The secret reason you feel so miserable at home

Upset woman

Let’s face it….sometimes being a stepmom can feel downright miserable! 

Especially when you have: 

😢  stepkids who ignore you and are disrespectful

😢  your spouse’s ex trying to sabotage your relationship with their kids

😢  a spouse who sides with their kids instead of you

 

And all of that 👆 is really hard! Of course it is!


Unfortunately, it’s all too common in a blended family situation. 

 

BUT real reason being a stepmom is so hard is because difficult stepkids, bio-parents, and spouses trigger our minds into a CHRONIC state of ‘fight or flight.’

 

You’ll know you’re suffering from this if:

👉 you feel super anxious before, and during your stepkids’ visits home

👉 your heart starts to pound in your chest whenever your partners’ ex calls

👉 you feel like you’re walking on eggshells at home

👉 your marital disputes turn really ugly, really fast

👉 you feel completely drained – physically and emotionally

👉 you’re having trouble concentrating at work

👉 you’re having trouble sleeping

👉 you’re using food or alcohol or retail therapy to deal with all of your anxiety

 

If you relate to ANYTHING on this list…there’s nothing wrong with you. 💕 

 

Your brain is simply in a chronic state of ‘fight or flight’ – and your mind isn’t rational in this state. Solving problems at home becomes impossible. 

 

✨ And the only REAL problem here is that no one has ever taught you how to OVERRIDE your natural fight or flight instinct.

 

So that you can calmly and confidently navigate the challenges you’re facing at home like the bada$$ wife and stepmom that you are.

 

And LEARNING how to override your fight or flight brain is simple – it just requires applying a few basic mind and body techniques. 

 

When you master these techniques you learn how to instantly go from: 

stressed out and anxious to…

calm and collected 💕

 

And when you’re feeling calmer, you: 

  • Don’t lash out at your spouse anymore 

  • Parent your difficult stepkids with way less battling, and more respect 

  • Stop worrying about the latest ridiculous thing the ex did or said

  • Manage your anxiety in healthy and productive ways

  • Stop overeating, or over drinking to numb out 

  • Stop hiding out in your room so much 

  • Have more energy to start working out again, or finally go for that promotion at work

 

And ultimately…. you get to enjoy a deeply fulfilling and passionate marriage to your best friend. 

 

{No matter how crazy your stepkids, or the ex is!}

 

The women who have done this – all of my amazing clients – are rockstars, but they are NOT superhuman. 

 

Anyone with a human brain can learn how to override their fight or flight instinct. 

 

And if they can learn to truly enjoy a more peaceful and happier home and marriage in a just few simple steps…

 

It’s 100% possible for you 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.

When stepping back is good for your marriage

woman in yellow sweater smiling

Do you ever wonder: will stepping back from parenting help my marriage? 

 

And the answer is…it truly depends! 

 

Sometimes stepping back from parenting can be GOOD for your marriage {and your sanity}.

 

Sometimes it doesn’t change a damn thing. 

 

So here’s how you know if stepping back will help: 

 

  • If you are in a situation where you WANT your stepkids’ behavior to change 

 

  • AND your partner either doesn’t care, or refuses to enforce the rules/ norms/ consequences…

 

Then stepping back from parenting can genuinely HELP your marriage. 

 

Here’s why: 

 

  • Your stepkids will always see bio-mom or dad as having the final say. If your partner is unwilling or unable to enforce the same rules, boundaries, and consequences that you want, your stepkids know they can just go to mommy or daddy to get out of it. This dynamic creates tension between you and your partner, and you and the kids. 

 

  • Your partner doesn’t get to experience the TRUE consequences of their parenting decisions (e.g. they never get to take Johnny to school after he’s been up all night on his tablet) and so they don’t truly understand why the rules are needed in the first place. This dynamic also creates a lot of tension between you and your partner. 

 

So all this means YOU will always be met with a significant amount of resistance – not just from your stepkids but also from your spouse too. 

