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I watch "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills".  Don't ask me why.  I'm sure it would take a very comfortable couch and years of psychoanalysis to try to figure it out.  I don't have the time, patience or respect for psychoanalysis to do that.

Women love to watch these real housewives shows and act all shocked and horrified.  They/we/me pretend we are nothing like them.  We would never be that catty, that mean-spirited, that self-obsessed and we certainly would never ever make our lips look like that!

Whatever.  This is not the vortex of this post.  What I am especially fascinated with is Camille Grammer, soon to be Kelsey Grammer's ex-wife, mother to two of his four children, wife #3 out of soon to be 4.

Without reducing myself to the generic cat fighting that women sometimes engage in (and yes they do), Camille Grammer is an interesting specimen.  She is a woman who had a surrogate deliver her two children because supposedly she has “Irritable Bowel Syndrome“.  Really, the hideous stretch marks that were caused by the births of my four ungrateful children are no pretty sight, I can tell you that much.  WHATEVER her reasons, I think Camille might be brilliant.

Camille, at the urging of her husband of "Cheers" and "Frasier" fame, Kelsey Grammer, chose to expose her life on national television via a reality show ala Snookies or Snookums or whatever-her-name-is style.  We can only pray there's no book deal in Camille's future.

Watching the show can be painful (yes, I'm a closet masochist), but even I am uncomfortable watching Camille being told, while the camera is magnified on her face that the husband she purports to love madly is madly in love with a 29-year-old flight attendant he impregnated several months earlier (this ended in a miscarriage) who is madly in love with him and because they are so mad about each other, Kelsey, an addict to immediate gratification, must have a divorce and have it NOW, despite the 13-year-marriage and two small children involved.  He's slated to marry Wife #4 in February of this year (isn't that like, next month?).

I don't care that Camille appears to be a self-centered, passive aggressive woman who sets up her "friends" to be verbally assaulted by a delusional psychic who makes Camille look like a close relative of Mother Teresa.  She is still a human being and I have great compassion for her.

I really do.  And I'll tell you why.  Because in my Real life, I work with stepfamilies.  I work with ex-wives and I work with new wives.  I work with stepcouples, stepchildren, stepfathers, and mostly stepmothers, the lowest rung on the family ladder.  

If you're a stepmother, you know exactly what I mean, unless you're part of the 0.5% that doesn't.

But this isn't about the plight of stepmothers.  It's about what I call, "Wannabee Mothers"...women who invade other womens' lives and think that because they have some kind of relationship with a man who happens to be a father, they can suddenly lay claim to the children of that man as if they were virgin territory back in the days of the Wild Wild West.

On the "David Letterman" show this past Thursday night, David's first guest was none other than Kelsey Grammer who entered the stage with confidence, grace and a bomb, I mean aplomb.  He was frothing at the mouth to share the good news of his impending nuptials and seemed ever so slightly irritated at having to first discuss his not-yet-finalized divorce.

He chided Letterman's reticence for showing anything less than euphoria when he prompted the famous talk show host to be pleased for the "new developments" in his life.  

The camera then suddenly moved to the" green room" where the newly engaged flight attendant sat with Kelsey's two children from his marriage to current wife Camille.

Kelsey was gushing about all their recent family time, the time he and "Kiss Me Who Needs A Condom Kate" have been spending with his two children and how fahbulous the children are doing.  

Kelsey's son was perched on the lap of his soon-to-be stepmother while his daughter sat to the left of them.  All three of them had on the brightest of smiles and big waves to the audience who was applauding as if they had just won the recent Idaho state lottery and they were all one big regular Brady Bunch.  Grammer had said his children wanted to become actors and he wasn't kidding.

So this is the thing that bothers me and because of the professional work I do, the truth of the matter is, a stepmother does not automatically a mother make.

Now before all you stepmothers get your panties all in a wad, simmer down.  Believe me, I know what you do.  Lord knows I know what you do!  And honestly, I'm on your side, AND the mother's side, AND especially the children's side.  But research that is so solid it's considered fact and the National Stepfamily Resource Center, as well as the majority of stepfamily experts, advocate that stepparents, as a general rule of thumb, avoid trying to do anything that resembles parenting.  There's good reason for this but that's a subject for a different post.

Bottom line, Kelsey Grammer has had three marriages and is geared up for #4.  Will this make his new 29-year old bride stepmother to ALL four of his children from his three marriages?  I'm so confused.

