Childless Stepparent

for stepmoms + stepdads with the unique challenges – and gifts – of creating a family with their spouse + their spouse's child(ren) and no child(ren) of their own

Month: December, 2012

Find Balance Between Exertion and Relaxation


My teacher, Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, talks about how we can find balance between exertion – what he calls “delightful diligence” – and relaxation. He teaches us how to find that lightness in our meditation – it can be applied to everything we do. Delightful diligence, relaxation, delightful diligence, relaxation.

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From Rattled to Grateful in a Few Hours

spouse's former spouse
Earlier today, my husband’s former wife stopped by our house uninvited and unannounced. She has not done this before. In fact, she had never been to our town – much less our home – in the four years my husband has lived here.

My husband’s daughter was with her mom and wanted her to see where she spends half her life. I get it. That’s healthy. But the way it was handled by her mom was inconsiderate – without the courtesy of a phone call or a text beforehand. Disappointing but not surprising.

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Be Patient and Peace Will Arrive


“all of your impatience
comes from the push
for gain of patience
let go of the effort
and peace will arrive.”

~ Rumi, “In Every Breath”

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The Childless Stepparent Manifesto in Action

spouse's former spouse
The holidays are a challenging time for most stepfamilies, which is why I shared some advice for childless stepfamilies on the holidays.

My husband and I enjoyed a snowed-in, quiet Christmas Day together – his daughter was with her mom this year. Like many stepfamilies, ours alternates Thanksgiving, Christmas, and birthdays – one year with her mom, the next with us. My husband’s daughter was excited to spend the week with her grandparents.

Christmas Day came and went. My husband texted and called his daughter but never heard back. The day after Christmas came and went. That night, I asked my husband if he’d heard from his daughter, and he said no.

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Connect with Essence Love


“Every time you connect, a little bit more clarity stays around the love, a little bit more space opens up around it. Your mind becomes clearer. You experience expanded possibilities. You become a little more confident, a little more willing to connect with others, a little more willing to open up to other people, whether that means talking about your own stuff or listen to theirs. And as that happens a little miracle occurs: You’re giving, without expectation in return. Your very being becomes, consciously or not, an inspiration to others.” 

~ Tsoknyi Rinpoche | Open Heart, Open Mind: Awakening the Power of Essence Love

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When Your Spouse’s Ex is a Narcissist

spouse's former spouse
I am not a trained psychologist but I am familiar with NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) through personal experience and deep study. I won’t go into details here about NPD except to say that it’s very difficult for children when one of their parents is a narcissist.

Sadly for my husband’s daughter, her mom exhibits many traits of NPD.

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Stop Listening to Background Noise from Your Spouse’s Former Spouse

spouse's former spouse
Several months ago, my husband’s former wife asked to sit down with me “woman-to-woman.” It had been over a year since I reached out and was rebuffed by her, so I looked forward to talking about how she and I can work together to care for her child.

Instead, she talked about how hard this situation is for her. I told her I empathized. She said I couldn’t understand since I’m not a mom. I agreed. I quickly realized that she was not there to talk about her daughter’s well-being. She was there to tell me about her own pain. It was a disappointing and revealing meeting.

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Find Your Peace and Joy


“He who finds peace and joy
and radiance within himself —
that man becomes one with God
and vanishes into God’s bliss.

He who controls his mind
and has cut off desire and anger
realizes the Self; he knows
that God’s bliss is nearer than near. 

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Advice for Childless Stepparents on the Holidays

Enjoy your husband. Enjoy the festivities. Work together to make things nice for your stepchild.

Recognize that no matter what you do, the holidays are hard for children of divorce. Be compassionate.

Let your husband and his former wife work out the details when it comes to their child. Allow traditions that they had with their child. Introduce your own traditions.

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Align Yourself with Your Spouse


It may be tempting to step in and demand that things are done differently – especially when your husband isn’t parenting the way you would if you were a parent, or when your husband doesn’t handle his former wife the way you think he should.

Resist the temptation. Step back. Breathe. Let go.

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