all, it would be very one-sided, wouldn’t it? I do feel compassion for his mom, because I can’t imagine not having full-custody of my daughter and having her live away from me, only to see her every two weeks. I’ve actually guided my husband to be more lenient with her. And it seems to be working.

3 09 2009
Anjelica

I agree some of us stepmoms are hasrh. I am a stepchild and stepmom.I remember how scared and confused I was.I never told my dad or stepmom how i felt. It made me lash out and i was really annoying.Once ithought she was cheating so hacked into her computer and saw how she called me various curses and called me retarted anda waste of space.I began cutting myself. I already felt like I wasn’t good enough because my dad didn’t spend as much time as he did before with me.I started to cut my self and tried to do suicide.Stepmoms shouldn’t blog about stepchildren in that manner even if they don’t see it’s not fair.You should atleast try to understand why they act that way and why thay don’t want to talk to you about it.

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