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Being a stepmom terrifies me. The experiences I had with people who were step parents or had step parents most of the time didn't always end up in the best of relationships. I loved my step dad though, he was the best. I don't know a lot of men that choose to start a new chapter of life with a woman who has a child or children from a previous relationship and treat them as their own. There are exceptions but in my case not many. Most men I dated after the boys dad were all about dating me but as soon as the boys were mentioned the majority of them were not so interested in mama anymore. So, I began to introduce myself on dates with I'm a mom of 2 boys before I got too invested. Then I met Jersey Boy. He didn't mind that I had children, he even has a daughter of his own so he seemed to get the whole dating as a parent deal that I was going through.
I was hesitant on how to go about starting and publicly sharing the story of adjusting to life as a stepmom here on the blog. I decided that this will be my story, not a tell all of my stepdaughter or her mother. Those are not my stories to tell. The first thing I am working on is getting down the role of stepmom. I want my stepdaughter to be able to talk to me like my boys do, open to any topic. I hope for the meaningful, loving, and maybe even influential relationship with her without her getting the feeling that I want to replace her mom- because I don't. I know I don't have the same privileges or rights as her mom and I'm ok with that.
Being a blogger for eight years I have become used to sharing my family life on the blog and social media but with step parenting I feel that this will be a bit difficult as I will get the urge to vent about things sometimes but as I learned with an incident yesterday keeping quiet about the tough stuff and how it is affecting you is difficult. I want to share and vent and get opinions and advice but at the same time I don't want to finger point or have any of the children feeling like they are pulled in opposite directions with any of their parents.
While talking with a close friend last night about blended family life and the ups and downs that come with it she told me that she has been seeing a counselor about that very thing. Her counselor told her that on days when she feels like a failure as a stepmom but continues to work at it to be proud of yourself because about 70% of blended family marriages fail. My girlfriend shared some more stepmom tips with me and I feel that if 70% of blended family marriages fail that these tips should be shared with y'all because apparently she and I are not alone in the feeling like we are headed for the stepmom failure club aka being the step monster.
- Remind yourself you are not their mother. Even if the child(ren) are great and you feel you love them like your own, we have to remember that sometimes no matter how great we are (or think we are) that divorce and remarriage for kids can be a lot to handle. They could take a long time to adjust to having mom and dad remarry or they could even feel like loving the step parents would be a betrayal to their mom and dad.
- Keeping quiet vs Speaking out. Feeling a moment of needing to vent but don't want anyone to construe your vent as being the wicked step mother? I can't bring myself to vent to Jersey Boy about this just yet as I don't want him to feel he has to choose feelings of one over the other. That's the absolute last thing I want. I don't want to be the lady to complain about my kids but we are parents and we all know that there are days when we just have to vent. Choose your complaint department wisely. A close friend, your partner, a therapist. DO NOT hold it all in!
- You aren't Mrs FixIt. As much as we want to, we can't solve it all. A lot of issues that blended families come to face tend to be from mom and dad's divorce which I hope that didn't involve the step parents. I know with my boys they adore Jersey Boy but they also know they have a mom, a dad, a Jersey Boy, and a new step mom and we each have our own roles with them. We all have to try and help the kids adjust to the new way of life for them. Divorce, remarriage, new step parents, new step siblings, it can be a lot no matter how young or old the kids are. Each child will react and respond differently.
You don't have to be in that 70%. We all have the potential to be amazing stepmoms. It's a learning process for all. We are all working towards the potential of having an amazing blended family life. It won't be perfect and I am definitely no saint but I am more than willing to sign on for a lifetime of step-parenting. My stepdaughter is awesome and I am in love with her dad. Love makes a family and we have plenty of that to share and I am determined to be in the successful blended family 30%.
Do you have some input on being a stepmom or stepparent? I'd love to hear from you!