When I started out on this stepmum journey, I had absolutely NO idea how tough it was going to be! You knew what you were getting yourself in for, is most certainly NOT true.
They say being a stepmum is a hell of a lot tougher than being a biological Mum but because I haven’t experienced having my own children yet, I’ve got nothing to compare it to.
I just know it’s been a MASSIVE journey so far; there have been ups and there have been downs, but I am at the point at the moment, where life seems to be flowing and there’s no drama or upset. Although I know that it realistically won't always stay that way. Every family has their drama and upsets, regardless of whether it is a stepfamily.
I think everyone’s journey, experience and of course, husband, stepchildren and children are completely different to each other, so probably the number one rule for any Mum or stepmum is – don’t compare yourself to others.
This is a pretty golden rule in life too - don't compare your journey to anyone else's either.
We all view the world through a different lens and react to situations differently. To get the point where I am now, I have done a lot, and continue to do a lot of work on myself on a daily and weekly basis. I know that if I stop doing all the things that make me feel great and bring me JOY, I would eventually slowly slip into a nervous anxious mess where I can’t cope with anything, and my stepmum life would seem far too overwhelming.
But isn’t that relatable to anything in life? If we don’t practice self-care and look at the lessons that keep coming up in our lives, when life throws us a fireball, we are going to get knocked down and struggle to get up again.
Over the past 2 years, as I have continued to focus on my own well-being, self-development and goals, these are the lessons that I have found have come up time and time again in my world.
I would love to know if any resonate with you, and what other lessons you have learnt along your journey so far?
1) LIVE FOR THE MOMENT!
I can’t believe how quickly time goes! My husband and I have been living in our house for nearly 2 years and it seems like only yesterday we moved in.
My stepkids have gone from little babies to mini adults before my eyes, and seem so much taller, wiser and more grown up.
It is a reminder that if we don’t remember to appreciate life every day, be grateful for the little things and not waste time on things that really won’t matter, life will pass us by too quickly.
We have NO idea what is around the corner and what life really has in store for us, so I beg anyone reading this, please try not to waste your time doing any of these things as a stepmum (and this relates to anyone, not just stepmums!)
• Comparing yourself to the ex, or anyone else for that matter. I said it above, and I am saying it again! Do not compare yourself to anyone else – this just leads to stress, anxiety, worry, frustration, resentment to name a few negative emotions. We are all on our own journey and path in life. If we were all the same, the world would be a bizarre and rather boring place. You are you, and perfect just as you are. We have NO idea what is going on someone else’s life. They may be happy or sad – we really don’t know and its usually none of our business.
Just focus on YOU!
• Waiting for the perfect time to do X, Y, Z – if there is something you want to do such as a hobby or new business, just get on and start doing it. I wanted to start a blog for nearly a year before I actually did, and it was only on my 33rd birthday that I kicked myself up the butt and actually started!
• Worrying about things that may or may not happen. I can be a BIG worrier, and as I look back on my life, I realised that everything I worry about, tends to have not happened. And if it did happen, what was the point in worrying anyway? All I did, was make myself feel ill and even more stressed.
Now I know this is easier said than done, it just takes practice to call yourself out when you realise you are worrying and TAKE A BIG DEEP BREATH and tell yourself EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OKAY!
I am a big lover of meditation and Yoga and make this a part of my daily self-care routine. I find it massively helps me with me worrying tendencies.
2) YOU ARE STRONGER THAN YOU THINK!
Being a stepmum has made me realise how strong I am. I always thought I was pretty weak growing up, putting up with way too much sh*t in relationships and people pleasing to the max.
I have had no choice but to grow into the SUPER strong, but fair and loving person that I am today to be the stepmum and Wife my family needs.
Have a look back on some of the tough times in your stepmum journey (or any other part of your life) and then have a look at yourself today.
You are still standing, and I bet a hell of a lot stronger, wiser and more resilient than you were before. I bet you didn’t think that you could get through those tough times, but you did.
As my Nan used to say, ‘NOTHING STAYS THE SAME’, and it doesn’t. Life is always changing, and any of these turbulent times or stressors that have come up, will have made you stronger. Sometimes we have to look at things in a different way, to get through them easier next time.
Can you look back on some of the times you felt like you were having a complete meltdown but managed to get through it and ask yourself ‘How could I have coped or reacted to that differently so I didn’t cause myself so much pain and upset?’
If you are like me, then there have probably been so many times that you have said to yourself or your husband, ‘I can’t do this, I want to leave, get me out of here right now!!’. But you are still here, and still being the strong and capable woman that you are.
You CAN do this stepmum!
You are strong, and you are smart, and you were chosen to be a Step-Mum because of your tough but loving character. I know this isn’t easy, but you can cope with this, and you can cope with anything else that comes in life.
You will get through this!
3) ALWAYS REMEMBER YOUR WORTH IN LIFE!
Hell no I am going to be anyone’s second best in life! I may be the second wife, but that does not mean for one second that I am going to be further down the priority ladder or should have to put my needs at the bottom of the pile.
I believe (and I know there will be people who disagree!) that marriage should come before the kids. Your marriage and YOU are worth it to be someone’s number one. Isn’t that what loving relationships and marriage is all about?
The kids may be my husband’s first responsibility, as kids tend to need more looking after when they are young for example, but I am always my husband’s first priority.
The secret, in my opinion, to a happy marriage where kids is involved, is to always put your spouse first, and for him to do the same. At the end of the day, if the marriage isn’t working, that isn’t going to be good for the kids in the long run is it? They definitely don’t need to see another painful and difficult divorce.
Making sure your marriage is a priority will also hopefully show your kids that relationships don’t need to end in heartbreak, and that there are happy and loving marriages that last.
Here are few pointers, to help you develop your self-worth in life:
• Self-care is a priority. Always make time to exercise, meditation, journal, read, do Yoga or whatever makes you feel good. My self-esteem always dips if I don’t look after myself properly. Even taking 20 minutes a day for yourself helps!
• Set a new goal for yourself and hold yourself accountable to achieve it. Or you can email me and I will help to hold you accountable! It could be to start running, to start your own blog, to learn a new skill or start gardening – whatever makes you happy and joyful, do that!
• Forgive yourself for everything you think you have done, the people you may have hurt (apologise if you need to) or anything you regret in life. Life is too short for regrets and blaming ourselves for our past. It really doesn’t matter anymore.
• At the end of every day, write down 3 things that day you feel proud of – it could be as simple as being kind to your husband, cooking a lovely home cooked meal or simply not losing your shit with someone in your family. Even if you did lose your shit, just forgive yourself, you’re only human!
Trust me, stepmum, you’re not a bad person, you’re not failing, and you are not in this alone.
There are so many blessings to be found in living in the position (yes I promise you there are!) and if you work on yourself you will find that there are many lessons to be learnt along your journey too.