Self-care is so in right now.
It is amazing that right now it is encouraged to take time to pamper yourself, because isn’t that what we live for? We live for the stress-free moments of relaxation.
Face masks. Bubble baths. Manicures. Hair dyes. Shopping sprees.
Anything that can make you forget your mile long to-do list for a moment and just be happy.
I am 100% all in on this pro self-care movement.
Like seriously, count me in!
Because as stepmoms (& I know regular moms are included in this too, but right now I’m just going to stress it for the stepmamas.) we do not do this enough.
But we totally should!!
Us stepmamas deserve a good self-care day just as much, if not more, than anybody else!
As stepmoms we feel an obligation to put everyone else first.
We know that our SO is struggling with being apart from his kids, so we make sure that he is getting love and attention.
We know that the kids must be hurting from the transitions and always being away from one parent or the other, so we cater to their desires.
We want to make sure that our family is happy, and we want to make sure they are taken care of. So we volunteer to make snacks for the ball practice, we lead the Sunday School lesson at church, and we take on all of these extra tasks on top of the mountain of emotional turmoil that we already took responsibility for.
We keep piling all of this on ourselves thinking that if we can just make everyone happy, and if we can just take care of everything, that we will prove ourselves worthy as a stepmom.
It is so draining.
Not only is it draining, but it is completely unnecessary.
You are not responsible for all of the extra stuff.
You don’t have to prove your worthiness to anyone.
You are not responsible for others emotions.
I’m not telling you that it’s not your place to try and make your SO and your stepkids happy, but I am saying that you don’t have to make it your personal mission to turn your family into the Brady Bunch.
You’re SO will be sad about missing time with the kids, and you should be there for him! But don’t focus all of your energy on making him happy. First of all, he needs to be sad and let those feelings out. Secondly, he will probably cope better if you try and act normal instead of constantly trying to make it better.
Your stepkids will feel the weight of a long distance blended family.
They will miss their other parents. They will be confused, hurt, and emotional. They also need to feel these things and let them out. Also, they are more resilient than you give them credit for. Children are little fighters. We can’t coddle them every second. We need to make them their favorite dessert when they are sad. Let them pick the movie when they are down in the dumps. But don’t baby them over every little thing.
No-one benefits from you taking on the weight of the world.
I repeat – No-one is benefiting from you putting everyone’s emotions on your shoulders.
It will do nothing but stress you out.
You are being more selfish by stressing yourself out with all of this unnecessary emotional baggage than anything.
I know that when I am stressed the energy in my whole household changes. Not for the good either.
When I have taken on too much, when I have assumed the role of emotional bodyguard for my family, it takes a toll on all of us.
I guarantee you that my family would benefit more from carrying their own emotions and working through them rather than me trying to carry them myself and having a mini (or not so mini) breakdown from the weight.
Last summer my mother took Noah and Farrah to see Christopher Robin.
I was so jealous! I loved Winnie the Pooh as a kid.
I always identified with Tigger, and his happy go lucky attitude.
I couldn’t wait to see what the kids were going to think, or what kind of valuable life lessons they were going to learn.
When they got back I asked them how they liked it and wanted to know what they thought.
I was so surprised and taken back when Noah told me that he thought Eeyore reminded him of me!
I definitely not sad, gloomy Eeyore.
I was cheery, bouncy Tigger.
How could he think I was Eeyore.
And then I sat down and thought about my attitude the past couple of days.
I was disappointed in myself to realize that Noah was right. I had been acting like an Eeyore lately.
I had been so stressed from taking care of everybody that I was letting it affect my mood. I didn’t think anyone else was noticing, but apparently I was wrong.
I was opting out of games with the kids. I was moping around with my chores. I was just not my happy self.
There was one moment from that week in particular I kind of gave in to all my emotional bodyguard stress.
It had been weighing heavy on my shoulders. Work was tough. Laundry was piling up. My to do list was miles long. I was at my wits end when Farrah wouldn’t lay down for a nap. Her grumpiness and my gloominess were not meshing well. After what felt like a lifetime of trying to coerce her into a nap, I lost it. I just started crying. I gave up on the nap and just sat on my bed and cried for a minute.
I think this may be what Noah was referencing when comparing me to Eeyore.
It was a very Eeyore-esque moment.
But I don’t want to be Eeyore.
No-one wants to be Eeyore.
I want to be Tigger.
I want to be fun. I want to be energetic. I want to love life. I want people to want to be around me.
I don’t want the kids to think of me as sad. I want them to think of me as fun!
I told myself that something had to give. I could not be Eeyore any longer.
This was when I took a step back and realized that I had to stop holding the weight of the world on my shoulders.
I could no longer take responsibility for everyone’s emotional baggage.
I had to realize that although my families happiness is my priority that I had to let them sort through their feelings without my taking responsibility for it.
I had to let them work through their emotions. I had to be there for them and help them through everything, but I didn’t have to sacrifice my own happiness and wellbeing to do so.
I was going to start taking care of myself as I care for my family.
It is not selfish to take time for yourself or to take care of yourself.
Making yourself a priority is important for your family,
It makes you a better wife and stepmom, and it is a good thing for your kids to look up to.
Your kids need to know that although you are a parent, you are still your own person.
You would hate to see them lose themselves in a relationship when they get older. You would hate to see them lose their happiness in trying to make everyone around them happy. So, set a good example for them to look up to.
Show them that even though you love them you are still going to take care of yourself. Scratch that. Show them that BECAUSE you love them, you are going to take care of yourself.
People say “Happy wife, Happy life” and that is because as the woman of the house you are the cornerstone for your family,
Your energy and your mental health set the foundation for the rest of the family.
If you are exuding happiness and positivity that will show throughout your home.
If you take the time to love yourself and make time for yourself it will show in everyone around you,
You will be more patient and caring with your SO and your kiddos.
And you will also notice that they are taking more time to love themselves. Which is something we all want. We want to instill a sense of self-love in our littles so that they can be happy and successful adults.
So, stepmama, do not feel obligated to put yourself on the back burner.
You don’t have to neglect yourself in order to prove you are taking your role as a stepmother seriously. You don’t have to put everyone else’s happiness above your own. Actually, doing this may in fact do the opposite. Everyone in your home feeds off your energy. If your energy is screaming stressed, sleep deprived, anxious, and negative then your home will not be a happy, inviting place. But if you take some time to love yourself. If you take some time to relax. If you take some time to reconnect with who you are. If you take some time to make you happy. Then I promise you, your family will notice a difference and you will notice a difference in your family. So, don’t be an Eeyore, be a T I Double G Errr! Because you and your family deserve for you to be a fun bouncy Tigger!
Love your family, love yourself, and live your happiest life.