The kids come 1st: the ugly myth about being #2

child getting upset at parents

We’ve all heard some version of this line before: 


“When you marry someone with kids from a previous relationship, their kids will always come first.” 


And yet…in our own relationships, we can’t accept this. 


If this is you, you’re not alone – and there’s a very good reason why.


It’s simply because the subtext of the “the kids come first” is: 


  • We’re not important

  • We’re not valued 


So of course it’s hard to accept that we’re not valued and we’re unimportant!

No one should even try to accept that. 


So instead of compassionately addressing our underlying fears of being unimportant, and undervalued we: 


  • stay late at work. 

  • hideout in our rooms. 

  • make lots of plans to stay busy when our stepkids are home


But none of that makes our underlying fears go away.


And we miss out on what we really want – 


The chance to build real connections and genuinely feel loved and important at home. 


So how do we bust this myth about the kids coming first? 


We simply shift our perspective by asking ourselves this simple question: 


“Why am I already important to my spouse and stepkids, just as I am?” 


Maybe it’s because I always make sure my family enjoys healthy meals at home. 


Maybe its because my stepkid just randomly told me he loved me the other day. 


No matter the reasons, our unique contributions matter, and we’re important, just as we are. 


Sometimes, we all just need a little reminder of why that’s true. 


And a simple shift in perspective can be all it takes to start feeling like a valued, important member of the family…


Who genuinely wants to spend time with her stepkids.


And who ultimately enjoys so much more peaceful and loving relationships at home. 

P.S. Want to know more? I created a free training to help you create better relationships with your stepkids and spouse. It's really good. Click the button below to watch.

The mindblowing truth about genuinely liking our stepkids

parents looking overwhelmed

The other day, I was chatting with one of my clients about why she didn’t like her stepson. 


She thought her stepson was too entitled


She felt like he wasn’t appreciative enough. 


So I asked her why his sense of entitlement and lack of appreciation really bothered her so much. 


And the answer was shocking to us both, yet made so much sense. 


See, my client grew up in a household without a lot of money. 


And deep down, she was envious of how carefree her stepson’s life was – 


how it seemed as though he had this huge safety net, and never had to worry about where his next meal was coming from. 


And even to this day, my client was living a very rigid life – one where she had a hard time doing kind things for herself, and genuinely having more fun.


So even though she was no longer financially poor, a part of her was still trapped in the poverty mindset – 


“No time for fun. We have to always work hard, or else we’ll end up homeless.” 


So instead of focusing on how she could change her stepson (which is really hard to do, and ultimately, not in her control)…


I helped her focus on enjoying more self-care and fun in her own life – maybe she could take that couples’ only vacation someday soon, or even buy herself that gorgeous pair of earrings she’d be eyeing. 


Once we addressed what was missing in her own life, genuinely liking her stepson felt so much easier. 


So that’s the thing about disliking our stepkids – 


Deep down, it’s always about us. 


Not because we’re bad people – we dislike our stepkids simply because they remind us of our own unmet needs. 


And while having a constant reminder of what we don’t have, and perhaps still need may feel uncomfortable or annoying….


Meeting our own needs as adults is 100% in our control. 


And when we meet our own needs first, not only do we feel happier and more fulfilled at home…


but we also find it way easier to genuinely like and love our stepkids. 


And one simple shift is all it takes.

P.S. Want to know more? I created a free training to help you create better relationships with your stepkids and spouse. It's really good. Click the button below to watch.

This is so empowering (the 3rd essential pillar)

Woman, smiling with husband

This is so empowering – 

You can be the one to cultivate more happiness, peace, and fulfillment in your marriage – for many years to come. 


And there are 3 essential pillars that guarantee a happier, lasting marriage for stepmoms- 


We’ve already discussed: 


  • How to feel loved, and appreciated on demand (hack your negativity bias)

  • The simple psychology of influential communication (how to actually get your family to listen to you with the 0-yelling protocol)


And as promised, here is pillar #3 – 


Pillar 3: Enjoy more fulfillment and ease at home by throwing out the all-or-nothing marriage


The happiest stepmoms and wives, with the longest-lasting, and most intimate marriages, do not rely on their spouses to meet all of their emotional needs and wants.


