I am going to come right out here and say this now so if you are feeling this, then you hopefully don't feel alone. I speak to a lot of stepmum's who feel that their feelings are wrong or in a minority. Trust me, if you ever dislike being a stepmum you are not alone!
There have been times when I have HATED being a stepmum. This does not mean I hated my stepchildren, far from it. It meant that I disliked parts of what came along with stepmotherhood.
There is a lot of sacrificing on a stepmums part - her time, the money, the fact you aren't your husbands first or even second in our case!
All that stuff HURTS, and too often we don't speak about these things that really are just downright super difficult but a part of being a stepmum. You really are in a situation where you can't win a lot of the time - you are damned if you do and damned if you don't. Everyone seems to have an opinion on what you should be doing, but no one actually ever asks HOW ARE YOU? What is your feeling about this all?
How are you REALLY finding it being married to or dating a man with kids? (And all the baggage that comes with that) That isn't a nice way of putting it, but the honest truth is that most stepmum's don't come into the relationship with that much physical baggage. There may be emotional issues to deal with, but on the whole it is the stepmum fitting in with the man and his children. It is the stepmum who is sacrificing the life she thought she would have, and that life usually didn't involve meeting a man with kids.
This is a BIG role to fill, and there is a lot more pressure and stress than anyone could have imagined when they first met the love of their life. A fairytale it usually isn't!
So you may love your stepkids, but may dislike being a stepmum. And this is SO normal.
A biological mother may adore her kids, but at times, struggle with being a mum.
Again, it is those double standards coming into play. A stepmum is expected to be perfect the whole time! So let me reassure you now, you don't need to be perfect, and it is very normal to dislike your role or position in your family from time to time.
Here are my top 5 tips on what to do if you don't like being a stepmum.
1) ASK YOURSELF DO YOU REALLY WANT TO BE IN THIS RELATIONSHIP?
I know this sounds a bit harsh, but if you don't really love your partner, then being a stepmum stepmum is most likely to be very difficult. Is it the children that are the problem, or is it your relationship?
Do you need to work on the relationship and yourself first, before you jump into figuring out how to thrive as a stepmum?
Stepfamily life is going to test you and your partner. The relationship is the foundation and the key to a happy stepfamily. It always needs to come as a priority. If you are struggling with being a stepmum, take the focus back to you and your partner, before making any rash decisions about whether you are cut out for stepfamily life.
The issue may not even be your stepkids or the fact you don't like being a stepmum. It may actually be an unsupportive partner or husband who just does not get stepfamily dynamics.
When you dig a little deeper, you may find that you actually just needed more quality time together and to put the relationship first. Or you may decide that actually regardless of the stepfamily life, you are your partner are too different or incompatible.
2) GET HONEST ABOUT WHAT YOU ACTUALLY DON'T LIKE ABOUT BEING A STEPMUM AND DECIDE TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT
Unless you are completely honest with yourself, you can't move forwards. You may get stuck in victim mode, blaming others for why you hate being a stepmum so much and not realising that the power to being happy, is always within you.
Decide today that you are ready to stop living in the past and you value yourself enough to stop letting your stepfamily life drain you.
So right now, in one column make a list of everything you are struggling with or hate about your stepfamily life. Get completely honest!
Then in the column next to it, write a practical thing that you can do to overcome this issue. By practical, I mean that this is something you are in control of and actually achieve. You can't write something like, send person X to the moon if they are having a negative influence on your life.
A good example would be for an ex you don't get along with, could you work on forgiveness? Or could you reach out to her to see if it is time to build bridges? Could you do the inner work needed to work on your self worth as a stepmum?
The main issue I see with my clients, is a lack of self worth. If you valued yourself enough, you would not give away your power to someone else. Most issues in life come down to these problems:
Am I worthy?
Am I good enough?
Am I lovable?
Am I safe?
3) ACCEPT THAT YOUR LIFE ISN'T GOING TO BE THAT FAIRYTALE IMAGE THAT YOU MIGHT HAVE DREAMT ABOUT AS A KID
This is a hard one I know, but a lot of unhappiness as a stepmum comes from wishing that things were different. You may be grieving a life that you thought you were going to have. You may be grieving a perfect image of blended family life that you had in your head when you met your partner.
If you are really disliking being a stepmum, it could be that you are not being present to the reality of your life now. Maybe you are in denial about the issues you are facing?
This is why I think it is really important to write all these difficulties down, and figure out practical solutions to move forwards in your life, rather than staying stuck in a cycle of unhappiness, anxiety and blame.
Once you let go of this image of how you thought life would go, you can actually start to create the life you want.
You need to start dismantling all these beliefs in your mind that are telling you that a second marriage = failure, or being a stepmum = negative and evil. Your mind is telling you stories that are making you unhappy.
You probably believe that a 2.4 children family set means instant bliss and happiness. Well if that was the case then why is the divorce rate so high, even amongst first families?
You need to stop comparing your journey to someone else's or looking to social media for families to look up to.
Trust me, social media is NOT real life.
Embrace your life as it is now and trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
4) SEEK OUT THE SUPPORT OF OTHER STEPMUMS
I found this was so important in my journey to being a happy stepmum. There is nothing worse than suffering in silence and feeling like you are the only one in the world who is having the problems you may be encountering.
Once you connect with other stepmums, you realise you are most definitely not alone in your troubles.
Other people may give well meant advice, but unless you are a stepmum, you really can't understand the journey.
I have a STEPMUM SUPPORT GROUP on Facebook that you can join me in - you can post any questions you have and I am in there each day sharing videos about different topics that come up in a stepfamily.
Meditate you may be thinking!? How the hell is that going to help me be a happy stepmum! Well, meditation has many benefits such as including lowering stress levels and helping you to be able to think clearer. I think we all know that in the heat of the moment we can do or say things that we don't mean?
We might look back and think... I wish I had paused before I said this or that, or reacted in a way that didn't have the best outcome for everyone involved.
If your mind is more focused and you are more self aware and have the strength to be able to go within and look at what is REALLY coming up for you, you will be able to manage your thoughts and emotions.
You can think change your mindset to choose emotions and actions that support you being a happy stepmum.
I trained as a Yoga Teacher and have been teaching since 2015, so am a big believer in practices such as Yoga and Meditation. I honestly don't know how I would cope without my morning meditation to helping me keep calm, focused and positive. Whenever I do have a down day (which again is completely normal), I am able to switch my emotions and thoughts back to happy ones fairly sharpish.
Remember happiness is an inside job - if you aren't happy on the inside, how can you be happy on the outside?
Is your dislike for being a stepmum actually the situation, or is it something inside of you, that you need to heal?
Also remember that the first 20 minutes of your day sets the tone for the rest of the day, so how are you starting your day off?
If you are new to meditation I have a Morning Meditation for Confidence for you to try out and get your day off to a good start. Decide you are going to be a happy stepmum today! You can do this and I believe in you.
You are worthy and you deserve to have an amazing life.