Blended family: can you be a happy mother-in-law?

PSYCHOLOGY – Home wrecker, stepmother, usurper… “Dad’s new wife” doesn’t always have the good part. A guide to navigating the troubled waters of motherhood.

It’s not easy to live with one or more children who are not your own… More common than in the past (11% of children live in a blended family, according to a 2020 Insee survey), this family configuration does not mean that More comfortable. And especially for mothers-in-law, those “stepmothers” (literally, “bad mothers”) with a disastrous reputation. “No one wants to have a stepmother and no one wants to besummarizes the American anthropologist Wednesday Martin in stepmonster (Mariner Books, 2009).

Femme fatale who seduces her stepson at Racine’s (Phaedrus), a hideous venal shrew who bullies her daughters-in-law in fairy tales (Cinderella, Snow White), “the mother-in-law brings together all the sexist prejudices against women”assures the essayist Fiona Schmidt, mother-in-law of three daughters for ten years and author of the fascinating book How not to become a stepmother? A Feminist Guide to the Blended Family (Hachette, 2021)…

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