Most of us understand this intuitively, but many of us have trouble applying this principle to our own partnerships, especially when we feel like we have to fight with our stepkids for attention from our spouses. 


I teach my clients, a simple, quick process for identifying what they want and need specifically, and which wants/ needs can realistically be met by their spouse, themselves, and/or their larger circle of family or friends. 


Once they take all the pressure off their spouses, they enjoy so much more fun, security, and passion at home. 


After applying this pillar, here’s how these stepmoms changed their lives: 


Keely felt like she genuinely wanted to come home after work, instead of dreading it as she had before. She learned that she no longer needed to rely on her family’s moods to feel truly happy. This ultimately led to way fewer arguments with her whole family and much more peace for Keely. 


For Jude, she reignited her passion for restoring furniture again. She no longer felt pressured to ‘fix’ her partner, or his kids, and learned how to feel really good about herself no matter how disrespectful her stepkids were. 


Ashlee realized that she didn’t need to agree with her husband’s parenting choices in order for her to feel safe and loved in their marriage. She learned how to model her values to her stepkids, while no longer feeling responsible, or guilty for how her stepkids were turning out. 


Amanda learned how to give herself the emotional respect and validation she was craving from her husband. This in turn helped her feel more confident to voice her concerns in a calm, loving manner with her husband. She now feels so safe with her husband and feels like he’s truly her best friend. 


Kalina’s husband didn’t want kids, but she did, and she also wanted to stay married. She learned how to go from completely hating and resenting her life to genuinely loving and enjoying her stepdaughters as if they were her own children. She now feels fulfilled and happy with exactly what she has. 


These women are enjoying so much calmer and happier homes and marriages – simply because they followed the 3 pillars process. 


And if they can learn to cultivate more peaceful, intimate, and lasting marriages, it’s possible you can too. 

P.S. Want to know more? I created a free training to help you create better relationships with your stepkids and spouse. It's really good. Click the button below to watch.

The negativity bias hack that saves blended marriages

Happy couple on a bike

Last week I told you that stepmoms in happy, lasting marriages (even with difficult people in the mix!) master 3 pillars. 


Today I’m sharing the 2nd pillar – (the 3rd pillar will also be shared this week so stay tuned!)


Pillar number 2 guarantees a more loving, and passionate marriage for many years to come. 


So here it goes – 


Pillar 2: Feel loved and appreciated on command at home (overcome your brain’s negativity bias) 


Our brains are wired to look for the BAD. This tendency was very helpful back in the day when we had to scan the savannah for potential predators. 


But, this negativity bias is not helpful in our modern, blended marriages because we end up overemphasizing things like:


how our spouses are too permissive as parents and co-parents

how they rarely stand up for us in front of their kids 

and how rude/ disrespectful the kids are 


And we literally overlook all of the good things we already have going on for us (like how comforting it is to be settled down, instead of single and dating!)


To overcome this natural negativity bias in our own marriages, we simply decide to notice the good and practice genuine appreciation for all the times our spouse cooks, cleans, picks up the kids, and brings us our morning coffee. 


Because when we stop focusing on what’s wrong, and not working, we’re able to bask in how loved and appreciated we already are.


For me, I simply started paying much more attention to how my spouse expressed his love with his actions, instead of constantly nagging him to tell me with his words. 


I began dolling out genuine thank you’s like it was the most important job: thank you for doing the dishes, the laundry, the grocery shopping for the week, for helping me to parent. 


And over time, I truly began to feel deeply loved, and appreciated – but not because my husband changed. 


It was simply because I chose to notice what was already good. 


And the crazy thing is that he also started thanking me too – 


I finally got those words of appreciation I was craving, except the irony was I didn’t feel like I needed them anymore. 


I already knew how much I was loved. 


And because I was able to do this in my own marriage with such ease and success, I’ve also helped over 50 women do exactly the same in their marriages too with my simple, proven process. 


