Stepmothers have many challenges. Probably the biggest one is defining her role with the children and in the family. In some instances she is an “insider’ and at other times, she is clearly on the outside. She may have responsibility for transportation, cooking, laundry, discipline but may not have a say in other areas and may find that her husband sides with his children over her some of the time.
Most women believe that, if they are kind, loving and gentle enough, everything will work out and the children will fall in love with her. As most step families have told me, this NEVER happens.
Children often resent stepmothers as trying to take the place of their natural mother, even when step moms try to take it slowly and patiently, they are still the woman who is with their dad and in the bed and kitchen, where their mother should be.
The divorce rate is higher for step families than for those who are in it the first time around. The odds of protecting a marriage are not good ones since roughly 2/3rds of marriages with stepchildren end in divorce.
Women often take much of the responsibility for maintaining relationships and that can be extremely difficult to do with unhappy and challenging children, divided loyalties and sometimes interfering exes.