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Ask Yourself

* Is living in a Blended Family or a Stepfamily “more than you bargained for?”

* Does step parenting feel like the most challenging and thankless job of all?

* Is the tension and conflict taking its toll on your relationships

* Are you becoming worried about your children and their well-being?

* Are you constantly arguing with your partner about the kids, discipline and parenting in general?

• Is your ex or your partner's ex causing real problems in your blended family and in your relationship

• Are you at the end of your rope and need some answers NOW

* Are you considering entering into a Blended Family or Stepfamily and want to be prepared?

A Career Girl’s Guide – Mandatory Reading for Single Women Becoming Step Moms

2009-02-02

Step Institute

Jacqueline’s book is much needed and represents a growing demographic – single, independent, career minded, intelligent women who are finding themselves involved with men who already have children. The increasing divorce rate makes it likely that at least half of women today will at some point be involved with a man with children, either in a dating relationship or in a long-term relationship. So as much as most of us didn’t grow up dreaming of being a step-mommy, the odds are such that there is a very good chance it could happen to us. So if you are already dating someone with children, if you are in a serious relationship that is headed toward marriage and instant family, or just happen to know a friend or a cousin who has dated or is currently involved with a single dad, then this is a book you can’t afford to pass over. If there was a mandatory reading list in preparation for the role of step mom, Jacqueline’s book would be on the top of that list.

What is unique about the Career Girl’s Guide is that it is written directly from Jacqueline’s experience of being a professional woman who entered into this realm with very little preparation for what she had embarked on. So she can speak to what she wished she would have known as well as to what she now knows as a result of her accumulated experiences as well as those of other’s she has talked with and learned from.

From my experience as a Career Girl, a short 20 years ago, I can safely say that I would have devoured a book like Jacqueline’s and then recommended it to all of my single friends, just on the off chance that they ever did accept a dinner invitation from a man with children. One can never be too prepared, is my new motto after walking into the unknown world of parenthood and step children completely unprepared for what was ahead. Since that time I, like Jacqueline became fascinated with the world of step relationships and committed to helping people achieve the best outcomes in their own lives and families. And in my work with professional women who have become stepmothers I repeatedly hear similar themes.

One common thread is that women who have been able to manage their way in the work world, often sacrificing much to get where they have gotten, and having achieved success in their chosen fields, reiterate how they had never been so challenged by any other role or job in their life, as the role of being a new step mom to their partner’s children. I think this may come as such a complete surprise, especially to confident, career minded women who are used to meeting the high demands of the work world. After all, if you can achieve success in a very demanding work environment, what could be more difficult than that? So I experience a lot of women who are flabbergasted at just how complex this arena of family, and step relationships and children can be, when one is not prepared for it. It doesn’t fit for them that they could be so successful in most areas of their life and yet this area is so challenging, uncertain and often frustrating. What results is often self-blame and disillusionment, and in some cases decisions that they are not capable or cut out in any way for this type of relationship.

I think too, that women who set very high standards for themselves, often don’t give themselves enough time and room to grown into this new area of uncertainty. Just as in the work world where they have learned that setting the bar higher can lead to higher achievement, perhaps women are setting the bar high for themselves in relationships and then feeling very unsuccessful when things do not unfold as they should or as they expect it to. I think the shock of learning how much we don’t know about this area of relationships, the subtle or not so subtle expectation that we should know what to do and how to do it and the cultural standards for women in familial relationships, sets us all up for a certain amount of failure, especially in the early adjustment stages of being a step mom.

There is a fundamental difference however, between success at one’s work and success in our relationships, particularly step relationships that are unique and therefore often more complex, that we cannot afford to overlook. In our work, we usually prepare ourselves ahead of time with education or training of some kind, apply for jobs that we are at least moderately confident that we have the skills for, interview for positions so that we know there is a good fit between us and the job, and then possess a job description that articulates and clearly outlines the duties and roles that we will be assuming. We may even participate in some professional development along the way, to acquire skills in areas that we are lacking, and these are all considered acceptable steps on a given career path. There is also an evolution and a learning curve that is expected and while getting accustomed to a new job and growing that into a successful career, is not without challenges or even stress, it is something we do with much careful thought, planning and awareness of what is expected and how we can learn more as we go along.

Not so in the Role of Step mom. As women we are in many cases, still expected to just naturally and intuitively “know” what is required in relationships, even in a role as undeniably complex as the one granted to step mothers. The trick is to recognize that there is no reason why we would or should know what is expected of us, what skills we have that we can generalize to the role and what new areas of learning we need to explore in order to prepare us for life in a stepfamily. Simply being in and nurturing a serious adult relationship is something that most of us admittedly don’t know much about when we first indulge, so why should we expect women to know how to “perform” in such a complex role as a step mom, without preparation, support and a How-To-Manual to give you a heads-up. Well the answer is, we shouldn’t and that is why Jacqueline’s book has been an answer to so many of our questions about how women can make the successful transition into stepfamily life. Jaqueline doesn’t just encourage women to utilize and transfer many of their existing skill sets and aptitudes that serve them well in the world of work, to their important roles as a step mom and partner, but she outlines specific steps and strategies to make this more effective and do-able in the everyday experiences of relationships and family.

It is a book that is written to encourage, inspire and equip women while also helping them to see that much of the wisdom, strength and skills required for the role as step mom, are qualities that they already possess and simply need to tailor more specifically to meet the unique needs of their situation.. It is a book that certainly doesn’t shy away from addressing the challenges and issues that arise as people are trying to build a new family, and in particular some of the explicit fears, worries and frustrations of being a new step mom, but it doesn’t leave us there and that is what is so important.. It is a book of hope, courage and faith in new beginnings. And Jacqueline does a First Class Job of walking us through the stages and steps, all the while building up the confidence of women who were courageous enough to take on an instant family to begin with.

On a personal note, I wish this book had come two decades earlier; and on a professional note, I am just so pleased to share it with clients, colleagues and friends alike who are simultaneously feeling scared and excited, vulnerable and optimistic, to be embarking on this journey in life that just happens to include being a step mom.

For more information about Jacqueline Fletcher's Book - A CAREER GIRL'S GUIDE TO BECOMING A STEP MOM please visit: http://becomingastepmom.wordpress.com/



 

 

 

 

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