Does it really exist such a thing as a bad stepmother? Is a biological mother really nothing more than a nefarious stepmother waiting to happen? Why don’t we just give a shout-out to the people who show up and attempt this amazing feat while posing as stepparents? What indications are there that a stepmother is bad?
There are undoubtedly bad stepparents out there, whether or not they are poisoned apples. However, there are some poor biological parents as well as poor adoptive parents in general. So everyone could benefit from a heads-up and learn a few things about warning signs of a bad stepmother.
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Why Is The Stepmother Always Bad?
The story has been told for ages, right? I remembered all the old animated Disney movies and the way they portrayed stepmoms, from Snow White to Cinderella. The grimace I forced upon myself when my stepdaughter said, “Well, thank goodness you’re not like the Evil Queen!” after the first time she watched those movies haunts me to this day.
However, I must admit that I had forgotten just how pervasive this stereotype was (and, in some ways, still is). One of my favorite movies growing up was The Parent Trap (yes I’ve seen the original, but I’m a typical millennial and I was a die-hard Lindsay Lohan fan when I was a teen). I was eager to watch it with my stepdaughter once she was old enough. I don’t know how I overlooked the stepmom plot, which makes up half of the film. My mouth dropped when Meredith, the avaricious blonde bombshell, entered the scene. My heart broke when the girls’ plan to reconcile their parents were successful. I remember thinking, “Is this what she wishes would happen,” as my stepdaughter asked if we could watch it again, and I remember glancing over at her shiny red hair, which matched Lindsay Lohan’s exactly.” I spiraled, as you might expect.
Due to the stigma attached to divorce, stepmothers are frequently portrayed in popular culture as evil. In the long run, divorce might actually turn out to be a healthy, beneficial thing rather than something that “breaks” a family and creates a “broken home” if the stepmom is kind, loving, and generally improves the kids’ lives.” Because of this, a stepmother MUST be awful.
The Evil Stepmother Stands For What?
Evil stepmothers can use their position to their advantage, and they almost always do so by appealing to their daughters’ sense of beauty or sexuality. They have gained the primary parent’s attention, and as a result of their “influence,” they are able to alter the aspects of the situation they have entered or rather the “baggage” that has come with that relationship.
At her core, the stereotypically evil or bad stepmother wants her partner’s complete focus and support. That means that even if she has her own children (hello Cinderella) she doesn’t want the kids that come along with her partner, because they might detract from her spot as The jealousy of possibly not being the object of her partner’s (usually male in these arrangements) affection causes her to be pitted against their child (typically also female) in a competition. Given that everyone is squabbling over them, what better things for male content producers to do than to pit women against one another?
Incorporate a few more stereotypes, such as those of young, childless women who desire the man and/or the money without the responsibilities that come with having children. Maybe she wants kids, but she wants them to be his kids with her. All of this results from the demonization of the fact that dad got divorced in the first place, which is where we started.
But I digress, now that we are aware of the ‘why’ behind evil and wicked stepmothers in popular culture, let’s discuss the ‘what’.” There are warning signs you should watch out for even though the evil stepmother trope is archaic, erroneous, and unfair. Examining the telltale signs of a bad stepmother will follow.
Signs Of A Bad Stepmother
The telltale signs of a bad stepmother can sometimes be difficult to ignore. Consider the character of Cinderella. We can all agree that her stepmother isn’t exactly a hero.
But other times, it might be much more subtly expressed. Does not love my stepchildren make me a bad stepmom? Does it make me a bad stepmom if I dance around a little if they leave after the weekend? What if I state that I don’t want my daughter to end up being a stepmother?
How far should we go? How do we know when it’s appropriate to share our deepest, most shameful thoughts? Is it possible to truly understand what constitutes being a bad stepmom and what is typical for a stepmom to experience or struggle with?
There won’t always be a clear answer, but if you avoid these five signs of a bad stepmother, you’re definitely headed in the right direction.
Meanness Is The Mark Of A Bad Stepmother.
Occasionally waking up on the incorrect side of the bed? That’s all right. A little bit too direct and stressed out from time to time? Excusable.
But what does firmly, repeatedly mean? Not okay. Stepmothers who are cruel to their partners or to their stepchildren are not likely to find love and success.
Several instances could be: extremely harsh punishments, mocking and bullying, and blatant favoritism.
You’ll stay on the right path if you, in general, don’t go over the line into being cruel.
An Uncompromising Stepmother Is A Bad Stepmother.
For the sake of your family’s well-being, you may need to make some changes if you’re only concerned with your own wants and needs and aren’t willing to negotiate with your partner to balance needs of everyone in the family dynamic.
Now, don’t get me wrong; boundaries are absolutely essential for being a successful stepparent, and you definitely need to take up space. But there is a big difference between being a weak, boundaried stepmom and only caring about what benefits you, especially if it puts the rest of the family in the back seat.
Having No Interest In Her Partner Is A Sign Of A Bad Stepmother.
I’ve stated it before, and I’ll reiterate it: none of the drama as a stepmom is worth it if you and your partner aren’t aligned. If your spouse is not your soul mate, the ideal person for you to spend the rest of your life with, why are you enduring the additional challenges of blended family life?
I’ve heard stepmoms say that they’re only trying to make things work out because they love their stepchildren so much. A bad relationship will only get worse if you continue to be in it because of your stepchildren. Your partner is the essential cog that holds your family together.
Taking it a step further, I’ll add that one of my goals as a stepmom is to serve as an example of a positive relationship for our stepchildren. They’ve already seen a failed relationship, so it’s our duty (privilege?) to model a partnership built on love and respect.
A Bad Stepmother Demands Control And Power.
I experienced a significant power struggle when I first started dating my husband Kevin. I was a fiercely independent woman who owned her own home and was very driven when I met him. I was in complete control of my life; I made all of my own decisions.
Learning to let go of some of that control while dating a man with children was extremely difficult. I found it difficult to regain control (boundaries!) in a life that felt like it was dictated by a custody schedule, an ex-wife, and, in some ways, a child.
Learning to let go and have faith in the process—as well as my partner!—was necessary for me to step back and become a better stepmother to my stepdaughter and a better partner to Kevin.
A Bad Stepmother Crosses The Line.
Everybody in the dynamic of a stepfamily is entitled to their own boundaries, just as a stepmom is.
There will be limits set by your stepchild’s parents, and it is not up to you to judge whether or not they are just. Just respect them, that’s all.
My stepdaughter’s mom’s boundaries were accidentally crossed in the beginning when I didn’t know how to stay in my lane and stay within them. However, you should develop more as you learn more.
Every failure presents an opportunity for improvement the following time. You might be doing a disservice to yourself and your family if you decide not to change and keep crossing boundaries.
These choices have a cascading effect. There is tension when you cross someone else’s limits. Other relationships are affected by this tension. Your stepfamily may one day be overcome by resentment, stress, or another side effect of underlying tension in the family when you wake up.
You Don’t Show Any Of These Signs Of A Bad Stepmother, Do You?
Then you’re probably all set! Respect, genuine love for her partner, and presence in the family are all characteristics of a content stepmother. She gives freely and without ulterior motives; she doesn’t pretend to be someone she’s not.
If you’re still unsure of whether you’ve gone too far or if your thoughts or reactions are normal, apply right away so we can talk about your concerns and determine whether you’d be a good fit for our services.