I think we can all put our hands up and admit that we have been judgemental at times as a stepmum. I know myself that when I judge another person or are critical of their behaviour, it makes me feel terrible inside.
The truth is though that when we judge another, we actually show no respect for that other person. I don't believe that just because we feel someone is disrespectful to us, does it mean we can be disrespectful to them.
We may justify being judgemental because we believe we are in the right or that our side of the story is the truth. Remember that saying - there is my story, your story and then there is the truth!
We may become judgemental because we have been hurt or are angry at being what we feel is wronged by another person. It is completely justified for our pride to be hurt when someone is making our life difficult.
I am all about learning to be in control of ourselves and our response to situations. Being a stepmum means that we can't control a lot of what goes on in our life and sometimes our own home. It is difficult I know, but learning to surrender and go with the flow in life is a useful life skill to have.
So how do you know if you are judgemental?
I think that we can admit we have done all of the above at times, but it really doesn't get us anywhere as a stepmum. The person we are hurting the most when we judge another person, is ourselves. We take away our inner peace and we cause ourselves anxiety and distress.
Here are the top 5 people you need to stop judging as as a stepmum, so you can thrive and live a happy life.
Stop judging yourself based on what you do or don't do as a stepmum. Stop putting yourself down, wishing you had done things differently or even that you married a man with kids and became a stepmother in the first place.
You weren't to know it would be so difficult. Stop judging yourself for the things you say in your head or the actions you take, that aren't coming from the heart, that may be a bit mean at times.
You are doing your best. Keep working on yourself, keep your heart open, work on your self worth and confidence and figure out how to live your best life, regardless of your stepmum title.
If you aren't acting the way you really want to, know that you can change. You have the power, and you can sort this whole mess out if you really want to.
YOU CAN COPE WITH THIS.
Let go of the past and leave it firmly where it belongs. Today is a new day so wipe the slate clean and start again.
2) THE EX-WIFE
How many times have you badmouthed the ex or judged her for her parenting skills?
Maybe you have looked down on her at the way she does things, or tell yourself you could do it a whole lot better and she is completely in the wrong?
Maybe you think she doesn't have the kids best interests at heart or she doesn't spend the child support on the kids?
You could judge her for the way she behaves towards your husband, calling her names like 'crazy' or 'psychopath'. You may not know her full psychological history or how she is really feeling inside.
Just as you have feelings and your struggles, the ex does too.
Too often we judge the ex, without really taking a moment to think that she has this whole thing maybe even tougher than us?
Who really wants her kids to be brought up away from her or another woman have an influence on her child? How tough must it be to know your child might actually even love their stepmum? Or that the father of your kids loves another woman now?
I don't think I would cope well with that myself if I am honest!
I know it is hard, but let go of the judgement. Judging the ex doesn't make a stepmum any better than how they perceive her to be.
3) OTHER STEPMUMS
Something we don't talk about too much is that stepmums can sometimes judge one another.
They may look at another stepmum and judge her for how involved or not she is, for how much sh*t she takes from the ex or how much her husband does or doesn't support her when she is struggling her role.
We all know being a stepmum is tough and who are we to judge another stepmum who is figuring out her role and trying to muddle her way between the curve balls that may be thrown from a stepchild who won't speak to her, or an ex who hates her guts.
A stepmum may think to herself, 'Why is she doing EVERYTHING FOR HER STEPKIDS? She shouldn't be doing that!'
Yes we all know that a stepmum should be able to step back whenever she wants, but sometimes it just isn't possible.
Be kind to other stepmums, especially the ones who are struggling. Don't judge another stepmum for wherever she may be right now. Remember that was you at one point too.
4) YOUR HUSBAND
I know this is SO hard when you have different parenting styles, but try not to judge your husband for what he does or doesn't do. He is trying his best too, and it often goes unspoken about, just how difficult it is for him.
We can all be guilty of this, and might sometimes think 'Why does he put up with all this cr*p? Why doesn't he stick up for himself? Doesn't he respect himself enough to say no?'
The husband is often the one caught in the crossfire, torn between his kids, the ex wife and his current love. He often can't please everyone at once, and will feel he is letting at least one person down.
Try not to judge him for his actions if he is really trying his best. Learn to pick your battles and let things go that really won't matter in a weeks time.
Try not to start a fight over something that is meaningless.
Yes of course the bigger and important things need to be discussed. He can also be guided to be a better father.
But imagine how it feels to be told you are doing everything wrong as a father and husband. There is a always a way to say everything that will help you get the result you want.
Try and create a win win situation for everyone, rather than putting your husband down and thinking he is in the wrong and you are right.
5) YOUR STEPKIDS
One of the things I see a lot is stepmum's saying that they struggle with their stepchildren's behaviour and then labelling it as something like difficult or bad.
Kids brains don't develop fully until they are 25, so until then they may make poor decisions that might not sit well with us. What we see as 'difficult' behaviour is sometimes a kid just being a kid. It is true that a stepmum doesn't have the same patience and tolerance for their stepchild as they do for their own, so it is going to be harder than if it were her own child.
So as well as their brains not fully developing to their mid 20s, if you then add in their parents divorcing, living between two homes, their parents remarrying and having more kids and being torn between trying to please and love everyone, you can easily see how difficult this is for a child. I can't even imagine how stressful and confusing that must be at times.
No wonder the whole thing might make them act in a way that feels difficult to us.
Remember all behaviour is communication, so if their behaviour doesn't sit well with us, they may be trying to communicate how they are feeling.
They have to deal with their own feelings of loss, resentment, fear, anxiety and distress.
The majority of kids do overcome their parents separation, but some may experience lifelong problems after a divorce.
What we may see as 'bad' behaviour, is most probably a cry for help, attention or just trying to process the intense feelings they have.
Divorce increase the risk of mental health problems, behaviour problems, educational issues or risk taking behaviour such as taking drugs or smoking.
This doesn't mean we have to put up with being disrespected or treated badly in our own home, but we do have to notice when our thoughts turn to judgement and disrespect ourselves.
If you are honest with yourself, do you sometimes look down on your stepchild or judge them for their behaviour?
In doing so, we create a rift or feeling of disconnect. We can push ourselves further away from our stepkids, which is not the ideal end goal.
Be kind to your stepkids in the way you think, act and feel. What you give you get back, and everything is energy. On a deeper level, they will feel your judgement and then the cycle starts again of feeling unhappy and taking your feelings out on those around you.
So if any of the above resonates with you, then the first step is to recognise this and remember you have the ability to release negative thoughts at any time. You have the power of your thoughts, words and actions.
You are always in control of you.
It may not always be easy, but remember your WHY - the fact that you want to live a happy, peaceful life.
Each stepmum will have a different WHY:
It may be you want to save your marriage. You may want to bond with your stepkids or get the ex out of your head.
You may have decided that peace and tranquility is far more important than having negative thoughts in your life.
Ask yourself some questions to help you get over the judgement:
1) Why are you judging this person?
2) What expectations do you have that are unrealistic?
3) Can you put yourself in the other persons position?
4) Can you imagine when you were going through something similar? How did it feel?
5) Do you really want to go down this path that is going to cause you pain?
6) What about this other person can you appreciate or be grateful for?
Being a stepmum is not easy, but when you begin to work on yourself and shed the layers of grief, disappointment and pain from the past, you will uncover the real you. The one that is not judgemental, bitter or stressed.
You can be free, happy and in love with your life, even if you are a stepmum!