I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again {and again, and again and again}…

Parenting is hard, but being a stepparent is even harder!

Like, A LOT harder!

I personally love my role as a stepmom (most days anyway), but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t days when I ask myself “What the hell am I even doing here?”

If you don’t believe me, check out my instagram feed. Recently, I wrote a post about how I’ve considered packing my bags and moving to Alaska {and not leaving a note}.

Over the past three years, I’ve encountered several challenges, made even MORE mistakes, learned some pretty valuable lessons… and what I love most about this gig, is that I get to share it all with you and support you throughout this crazy journey!

I’ve made a list of my Top 10 Pieces of Advice for any stepmom looking for a little support


1. A STRONG RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR PARTNER IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS

People often look at me funny when I say that my relationship with my husband is my number one priority! They ask, “ummm don’t you guys have four kids to worry about?” Yes, yes we do!

Like I always say, when our relationship is solid, we are better able to handle the craziness that comes with blended family life. Not to mention we are way more attentive, patient and united as parents. 

2. WINE IS THE OTHER KEY

Consume as necessary, however do so with caution. A stepmom who is also a drunk will not go over well!

3. IT’S OKAY TO DISENGAGE

Actually, it’s more than okay. I highly recommend it!

I’ve always been fairly involved in everything. My  husband and I are a team, so his problems have always been my problems and vice versa.

Well, that was true until one day I realized that many of the co-parenting/financial issues that come with his divorce  were consuming me. Consuming my thoughts and making me far more stressed and worried than I needed to be. And this was doing nothing to solve the problem, and truthfully, making me bat shit crazy! So I set some boundaries and decided there were areas that I just didn’t need to be involved in anymore!

Which leads to me to this VERY important point….

4. YOU CANNOT SOLVE THEIR PROBLEMS, SO STOP TRYING!

Women are natural caregivers. We are fixers. We want to protect the people we love. So naturally, stepmoms come into these scenarios with rose-coloured glasses thinking we can fix the co-parenting problems and all skip off into the co-parenting sunset.

Wrong.

You’re not going to solve their problems, because they are rooted back to way before you were even a thought!

What do I mean?

Well, when your husband and his ex-wife are arguing about the holiday schedule, they may also be unconsciously arguing about the time when your husband was a complete jerk and forgot his wife’s birthday. Make sense? Their issues aren’t simple and didn’t happen overnight, so they can’t be solved overnight either. And they certainly aren’t going  to be solved by you.

5. DON’T LOSE YOURSELF

For the longest time, when someone asked me about myself I responded “Well I am a stepmom of 3” and then went on to talk about the kids. And that is great and cute and wonderful, but I am so much more than just a stepmom. 

What I forgot, and had been forgetting, was am I was a yogi + a book lover + that I had recently started running + am passionate about humanitarian efforts + was rocking my career in child protection. I had forgotten that because I had allowed myself to become consumed with being a stepmom and the new roles and responsibilities I had taken on.

My husband always feared that I would resent him for all the changes that took place in my life. I thought he was crazy, until one day I realized I wasn’t feeling like myself anymore. In the heat of the moment I snapped and said “I dropped my whole life for you people” .  He was right, I was starting to resent everything!

But dropping my life was a choice I made. I choose to not go to my weekly yoga classes and to stop doing the things I love…I choose to give those things up and it was a huge error!

Keep doing the things that make you tick and fuel your soul.  Keep doing you! It will make you a far better stepmom + wife!

6. DON’T EXPECT ANYONE TO UNDERSTAND

Well except me, and other stepmoms.

Seriously though, don’t expect them to understand what it feels like to be an outsider in your own home, to wonder where your place is it in all, and have insecurities about being wife #2. They won’t get it. In fact, you’ll probably get the “you knew what you were signing up for” comment that always feels so nice to hear.

Find someone who gets it and save your venting for them. And for goodness sakes don’t air your dirty laundry on your Facebook Status.

7. TAKE YOUR CUES FROM THE KIDS

I always remind stepmoms, these kids had their world rocked and they didn’t sign up for ANY of this!

Whether you are nice as pie or an evil stepmom straight from a fairytale, they will tell you how involved they want you to be in their world. As a child of divorce my advice is, let them come to you but make sure they know that the door is always open!  

8. NEVER EVER ASK THEIR FATHER TO CHOOSE YOU OVER THEM

I’ve had several stepmoms say to me “I feel like my husband always chooses his kids over me” ... my answer is “Ya? So?”

If it ever came down to it, I would chose my baby girl over my husband any day. In fact, I would choose my stepkids too!  But it should NEVER EVER come down to that.

It’s all about word choice here. What I think that these stepmoms are saying is that they feel neglected and they aren’t getting the quality of time they need with their man!

That is very different, so make sure you word it that way.

Just tell your man you’re missing him and that you think the two of you could use some alone time.

Never ever make him feel like he has to make a choice! My prediction is, you won’t like the answer.

9. NEVER PUT THEIR MOTHER DOWN IN FRONT OF THEM

When you insult their mother, you are indirectly insulting them. And whether or not their mother is behaving in a way that you agree with, at the end of the day she is their mom and 99.9999% of the time they will love her unconditionally. As they should. 

Not to mention it reeks of insecurity and is a total asshole move!

These kids have enough to worry about after having their world turned upside down,  they don’t need to be consumed with a feud + turf war between their mom and stepmom.

10. GET ALONG WITH HIS EX-WIFE. 

It is FAR easier to have a  cordial relationship than it is to have conflict.
Far more comfortable
Far more tolerable to be at mutual events
AND far more mature!

Even if you disagree with everything about the women, smile, bite your tongue and keep your mouth shut!

The other day I found this quote via Red Ruby Ivy ….

“Be selective in your battles. Sometimes peace is far better than being right”  

… all I have to say is PREACH IT SISTA! That couldn’t be more true!

 

 

The KICK-ASS Stepmom Project kicks off on Oct. 5!
Have you Secured Your Spot? 

If you're ready for some positive change in your stepfamily world, enjoy connecting with other likeminded (and positive) women, and wouldn't mind having a virtual glass of vino with Stepmoms from around North America, then this 4 WEEK PROGRAM is for you! 

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