Whether his ex wife is at it again,

Things with your stepkids aren’t going so hot,

Or hey, all the possibilities in between 

Staying calm cool & collected in the midst of stepfamily drama is no easy feat.

Stepmoms often tell me how they feel powerless, invaded, consumed when stepfamily life goes sour.  I hear you! Trust me.

But the key to managing stepfamily stressors is the ability to stay calm, cool & collected amongst it all. 

Here are some tips for doing just that. 

1. Remember, it is what it is

I have a love hate relationship with this saying, mostly because it is so true (and well, I love to be in control)

It all boils down to the fact there are so many things in life that are not in your control.

You cannot control how other people act, perceive things or respond - the only thing you can control is your own reaction

There is a lot of power in accepting what you cannot change

Telling yourself that “it is what it is”  is a nice way to remind yourself of that! 

2. Disengage

There is no harm in taking a step away from a situation. Especially when you have no control over what is going on.

For example, I used to want to know everything that went on with my husband in terms of custody & access disputes. Because we are a team, and always tackle things together I thought it was best I was involved.

Then all of a sudden I realized that I was so consumed with the ongoing saga that I wasn’t at my best in other aspects of my life.

For lack of better words, the conflict was sucking the life right out of me.

 So we decided that for a period of time he would tell me things on a need to know basis. If there was a big decision that needed to be made I would be there, however I did not need to know about the nitty gritty.

That was one of the best things we’ve ever done. For our relationship, for our kids and for our sanity.

And guess what? It reaffirmed that my involvement in that nitty gritty wasn’t really necessary, because the outcome didn’t change!

I had been wasting energy on a toxic situation that I had no power over. Energy that was better spent on doing things that make my soul happy such as being a kick ass stepmom and mama to the four amazing kids in our life! 

3. Ask yourself "What Would My 95 Year-Old-Self Say?"

A few months back I wrote a post titled “The One Question That Changed Everything For Me” - You can read it here

The question is, “What would my 95 year old self say about this?”

I always thought the whole “time warp” concept was pretty cheesy, however this past year, when Derrick Sweet of Healthy, Wealthy & Wise suggested I asked my 95 Year-Old-Self about any situation causing me grief, I quickly learned that cheesey or not, it really helps to put things into perspective.

4. Implement The 24 Hour Rule 

Take 24 hours to respond, react, and determine your position.

So many times our emotions get the best of us. We end up reacting in a way that we regret and many times does not help the situation. Implementing the 24 hour rule allows for time to process and react with intention, not on impulse

5. Talk To Yourself

Yep, that's right. Self Talk. You're probably thinking to yourself, this chick is off her rocker. First she's telling me to time warp, and now she's telling me to talk to myself?

Well, maybe I am, maybe I’m not, but I can tell you one thing for sure. Since I started giving myself pep talks, I have been less consumed with the nitty gritty of stepfamily life. 

In fact, I talk to myself more and more everyday.

“Jamie, you have no control over this, so it’s not worth your time and energy”

“Jamie, will this matter next week? Next month? 10 years from now?”

“Jamie, its all about the ebbs and flows, this too shall pass”

"Jamie, the way people treat you is more about them than it is about you"

“Jamie you need to go to a yoga class or plan a date night”

“Jamie, you just need to chill out and have a glass wine”

Yes, that’s right ladies! If all else fails, just have a glass of vino!!