Spring One-On-One Coaching Special

23 03 2010

Dear Stepmom or Stepmom-to-Be:

Do you need help? Are you feeling isolated, angry or overwhelmed? I can help. And starting now through the month of April I am offering a special on my one-on-one coaching services because it’s spring! And everyone should feel hopeful in the spring.

“Jacque, I cannot begin to express how meaningful our conversations have been. Your concern, care and encouragement has been a hopeful light during a dark and challenging time. Thank you seems very inadequate, but it is most sincere.” –Stepmom of 3

I can help you if you are struggling with:

• Building a strong relationship with your partner

• Bonding with your stepchildren

• Stepparenting dilemmas

• Managing anger, jealousy, and resentment

• Dealing with the ex

• Combining his and her sets of kids in the same house

• Handling teenage and adult stepchildren

• Adding a new child to a stepfamily

• Preparing for your wedding day

Click here to learn more about my individualized coaching.

If you purchase the Spring Coaching Package you’ll receive

  • a FREE hour-long, get-to-know you consultation with me ($250 value)
  • Four, one-hour coaching calls over the course of four weeks ($800 value)
  • email access to me between group coaching sessions so you can ask questions that come up during the week
  • an autographed copy of my book A Career Girl’s Guide to Becoming a Stepmom

The cost of the Spring Coaching Package is $500. That’s a big savings. Why? Because your success as a stepmother is important to me. For more information or to sign up for one-on-one coaching, email me at becomingastepmom (at) gmail (dot) com.

You can sustain the love and hope with which you entered your stepfamily if you choose to. It can work. It will take work. So, are you ready?


Jacquelyn Fletcher

I See You

18 03 2010

My daughter is learning to talk and one of her favorite things to say is “I see you!” She says it to her stuffed bunny, her dolly, her cow figurine, and me. Every time she says it to me and looks me in the eyes, my heart fills up and I want to laugh and hug her tight.

Being seen is a basic need for many of us. And as stepmothers that need is challenged on a daily basis. One stepmother wrote me that she could stand in the middle of her living room and scream and no one in her family would notice. Another wrote to tell me she feels like a ghost every time she walks through the door of her home.

With children who look past us to find their biological parents or only speak directly to us if we’re the only ones home it can feel like we’re earthbound spirits tortured by those who have access to the life we want.

I have to admit that when my daughter says, “I see you!” it is a balm on a part of my soul that is bruised.

Today I want to say this to you, dear Stepmom: I SEE YOU.

What to Do When All Hope Is Lost

10 02 2010

I’ve had many letters recently from stepmothers who have hit rock bottom. So I wanted to write a post about what to do when you feel that all hope is lost and you can see nothing ahead but darkness. Most of us feel paralyzed when we’re in that hopeless place. We don’t know where to turn or what to do to start feeling better or to heal our families or our own bruised hearts. I am not going to pretend that I can solve this for you but I am going to suggest some actions you can take to help turn your gaze back to hope.

Protect your heart. Realize that you are worthy of love, you are loveable, and you deserve to be treated with respect. Handle your heart with care. Work to build your self-esteem like you build your muscles in the gym. What is one thing you can do today to protect your gorgeous heart?

Plan something to look forward to. The feeling of anticipation can help us quickly move from despair to hope. First plan something small that you can do in the next week or two that gives you that zing of excitement. Spend an afternoon at the coffee shop with a good book, head to a spa for a decadent treatment, or buy tickets to a show. Then sit down with your spouse to plan some bigger outings. For instance, you might plan a trip somewhere just the two of you next winter. Start ripping pictures of beach views or European cities or rugged mountains out of magazines. Make a file and then go out and purchase one small thing for the trip.

Stop talking. If you and your spouse have been around and around about something (money, sex life, the kids, the BM) then take a holiday for a week (or two if you’re really brave) from talking about anything challenging. Any time either of you are tempted to bring up a hot topic, have a code word or phrase you can say:  “This is the house of no fighting!” You have plenty of time to talk about your conflict later. Right now, be quiet.

