Stepmom Truth Number One
Nothing makes me happier in blogger world than when someone private messages me asking me for advice on this whole stepmom thing. Well, that is weird… why would that of all things make you so happy? Because when I first stepped, okay more like sprinted and jumped on, this crazy adventure seven years ago I knew absolutely nobody that was in the same boat as me. Like I’ve said before, nobody grows up hoping and wishing to one day become a stepmom. There is nothing natural about it. I hardly knew anyone that was divorced (did you see what I just did there) let alone anyone that was an [evil] stepmom. So when people that I grew up with, and now complete strangers from all over the world, message me asking for advice on how to navigate the ins and outs of being a stepmom my heart goes into overdrive. One of the main reasons I started this blog to begin with is so I can be some small voice and a resource for other stepmom’s who feel like they are navigating this incredibly challenging and yet rewarding journey alone.
First things first.
Stepmom Truth #1: Like no two snowflakes are alike, every blended family situation is different
I simply cannot stress this part enough. Every situation is different. There are the home wrecker stepmom’s who are the reason why mom and dad got divorced. There are the stepmom’s who only have the kids home on the weekend. There are the stepmom’s who are involved in everything. There are the stepmom’s who are completely hands off. There are the stepmom’s that come along after mom and dad have been divorced for years and the kids are teenagers. There are the stepmom’s who are there for the kids first steps. There are stepmom’s who are childless, never been married before, or are on their third marriage. Every situation is different. What works for one situation may not work for the other.
When I am giving my thoughts and insights into blended family life I am looking strictly through my own lens and perspective. In my situation my husband and BM [stepmom code for “bio mom” but in healthcare world it means something completely different…] were never married, they split up when my stepson was still a baby, my stepson doesn’t even know a time when mom and dad were together, I came in the picture when he was a c-u-t-e little 4 year old, our relationship grew naturally over time, I was a “childless stepmom” at first meaning I didn’t have bio kids of my own to bring into the mix, and then we got married and added two more little girls. We did the whole file for custody thing AKA one-of-the-worst-times-of-our-lives thing. I’ve been there when the police got involved the night the Metrodome roof collapsed in a snowstorm, during all of the incredibly awkward pick up and drop offs, and going to the events at preschool and feeling like you just want to hide under your chair. I’ve been there when my relationship with bio mom [the healthcare part of me can’t bring myself to type BM every time…] was literally hell on earth. And I’ve also been there when things with bio mom improved to the point where now we can get along and work together for the sake of my stepson. It can happen. Easy? Nope. Worth it? Yes.
So first things first.
Stop comparing your situation to every other blended family situation. While it is good to hear other stepmom’s stories [and so incredibly therapeutic] it isn’t necessarily going to mirror your situation exactly. Some things may be similar, but every situation is so unique and different. What works well for me may not work well for you. How I decide to stepmom may be completely different from how you want to stepmom. And that is okay! You have to stepmom the way that you want to. The way that you feel comfortable with and what works for your little family. Stop worrying about what is socially acceptable, what your parents think, what your best friend thinks, or even what bio mom thinks. Those things don’t matter. They aren’t the ones in your little family – you are. That was the biggest hurdle that I had to overcome when I became a stepmom. I was so worried about comparing myself to other stepmoms and trying to stepmom the “right” way to keep everyone happy that in turn I was making myself miserable. It was so stressful. You know who I needed to worry about making happy? My husband, our kids, and myself. Nobody else. The moment that I finally realized that it was life changing. It was the moment I stopped comparing myself to every other situation and gave myself the freedom to be the stepmom that I wanted to be. Who cares what anyone else thinks. There is always going to be someone who thinks you are overstepping. Someone who thinks you aren’t doing enough. Someone who thinks you let the kids stay up too late. Someone who thinks you cut the peanut butter and jelly sandwich the wrong way. So just stop worrying about it and just be you. Love your little family the way that you want to and the rest will fall into place.
You’ve got this.