Please contact Evil Stepmom at ESM@evilstepmom.org with your questions or ideas about stepfamily living with 17-30 year olds.

 



Dear Evil Stepmom
Stepmom Left Out of Fairytale Wedding

Dear Evil Stepmom,


Let me start with I have been with my husband for over 20 years, married 17. He has 4 kids from a previous marriage. They were quite young when we got together. We also have a 16-year-old son together.


Ok here we go…with tears running down my cheeks. When we got together he had a 60k plus child support bill. We got that paid off about 10 years ago, in the mean time going with out many things to just get by, which also affected our son.


Last year my oldest stepdaughter got married. This was the first time I remember feeling left out…I felt like a wicked stepmom! My stepdaughter hired someone to do make-up for the bridal party and her mother. But, not me…didn’t invite me to the bride’s room to see her before the wedding, didn’t get me flowers, and barely remembered to include me in the pics...okay I shook it off, until...


My 3rd stepchild—also a daughter—was always my favorite. She lived with us for 4 years; we are closer than I am with the other 3. She is getting married in Europe this holiday season (she is marrying a successful businessman). They have rented a whole estate for the wedding and for guests to stay.
On a recent visit, she was showing me the pictures of the property where the wedding will be, and saying things like, “this is going to be you and dad's room.” I told her we cannot afford to do this—it would be too much stress on us financially. She said she would look to see if she has enough flyer miles. She also asked if we would be able to travel the week before wedding. I said “yes,” that we would take a week off...which of course means saving up for that lost income.

Now for the hard part… I just got an email with a travel itinerary...no other conversation. Flight reservations are just for my husband…ouch.
Meanwhile I have not been doing my hobby (competing with my show dog) to save money for this huge expense. Last year was the first year we could financially afford for me to travel to shows. I have been working 12-14 hour days to make sure we can still cover bills in the run-up to this wedding.

I understand my stepdaughter is covering other family members expenses, but none of them have stopped doing anything to help fund this event.
She has been sending emails with plans for the trip—what to do and where to go…etc. I finally had to write to her and ask her to please leave me out of these emails. I have told my husband this is the LAST time I give up anything for "those" kids, which really hurts me. This has put me in such an emotional wreck I have told him I will give our marriage one more year.. that’s it. If these feelings don’t stop I cannot continue to live this way.


Signed, 


The Wicked Stepmom (honestly that has been my nickname for 20 years..lol)


Dear NOT Wicked,


I am so sorry to hear how your stepdaughter is treating you. It’s great that she wants to share her plans and her excitement with you, but it is terribly thoughtless of her to pay for only her dad’s ticket without explaining her thinking about it to both of you before emailing a travel itinerary that excludes you.

Where is your husband at in all of this? He needs to be the one having the conversations with his daughter about how he and his wife will be included in the wedding celebration—not you. Whether your stepdaughter meant anything by it or not, she is behaving in ways that marginalize you and diminish your role in your husband’s life. You are his First Lady, and he ought not stand by and watch anyone mistreat you without speaking up. All his daughter needed to say was, “Dad, Jim and I can only afford to underwrite half of your and Carol’s travel expenses; can you two cover the other half?”


This is an opportunity for the family leader—your husband—to take a stand that will correct the bad path his daughter is on, elevate you to your proper place in the family you two have built together (which includes ALL the kids), and clearly establish his expectations about how his wife is to be treated if you want to part of his pack. As the leader of this family, he has some work to do.


Your job is to stand behind him—NOT against your stepdaughter or anyone else. Just support and encourage his best thinking and right action. You can define yourself without attacking anyone else by keeping yourself strong and healthy in the face of the current stress and tension.

Get back to your hobby, or at least get back to saving for it. Open a savings account next week and have $100—or $50.00—automatically moved from your checking account to your savings account once or twice a month so you’ll be ready to sign up for a dog show within the year. If you’re not saving aggressively for your son’s education, open a 529 Plan for him and get as much money as you can afford each month going into that, too. Whether you go to the wedding or not, your life must go on.


Set some goals for yourself, both personally and professionally. Get active in your community, start walking or gardening or meditating or playing bridge. Take a class. Join the League of Women Voters. Go out with a friend once a week. Do some things for yourself. I don’t mean to sound like Oprah here, but you’ve got a lot of piled up resentment in part because you’ve been putting your needs on the back burner. Your stepkids need to treat you appropriately, your husband needs to give them some sharp corrections and clear direction when they don’t, and you need to take your life back if you’re hoping to have relationships with these people in the future.

I know how hard this is. One of my stepchildren didn’t invite me to an important event some time ago. My husband finally stepped in quite near the event and voiced his displeasure. They had conflict about it, but I was ultimately included to my husband’s satisfaction. You’ve tolerated far more of this kind of treatment than anyone could graciously overlook. Either your husband needs to show you that he will stand up for you, or you will need to rethink your position in the family.
I’m behind you. I’d be glad to chat more on-line. I’m here to help in any way I can.

Stay strong ~Kimberly 
(AKA: Evil Stepmom)

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