One of the biggest mistakes stepmoms make when they get into their new families is to think that they will be able to fix the family. I made the same mistake. I really thought I would be able to solve everything and everyone if I just tried. It was a waste of energy and I am glad I discovered this sooner rather than later. It saved me a lot of time and energy as well as shielded me from unnecessary hurt and disappointment. Not all women are as lucky as I was. If you are one such woman as wonderful as I’m sure you are, always remember “You can’t fix, that which you did not break.
There are so many issues that step-families face that come from the divorce/separation of the biological parents which the stepmother had nothing to do with. Yet due to the evil stepmother perception that is always floating around in every stepmoms head every now and then, we find ourselves under enormous pressure to prove to ourselves, to our partners, to our stepchildren, to our partners ex and to the whole world just how capable we are. That we are in fact good, may be even perfect. We tend to overcompensate for everything and feel guilty when we don’t act or behave the way a mother does.
The truth is it not in our place to replace the mother in any way. And most importantly its not our goal to fix everything. The smart stepmother knows that she is valuable and that she brings something new and different to the family that is nothing like what the biological parents can offer and she is OK with that. She has accepted her role and is comfortable with playing her role regardless of what others may think, say or do to her.
It takes time to be in that comfortable space and it will need adjusting every now and then as the seasons of the family change. If you feel stuck in the “Super Stepmom Syndrome” here are some few pointers that can get you started and help you come into your own in your new family.
Forget the title
A lot of stepmothers are stuck in thinking the only role they can play is ‘mom’. They get offended when they are not addressed as such. The truth is you are not the children s mother. They know that and you should know that. Forget about the title, what they call you doesn’t matter. Its who you are to them that counts. So depending on how deep your bond is with the children, focus on what you can do for them. Start with the things you enjoy doing, these are usually good ice breakers and opportunities for everyone to get o know you for who you really are and when you are happy. You may slowly involve the children as you go along.
The Only Person you can Control is You
You cannot be held accountable for things that you don’t control. If you do take on such things then its only a source of great stress and pain for you in the long run. Let everyone own and handle their own feelings, emotions and responsibilities within the family whether its your partner, his ex, the children or the extended family.
Be aware of the things that you can change which are within yourself such as your words, actions, efforts, mistakes and behavior. Changing your own attitude and behavior may in turn result in a change in those around you.
Your partner and your stepchildren have a great need for stability. Especially after the loss of their spouse and parent. You are important in their lives right now and they need to know that you are committed both with your actions and with your words. The kids need to know they are safe in the relationship they have with you. Reassure them often together with your partner.
Plug into a community
Sometimes only fellow stepmothers will understand what you are going through. Be a apart of one such community where people get you. You get an opportunity to interact with stepmothers just like yourself, share any challenges you may be facing and get solid advice from real life experiences.