It takes a lot of grit, determination, and support to be a stepmom.
Repeatedly being rejected by your stepkids can be one of the most difficult setting to be in. No matter how hard you try or what you do, it never seems to be good enough. To make matters worse, your partner comes out smelling like roses (your perception) while you feel like shit (your reality.)
Your feelings run from frustration and anger to resentment, from uncertainty and ambiguity to mistrust. And as much as we’d like to hide from those who are the cause of these experiences, as social being, we need to find ways to cope – we need to build our resiliency reserve, the antidote to stress and anxiety.
The key to being a content, fulfilled, and grounded stepmom is to be resilient. Think of resilience as that feeling you have when everything is OK, that you have your act together.
Here are 6 resiliency building tools to help you build your resiliency reserve (I’ll share more on this during my Webinar coming up on October 19, 20, 21, 2021 – click here)
Healthy boundaries helps have a sense of control over your life and your home. You need to communicate those boundaries with your spouse/partner if you want them to be respected. Don’t forget to talk about the follow through – otherwise, your boundaries are useless.
It’s not about being perfect or making everyone happy, it’s about doing your best and realizing that no one has it all figured out – all the time.
Make a list of 10 things that you do well. For instance, I drink my 8 cups of water each day, I make delicious meals, I’m a good listener, etc. When you feel down on yourself or doubting your abilities as a stepmom, take a second to think about the different things you’re good at and remind yourself that you are not alone in this struggle.
Many times, in my role as a stepmom, I felt like throwing in the towel. The kids often tried my patience and I was often on edge with their mother day in and day out. I’ve found that talking with other stepmoms has helped me learn how to be more resilient in these tough times.
During my interview with Wednesday Martin, she talked about finding your squad - women who understand what you’re going through. With the holidays just around the corner, start planning on who will be part of your crew to help you get through one of the most challenging time of the year.
Even on days when you feel like quitting, know that you're not alone. We’re often faced with the challenge of juggling our own lives with those of our stepkids and partner. It's common for a stepmother to feel like she is fighting an uphill battle and that she can't win. When this happens it is important not to give up and instead continue to work on establishing a connection with your family while remembering that there will be bumps in the road.
Remember the good times
Remind yourself of all of the success stories from your stepmom experience. I know, you might have a hard time finding any, but I promise you, there are definitely a few, somewhere. Write them down on a sheet of paper (or better still – download my resiliency sheet here)
Building your own life
One of the most difficult aspects of being a stepmom is learning to balance your own needs with those of your spouse and stepkids. Stepmoms often feel as if they never get enough time for themselves and feel overwhelmed with all the responsibility and household work.
The first thing to do is take some time for yourself. You deserve it. Spend an hour by yourself doing something you enjoy, like shopping, reading, watching your favorite show. It's important to stay healthy and happy so that you can be the best stepmom you can be. Another way to work through the difficult times is by talking about them with your partner or close friends. Sometimes just getting it out on the table can make it easier to deal with challenging situations.
After 31 years of being a stepmother, I've realized that it's not about being perfect or making everyone happy. It's about doing your best and realizing that no one is ever perfect. It will take time for you to adjust to this new role, but the more effort you put in, the more confidence you'll gain. Your children may need some help adjusting as well; this transition will be infinitely easier if you stay calm and act like an adult.
In other words, people with resilience are not only able to bounce back from hardships but they also have tools and support that helps them get back on track.
To read more about my topic on building resiliency as a stepmom, read my article The Resilient Stepmom - 9 Ways To Kick Stress & Anxiety To The Curb in the October issue of Stepmom Magazine