Grammer's children have no choice about their father's marital liaisons and have no power over which women he chooses to bring into their lives.  But as soon as the enamored couple says, "I do", wife #4 will be stepmother to Camille and Kelsey's two young children.  Seeing Kelsey's latest side-kick on national television sitting there with children perched on her lap like newly adopted puppies from the pound just didn't sit well with me.  And knowing that Camille, the mother to those children, had to watch this made my heart hurt for her.

There is no more tenuous relationship than the relationship between the ex-wife and stepmother.  One must tread ever so carefully when trying to get between a mother and her cubs.  

The  "Big Love" final season premiered last night.  Thank god those polygamous Mormons don't believe in divorce.


Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      UK Girl wrote Jan 19, 2011
    • I have a guilty secret I watch Real Housewives of New Jersey because I adore all the tacky ostentatious over kill decor and the French Chateaux said in a New Jersey accent and really it looks like a very expensive hotel bathroom with acres of marble  .............
      I digest I so agree with you and who is to say if we fast forward those two poor children will not have a few more step brothers and sisters - because soon to be #4 lost a baby and the children are now car crash adults in and out of the media not for their acting skills etc but lifestyle choices .....

      Apparently he signed her up for the show before they split !

            Report  Reply

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Kathy Holmes wrote Jan 22, 2011
    • Oh, I know! I faced the reality of my life in my 40s - that my “dad” was my step dad and it was time to go out there and meet my dad. I then wrote a book about it called “Myths of the Fatherless” and in my fiction there always seems to be somebody dealing with being adopted or having a stepparent. Like Jamie Lee Curtis said about her and her half-siblings - “it sucks for everybody” but so many pretend that it’s all fine and dandy. But this is what really lurks behind society’s ills today. But nobody wants to be told that - people want to do what they want to do.


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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Momofthreeprincess wrote Jan 23, 2011
    • I wonder just how long till this one is on the outside looking in.  As a mother of three girls of divorce, its a fine line you walk when dealing with the stepmother, even when she is not yet the stepmother.  Rules for the kids are different there then here, you hear “But Sue lets me do that.“, and some days you just don’t want to hear how great it is that Sue took me to the movies.  You try not to say anything bad about her in front of the kids while secretly you have a voodoo doll of her that you stick pins in and set on fire.  Life of a divorce mom is not easy and I am sure that knowing my girls that they tell Sue what a great cook mom is and why can’t you make things taste good.  Sue, I am sure has that voodoo doll of me and sticks me in boiling water (when she can figure out what knob to turn on).  The one thing that her and I do right is that the both of us try to have the girls best interest in mind at all times.  Maybe the girls will turn out okay with the both of working together.

            Report  Reply

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cathie Beck wrote Jan 23, 2011
    • Funny thing is, one of my daughters still talks to me about her step mom, and calls her,
      “mom” while talking to me. My daughter is going to be 41 in July. She likes to point out to me my values as a mother to her, and point out that she didn’t “inherit” my talents and is closer to her step mom who also is not talented in her estimation of the two of them. For me, I think they both have done well.  



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Ursula Koenig wrote Jan 24, 2011
    • Here’s some math:  The number of nannies will be a higher number than step moms.  The next math question is this:  Which will be of greater value?
      Wait, thats not math, thats science. Well, art really. No wait, science fiction.
      Math sucks.  And so does Kelsey Grammer.

            Report  Reply

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mary Clark wrote Feb 1, 2011
    • It’s unfornuate for all the children that they are subjected to broken homes. I can’t say that I know what that is like because my parents were married for over 50 years until my father passed away. My mother lived 12 more years afterwards but with the disease called alzheimers.  So as I am not grateful she lived with that horrible disease ...I am grateful we didn’t have to deal with a step father.  But if we did...and he made her happy and was good to her..that would be okay.  

      But I am grateful that my boys are in their 20’s and my husband and I have made it almost 27 years in our own marriage.  

      I’m sure that it all depends on how a marriage dissolved when it comes to dealing with the ex’s new partner.  If the marriage dissolved based on a mutual agreement...that you both have difted apart...etc....and then you either one of you find someone else.  You probably would not have the same feelings toward that person if they had broken up your marriage.  

      I’ve seen broken marriages with step mothers and step fathers work for the good of the children.  If everyone is respectful of the other and have only the best interest of the children at can work out.  I just wish more people would really really try to do get along for the sake of the children.  You know..... because they are not a player in the game.  They deserve better from us as adults.  

      Kelsey Grammar....I have no respect for and I am a firm believe that what goes around comes around.

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