Ride it out with gentleness. Sometimes you have to ride through challenging times. The first three years of stepfamily development, for instance, are some tough years when you have to create a strong marriage, bond with your stepkids, set boundaries with ex, get used to living with new people, etc. etc. etc. The list goes on. Remember that you will come out the other side of these challenging times. While you’re in this difficult place, be extra gentle with yourself, please.

Fill your well. For those of you who have read Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way, you’ll recognize this one. She maintains that an artist has to fill her creative well or she will be depleted and won’t be able to create new things. This is true of all of us. So take a break from your life and fill your well with things you love to do that make you feel light-hearted and glad to be alive. Do this at least once a week if not once a day. Filling the well can be anything from a trip to an outing to ten deep cleansing meditative breaths. It can also be as simple as stopping to look at the ocean or the snow-covered trees.

A Revised Stepmom’s Bill of Rights

22 01 2010

My Dear Stepmamas:

WOW! My post about the Stepmom’s Bill of Rights generated a lively discussion! Many thanks for all of your thoughtful comments. It’s clear to me that, as I discovered while doing research for my book, there are a lot of brave families out there trying to do their best in frightfully difficult circumstances. BUT, there is still hope. As I have said all along, stepfamilies DO make it every single day. So I’d like to propose an alternate version of the Stepmom’s Bill of Rights because I believe that empowered, happy stepmothers mean happy stepfamilies. (And happy stepmothers are flexible stepmothers. Research tells us that the more flexible the members of a stepfamily are, the higher chance that family will stay together!)

A Revised Stepmom’s Bill of Rights

I will create a rock-solid marriage with my husband so we both feel confident in our commitment to each other and the family. I vow to always make fun together a priority.

I have the right to be on the parenting team with my husband but I realize that this takes time to develop.

I understand that stepfamilies are formed out of loss and that the people I’m living with are carrying wounds that will affect them forever.

I will congratulate myself every day on a job well done. Even on days when I’ve done or said things I’m not proud of, I will be gentle and kind with myself because I am a brave, courageous woman.

I will work to feel confident and worthy of love.

I will not look to my stepchildren for validation or self-worth.

I will protect my heart with healthy boundaries that help me to be a more loving and present wife, stepmother, and human being even if that means making difficult choices.

I will forgive my husband, the exes in our lives, my stepchildren, and myself for our human-ness.

I will try to understand what living in our home is like for every member of our family.

I will create a sanctuary for myself and make self-care a priority so I can recharge my batteries.

I will choose my battles.

I understand that control does not equal respect or love.

I realize that I don’t have any control over what the ex or the ex-in-laws or the kids think or do. The only person I have control over is me.

I will ask for what I need instead of making people guess what I need to prove their love for me.

I will find the gifts in being the outsider in a family that formed before I came along.

I will focus on building relationships instead of on who is right and who is wrong.

I will take breaks when I’m angry so I can be calm when I discuss issues that affect me but I have little control over.

I will hold on to the things that remind me of who I am.

I will plan things to look forward to with my husband and with my family.

I will remind myself often of the many reasons I decided to be with my husband.

I will choose hope.

I will choose love.

Much love to you all,


Subscribe to Becoming a Stepmom!

5 01 2010

In case you didn’t know: You can sign up to receive my Becoming a Stepmom blog posts in your email inbox for free! Then you won’t have to worry about missing any new articles, stepfamily advice, inspirational stories, or Stepmom Circles podcasts–they’ll be right at your fingertips.

FREE BONUS: When you sign up for a free subscription, you get a free copy of my report Top Ten Tricks Successful Stepmothers Know, which is based on the hundreds of interviews I’ve conducted with stepmothers and blended family members and experts from around the world.

To subscribe, click on the “Subscribe to Becoming a Stepmom by Email” link at the top right-hand side of this page.

And by the way, my privacy policy is that I don’t share email addresses with anyone else, ever. Happy reading!

Jacquelyn B. Fletcher

New Podcast: The Smart Stepmom AND a Contest for Free Books!

