My name is Priscilla Appeaning, and I am the founder of The Stepmums Club. I set up this initiative to debunk the ‘wicked stepmum’ stereotype and give support to this growing community of mothers with their journeys.
I became a single parent at 22 years old. I met my now husband and married at the age of 27. I became a wife and a stepmother to two boys birthed from two different biological mothers. My husband became a stepfather and the only father my daughter has ever known. My husband and I have one daughter together, so in total, we are a blended family of mum, dad two boys and two girls and have been for nearly three years. I have never formally met nor spoken to the two biological mums in our lives, this lack of communication comes with a set of issues I am yet to overcome.
I believe I was handling being a stepmother pretty well. I had started getting over the indirect digs to rattle my peace of mind and began to accept that I won’t always be in control of things. But there was one evening where an indirect dig from one of the biological mums hit me directly and just like that my peace vanished.
I was rattled to the core, angry and demanding my husband be angry at her. My sister-in-law tried to calm me down by stroking my ego with compliments of how much prettier I was and a better woman but that only touched the surface of me. So I went online in search of some advice from other women who would ‘get it’, who would understand me and even help me calm down. I am both a biological mother and stepmother so I can reason with myself at times but other times you need support in doing so.
I found loads of active generic support groups online but when these ladies engaged it offered no real resolution or encouragement. It was mainly negativity matched with greater or similar negativity. Some women found comfort in this, but I didn’t.
The problem with being in private groups that only share bad points and offer worse points in exchange is that it makes the stepmum community angrier and isolated. It allows wounds to dive deeper, it validates pride, one side of the story, it promotes division, creates no avenues or ideas for peace and acceptance in order to make the best of things. At this moment in time, I had become a service user without a service so I created one.
The Stepmums Club was formed because as a stepmum and speaking to other stepmums globally, we felt unsupported in the motherhood community. I see support for single mums, married mums, disabled mums, gay mums but not stepmums.
Blended families are currently the fastest growing form of families in the UK. This means that the number of stepmums is on the rise. I often feel anxious in thinking that my family life will be in conflict long-term and that I won’t have freedom as a stepmum, I’m not alone in feeling this way and actually, the conflict for others go deeper than what I face and it takes a massive toll on one’s mental health.
On top of this, many stepmums are stigmatized; labeled as being that ‘Wicked Stepmum’ set to take over the biological mother’s role and steal the father away from their children.
There is little to no help out there and where there is, fees are high and workshops are not focussed on the stepmum but on the step-family as a whole. This leaves us feeling unsupported by the wider community too. Being a Stepmother should not feel this bad..
My hope is that The Stepmums Club will create an open but safe place to spotlight the very real highs and lows of being a stepmum. To create social space that is inclusive of all mothers for the sake and insight of stepmothers. We will also provide workshop events to draw members offline and into the community.
Currently, the Club primarily functions via social media, Instagram, and Twitter. The website is launching soon along with an amazing launch event in the New Year. Look out for all the official details and goings on the social sites!
Connect with us:
Tweet us at – www.twitter.com/thestepmumsclub
Follow us at – www.instagram.com/thestepmumsclub
Read my blog – www.unsettledmum.online