I Don’t Want To Be A Stepmom
Choosing to be a stepmom is a decision some women have lived to regret, while others have embraced it with grace, respect, and all their being. Step-parenting is not a mean feat and thus not for the faint-hearted. It calls for emotional, physical, social, and financial sacrifice for a child you didn’t give birth to.
Once in a while, it is okay for you to hate being a stepmom, but when the feeling persists, you should take a stand; to stay or leave. This is because when you continue piling up negative emotions towards stepchildren, you could end up harming them or yourself.
Beauty Of Being A Stepmom
Not all stepfamilies are bad. Some of them are stronger and better than those with biological parents. Some stepchildren are welcoming and respectful to their stepmom, who eventually fits into their biological mother’s shoes.
If you are contemplating becoming a stepmom, you must understand the family’s culture and values and gauge whether you can fit in. Different parenting styles could affect your relationship with the stepchildren. The best part of being a stepmom is that you get children without giving birth.
Challenges Of A Stepmom
Not every stepmom is lucky enough to get loving stepchildren nor are all women prepared for the challenges ahead. It could be harder for a woman who does not have biological children and is not in a position to conceive. I have classified these challenges into four categories; physical, social, emotional, and financial.
One of the main challenges with becoming a stepmom is that you may not be adequately prepared to take care of a child. For instance, becoming a stepmom at an early age when you have no clue how to perform household chores could put pressure on you. The idea of sharing space with stepchildren could be a shocker at first. It is especially harder if you have many children.
Being a stepmom means you have to contribute financially to the daily upkeep of the children. The father may be capable, but once in a while, you will be required to pick up something for them. If you were not adequately prepared, it could cause financial strain which could make you hate being a stepmom.
Family and community can put pressure on you for choosing to be a stepmom. There is this notion that stepmoms are monsters. People tend to judge you harshly and may view you as the cause of divorce or worse still, the death of your spouse’s partner. Different parenting styles, the pain of custody battle, and interference by the children’s biological mother make issues worse.
You are likely to experience mixed emotions as a stepmom. Feelings of fear, guilt, envy, anger, resentment, depression, and worthlessness may occur. You could also feel like you are your husband’s second choice, used, unappreciated, unheard, and drained. Other times you will feel like you made the right choice, loved, and capable. The negative emotions could cause illnesses if you fail to address them.
Possible Causes of Challenges Of A Stepmom
Several factors could make you face challenges as a stepmom including;
- Ill preparedness before marriage. You need to prepare yourself emotionally, physically, and financially.
- Different parenting styles and social values between you and your husband.
- Disrespect by stepchildren, biological mother, and spouse.
- Interference from family members and friends.
- Lack of shared history between you and the stepchildren.
- Discrimination. This could be two ways; you could either discriminate against your biological and stepchildren or your spouse could be the one who is discriminating against the children.
- Jealousy in the family. You could become envious of the bond between the children and their father. The Children could also become jealous of your relationship and their dad.
How To Overcome Challenges As A Stepmom
If you are already a stepmom and are facing challenges, you could follow the below tips to help you out.
- Work out your relationship with the stepchildren patiently. There is no magical ward for solving family issues.
- Seek your partner’s support. Always remember that you are a wife before becoming a stepmom. Ask your husband to support you and integrate with the children. He has a great influence on how the children relate to you.
- Stop trying to be a super mom. They do not exist.
- Lower your expectations. Do not expect family, stepchildren, and the community at large to treat you exceptionally well. They are bound to frustrate you.
- Respect the biological mother of these children. Avoid bad-mouthing her as she remains their mother despite the separation.
- Establish and set boundaries with the children and their biological mother.
- Spend quality time with the children and engage in fun activities together.
- Maintain a journal of events, feelings, and activities you pass through.
- Join a support group for stepmoms.
- Have time for yourself. Get time to engage in your favorite hobby, sport, or activity.
- It is okay to disengage from stepchildren. It may feel mean or awkward to do this but it is okay. When you start developing resentment, feel unappreciated, your spouse is not bothered, have low self-esteem, or have burnout, it might be a sign that you need to disengage. Communicate with your husband your decision maturely.
- Keep communication lines open. Let the stepchildren know they can talk to you. However, it is important to respect them and keep their confidential information.
- Allow the children independence depending on their age. Avoid overcontrolling them.
In conclusion, it is okay to fear or hate being a stepmom. Parenting is hard, but stepparenting is harder. Poor preparation, disrespectful stepchildren, unsupportive spouse, social pressure, and financial challenges could make you hate being a stepmom.
Establishing and setting boundaries, spending quality time with stepchildren, support from your spouse, networking, and journaling could help you cope.