You probably feel like there are days that you are alone and that no one could possibly understand what your life is like. That you’ve stopped complaining about the little things and just go through the motions. You wonder if you’ll ever be seen or if your opinion really matters. You wonder if you slipped out the back door if anyone would even notice.
I have been there and I understand. And it can change. No, really it can.
I had reached a point in my stepfamily life that I had been so wrapped up in helping and problem solving everyone else’s issues that I continually overlooked my own. I became resentful. I became jealous. I became disengaged. Believe me when I tell you that disengagement is not a problem solver. It may be a quick fix in the moment, but over time it can destroy your relationships. I had become so wrapped up in thinking I was doing the right thing, but all along with each passing day I was losing another piece of me. I had lost the focus of me and the happy go lucky attitude I had when entering my relationship many years prior. I found myself asking who am I and what shifted in my life.
Does this sound like your life? Can you resonate with what you’re reading?
You may feel that you are aching for a different life. Wondering how your path in life included raising children that do not share your DNA, that you did not physically birth. That is ok. It is normal to have these thoughts and feelings. A friend once said to me when I first started my stepfamily life that it was like I was sharing a house with little strangers who dropped in for a few days every week. Sometimes it did feel like that in the beginning and I felt so guilty for having those feelings. I was young and in love and didn’t feel like there was anyone I could talk to about the intense feelings I was experiencing. I didn’t know that the majority of stepmothers have these exact same feelings. What a relief it was to learn this, but oh how I wished I had this information when I was new to the role.
There is light at the end of the tunnel. By no means is this role easy. If you are just entering a relationship which will require you to be a stepparent and you think it’ll be fun. Let me be the voice of reason and say it will have its fun moments, but the role will require you to dig deep. And then dig deeper. And THEN dig even deeper. For me it has been one of the toughest roles of my life, but not to sound cliche, the most rewarding. Rewarding in the sense that I have been stripped down to the core of my being over and over again and I’ve found what I’m made of. I’ve learned how to be patient, how to be forgiving, how to mind my own business, how to let go, and how to love without attachments.
Being in a stepfamily requires you to find and make time for you. Make this a priority. If it means 5 minutes sneaking in the bathroom to use a meditation app then do it. If it means making up an errand to leave the house, do it. As stepmothers we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be liked, to be present in our new life, and to caretake our new families. Find time for you and don’t get caught up in all the details that don’t necessarily concern you. Connect with that fun-loving woman that you are and let the self-inflicted stresses melt away. You can do this, my friend.
“Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be.” - Dr. Wayne Dyer