There is no doubt that becoming a stepmum is one of the toughest challenges any woman could face. I see a lot of women say they have created successful businesses, ran marathons or raised multiple kids of their own, but being a step-mum is SO much tougher.
I always think to myself, why is this?
It isn't always related to a specific person, but more to do with the difficult nature of step-families. There really isn't always a wrong or right way of doing things and sometimes it can be a lot of trial and error, working on yourself as a step-mum and learning how step-families can work better.
Now I like to keep my posts positive, but I am also realistic in that no one wants to read a 'just be happy' blog when they are struggling in their step-family.
So yes I am currently in a good place in my step-family, BUT I do know that it really is the hardest thing any woman could do, and if you are a step-mum reading this, than I just want to send you a virtual hug and tell you, you are amazing.
Here are my top 5 tough truths about being a step-mum.
1) YOU ARE NOT YOUR STEP-KIDS MUM
Yes this is obvious, I know, but it can take a while to figure out your role as step-mum and remember that even if you are super close with your step-kids, you are not the Mum biologically.
You are going to do a lot of 'motherly' duties, but it is likely you won't be respected and appreciated in the same way as their mum. It really is going to be a minefield for a while of, where do I step up or step back, and how much involvement do I have physically and emotionally.
You may love those kiddos like you're own and that could break your heart that they aren't biologically yours. Be proud of the fact that you do love them like your own, and try to accept the fact that your relationship with them is still important, even it can be sometimes confusing.
You aren't the mum, but you're not just a nobody in the household either. It can take a while to stop trying to be someone you think you should be and just be yourself.
Here is a little tip for any relationship in life - you really do have to be yourself for genuine loving relationships to evolve.
It isn't a bad thing being the step-mum, but I think we have to remind ourselves that if we are ever feeling resentful or taken for granted, that we don't need to do everything a Mum would do, because we are in fact, not the Mum.
Step-mums are there for a reason, so don't ever underestimate or undervalue your position.
2) YOUR HUSBAND'S EX IS ALWAYS GOING TO BE IN YOUR LIFE SOMEHOW
So it is important that you either learn to all get along, or you learn to not be bothered if the ex is difficult. Please do not waste your time and energy arguing about the ex.
Always be the bigger person and hopefully one day that will shine through.
You are going to have to work through jealousy issues or feelings of second best. Remember just because you are a second or third wife, does not mean you are second best. There are actually many advantages to being the second wife!
For a long time it freaked me out my husband had had serious relationships with other women, but I am actually smiling as I write this now, because I now know everyone has a past, however different it may feel to our own past. I have had past relationships too!
Past relationships can teach someone a lot about where they want to go in life, and the person they want to be. Your partner's ex can also be a great teacher for you.
Maybe you were meant to be in each others' life for a reason? Always try and look for the silver lining and try and figure out what you can learn here.
3) YOU ARE GOING TO MESS UP. A LOT.
Please don't expect yourself to be perfect or have it all together the whole time. What human being has it altogether in any aspect of their life.
Most biological mum's struggle at some point, so why can't you?
Go easy on yourself if you have a bad day or do something you regret. Forgive yourself, laugh at yourself and move on.
You do not need to be perfect! There is nothing wrong with you.
Remember you have to fail many times before you succeed in other areas of life, so why is step-parenting any different?
There is a lot of pressure on step-mums to be perfect I know, but please don't buy into it and feel that other step-mums have it all together. Trust me, we all have our ups and our downs and have to learn how to navigate things.
Social media portrays life to be a certain way, that isn't always a reality. Please don't compare yourself to others.
4) YOU CAN'T CONTROL WHAT GOES ON IN THE OTHER HOME
Please don't try. It is hard enough to change yourself, let alone another person.
I know it can be difficult if you feel the other household isn't doing things as you would like. We all have our own view on life and bringing up children, depending on our own upbringing and values.
But you do have to ask yourself, who is right? We do need to respect the other home and their rules and values.
Unless there is serious cause for concern and it isn't just different parenting styles, there really isn't a lot a step-mum can do.
Keep focused on what goes on in your marriage and your own home.
5) YOU ARE GOING TO BE TESTED
I don't know about you, but being a step-mum has brought up a lot of my issues and wounds! At times, I didn't recognise myself and had to work on what was coming up for me so I could be happy and live in peace.
Yes it is going to be difficult and you might not like yourself at times, but I see this as a total blessing.
Obviously that pain and trauma was always there, but unless I became a step-mum I might not have had the chance to heal it.
Other people can often reflect what needs healing in us, and will trigger us in ways to help us become aware of what we need to work on.
Being a step-mum can bring up the most intense emotions. Jealousy, insecurity, resentment, disappointment, anger and pain to name a few.
It might not always be pretty, but see it that these testing times are giving you a chance to become the person you deserve to be.
A person that is whole, healed and living from her heart.
So yes being a step-mum is difficult, but you were picked for the role because you could cope with it. Trust me, you are stronger than you think and you are going to be okay.
Believe in yourself and your abilities.