How To Be A Successful Summer-Time Stepmom

February 12th, 2013 posted by Susan Wilkins-Hubley

Many stepmoms have their stepkids more often in the summer or they have them the entire time. Some stepmoms do not have their own children so this can be quite a shock to the system if you are not prepared! Some stepmoms do have their own biological children and it can become more chaotic, but it’s very possible to have a successful summer if you can follow these words of advice:


Schedule some time for yourself each and every week. Make sure this time is not complicated with Joey’s baseball schedule or Susie’s ballet lesson, this time is for you to unravel from the weeks’ demands. A few things I have found very helpful when trying to unwind as mom/taxi/nurse/ball coach, is to go to a large bookstore and grab a cuppa coffee or tea, find a comfy spot and read about your favorite passion, gardening, decorating, what have you, ideally it would not deal with stepparenting or family-life. You need to detoxify for a few hours.


Do not overschedule the kids. Kids who are overscheduled with activities, commitments, etc, do not have the freedom to choose their own wants and needs, therefore they are stifled and can perhaps feel resentful. This is their time to unwind from the demands of school and everyday life. Try to make it casual and easy going. This concept also relieves the pressure from the stepmom to provide wall to wall entertainment for the stepkids. Let dad step in, after all they are HIS kids.

Encourage Your Child’s Imagination

You can help your kids be more creative by giving them the time and the tools to do so. Offer blank paper, crayons and paint for them to create their own pictures. How about giving them glue, scissors and a magazine to let them make a collage about the things they like?

Child coloring Another way to encourage your children’s imaginations is to read lots of books to them. When you do, see whether they can create their own endings. Ask them to come up with another story based on the same characters. Maybe they could make a picture to go with it. Choose toys that encourage fantasy and make-believe. Try and help your children stick with a project. Let them know it’s okay to work at their own pace. Make sure to compliment and praise their accomplishments.

Tip courtesy of CyberTip4theDay


Appreciate that they may not *want* to be with you as their stepmom all the time. These kids, in reality, want to be with mom and dad. You are a bonus! Sometimes too much of a bonus, turns into something that is not appreciated.


Make sure that the kids have a place of their own within your home for their personal belongings, and for themselves. Summertime can seem like an eternity if the child does not have privacy. Everyone needs privacy and children are no exception, especially as they grow older. Providing a space can be difficult if you are pressed for space, but you can set aside a special shelf in the bathroom for Jenny’s hairbrush and bows, or you can buy a large plastic tote for Michael’s sports gear, an ideal situation is to be able to provide a bedroom for the stepchildren, not always possible, but if you can, it adds to the feeling of “home” for the stepchild.


Plan a few family gatherings including the extended family so that the stepchild can meet the rest of his/her extended family and feel included. I have found this to be very important and helpful. My stepchildren love these gatherings and they anticipate each one. Include them in the preparing of these gatherings by allowing them to help you plan and set up. They will appreciate the feelings of inclusion and importance. When your family members arrive, let them know how much your stepchild helped you.


Make sure that Dad tows the line with the stepchildren over the summer! Most fathers are very conscientious of their responsibilities to their children on a day to day basis, but if a father has a wife who is essentially doing everything for them, there is nothing left. This can affect the relationship between the father and child. The child needs Dad’s attention and time. Make sure dad gives it and does not leave the entire responsibility of the children up to you all summer. Stepmoms are people too!


Stepmoms should not be held responsible for the relationships that the stepchildren have with their father. That is the father’s responsibility, the stepmom can *help*, but leave this up to Dad. Many stepmoms new or experienced, can feel as though they have been taken for granted. This feeling can stem from doing too much for everyone. Step back and take a breather, go and do something for yourself. Insist Dad take over. They are HIS children. (We can use that line conveniently when the need arises – it’s one of the few perks we stepmoms have!) This doesn’t mean that you have given up on stepparenting, nor does it mean that the children mean any less to you. It means that it’s time for Dad to step in and be Dad. I believe that parenting stepchildren should be a 50/50 agreement between stepmom and Dad. Perhaps even 60/40 for Dad. New stepmoms are easily overwhelmed and justifiably so. Take it slow and don’t expect a lot from the stepkids emotionally or in a familial sense. It takes time. These suggestions are things that I have personally found very helpful while raising my stepfamily and spending time with them over the summer. It takes a lot of trial and error to get it right with your individual stepfamily. (C) Susan Wilkins-Hubley – 1999

about the author Susan Wilkins-Hubley is a 29 year old Canadian stepmom to two young children and biological mother to two more. Her family is complete with “his”, “her” and “our” children, however all family members find themselves in the “ours” category. Susan has been a stepmom for over four years and has experienced the trials and tribulations that most other stepmoms face day to day.

Susan tries to keep her family at peace by mothering all of her children consistently and wearing ear plugs a lot of the time 🙂 Visit Susan’s website The Second Wives Club

Susan Wilkins-Hubley (10 Posts)

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