Women is...: Kids


When childless people marry again, they get to start a fresh new life. But when kids come along with wedding vows, they bring with them a whole list of challenges. Stepmothers can face power struggles and discipline problems from her husband�s kids�� and resentment from her own. To make this kind of parenting work: "You need a united front, you need the husband to stand behind the stepmother," says Wilkins-Hubley. She has also learned that she doesn�t have to love her stepchildren as her own. The closeness they now have, which she describes as a teacher-student�like relationship, helps her both parent and enjoy them.

With all the fears and pressures that surround a couple married for the second time, only a rock-strong relationship can survive. "The couple must come first," Dr. Lynn says. Making kids a priority often leads couples to spend too little time and energy on their own partnership. Her recipe for consistent communication is a standing Wednesday evening out because getting in quality time on weekends just isn�t enough. These nights out, away from family pressures, keeps romance alive and gives couples a chance to "remember this is the person you fell in love with." Dr. Lynn says standing weekly lunch dates are even more tantalizing: they remind married couples of what they used to do when they were dating and they tend to be less exhausted in the middle of the day.

When the relationship is taken care of, other things just tend to fall into place. Women in second marriages find it makes parenting easier and they are able to put the numerous crises of everyday life into perspective because of what they�ve been through. "If he does something to upset me, I�ll look at the grand scheme of things," says Heather. She only argues over important things and is able to keep her love for her partner and her commitment to the relationship in mind even when she�s annoyed.