And just like us, you too can feel deeply loved and appreciated in your marriage –  


And it might just be way easier than you think. 


P.S. Want to know more? I created a free training to help you create better relationships with your stepkids and spouse. It's really good. Click the button below to watch.

Guarantee a happier, lasting marriage with these 3 pillars

Happy couple

This might be the most powerful thing I can ever say to you: 


It only takes one sane person to completely change a marriage dynamic. 


And you can be the one to change your own marriage, and ultimately enjoy more peace, love, and intimacy with your spouse –


even with difficult stepkids or exes in the mix! 


Now you might be wondering…well HOW do I change my marriage, Kristin? 



You simply learn and implement the 3 essential pillars that guarantee a happier, more peaceful, and lasting marriage – no matter the chaos around you:


In this email, I’m going to share the 1st pillar – and this pillar alone will cut your marital arguments in half and have you feeling calmer, and happier at home. 


{The other 2 pillars will be sent to your inbox next week, so stay tuned!}


Pillar 1: Learn to argue well with the fool-proof, no-yelling protocol 


Studies show that couples in blended/stepfamily dynamics, argue more often, and more intensely, than their counterparts in nuclear families.



{hence why 67% of remarriages with kiddos in the mix end in divorce – all the arguing puts too much strain on the relationship}



But, I show my clients how to argue well and avoid joining their divorced peers with my simple, fool-proof no-yelling protocol. 


First, I walk them through a quick and simple process for remaining calm during a difficult conversation, no matter how defensive their spouses get. 


And then I teach them exactly what to say so that they are genuinely heard with an easy-to-apply, yet powerful script. 


This helps their blow-outs turn into calm, safe dialogues where true intimacy is built, and compromise is possible. 


But don’t just take it from me, here is what my clients have to say after applying this formula:  


Amanda reported back: “My husband and I are now safest with each other. I can now genuinely say he’s my best friend. We know how to argue well, and really listen to each other.”


Virginia said: “I’ve learned how to get my partner to listen better and be more accommodating of my concerns about my stepkids, and parenting. We’re now working as a team to nurture the kids, and help them become more self-sufficient.”


Keely told me: “Now, my husband and I hardly ever fight. I feel so good, all day, every day, and I genuinely feel happy at home. These tools are so powerful.”



Kathryn shared: “I now know how to fight fair with my husband, and he genuinely listens to me. I feel so much more empowered. And, in a way, these changes have saved my marriage.”


Kathleen wants you to know: My relationship with my husband is so much better – the way we communicate and interact is so much calmer and productive. I’m no longer getting so upset with him all the time, and this has been a huge shift. My marriage was in crisis before, and now it’s not. I’m so excited to live the rest of my life this way.”


Just consider: these women are not any different from you and me. 


It only takes one person to build a more passionate, loving, and long-lasting marriage, and that’s exactly what they did.


Maybe you could be the one to build this for yourself too.  

P.S. Want to know more? I created a free training to help you create better relationships with your stepkids and spouse. It's really good. Click the button below to watch.

The silent, painful tug-of-war inside all stepmoms

female with her face covered

You might feel ashamed to admit this. 


{I know I once did too} 


Maybe sometimes you find yourself lashing out and being really harsh on your stepkids


And then there’s that little voice inside of you who says: “You shouldn’t feel this way towards them. You shouldn’t be so mean. They are just kids.”


And then you feel ashamed, embarrassed. You may wonder: Is there something wrong with me?


But no matter how hard you try to change, these thought and behavior cycles keep repeating themselves.


Over time, things don’t get better at home – and in fact, it feels like they’re getting worse.


And if this is you…


I want you to know this is 100% normal. All of it.



There’s nothing wrong with YOU.



Your brain and body are being triggered. For a very good reason, you don’t feel safe around your stepkids.



The real problem, however, is NOT that you’re getting triggered – because we all get triggered in our family relationships! It’s inevitable, no matter who we end up marrying. 


The real problem is that no one has ever taught you the simple, doable process for managing your triggers. 


