The Thoroughly Modern Stepmom

Random thoughts from a savvy stepmom who loves her life. Featuring everything from an interview with the stepfamily that climbed Everest together to thoughts on surviving the teen years - a fellow traveler in stepfamily life shares her take on...

Carrie is a winner of Top 25 Moms with Blended Families - 2012

What aspect of being in a blended family has surprised you?

I've been surprised that I can just relax, be me and things will work out just fine. I don't have all the answers and I don't need to. Being a childless stepmom, I always felt that I had to prove to everyone that I could do this. I had to be a part of everything going on in my house, have everything figured out and be all things to all people. I just got exhausted. I love my life and I love my family. I will always be there for them. I felt so much more relaxed and happy when I just let go.

What's a good tip for preventing sibling rivalry?

My stepsons are spaced five years apart. There was jealousy when they were younger about things being “equal”. We would refuse to entertain it when one child would complain about a hockey stick or a video game. My husband and I worked hard to make sure that they both had what they needed.

What's one piece of advice you'd give to moms who are about to become part of a blended family?

If you feel yourself getting sucked into the drama, step back and take care of yourself. You need to worry about your career, your finances and your education. And trust your husband. He's been dealing with his ex a lot longer than you have. If he says stay and away and don't bother, listen to him. Don't think that you are super woman and things will be different for you. Let him deal with his ex. Don't expect them to be able to communicate and parent together flawlessly. After all, if they got along swell they would still be together.