Saying Goodbye and Reflecting on Loneliness in Stepmotherhood
I recently said my last goodbye to my best friend of 37 years. We met because she walked into my hair salon with green hair—definitely not what she had intended. Over the years, we became the best of friends, sharing stories of our experiences as stepmoms, the ups and downs, and the often lonely journey of blending families. Saying goodbye has given me pause for reflection, and I want to share some of these thoughts with you, my fellow stepmoms.
Embracing Loneliness, Celebrating Friendships
Losing my friend has brought a stark spotlight on the value of genuine connections, especially for those of us in the complicated dance of stepmotherhood. There are times when even the most connected family settings can feel isolating. And it's during these times that friendships, especially those that understand the nuances of being a stepmom, become our lifelines.
Your Feelings are Valid, Your Needs Important
Often, we downplay our emotions, telling ourselves we're supposed to be the stable force for our families. We prioritize everyone else's needs and sideline our own. However, as we often reminded each other, your emotions are valid, and your well-being is as crucial as that of anyone else in your family. Ignoring that only leads to burnout, resentment, or feeling like you're an island in your own home.
The Strength in Saying "I Need Help"
Admitting that you're struggling or lonely isn't a sign of weakness—it's an act of courage. My friend and I were each other's confidantes through the challenging journey of stepmotherhood. Knowing that someone else "gets it" makes a world of difference. If you're feeling lonely or overwhelmed, don't keep it to yourself. Reach out to someone who understands, whether it's a friend, a family member, a stepmom coach, or even a stepmom support group.
Solitude for Self-Reflection and Emotional Recharge
I've always cherished the moments of solitude when I could sift through my thoughts and emotions. Since my friend's passing, these moments have become even more sacred. As stepmoms, these pockets of quiet are not just an escape but a necessity for mental and emotional health. Take that time to journal, meditate, or simply sit with your thoughts. Your family, and more importantly, you, will be better for it.
A Farewell That's Not the End
The physical loss of a friend doesn't mean the end of the relationship. I carry with me the laughter, the shared tears, and the invaluable advice that helped me navigate my role as a stepmom. Just as she lives on in my heart, the wisdom we share as a community of stepmoms can be our legacy to each other.
In loving memory of my friend, and in support of all of you, remember: You're not alone, even when it feels that way. And it's not just okay, but necessary, to take care of yourself.