Because the beautiful thing about our brains and bodies is that they are designed to overcome these triggers and release them for good. 



Our natural state is peace and connection, and our brains and bodies are always seeking this for us.  


{Think about your very best friend, and how good you feel around her. It’s not an accident she is your bestie}


The good news is that there is a simple, proven formula for managing your triggers with ease, and ultimately, confidently, and comfortably showing up as the calm, grounded wife and stepmom you long to be deep down. 


I’ve been able to do it, and so have my clients.  


And no, I’m not perfect. 


But when I found out that my teenage stepson literally set his toy on fire inside of our home while I was taking care of my newborn…


I was able to handle it with the calmness and clarity of a ninja warrior in battle. I still enforced a consequence. I still shared how concerning this behavior is. I still discussed a plan for how we can make sure it doesn’t happen again. 


But I didn’t yell and freak out on him. {which only make things worse for both of us}



I didn’t later complain to my spouse about what happened or beg him to fix it. {We just talked calmly about how we can lock away our lighters from now on.}



And because I’ve mastered the process of managing my triggers for myself in my own home, I’ve also been able to help over 50 women do exactly the same with my simple, proven formula


And if we can do it, so can you.


So just imagine how empowering and peaceful it would feel for you to stay calm and collected when your stepkids inevitably misbehave at home.


Imagine how peaceful and loving it would feel to then calmly tell your spouse about what happened – instead of your usual blow-outs.


Imagine the connection and intimacy you could have in your marriage as a result.


Imagine how much more fun date nights would get.


How much more passionate the sex could get.


THIS is ALL possible for you


And I promise it’s way easier than you think. 

P.S. Want to know more? I created a free training to help you create better relationships with your stepkids and spouse. It's really good. Click the button below to watch.

Why your parenting classes aren’t working

Child covering her ears with parent in background

Once upon a time my stepkids accidentally spilled my morning coffee. 


I felt a little annoyed, but just calmly asked them to clean it up….I knew they obviously didn’t do it on purpose


{that’s what the parenting manual said after all: be polite, and respectful!. Ask for help, calmly). 


But then they proceeded to completely deny any wrongdoing. 


And so naturally, being the perfect, never-lose-my-temper stepmom that I am…I forgot about my parenting classes.


I lost it and started raising my voice at them. And demanded they clean it up. 


Naturally, my stepkids just kept denying it and started yelling back. 


Finally, I got so mad…I couldn’t even speak to them anymore, and just sent them to their rooms 


{which in hindsight was probably for the best for all parties involved 😂 }


That morning, I fumed on the inside as I drove them to school. 


But in all my outrage… I realized I was forgetting something – and it wasn’t in the parenting manual. 


I was simply forgetting that parenting isn’t so much about WHAT to do…but more so HOW we do it. 


Lots of different parenting approaches work, but none of them work 100% of the time, and sometimes kids just won’t listen. 


And when that does happen, HOW I handle my OWN anger at that moment is the most important thing. 


Regulating my own anger is what makes it possible and easy for me to keep trying different parenting approaches…

AND…when I’m calmer, my stepkids are WAY more likely to lower their own defenses and listen. 


It’s simply how we are wired as humans. 


So I came up with a game plan for myself – 


Whenever I would feel that anger rising in my chest, I decided it was no longer an invitation to freak out. 


Instead, I made it my cue to pause, take a deep breath, and remind me: 


Freaking out doesn’t solve this. Being calm is the only way to encourage more cooperation. 


And so I started putting this into practice daily – simply noticing my anger, and reminding myself that being and REMAINING calm is the only way to get any resolution. 


Over time, I noticed that when my stepson would take 30 minutes to get out of bed on a school morning, or when my stepdaughter refused to fold her clothes…


I’d just take a deep, remind myself not to yell, and figure out the next best step. 


And it started to feel easy to have a calm conversation with them about what was really going on…most of the time. 


And eventually, they’d do what I’d asked them to do…most of the time. 


And when they didn’t, it felt so easy to just calmly state the consequence, and move on with my day.