 

When you have a partner who doesn’t want to enforce rules and consequences, AND you decide to step back, here’s what can happen: 

 

  • You fight way less with your spouse and stepkids 

  • You feel way less anxious at home 

 

And this is because you no longer feel like you have to control your stepkids’ behavior… and you’re no longer on your spouse’s case to fix it. 

 

And in some cases…

 

Your partner may soon come to realize that THEIR parenting needs to change – for their sanity, and for the sake of their kids. 

 

But they can’t do that as long as you’re picking up all the pieces from bio-mom or dad’s lack of rules, boundaries, and consequences. 

 

So in order to STEP BACK and genuinely transform your marriage for the better, you just get to remind yourself: 

 

  • How these kiddos turn out isn’t up to me – that’s on the bio-parents
     

  • I don’t have to control them to feel good in my own home – I’m good, and worthy no matter how they behave

 

Having a more peaceful, and loving home and family life is 100% available to you…it simply requires stepping back and letting go.

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 you yell (and how to stop)

woman yelling

So the other day, I was helping my stepson get ready for his day. 

 

I asked him to make his breakfast, and then go sit down and eat. 

 

And out of nowhere, he started raising his voice at me. 

 

I got so mad and just yelled right back and said: Don’t you ever talk to me that way again! 

 

In hindsight, I was like wow, Kristin. You can’t ask your stepson not to yell when you are doing the same thing! 

 

But the thing is…. yelling at children actually WORKS {more on this later}. 

 

My stepson immediately became quiet and sat down at the table. 

 

The reason yelling works is simply because it makes the child afraid. 

 

So in the short term, it’s very effective. 

 

But in the long term, as you can imagine, it genuinely hurts relationships. 

 

Yelling doesn’t build connections or create trust. It simply inspires fear. 

 

NOTE: If you ARE yelling…do NOT beat yourself up about this. Every parent yells at some point, no matter how amazing they are. 

 

You are yelling because it works, and perhaps that’s how you learned to discipline growing up.

 

But if you want to stop yelling when your stepkids are difficult, the technique is simple – 

 

  • Notice your anger or frustration, and use that as a cue to pause before responding.  

  • Before you respond, take some slow deep breaths in through your nose {if you’re really worked up, excuse yourself to the restroom and give yourself some more time.} 

  • When you feel calmer, then address the behavior accordingly. 

 

Now, the reason pausing and nasal breathing actually works is because it deactivates the ‘yelling’ region of your brain and activates the ‘insightful, calm, curious’ region of your brain. 

 

And, when you deal with difficult behavior calmly, you are a more effective parent, and you are building more trusting and supportive relationships in the process. 

 

So you might be thinking….Ok. Kristin….does this approach takes effort? 

 

Yes – of course! 

 

Is it worth it? 

 

100% – being more in control of yourself is one the of best gifts you can give to yourself and your relationships.

 

Will you sometimes still yell? 

 

Yes – of course, you’re a human – and that’s why we have apologies! 

 

With a little practice, however, you can make yelling or lashing out at your stepkiddos a rare event rather than a normal occurrence. 

 

You’ve got this. 

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.

What to do when your stepkids are hurtful

Little girl sticking out her tongue

Real talk: I know it sucks when you’re stepkids don’t listen, and say or do cruel things. 

 

No one ever said: please sign me up to parent kids who don’t listen to me! Who ignore me! Who exclude me! Who say horrible things to me! 

 

Unfortunately, this tends to come with the stepmom territory. 

 

But the real reason it sucks doesn’t actually have anything to do with our stepkids’ behavior, or their words… 

 

{If you were just like …um excuse me???! Stick with me here!}

 

The real reason it sucks is that we’re taking their words or behavior personally, and making it mean something negative about ourselves. 

 

Our stepkids don’t listen to us and we think: 

👎 I’m not being a good enough stepmom 

👎 There’s something wrong with me

 

So, no – when our stepkids don’t listen, or are rude and mean, it doesn’t mean we’re doing something wrong or that we’re not good enough. 



