I asked the question today on social media what words people associate with stepfamily, stepmom and step kids. It is incredible to me the amount of negative word associations with these phrases. Words came up like the other, difficult, adjustment, wicked, evil, different decisions, scary but fun, would I do this again, instant, and challenging. It is remarkable to me how the role surrounding a step mom is already, forgive my language, but doomed before she has even had a chance to embrace her role.
Many stepmoms suffer from depression, anxiety and a general feeling of isolation. This is normal to go through these feelings. I can tell you that I’ve been there and it takes a lot of effort to keep inserting yourself back into the family when you feel like the odds are stacked against you. This is where it is crucial to stay positive and reflect on the reasons why you chose to be in this network of people. What lessons can you learn from this? What lessons are you teaching by bringing your life experiences into this newly created family. Try to spin it to the positive and let go of any negative chatter that may be trying to take your attention away from the present moment.
Stepmoms have been given an assignment that is asking them to dig deep to find the strength and courage to know they matter and are making a difference. Being a step parent is like being Casper the Friendly Ghost in the house. You want to be a part of daily life and decisions, but often you’ll go unnoticed and feel like you’re invisible. It requires a thick skin, letting go of control over outcomes of children you love, and the ability to let go of all attachments.
Relationships of all kinds present their challenges and within these challenges are chances for growth. Being a stepmom is a reminder that with all the love and maternal instincts you have within; use them first to love yourself and focus on your self-care, then extend that mothering to the rest of the family. This is not selfish, but necessary to creating a conscious, connected blended family. Taking this step will also set a tone for the family that self-care is ok and necessary and teach the kids to follow your example.
Despite what the media may say, what friends or loved ones are conditioned to say, or even what judgements you may have of yourself it is normal to feel a little isolated. Know that the role you have is one that is also being held by an intricate system of kindred spirits having the exact same feelings and experiences as you. Seek connection by finding an online support group, a stepfamily coach, gather reading materials to empower you and to connect with others who can help to elevate you in the stepmom role.
I’d like to close with a quote that has helped me feel hopeful in my role. May you find the support, love, and happy heart you deserve on your step-mothering journey, my friend.
“It is very important to generate a good attitude, a good heart, as much as possible. From this, happiness in both the short term and the long term for both yourself and others will come.” - Dalai Lama