I simply needed to practice the simple, doable steps to managing my own emotions, which is always the most important part.  

P.S. Want to know more? I created a free training to help you create better relationships with your stepkids and spouse. It's really good. Click the button below to watch.

Mini-wife syndrome: stop her from ruining your marriage today

Young girl with scowl on face

Picture this:

💖 You’re snuggling on the couch with your spouse while watching a movie. Your stepdaughter is snuggled up next to your spouse.

But, when you get up from the couch to pee, you come back to find your stepdaughter and spouse sprawled out on the entire couch – no room for you.

👉 When you see what’s happened, you immediately feel:
– irritated
– jealous
– ashamed (because you think you shouldn’t feel jealous)
– left out

You worry her behavior is going to ruin your marriage.

Because this isn’t an isolated incident.

In that moment, you don’t know what to say because you don’t want to piss off your spouse, seem ‘irrational’, or hurt your stepdaugther’s feelings.


And, If this is happening at home, I want you to know, you’re not alone.


And there is nothing wrong with you.

👉 Your stepdaughter is probably suffering from mini-wife syndrome.


This can happen when:

👉 Mommy or daddy create a ‘peer-like’ relationship with their kids, and meet their kids every want and need, no matter the cost to themselves or their other relationships.
This often happens because mom or dad feel SO GUILTY over the divorce and the traumatic impact it may have had on their kids.
So they grossly overcompensate by not enforcing rules, boundaries, or consequences.


And voila!


Stepdaugther thinks it’s OK to take up your spot on the couch, and leave no room for you.


And spouse does nothing – they feel too guilty.


And it happens like this over and over again.


So I know what you might be thinking –
Well obviously I need to fix my stepdaughter and spouse! They need to change!


If only it were that easy, though.


👉 See the truth is, you feel so triggered {jealous} when this happens because your ANIMAL brain is sending off a red alert.


Even if you rationally KNOW your spouse loves you, and has NO romantic interest in their own kids…


Your animal brain doesn’t know that.


👉 So it makes you feel jealous because it thinks something is really wrong.


This is 100% normal.


👉 So the EASIEST and only permanent solution here is to simply learn how to calm down your animal brain, and help yourself feel better.


That might look like:
– taking a few deep breaths in through your nose, and out through your mouth
– reminding yourself: I feel jealous because of my animal brain. This is normal. I don’t need to react right now.


And if you practice this a few times, you’ll start to notice yourself feeling way calmer when your stepdaughter acts like a mini-wife.


And when you’re calmer, your rational brain is activated, and you can make more loving decisions for your relationships.


So, just imagine:

💖 Next time she sprawls out on the couch, you no longer feel so jealous and left out. You’re totally calm, and relaxed. You understand what’s really happening.

💖 And maybe you just calmly say: alright you too, make room for me now!

💖 Or maybe you tell yourself: I’ll just let them have their alone time. I’d like some too.
But no matter what, you don’t feel so crappy.


And your ‘mini-wife’ no longer puts a strain on your marriage – simply because her behavior no longer irritates you so much, and you no longer feel this deep urge to nag your spouse about it.


So even if you have a mini-wife at home, you don’t have to let it ruin your evening anymore, or put such a strain on your marriage.


💖 You can have the deeply passionate, loving, and fulfilling marriage you crave…
even if your mini-wife never ever changes. 💖

P.S. Want to know more? I created a free training to help you create better relationships with your stepkids and spouse. It's really good. Click the button below to watch.

An unusual threesome – dog, owl, happy marriage –

Happy couple pointing to an owl, and a dog

Do you ever feel so enraged that you just word vomit on your spouse, and stepkids? 🤬


If this is you, I want you to know you’re not alone.


And this happens to ALL humans.


There’s nothing wrong with you.


And the truth is…when you word vomit…you literally are out of control.


Picture this:


👉 In our brains we have an owl, and a dog (credit to the lovely Pam Howard for this analogy).


The dog’s job is to protect us from danger.


The owl is very wise and calm.


