I Was A Wicked Stepmom…
Ok, so I wasn’t wicked. Just a slow learner – naive and ignorant about blending a family.
I suppose I didn’t think too much about it – being a stepmom. I knew I loved their Dad, and wanted to be his wife. I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. But as far as being the kids stepmother, I didn’t give it much thought. Very unusual for a process driven planner like me.
As I look back I can see so many mistakes I made. I probably thought things would just fall into place. But it takes a lot of work and effort to build a blended family. I didn’t realize that back then. Here are a few things I wish I’d known. My prayer is they will help all the stepmoms out there!
How to BE a stepmom:
1. BE THANKFUL for the little things. I came home one evening, after a hard day at work, and found all the stuff in my closet…straightened and organized by the kids. How sweet! Honestly, though, my first thought was “Horrors! They went in my closet and touched my STUFF!” I don’t remember my outward reaction. I hope I smiled really big and said “Thank you!” But I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve. The kids were only trying to earn some brownie points to go somewhere with friends. I saw it as trespassing. I’ve since learned to be thankful for small compliments and acts of kindness. And, I’ve gotten over people touching my stuff (well, almost).
2. BE FLEXIBLE. I am a planner and scheduler. I have my days and weekends mapped out. Kids aren’t like that. Things tend to change at the last minute. When this happens, the best thing to do is roll with it. You are not the only one in the family anymore. I learned to plan in pencil and have an eraser handy! Your life will have less stress if you make no plans, and just see what comes up. I know, it’s living on the edge, but go for it! It took some time, but I finally realized I did not have to be Hitler with the calendar.
3. BE ALL IN. Of all the things I learned, this is the most important. I’m an introvert, so I’m naturally “standoffish.” I was even more so with my stepchildren. I was concerned about becoming too close, afraid they would think I was trying to replace their mom. I was concerned that their mom would think the same.
But here’s the thing: You ARE a mom to them, if you are married to their Dad. You have mommy responsibilities when they are with you. Own it. Be all in. Be firm when you need to be firm, but remember to be fun loving, too. Embrace your new family dynamics – it will make your life easier in the long run.
My stepkids have always called me Miss Ellen. WAY too formal! I would recommend that you find a “mom” type name they can call you. Jump right in and suggest names. Have them suggest names, too! Don’t hold back. This is a new season in your life. Be all in!
These suggestions won’t make your new family perfect. There will always be ups and downs, chaos mixed with harmony. Here’s a bit of advice from the apostle Paul that I will leave with you:
Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. Colossians 3:14-15a (NLT)
I will be praying for you, that the love of Christ, through you, will wrap your blended family in harmony, and that His peace will rule in your hearts and home.
Grace be with you,
This post was originally published on The Laundry Moms blog.