From being a single mother of one, to becoming a stepmother of four was a difficult adjustment. It definitely had it ups and downs, but I feel as though I am at a better standing now that I have went through a year of it all. Now do not get me wrong, I understand that becoming an outstanding stepmother does take some time. I also understand that being a stepmother, we learn something new each day. So after surviving one year of being a stepmother, what have I learned?
I hope you can take from this, that it is okay to struggle as a stepmother at first. You are still learning the lines and boundaries that are in place, you are still learning the children, and you are still learning where YOU have a role at.
1. You have to keep your morals and boundaries.
As a single mother, thinking about dating there would have been some boundaries in place. Hell even as just a single individual there would have been. Say for instance you are dating someone who is still friends with his ex girlfriend. You set boundaries as far as what all they can do, right? Right, this builds trust. So as a stepmother, we have to set boundaries with the ex-wives and also with the children. Whether this be what all is done around the ex-wife or setting structured rules within your home for the children. You have to keep your morals. With me already having one child, I would like the rules to remain equal across the table. If my child is not allowed to jump on furniture, the rule should apply for his children. Vise versa. Do not cut off your moral all because more children are involved. If you strongly believe that the children should behave in a certain matter, then so be it. You have to work with their father and set structure within the home.
2. The children will try to rule your roost.
I noticed when my fiance and I first got together, the children were obeying and listened to our set rules. However, now that they are comfortable, they tend to sneak around the rules and make the calls. My fiance and I state to the children that it is our home, and they have to listen to the adults. If you do not let the children know who is the boss, then they will walk all over you, especially being a new mother in their lives. The children listen pretty well, but we do have some bumps in the road, so it is a friendly reminder to the children that they need to listen in order to have said structure. With the children being taught that destruction is okay within my home, we have to constantly remind them that it is not the case.
3. It is NOT the kids, but the person behind them.
I have to constantly remind myself that it is NOT the kids when they have their tantrums or some of the comments that they make. When SD8 tells me, “my mom told me that you are nothing to us”. Yes it may strike a nerve to you, HOWEVER. And this is a big HOWEVER. It is not the children. They are too innocent to understand the complexities of narcissistic or manipulative people. It is, if you will, the master behind the puppet. There are multiple instances where the children state something that is “too adult” for them, and magically it is the same thing that an adult has said to my fiance or I. That is just confirmation that it was not the children thinking of it. If a child states the following, just know there is a person behind the strings:
- I hate you.
- My mom said you will never be our stepmother.
- You aren’t my dad.
- I do not want to be here, I want to go home.
- My mom said to not call you mom.
4. It is okay to need a break.
Going from one child to now five can become a little hectic, okay sometimes very hectic. So what can we do to keep calm, and relax? Girl, you need some time to yourself. We have every other day, and every other weekend to ourselves (although my daughter is full-time). This is our “break”. My fiance and I are fully capable of going on a date, but we have to set a certain day to do so to work around the children’s days. When the children visit and you just need five minutes to yourself: go outside, go to the restroom, go to your bedroom, and just breath. Count to ten and do it all again.
5. People ARE out to get you.
With being the stepmother, a majority of people may not like you. In our case, the bio-mother, his parents, and parts of his family have a distance between us. As the quote goes: “if one hates you, they all do”. It is beyond true. It is sad that ONE person can mind-control the others to convince them that YOU are the toxic one, while they are prime example that their actions are toxic. You can do absolutely everything for those children, then everyone would say you do nothing. In the year of being a stepmom, I have learned that: it is all okay. Who cares who hates you. They are still thinking of you, right?
6. You will continue to grow.
Through the whole process and transition of becoming a stepmother, you learn alot. But there is alot more to learn. Talking to a veteran stepmother, she stated that you will never please everyone. As long as the children love you, that is all that matters. In our case, I know the children love me. They genuinely do. You will grow to have a closer bond with the children, grow as an individual, and grow as a couple with your significant other.
“We don’t develop courage by being happy every day. We develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.”
Barbara de Angelis
I hope you all can take from this two things. If you are already a stepmother, that we all go through the same things and we learn from each other. If you are a new stepmother, just know that there will eventually be peace. You are doing amazing and will continue to grow as a whole.
Hang in there.