But if something scares the dog, the dog starts barking.


And the owl flies away.


👉 Translation: when we feel angry, frustrated, enraged…our rational mind has literally left the building.




👉 The good news is as adults… we can bring our rational mind back with one simple technique.


Ready for it?


👉 Nasal breathing.


That’s right.


In through the nose, out through the mouth.


Even doing this technique for 30 seconds lowers our stress hormones, and brings in the feel good hormones.


We calm the dog, and invite the owl back in.


And when our rational (owl) brains are back online…


We don’t word vomit.


💖 We respond calmly, and strategically to the things that once used to enrage us.


And, the beautiful thing about US being calm is that…


💖 We enjoy more calm and cooperative dynamics at home.



Just like our barking dog triggers others in our lives to get more defensive…


Our calm wise owl influences others to stay calm.


💖 It only takes one person to change a marriage around.


And with this simple, practical and effective tool…


You can enjoy a more comfortable, loving, and peaceful home and marriage.

P.S. Want to know more? I created a free training to help you create better relationships with your stepkids and spouse. It's really good. Click the button below to watch.

Not mutually exclusive: rude stepkids & a happy marriage

Couple out to eat with kiddo

“I was out to dinner with my husband, his bio-daughter, and *our* baby daughter. 


And my stepdaughter totally ignored me and her sister! She treats me and her baby sister like garbage!


So naturally, I started nagging my husband to get his daughter to change, and I sulked around the house for 2 days straight. 


I really want to stop letting my stepdaughter get under my skin, but I don’t know how to just ‘let it go.’

If this keeps up, I’m worried I’m going to ruin my marriage!”


If this is you, you’re not alone. 


And unfortunately, this 👆👆👆 dynamic is VERY common in blended families, and it can feel so horrible to be treated like this. 


But the real reason being ignored or excluded feels so horrific has NOTHING to do with how disrespectful our stepkids are. 


{stay with me, it’s gonna get better}.


As humans, we have a basic need to feel safe, included, and loved in our own homes – 


Because back in the day, a strong supportive tribe meant we could survive, whereas being booted from the tribe meant imminent death. 


So when our stepkids treat us like trash, our animal brain kicks into high gear and automatically assumes something is really, really, wrong (and that death is literally just around the corner). 


So I know what you might be thinking: 


“Well then Kristin, I need my stepkids to CHANGE so I can feel safe and loved!” 


And this is where most of us get it wrong. 


See our brains have also been tricked into believing that other people cause our feelings – 


We think that when our stepkids are nasty, our only choice is to feel horrible. 


But as adults, with adult human brains, we’re actually responsible for all of our feelings – the good and the bad.


And we do not need our stepkids to treat us differently in order to feel safe and loved {or to stay alive, anymore}. 


So the antidote to nasty stepkids? 


It’s to offer ourselves COMFORT first – 


That may look like simply reminding ourselves that: 


  • I’m worthy of respect, no matter how others treat me 

  • I’m safe here. 

  • I love my partner so much, and they love me. 

  • I’m good enough, just the way I am 


WARNING: Comforting ourselves does NOT mean we sit around and let people yell at us all day – we can still enforce boundaries, rules, and consequences.  


INSTEAD “comforting” ourselves simply means we are meeting our own emotional needs as humans, and no longer relying on our stepkids’ behavior to change to feel safe and loved. 


So next time your stepkids are rude or disrespectful, I want to invite you to turn inwards – 


Give yourself what you need first. 


Because you are loved, and worthy of respect, just as you are. No one can ever change that. 

AND… equally as important….when you meet your own emotional needs FIRST you also: 


  • Argue less with your spouse about how his kids need to change (because you feel at peace no matter how they behave)

  • Feel way less anxiety around your stepkids (because you know how to comfort yourself whenever you’re feeling triggered by them)


And ultimately, you get to stay happily married to your best friend. 


With a little practice, all of this 👆👆👆 is 100% possible for you.


P.S. Want to know more? I created a free training to help you create better relationships with your stepkids and spouse. It's really good. Click the button below to watch.