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Not Cinderella's Stepmom

with Samantha

I'm a dreamer, writer and actor obsessed with classic television, lace, baking and quoting Ace Ventura (one of these things is not like the other). I like to believe that my life is just like a Disney movie with an Alan Menken soundtrack except the stepmom's not so evil. When I married my husband, David, in October of 2012, I fell madly, deeply in love with my two stepchildren, Chloe and Trey. It's incredibly hard to balance being a stepmom every other weekend with the rest of my life, but it is 100% worth it. You can find more stories about my family at my personal blog, fairytangles!

Different House, Different Schedule: Helping Your Stepkids Adjust

Categories: coparenting, flexibility, scheduling, stepmom

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When it comes to being a stepmother, there’s always a lot of adjusting and “juggling” needed to keep our life’s balance, but I truly believe that our stepchildren have the toughest job. Let’s be honest, without their needs, our job as a stepmother has no purpose. Our entire juggling act is based around the well-being of our stepchildren who are having to adjust to a lot of changes, including a different house, which often includes a different schedule. Here are a few ways you can help your stepchildren adjust and become more comfortable in your home!

1. Encourage Them To Call Home

Sometimes, the hardest part of going back and forth between parents is missing mom or dad. If your stepchildren have a tough time getting used to your house and seem irritable or upset, maybe a call to their mom is in order. I know there’s been several times where my stepchildren, who are very comfortable in our home and have adjusted beautifully, will still tell me they miss their mom, even if they’re only with us for a few days. My solution is to always pull out my phone and offer to let them call and talk to her. In fact, every time I do suggest this idea, they always say they’re okay and they don’t need to call. Maybe letting your stepchildren know that calling their mom is an option is enough for them to feel comfortable.

2. Let Them Know That Your Home is Their Home, Too

My stepchildren often ask me things like, “When we get to your house, can we play baseball?”, but I always correct them. “Guys, it’s not my house. It’s our house, remember? Just because you don’t live there all the time doesn’t mean the house isn’t yours, too.” I truly feel like this goes a long way. If you hear your stepchildren talking about “Dad’s house” or “my stepmom’s house”, correct them. Let them know that it’s their house, too.

3. If They Have a “Lovie”, Let Them Bring It

When my stepkids go back and forth between houses, toys usually stay at each respective home. This isn’t because we’re heartless and refuse to share, but we know our kids. If something they LOVE here goes to their mom’s, there’s a good chance it might not come back to our place which means when the kids are looking for it and having a major meltdown because THEY NEEEEEED IT THEY LOOOOOVE THAT TOY, it makes Sammy and Daddy want to see them on eBay.


But if your stepchildren have a blanket, toy, stuffed animal, some kind of “lovie” that makes them feel safe and secure, talk to their mom about sharing it between houses. Maybe even buy something similar for your house. I think it can really make them feel like they’re “home” with a “lovie”.

4. Try and Keep a Consistent Schedule

Listen, I know firsthand how hard it is to be all business with your stepchildren when you haven’t seen them in ten days and OMG LET’S JUST HUG ALL DAY. But the thing is, without a consistent schedule, you’re sending your children straight into “How to Become a Demon” lessons without even knowing it. The trick is, even if it’s not the same exact schedule as their mom’s house, it should be the same at your house visit after visit. My stepkids know that when I pick them up from their mom’s, we go straight home and I immediately start making dinner. There is never a deviation from this plan unless it’s t-ball night or something. They know to play while I cook and, after dinner, we all play together before bath, movie time and bed. It’s a set schedule with, obviously, a little wiggle room for things like extra bedtime stories and ice cream. They know how things work at our house and they know how we deal with things. Adjusting to a new schedule might be a bit hard, but if both schedules are consistent and work for the best of the kids, it’ll be easier for them to jump into the flow!

Do your stepchildren have a hard time adjusting to the difference between your house and their mother’s house? What do you do to help them with the change?

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