Wagga stepmums to support one another

Wagga stepmother support group organiser Carla Hogg with friend and supporter Julie Reid. Picture: Michael Frogley
Wagga stepmother support group organiser Carla Hogg with friend and supporter Julie Reid. Picture: Michael Frogley

A GROUP of women will tread beyond social norms by developing a platform that supports a forgotten and misunderstood group.

A stepmother group, Stepmothers Stepping Through, is forming in Wagga now to provide support, connect and share experiences.

Organiser Carla Hogg hopes the group will encourage discussion and destigmatise stepmothers.

"The group stemmed from an understanding western society is changing and the concept of what a family is made up of is also changing," Mrs Hogg, a stepmother and sessional lecturer, said.

"People are very settled in the way they talk about stepmothers.

"Unfortunately it often takes time for changes in social norms to seep into our collective social consciences and even longer for these changes to be recognised within our social conventions and reflected in our various social institutions," Mrs Hogg said.

When a person re-partners there is often an expectation that the new families would live together harmoniously and without issue.

"However, with new partners come ex-partners, new grandparents, extended family and the like, all of which fuse together and evolve into new and or changed roles," she said.

"The consequences of which every stepfamily must adopt, evolve and embrace.

"The role of being a step-parent can be ambiguous, stressful and fraught with conflict, especially against prevailing community norms, which encourages the all too often unrealistic view of what constitutes a normal family."

The group, who will meet casually on their own volution, is now calling for members.

"This is the first time stepmothers, as a unique and distinct group, will come together through consensus-building and mutual decision-making to share, understand and maybe even vent a little about their experience," Mrs Hogg said.

"I hope they understand that many of their experiences are commonly shared.

"There's more resources for nuclear families and stepfamilies usually miss out because there's not many opportunities.

"This is an opportunity and platform for step families to be valued in a way and talk to people who understand."

The group can be found at www.facebook.com/stepmotherssteppingthrough or email stepmothersthrough@gmail.com.