There are things every stepmom must know in order to have the best possible outcome as a stepmom. I know this because I am a stepmom and have learned a lot of this through trial and error. I also have children of my own so I know both sides of the fence, the feelings of a mother and a stepmother. It is my hope that by sharing some of the things every stepmom must know that you will be saved some time and mistakes.
1. They Have a Mother
Your stepchildren have a mother and it is not you. This sounds overly simplistic but this one needs to sink in on many different levels to best help you. It is one of the most important things every stepmom must know. I always knew this, of course, but I remember when this really hit me. I felt relieved when I realized it was unfair of me to expect myself to feel for my stepchild like I do my own children. In addition, my stepchild doesn’t feel the same toward me as they do their mother and that is perfectly okay.
2. Lower Your Expectations
It helps to realize that you may have set your expectations too high. You may have had visions of being one big happy family and that is not becoming a reality. That is okay. If you can be kind and civil to each other, that is a big blessing. Be thankful for that.
3. Let Yourself off the Hook
One thing I did early in my stepmom years was criticize myself constantly. I didn’t know what I was doing because I had no knowledge of what my role should be. Let yourself off the hook. Realize that you are doing your best. If you are kind and caring to your stepchild or stepchildren, let the rest go.
4. Get Educated about Being a Stepmom
I will confess that I knew absolutely nothing about being a stepmom when I became one. I didn’t even really know a stepmom. One of the best things you can do is get educated about being a stepmom. It can be helpful to read about emotions other stepmoms feel and roles they fill. There are some really awesome books and websites for stepmoms.
5. Accept Your Relationship
Accept your relationship as it is. It may never be what you envisioned and that can be okay. It is okay to be sad that things are not shaping up the way you dreamed. Realize that the way things are can still be good. Be glad to have any positive relationship with the stepchild or stepchildren in your life. I have learned to be thankful for even small moments of bonding.
6. Allow Them Their Space
One of the worst things you can do as a stepmom is to push your stepchild to be closer to you than they want to be. Give them their space, both physically and emotionally. They are less likely to irritate you and you are less likely to irritate them when you do this. Letting them set the pace for the relationship is a great piece of advice to follow. If you can only talk about two or three topics, let it be at that.
7. Leave the Door Open
It is important to leave the door open for a closer relationship with your stepchild. This means that you leave your heart open to them. It also means that you continue to care about them when they act like they couldn't care less about you. You never know what the future might hold. It might be years down the road but your relationship could certainly change for the better.
Being a stepmom is a unique position. I am very curious to hear what you have learned as a stepmom. What valuable lessons can you share that you have learned?