The only thing that’s gone wrong is that no one has ever taught us how to depersonalize our stepkids’ behavior – to recognize in the heat of the moment, it’s not about us. 🎯

 

And of course – no one wants to deal with stepkids who are rude, and disrespectful.

 

BUT…if we didn’t take things so personally, being a stepmom would no longer feel so hard and painful all the time. 💕

 

So the next time you’re faced with a stepkiddo who is cruel, or disrespectful – 

 

Take some slow deep breaths. 

 

Remind yourself: 

 

💖 What is happening to me would happen to any woman in my shoes (it’s not about me). 

 

💖 It doesn’t mean anything bad about me as a parent, or as a woman

 

💖 I am good enough, just the way I am. 

 

You’ve got this, mamma! 

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 simple secret to obliterating 2nd wife grief

Woman upset with man in background

Recently one of my clients was talking about how she hates being her husband’s 2nd…

 

It was his: 

👎 2nd wedding 

👎 2nd honeymoon 

👎 2nd time witnessing the birth of his child

 

She confessed to me that all of these major life milestones didn’t feel as important and exciting – simply because they had already happened for him once before.  

 

And thinking like this made her feel really sad, and unimportant. 😭

 

And it’s true – 

 

It was his 2nd honeymoon, marriage, child…

 

But more importantly, it was also THEIR

💕 first marriage together.

💕 first honeymoon together.

💕 first child together.

 

And…she was forgetting another really important thing: 

 

💫 Second doesn’t mean BAD. 💫

 

And sometimes, second can be even BETTER than first. 🎯

 

(Because well…her husband’s first wife cheated on him, and he’s now happily married to my client – his 2nd wife).

 

And so next time…when you start to feel down about being #2…

 

Just remember: 

💖 Second doesn’t mean it’s bad. 

💖 And second can be even better than the first. 

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.

Will disciplining my stepkids ruin our relationship?

Woman covering her ears on couch

Before officially marrying my husband and becoming a stepmom of 4 kiddos, I had read that I shouldn’t discipline my stepkids because I will forever damage our relationship and scar the children. 

 

👉 So fast forward to me being at home alone with 4 kiddos between the ages of 4 and 9 who all needed to eat dinner, go to bed, and then be ready for school the next morning.

 

And I remember thinking: Um…that advice is absolutely ridiculous! 

 

After several years of coaching stepmoms, and learning what works best in my family and countless others…well…

 

👉 I still think that advice is totally wrong. 

 

The truth is that children need rules and structure to feel safe at home. 

 

And, it’s not the ACT of disciplining that hurts relationships  – 

 

it’s HOW we discipline our stepkids that matters the most. 

 

When we’re feeling so angry and frustrated and then immediately go into punishment mode, and start taking away all of their toys, privileges, etc…

 

👆👆 THAT kind of discipline isn’t effective {And if this is you…it’s a totally normal human thing to do!}

 

In this situation, the kiddo can sense the intensity of our emotions, and they’re literally going into a ‘fight or flight’ state. 

 

And they’ll be much more likely to freak out on us, push back, be defiant, or totally ignore us.  

 

But…

 

When we feel angry or frustrated or outraged by something our stepkids did…and INSTEAD of immediately going into punishment mode…

 

🌱We take some deep breaths. 

 

🌱We count to 10.

 

🌱We collect our thoughts, and recognize the behavior isn’t personal…

 

🌱And then we calmly enforce a consequence…

 

👆👆 THAT kind of discipline works so much better over time.  

 

Because when we are feeling calm, our stepkids feel safer and calmer too, and they’re going to be more receptive to what we have to say. 

 

And the beautiful thing is that calming down, and feeling grounded when we discipline is 100% in our control. 

 

It just takes a simple moment of pause to bring us down from our outrage. 

 

It just takes a simple reminder that their behavior isn’t personal…they’re doing this because well…they’re kids. 

