This may sound a little deep, but I see life as being a continuous stream of lessons.
If we're open to it, everyday we have the opportunity to learn new things. We get to learn from our mistakes and from other people's mistakes as well.
You know what they say, "When you know better, you do better"
I also believe that life pans out in a way that allows us to learn the lessons that we need to learn.
If we don't learn the lesson the first time around, it will come back again and again and again! (Am I right or am I right?)
Call me crazy, but for that very reason, I think was meant to be a stepmom. I was destined to be part of a blended family.
Not only because of the joy it was supposed to bring to my life, but because I had so many lessons that I NEEDED to learn.
Real life lessons that have come directly from trying to figure out the ins and outs of this steparenting gig.
For example, once-upon-a-time I was a control freak who liked everything on my terms (Okay, let's be honest, I still really like things my way, but I’ve learned to be more flexible as time has gone on) I am sure I don't have to tell you, that those characteristics didn't mesh too well with my new blended family dynamics.
I had to learn that I can’t control everything and that sometimes you just have to go with the flow and not sweat the small stuff. (Again, like I said, this is still very much a work in progress)
Here are 10 of the top lessons that I’ve learned from being a stepmom… The truth is, I could list about 200!
1. YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHERE LIFE IS GOING TO TAKE YOU...
I often joke around and say, "When I grow up I want to be a stepmom... said no one ever"
That may offend some, but it's the truth. I'm pretty sure as little girls, none of us sat there playing with our Barbie's dreaming of being a stepmom when we grew up.
But that's what happened.
In life, your 5, 10, 20 year plans... they are all great, but many times life throws you a curve ball and you end up somewhere you'd never expect.
And hey, sometimes the dreams that come true, are the ones you didn’t even know you had!
2. THE MOST WORTHWHILE THINGS IN LIFE, DON'T COME EASY...
It's true. I've hard to work HARD at most of the "best things" in my life.
Straight up, being a stepmom is hands down my hardest job. Harder than being a mom, harder than being a wife, harder than any job I've ever had
Sometimes the stress, chaos and unpredictability get the best of me. To be completely honest, there have been MANY times where I have been so overwhelmed that I have spent nights wide awake, with a pit in my stomach.
But there are also those moments when we are all sitting in the living room laughing together, or when we’re on a family vacation away from the hustle bustle of real life, when I don’t think about any of the hardships. I forget that when you’re in a blended family everything is just a bit more complicated than it has to be. In those moments I am overwhelmed with gratitude, and reminded that it has all been worth it!
3. YOU CANNOT CONTROL HOW OTHER PEOPLE ACT, THE ONLY THING YOU CAN DO IS CONTROL YOUR OWN REACTION
When you are a stepmom, another woman has their finger on many aspects of your family. And rightfully so, because most of your family members were her family members before they were yours.
The lack of control and susceptibility to curve balls can be a tough pill to swallow.
It's important it is to remember that you can't control how other people are going to act, all you can do is keep your reactions in check.
4. IF YOU CAN'T DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT LET IT GO. DON'T BE A PRISONER TO THINGS YOU CAN'T CHANGE -Tony Gaskins
5. THE WAY PEOPLE TREAT YOU IS MORE ABOUT THEM THAN IT IS ABOUT YOU.
When you feel like someone has wronged you or is acting completely unreasonable. instead of passing judgment, ask yourself "I wonder what's going on in their life that's making them act like this?"
Are they hurt, are they angry, are they insecure, are the struggling?
It can help you look at stressful situations from a whole different perspective.
Chances are, their behaviour is more about something they are going through, than it is about you!
6. WHAT OTHERS SAY AND DO IS A PROJECTION OF THEIR REALITY. WHAT YOU SAY AND DO IS A PROJECTION OF YOURS. THERE ARE TWO SIDES TO EVERY STORY.
Your truth isn't the same as someone else's truth... the REAL truth is somewhere in between.
We all see the world through a different lens and many time, especially in high conflict co-parenting dynamics, Moms and Stepmoms experience the very same situations in very different ways.
7. PEOPLE LOVE A GOOD SCANDAL. STAY OUT OF THE GOSSIP.
My husband and I got together by accident. He wasn't looking to move on with a serious relationship and I certainly wasn't planning on marrying a man with three kids and an ex wife. But it happened.
It was pretty simple love story. No scandal. No dirty little secrets.
However, if you were to ask the people in our small town, they would say differently. People love a scandal, they love to speculate, fabricate and plain old make stuff up.
Almost four years into our relationship I had one of my best friends tell me she had always thought there was some sort of an affair. This couldn't be further from the truth.
Even when I told her that wasn't true she said, "it's okay, you can tell me" ... I laughed - I am telling you! There was no affair.
Now, unless I hear something from the horse's mouth, I don't consider it to be true.
8. THE WAY YOU TREAT SOMEONE IS MORE ABOUT YOU THAN IT IS ABOUT THEM…
Above I said that the way someone treats you is more about them than it is about you… but the reverse is also true. The way you treat someone else is more about you than it is about them… so check yourself and check yourself often. What do you reactions say about you and the place that you are in?
9. YOU HAVE TO BE THE EXPERT ON YOUR OWN LIFE AND YOUR OWN FAMILY.
There are many beliefs and expectations about the role a stepmom should take.
The thing is... no stepfamily is the same. There are so many contributing factors that determine the dynamic of your family. Contributing factors that only you know about.
Don't give other people permission to have an opinion on how you run your family.
The same goes for your life. Don't let others dictate the path you're going to take!
10. A LITTLE EMPATHY GOES A LONG WAY
Putting yourself in someone else's shoes, and looking at the world from their perspective can be a complete game changer... whether you're dealing with stepfamily stressors or not.
If you can see where someone is coming from, even if you don't agree, it can make the stressors easier to tolerate.
"Be selective in your battles. Sometimes peace is better than being right"
Have any lessons to add to the list? Leave them in the comments below.
Oh, and don't forget to like & share this post with your fellow blended family mamas!
LIKE THIS POST? There’s more where that came from.
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** This post was originally published by Huffington Post Divorce ***