Sarah Paterson is a FEATURED SPEAKER at the Business Expert Forum at the Harvard Faculty Club!
BONUS: Download the Social Stepmom Survival Guide: http://bit.ly/2fPPYAu
Wow, what an honour it is to be here at the Business Expert Forum at the Harvard Faculty Club. You know what, this is actually my first speech, so I was hoping some of you could help me feel a little bit more comfortable and in the house of a stepmom. Maybe some of you over there can pick up your phones, watch YouTube, nod, and don’t look up. Some of you over here, bounce a ball around the room, whip it across, maybe skimming someone’s face ever so slightly so that you can cause a fight. And when you who are actually "sort of” paying attention, why don’t you field a call from your mom and answer the thousand questions that she may have? And when I finally have all of your attention, you shout at me, “You’re not my mom!”
DING DONG the doorbell rings, but you’re so focused and I’m only trying to make dinner, so let me get the door. “Sarah Paterson?” “Yes?” “Well, you’ve been served.” I was served with a statement of claim from none other than the mother of the children that I love and care for so deeply. How many of you have been sued while taking care of the other side’s children?
This is where I run into the closet and cry. Yes, cry. And why not the bathroom? Because when you want that one moment, everyone finds you in there. Right moms, stepmoms? Right.
Let’s face it, the only crap I take is from being a stepmom. So, I decided to come out of the closet and start Social Stepmom, a platform to network stepmoms together. Social Stepmom is needed because being a stepmom is extremely challenging. There is a lack of resources out there for stepmoms. In a sea of mommy blogs, I realized when I became a mom that there is nothing out there for stepmoms and it is one of the most challenging jobs. I have five step kids of two other moms.
In this platform, I’m hoping to share my experiences. I have a YouTube channel where I blog and vlog about my experiences and how to help other stepmoms, let’s face it, be sane. I have a lifestyle brand where I talk about the latest trends, tips and how-to’s.
I also have a “Help Me” section. “OMG Help Me” is what I called it, reduced from “OMG Beeping Help Me.” This section curates experts, like you, from all over the world that help with items such as therapists, doctors, pediatricians, fertility doctors. Imagine going through fertility issues while trying to raise others’ stepkids. It’s hard. We also have stepmom stories and stories from the kids to balance out the views.
The most exciting part of Social Stepmom is launching in the fall: the Social Stepmom Society. Think Facebook and meet ups. It’s going to be a place where everybody in the world can join. I’ve already accumulated thousands of followers. I only started in April, and I’m very, very excited. I had a woman reach out from Germany who asked, “When is the society launching? I want to be part of it and I want to be one of your ambassadors.” I’m going to be hosting parties in Toronto, New York, L.A. and Vancouver to start, and I will have ambassadors to have little meet ups in the cities. When I travel around the world or meet new people, whether it’s in our home or away, they always say, “Oh my God, how do you do it? Five stepkids, two exes, you have two babies with your husband. Can we go for coffee? Can we go for lunch? Can we chat? Can we zoom? Can we do this, that?” And I felt the best way to help other stepmoms is face to face, so that’s my goal. We can share experiences. Within the Society we’ll also have a lot of other tools and mediators and fun things that stepmoms get through the day with.
I love my stepkids with all my heart, I so do. It’s extremely, extremelydifficult. It’s a topic that is missed. There is a stigma around it. You know the whole Disney story of the wicked stepmom and we are trying to tackle this. I hope to be the spokesperson for stepmoms out there, and maybe create this thicker line to walk on, and maybe even dance a little while we’re doing it.
CNN recently posted a video that went viral. I don’t know if any of you have seen it, but it was a Marine woman marrying a Marine man with a four-year-old son. And she, in her vows, spoke to the son. He cried, and she said, “I may not have given you the gift of life, but surely life has given me the gift of you.” And I feel the same way about my stepkids, I really do.
In this world we live in, there are 1300 stepfamilies that are forming each and every day. That’s a huge stat. I recently did an IPSOS survey in Canada, because I’m all about stats, and 91% said that the hindrance of co-parenting is different parenting styles, 85% said that the exes make their life difficult, and 74% feel under appreciated. I get it.
So, I’m hoping that Social Stepmom can create the Society for stepmoms to lean on, and that blended families - because there’s a lot out there, I’ve heard some stories today - can be the best blended family that everybody, including our family, can be.