It’s rare for me to get deeply pissed off and vent to camera about the other so-called parents in our larger blended family but please, hear me out, because I’m going to guess my feelings are not unique to me. Being a step mom is really really hard.
Over my ten years with Pippin, I’ve become somewhat of an expert in step-mothering. And as much as I love all my kids, it’s still challenging. And it’s not because of the kids – it’s the people we are supposedly co-parenting with.
Step-moms out there, I know you feel me.
Over the years, and the myriad of challenges I have faced down, the main thing that kept me going was knowing that the majority of blended families break up. The statistics are not friendsly: more than 60% of blended families break up within the year they merge.
So I made this vow: that I would not, under any circumstances, bail. I now have seven kids who are depending on this being the one constant in their lives; the thing they can depend on no matter what. And no matter how many times the biological moms and dads try to shift the narrative to themselves and their own needs, I keep steering it back to the kids.
Ultimately my Step Mom Survival Kit includes this:
Keep strong boundaries; refuse to play the games.
Do your part, and then some.
Stay strong, knowing that it is a thankless job.
Yes I’m an eternal optimist, but I truly believe it all works out in the end, but perhaps not as you might have expected. Don’t expect any pat on the back and don’t be surprised by the many jaw dropping childish games that come your way by adults. Instead – and this may take a considerable amount of work – find the pleasure in just knowing that you did that A-plus job adding value to the lives of some kids, just because you loved them differently.
A final note: become one with your husband.
There is no other way. Get on the same page and never stray. If I say no to a sleepover because the homework wasn’t done, so does he. Blur the hell out of those “his, mine and ours” lines. We are all under the same roof and as a family, there is no special treatment. And that goes for me, as the step mom who could easily be treated especially different: like the outsider. It would be so simple to just dust my hands off at every challenge we face and say oh well, those aren’t my kids but that’s such a slap in the face to the entire family. This family has merged and so it’s all systems go and don’t look back. Lastly, lose the guilt. Lose the fantasy about what you imagine so-called Family to be. This is family, as logistically weird, dramatic and chaotic as it may be. Follow these simple rules and all of your kids will know where home is.
Rise Above Loves,