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Secret Diary of a Step-Mum

Even as alienated mums and dads dream of the day they can once again hold their children in their arms,  those of us who have walked that road know that reconciliation is not all roses.

Last year, my husband Rhys was reunited with his five children. I did everything I could to help with the reconciliation, yet to my diary I confided my true feelings. No one tells step-mothers, no one warns step-fathers that when your step-children come bursting back into your world, the first fortnight is the hardest. They’re in your flat or on the phone at all hours of the day and night, making up for lost time. You don’t sleep. You barely eat.

While you and your spouse have been forging a new life together during those years of alienation, your step-children have been living in your spouses’ Past with all the people of their Past. Ex-spouses. Ex girlfriends/boyfriends. They bring with them The Past in full colour. They make it vividly real.

What was Rhys’ miserable past is his childrens’ miserable Present and they brought it all into our lives when we were reconciled. I didn’t expect that. I wasn’t prepared. To my diary, I confided my true feelings.

We are exhausted!

It’s been one week since being so joyfully reunited with Rhys’ children.

It’s been like a week-long international convention with no breaks, no refreshing nights of sleep. One day segues into another. I’m not able to get my body to relax enough to flatten onto the bedclothes.

The next day, exhausted and stressed beyond endurance, Rhys and I had the worst fight of our marriage. Rhys’ children brought  every woman in Rhys’ past (that I’d managed to forget) vividly back to life. Rhys’ ex-wife. His ex-girlfriends, one of whom is now married to Rhys’ son.

I’m still feeling bad about our fight on Tuesday. I was so upset, I was teetering on the edge of disassociation.

The [new] woman he slept with still rankles. I’ve heard of her so many times. Suddenly my woman’s intuition told me they had slept together. I can’t tell you why I thought that. So I asked and he admitted, ‘A couple of times’.

It’s hard to imagine your husband fondling, kissing…another woman.

Bloody hell….

To be honest, I felt that Evil attacked us last nite and we fell into the trap.

We talked later in bed and Rhys says he feels like shite. I feel horrible too. He said he doesn’t remember what he said when he was upset.

I said, ‘Don’t worry. That’s why I don’t hold those words against you’.

We’re OK again. But I still feel sad.

The next day:

Maybe we’re trying to do Good [by reconciling with his kids] and Evil is pissed and attacking us. You can feel it. Something is making us clash. It’s like a dark cloud is hanging over us. Why is my soul drowned in these horrible emotions? Am I evil!?

This week of being back in contact has been so traumatic. Good but hard.

It’s better now. We’re hitting our stride. It’s becoming more normal.

A week later.

Up all nite. Tuesday is now Wednesday.

Rhys’ children opened up tonite, even to me. The tales of abuse flowed. Rhys was weeping uncontrollably. Angry. Horrified. He can’t sleep.

I’m on my period and flooding. I’ve been up twenty-one hours. I’m so tired.

Sometimes I wonder if I had been pregnant at that time if the stress would’ve caused a miscarriage.

A few pages later.

I often feel like the Odd Man Out now.

The {Rhys & Ivy} culture is shattered.

There is a culture clash.

The kids with their drugs, alcohol, STIs, fatherless children. They have no guidelines, no discretion. They’ll sleep with anyone at any time and then talk about it in graphic detail afterward. There is violence, crime, stints in gaol.

I’m the interloper.

I don’t belong.

Hell is real and I’m in it.

Although the diary entries end here, the story does not. Over the next few weeks and months, we all found our places and forged new adult relationships with each other.

Rhys assured me that he and I were still a team. That I belonged. That he did not want to return to the past. That he liked the culture we have forged together.

His children also found their place. Four of the children learnt to respect boundaries and our need for a few hours each day for sleep. One child decided that if she couldn’t have her Da on her terms, she didn’t want him at all. She is alienated again, but this time, it was her choice.

But this isn’t just my story. It’s yours too. Every time the phone rings or visitation is scheduled, know that you’re not alone. It’s hard to be a step-mother or step-father even at the best of times and Parental Alienation makes it a hundred times worse. But you’re stronger than you know. You can get through it. Sooner or later, things will get better.

Secret Diary of a Step-Mum

Ivy Blonwyn

Ivy Blonwyn is a Welsh freelance writer and photographer. She and her husband have been trying, unsuccessfully, to start a family for several years. Ivy can relate to the pain, confusion, jealousy and sense of injustice that accompanies infertility. But she also knows the pain of being a step-mother to children who’s vindictive birth mother has systematically employed Parental Alienation to distance them from their birth-father, Ivy’s husband, Rhys. Her articles, often illustrated with her photos, are intended to validate and comfort those who suffer from infertility, Parental Alienation and the pain of sexual abuse. She finds solace in indulging her passion for plein air photography during long tramps with her husband through the fields, hills and castles of Cardiff. Follow Ivy on Facebook at or contact her at [email protected]

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APA Reference
Blonwyn, I. (2020). Secret Diary of a Step-Mum. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 8, 2020, from


Last updated: 17 May 2020
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