12 11 2009

stepmomcircles3Tune in the Stepmom Circles Podcast to listen to my conversation with Ron Deal and Laura Petherbridge, the authors of The Smart Stepmom, a wonderful christian-based resource for stepmothers that is filled with practical information that can help your stepfamily thrive. The book includes prayers for stepmoms as well as research-based strategies for new stepmoms. During our talk we discuss disengaged dads, how to deal with ex wives, and the realities of stepfamily life.

BONUS: Listen to this episde of my free Stepmom Circles Podcast for a chance to win an autographed copy of The Smart Stepmom. I’ll choose two winners from the people who comment here with the correct answers to the following questions. Hint: Listen to this episode to hear the answers!

Question #1: According to Ron and Laura what is one thing that makes a stepmom smart?

Question #2: Can you have a happy marriage even if your stepchildren hate you?

Question #3: What did Ron tell the woman whose boyfriend was doing things behind her back?

Good luck!

Live Chat Today, All Day!

19 10 2009

If you’ve got a stepmothering question head on over to Peggy Nolan’s blog The Stepmom’s Toolbox where I’ll be answering your questions all day today, Monday, October 19. Plus one lucky gal will win a signed copy of my book!

Keeping it Real

18 10 2009

How many masks do you wear? And why do you keep expending the energy it takes to keep them in place?

When I became a stepmother of three children, I thought I had to be perfect so I would not become the wicked stereotype in their eyes. I worked hard to be like Julie Andrews in the “Sound of Music”—always singing, loving, fun, and energetic. But living with your engines running 24/7 gets old fast. And since I wasn’t showing the kids my REAL self, our relationships were founded on a fake, always cheerful version of me who didn’t really exist. But there was no way my Inner Critic would let me be myself. No! The kids would never just accept me for me, I thought. And so I performed.

After I spent several Saturdays crying in the laundry room because I was so burned out from being on all the time, I realized I had to cut the act or I’d never find peace in my home. At first, I was scared to have a bad day when the kids were over at our house. Instead of being cranky around them, I would make plans to be out of the house when they arrived. But when my husband said, “You know, the kids are sad when you’re not here,” I knew I had to re-engage with the kids and be REAL with them if our family was going to work.

It’s now six years later and my stepchildren have seen me cranky and mad, grieving and happy, exhausted and strung out on pregnancy hormones. I discovered that when I expressed my feelings we were able to have a conversation that ended up deepening our relationships.

When my sister-in-law died, I insisted they come to the funeral so they could see that life includes death. They saw me cry and held my hands. When I vacuumed around everyone while they played video games, I exploded with, “I am not the maid of this family!” and we were able to talk about the responsibility we all had to keep our home comfortable. When I gave birth to their little sister, I told them how tired I was and we talked about both the wonderful and hard parts about having a baby in the house. I discovered that the more honest I was with them, the more they trusted me with their own feelings.

If I were to go back in time to talk to the single me before I moved in with three kids I would have only one thing to say: Show those children who you are, good and bad. Take off the mask. Be honest. Be REAL.

Want to read more? Check out my book A Career Girl’s Guide to Becoming a Stepmom.


New Podcast: Stepfamily Law

26 08 2009

stepmomcircles3Gals: Listen to this episode of  Stepmom Circles, my free podcast for this week’s interview. I talked with stepfamily law expert Margaret M. Mahoney! She is a lawyer, a professor of law at the University of Pittsburgh, and the author of the ONLY book about stepfamily law that I’ve been able to find, Stepfamilies and the Law. The book was published in 1994, but sadly not very much has changed since then. Click on the book link to see the entire book online or order a copy of it if you’re looking to do more research.

Join the Stepmom Circles group on FaceBook to discuss the show!

Click the above link to listen to this episode or visit HERE to browse all the Stepmom Circles episodes.

New Podcast: Interview with Izzy Rose

21 07 2009

stepmomcircles3A new Stepmom Circles podcast is ready for your listening pleasure! Check out my interview with Izzy Rose, stepmom blogger and author of The Package Deal. For those of you in Chicago, Izzy will be signing books this Friday at the BlogHer conference. Find out more at Izzy’s blog www.stepmothersmilk.com Enjoy!

Click the link above to listen to this show or visit HERE to browse all the Stepmom Circles shows.