I’ve been a full-time Stepmom since 2004. It’s been a rough road…I have to admit that I”ve probably learned more than 3 things over the past 7 years so here’s my list to new Stepmoms.
I hope it helps them:
1) you are not your stepkids mother
2) don’t try to be the stepkids mother
3) let the biological father and mother take care of the raising and discipline of the kids
4) you as a Stepmom are teaching your stepkids life lessons that they will carry for the remainder of their lives such as manners, patience, kindness, love, understanding, gentleness and we HAVE to exhibit those qualities!
5) establish house rules early and make sure the kids understand the boundaries
6) be kind to their mom
7) use assertive communication with your husband so he understands how you feel.
8) If the kids are young (even if they are teens), the kids shouldn’t be in your care unless you want that responsibility otherwise you both will end up hating one another and you will resent them and their dad.
9) When talking to your husband about kid issues, be gentle, my husband often defends the kids, for example my stepson is ADHD and ODD. He was diagnosed through school, but he is dead set against medications, it’s a hot button with him and me.
10) realize that no matter how perfect you are, the kids will always find fault and compare you to their mother, that’s just the way it is and we have to accept that we will always be the outsider and always be compared.
11) accept that you can’t change much and things will get better once the kids are grown and have moved out.
12) take time for yourself- get involved in local clubs, learn a new hobby or craft to get yourself out of the house and to give you another interest other than running the house and kids
13) make your relationship with your husband your top priority, take trips together without kids, go out ot eat without the kids, make dates whenever possible.
PS: I ran into a woman who’s been a Stepmom for 47 years at a bridal shower. She happen to sit next to me and got to talking. She was telling me that her stepdaughters were toddlers to preschoolers (3 of them) when she married her husband, and she doesnt’ have any kids of her own. Anyway last summer her youngest stepdaughter wasn’t feeling well and so she called her to see how she was doing. She was concerned and just wanted to let her know that she cared. Her stepdaughters reaction was this, “you’re NOT my mother, why are you calling me!” Needless to say I was aphauled and saddened by this, I actually cried on the way home from the shower thinking, “I have that to look forward to??” It made me realize that no matter what we do as Stepmoms it is never the right thing. If she wouldn’t have called her to express concern her stepdaughter may have reacted by saying, why isn’t she calling? Doesn’t she care. No matter what we do it simply isn’t the right thing.That’s just the way kids look at us. I read in a book that if biological dads remarry less than 20% of kids are in favor of that. If the biological mom’s remarry over 60% of kids are in favor of that. It just goes to show that stepdads are more welcome than stepmothers. I think it’s because there is a special bond between mom and child that doesn’t exist with dad. It’s simply different. Good luck.