A supportive partner is one of the keys to being a thriving Step-Mum, and having a happy marriage and blended family life for all involved.After all, your partner is the reason you became a Step-Mum and most probably, continue to want to be here.
So, if you feel that sometimes your husband just DOES NOT GET YOU, please show him this list of 5 ways that he can help you to live a happier, healthier and more balanced family life.
My husband thought I was the only one finding step-mum life difficult which would put enormous pressure on me. I beat myself up so much thinking that everyone other Stepmum looked like they had everything together!
I thought I was the only one struggling and the only one going through this.
I WAS SO WRONG!
All step-mums have challenging days where they want to run as far away as possible, and days where they feel on top of the world, love the kids to bits and feel like they have this Step-Mum gig totally in the bag.
I did a lot of research and learnt about stepfamilies work and then tried(!) to teach this knowledge to my husband. A lot of it did sink in, and I am very lucky in that he is usually very wonderfully supportive and understanding of my role.
These are my favourite ways that I feel our partners can help to support us Step-Mamas better.
1) Please do not expect us to love your kids unconditionally immediately, or maybe even at all.
There are plenty of Stepmums who DO NOT love their kids like their own as soon as they meet them, and some who never grow to love them.
Kids are hard work and helping to parent another person’s child can be even tougher.
Love is something that grows in stepfamilies over time and it is unlikely that a woman is going to have that immediate biological bond with her stepchild.
Apparently, it takes 5-7 years to blend a stepfamily! So putting pressure on your partner to have feelings that she may not have, is in my opinion, really unfair.
As long as the Stepmum is being kind, respectful and patient with the kids, there is no need for her to feel feelings of love towards the stepchildren.
Remember that if you have your own kids, there are going to be times you love them to bits, but then other times they completely drive you up the wall.
Imagine how tough those crazy times would be if you didn’t have that unconditional love?
It works both ways – do not expect your kids to love their new Step-Mum immediately, or maybe even at all! Kindness, manners and respect are a must both ways though.
2) Practice plenty of gratitude and appreciation for your partner or wife.
Please don’t ever take her for granted or forget how much she has sacrificed to be with you. Step-Mum life is complicated!
There are custody schedules, child maintenance and different parenting styles to deal with. There may be a high-conflict ex or legal battles you’re battling against – which are usually highly stressful and upsetting.
To all the fathers out there, we know your life is also SUPER difficult and this isn’t how you thought things would pan out. But remember your partner or wife is also dealing with the stressors you go through. THIS IS NOT THE LIFE SHE THOUGHT SHE WOULD LEAD EITHER!
She may have no Step-Mum friends or anyone to talk to. She may feel lonely and isolated at times, or a stranger in her own home when the kids visit. Keep talking to her, asking if you can help her and making sure that you really do appreciate all the hard work that she puts in.
3) Make sure you make time for your partner, just the two of you.
In any relationship or marriage, date nights are important! But in Stepfamily life, these are completely life-saving and essential!
Having a date night out of the house once a week would be ideal, but I don’t always find that possible. You could try to make the time once a week to spend time alone, even if its watching a film on the sofa or going for a nice long walk.
It is also important that your life and relationship, does not stop when the kids visit. You are most definitely allowed to say yes to social invites and get a babysitter when you have custody of the kids.
This shows the children how a healthy, happy and normal relationship works. I know that fathers suffer with divorce guilt and feel that they want to spend as much time with their kids as possible if they don’t have full custody.
BUT your relationship and your partner is also important, and getting a trusted babysitter once in a while really isn’t going to hurt anyone. If we want to go out when we have the kids, we just get a Nan to babysit. I am sure the kids actually prefer it sometimes as they get to stay up late, eat chocolate and spend time with their lovely Nan!
4) Be patient with your partner on her Stepmum journey, just as you would be patient with a new mum when she gives birth to a child.
Don’t panic or think it’s the end of the world if she has a little wobble or bad day as a Step-Mum.
This is fairly normal in life in general, as well as Stepmum life!
We do not need to be perfect or have the pressure on us to be perfect all the time. Having a partner who is patient with us, and tries to understand that we are going to have our ups and downs, will help enormously towards us feeling safe, secure and protected in our role.
5) Always have our back!
I think its vital that both parties in a relationship show a united front, especially in a stepfamily. This helps the kids to feel safe and secure and shows them how a relationship should look.
Ok, there are going to be times we f*** up, and there is no need to have our back if we are genuinely in the wrong. I am sure we all know when we have done something that we shouldn’t have!
There is nothing better than knowing that your husband is the one person in the world who is ALWAYS there for you. As a Stepmum you can sometimes feel the world is against you – there is so much negative stigma attached to being a Stepmother and other women can find it hard to resonate with us!
So please make sure you are always cheering us on, and that we genuinely feel we are supported emotionally and physically by you.
Remember husband/partner, we became a Stepmum because we fell in love with YOU first and foremost. We are here because we love you.