 

So just consider… it’s 100% possible to have connected and fulfilling relationships WHILE disciplining our stepkids. 

 

And with a few small adjustments on our end, it’s a done deal. 

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 one simple skill every happy stepmom masters

Happy woman with confetti

What if I told you there was just one simple skill you could master…

 

to enjoy a happy, lasting marriage to your partner, and truly cherish your time with your stepkids?

 

If you just read that and you’re like: what?! That sounds crazy. 

 

I know! It’s a bold claim! But stick with me. 

 

And no..this skill has nothing to do with your partner, the ex, or your stepkids changing. 

 

I wish I could help you with this! But no human can control another human. You’re only in control of you. 

 

So what gets us into the most trouble in our relationships is when we react to our feelings of frustration, anger, or anxiety – 

 

👉 When we yell or lash out, we say things we regret. 

 

👉 When we shut down, we hide out in our rooms, or stay late at work and then miss out on key moments to genuinely bond with our family. 

 

All because no one has ever taught us how to process, and allow our negative feelings, instead of reacting to them on autopilot. 

 

This is a really simple skill that we can all learn. 

 

And when we learn how to stay calm while having a really difficult conversation with our partners…then we can actually come up with solutions together. 💕

 

When we learn how to calmly parent our stepkids even when they backtalk, or say cruel things…that’s when they actually start to listen to us more. 🌱

 

When we learn how to stay calm and collected even when bio-mom tells our stepkids not to like us….that’s when we win. And we take our power back. ✨

 

And no…I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t have negative feelings. They’re all valid! 

 

Your feelings matter – the good, the bad, and the ugly  

 

But…with this one simple skill, the bad and the ugly emotions no longer have to dictate the quality of your relationships. 

 

No matter how intensely you might feel right now…you still have a human brain that is 100% capable of learning this skill. 

 

And when you master it… 

 

💕 You will enjoy more inner peace. 

 

💕 And a happy, lasting 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.

My life as a stepmom sucks. Now what?

Woman with head against the wall

So the other day I got some really shocking news. 😞

 

And I had all the feels about it – confused, overwhelmed, sad, ashamed. 

 

At first, I was like: I don’t know how to handle this. Too many feelings! This is awful! 

 

And then I remembered something…

 

It’s OK for my life to suck sometimes. I’m a human. This is part of the deal. 💖

 

And then I decided to host a legit pity party for myself – 

 

I said: OK. We’re gonna sulk about this for 15 minutes. Let’s go! 

 

I took out a pen and paper and wrote down everything that was going on. 

 

I cussed. I got teary-eyed. 

 

And after my 15 minutes was done, I took some deep breaths, and told myself:

 

“OK. This sucks. It happened. Now what?”

 

So I made a plan. 

 

And, even if I couldn’t change the sucky thing that happened…



I realized that I am 100% in control of:



 how I respond – I can choose to yell, or not

 

✅  my attitude about what happened & how to handle it – I can remember: this is hard, and I can do hard things

 

Just acknowledging what I can control👆 👆 👆 …made me feel so much relief.  

 

So, sometimes, life brings you to your knees: 

 

💥 Bio-mom throws takes you to court unexpectedly



💥 your stepkids ‘accidentally’ set fire to your back patio (yes, this has really happened to one of my clients!)



💥 you have the nastiest fight ever with your partner 

 

When this kind of stuff happens, there’s no point in trying to convince yourself you shouldn’t feel so awful (that’s called toxic positivity!)

 

But there is so much in your control (your response, your attitude). 



And maybe for you that looks like: 

 

I don’t need to send that text/ email/ yell at my partner right now…I’m gonna take a bath/go for a walk/ journal instead. 



I don’t have to make this awful thing that happened mean something bad about me as a parent, or spouse.

 

 

No matter what, I can handle this. I can do hard things. 

 

 

You’ve got this. 

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.

{Tear-jerker alert} This stepmom’s amazing before and after story

Happy Couple Smiling

I have to tell you this story about my brilliant client, Amanda. 

