Becoming a step mom starts with something broken.
Divorce. Heartbreak. A broken man. A broken home.
Then, something beautiful begins to happen. In the beginning, before step parenting, you are hope in human form.
You are someone the broken man can believe in again. Someone that can heal a broken heart. That’s pretty special when you think of it.
Blended family fact: It’s complicated
No one told me marrying a man with kids would be easy. (It’s not.) What I didn’t expect was how complicated everyday life could become. Little complications throughout the day can make you feel helpless.
The truth is, if you aren’t careful, you’ll start to feel broken, too. I’m writing this post today because I’ve been there. I’ve felt that way at times.
Yes, I decided to help raise two children that will never truly be mine. Completely by choice.
With that choice, I also decided not to have any children of my own.
I’ve felt broken when the kids are angry and say, “You’re not my real mom.” I’ve broken down after the kids embarrassed me in public; I clung to Mr. Right and cried.
I learned that just like any family, blended families are complicated, only times ten.
How to Be Whole Again
Feeling broken lets pieces of your best self fall apart. You might even feel a little lost in life, going through the motions. That’s why I loved this post on how you’re only 1/4 of a writer. Author Ollin Morales made a point that stuck:
If you want to be a great writer you need to live a great life.
The same mindset applies to everything we do. Think about it.
If I want to be a great writer, step mom and wife, I need to live a great life.
Subconsciously, that’s what I’ve been doing, ever since deciding to get out of debt and work for myself. Living a great life is my true amazing work in progress. Since that first year as a step mom, I’ve changed.
If you’ve ever felt broken as a step parent – or as anything – this is me rooting for you. You can stop the cycle. Enough is enough.
Broken can’t define this family forever.
Tips for living a great life
Here’s how I went from feeling like a broken step mom to feeling whole again. No doubt your situation is different than mine, but no matter who you are or what kind of step nightmares you face, these ideas will help.
Ask for help.
Are your emotions overwhelming? Is your step son’s behavior keeping you up at night? Ask for help. Get the kids (or yourself) in counseling. Talk to other step moms, or just moms in general. There is nothing new under the sun, so I promise you, whatever is happening, there is no reason to feel embarrassed or ashamed. Someone out there has been in your shoes.
Chase your dream career.
For me, that’s being a writer. If you hate your job, I’d recommend quitting it as soon as you can. Really. It might take years, but life is too short to wait around for something amazing to happen. Go get it yourself. Give yourself permission to do something else.
Remember who you are.
It’s easy to get drowned out by the noise of a blended family. Take time to think. Try Tammy’s tips and go for a walking meditation.
You are more than a step mom and wife. You have hopes and dreams, ambitions, friends. Maybe you used to scrapbook, keep a journal or read trashy romance novels. Don’t ever stop.
Take care of yourself.
I used to smoke a pack a day. Now I use natural ways to eliminate stress instead of cigarettes. I also try to:
- Exercise regularly.
- Eat real food.
- Take a weekly digital sabbatical.
- Surround myself with people I love.
- Learn about and apply minimalism. For instance, in my closet.
These are some of the ways I’m creating a positive step mom experience. The truth is, nobody wants to feel broken. Your husband didn’t, your step kids didn’t and neither do you. Living a great life is a way to move forward.
Hope marches on.
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Photo by N E P L O H O