 

Amanda is a stepmom, just like you and me. 

 

When we first met, this is what she told me: 

 

👉 “I was feeling like I was trapped, I couldn’t handle my anxiety, my life was being controlled by others, and I wasn’t recognizing I was causing my own torment. I was arguing with my spouse all the time, and I thought our marriage was going to end if something didn’t change. And on top of it, I thought I was a horrible stepmom, and too emotional. I was judging myself so harshly.” 

 

So, through our work together, I helped her: 

 

✅ Process all of her anxiety and sense of helplessness in a really healthy and productive way – so that could stop lashing out so much, and enjoy much calmer days. 

 

✅ Communicate more powerfully and influentially with her spouse, without all the arguing. I helped her figure out what to say, and how to say it so that she was building intimacy rather than walls with her partner. 

 

✅ Stop beating herself up for feeling anxious, and how she was parenting her stepdaugher, so that she could stop feeling so ashamed of herself, and start to genuinely enjoy her life. 

 

Amanda did the work. 

 

She applied the tools. 

 

And here’s what happened for her by the end of our time together: 

 

“Now, I embrace who I am, and the things that I struggle with. I know I have control over how I feel and act, and react to things. My life is better, and I’m happier when I just process my emotions instead of judging them. Things that sent me over the edge before…I handle them now with no problem. 

 

 💕 With my spouse, I’m more sympathetic to his insecurities and I’m not taking things so personally. Our relationship is better than I thought it could ever be now. I can genuinely say now that he’s my best friend. We are the safest now with each other.” 

 

When she shared just how good her relationship had gotten, I was blown away (and moved to tears!)

 

The beautiful thing about Amanda’s story is that she was ready to give up her marriage. 

 

And now, she gets to enjoy staying happily married to her best friend. 

 

Simply by making a few simple tweaks on her own.  

 

So no matter how much you’re struggling right now…

 

What Amanda has is possible for you 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 secret mirror effect that could save your marriage

Woman looking in the mirror

If you’ve never heard of the ‘mirror effect’ – 

 

You’re not alone. 

 

I may have made it up. 

 

But it’s an actual phenomenon I’ve seen play out time and time again in my own marriage as well as my clients’ marriages. 

 

So let me show you how it works through a story – 

 

One of my clients is married to the classic ‘disneyland dad’ – (you know the type – he says yes to everything his kids want) 

 

And, the other day, she came to me with some really exciting news – 

 

She had been making a lot of progress in compromising with her spouse when it comes to parenting. 

 

She was practicing being calm, articulating the facts, and sharing her viewpoint in a non-confrontational way on his parenting style (because hey – that’s where most of their fights were coming from).

 

She was practicing asking for his opinion in the exact way I taught her, which opened up their dialogues, and created the space to compromise. 

 

(And don’t worry…I will teach this to you all too at some point – it’s brilliant!) 

 

And they were actually compromising. 

 

But that’s not even the best part. 

 

One day, out of the blue…

 

Her husband, before automatically saying yes to his kids (as he had done hundreds of times before)… actually asked my client for her opinion FIRST. 

 

And then they agreed on a solution they both felt good about. 

 

Note: Her husband’s behavior – IS the secret mirror effect: he was imitating his wife. 

 

And, SHE completely shifted the dynamic – and not through force. 


She modeled patience, love, compassion, and calmness in her conversations with him – she started genuinely caring about his opinions, before assuming bad intentions, or demanding he change. 

 

And, she implemented a few dynamite convo hacks I taught her. 

 

But it’s amazing to think how powerful we can be in our own marriages – by changing ourselves, we change how we feel at home, and quite possibly, our spouses will follow suit. 

 

Now, the mirror effect doesn’t always work – some of us are married to total jerks with no desire to change.

 

But it’s so hard to really know that for sure, unless we’ve changed ourselves first.  

 
 

And if we can shift our marriage dynamics so drastically and positively, 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.