“You’re not a REAL mom.”
“You’ll understand when you have kids of your own.”
“But, they aren’t YOUR kids.”
“Why don’t you let their parents deal with it?”
Yeah… Did you get pissed just reading that? I know I did typing it.
It seems like people always know exactly what NOT to say to a stepmom, but what about what they SHOULD say?? What things does a stepmom need to hear? Well, I’ve shortened it to five things that I think every stepmom would love to hear. Feel free to send it to your SO, your best friend, or your mom, and just let them know that sometimes you need a little encouraging. Cause this can be a pretty tough gig sometimes!
“You are not second best. – to anyone.”
This may have been my biggest hurdle as a stepmom. The constant feeling of being second best. The knowledge that you weren’t his first marriage, you didn’t get to be the one with him when he had these kiddos, and you aren’t their biological mom. It can seriously mess with your head. I’m a little bit competitive, so this was really hard for me. I had this punch to my confidence and this constant pit in my stomach telling me that I would always be second rate in my own family. I thought that the kids would always prefer their mother over me, and I thought that everyone would just see me as my Dan’s second/new wife. This isn’t the case though! I have made my place in those two precious babies’ hearts. They may prefer to be with their mom sometimes, and that’s okay! (I mean, she is their mother!) Butttt I know that they genuinely love me, and I know that they truly enjoy the time we spend together. As for how being the “new” or “second” wife, that goes away with time. I rarely get those comments anymore, and in fact, I sometimes get the occasional person that had no idea I wasn’t his first.
So stepmama, if no-one else will, let me tell you that you are not second rate. You are first class all the way baby!
“You are enough.”
Sometimes as a stepmom you have this feeling that you are good enough until you aren’t. You are good enough for the mundane parenting activities (like homework, getting ready for school, carting everyone around to activities, cooking dinner, making sure the laundry is done, etc), but you aren’t good enough for the big stuff (like doctor appointments, parent/teacher conference, etc). It puts you in such a weird place. You don’t know exactly where you stand, and you feel kind of like an observer in your own family. This feeling is such BS. You are enough. You don’t have to feel this way. Your role is to be there for your family in whatever capacity they need you. (As long as it’s okay with you.) If they need you to step up, then you do, and if they need you to step back, you do that. That is SO enough. That is more than enough. That is exactly what your family needs from you.
“You are loved.”
With all of the chaos and extra stressors that come with blended family life, we can sometimes forget what it’s truly all about in the first place. Which is LOVE! You are with you partner because you fell in love. You became a stepmom because you love your partner. You are in this family because you all share a love for one another. (Even if it can get strained sometimes!) So, if your SO forgets to tell you, if your stepkids forget to tell you, if you definitely aren’t feeling it; YOU ARE LOVED.
“You are appreciated.”
This one is a biggie. So many stepmoms struggle with feeling invisible and taken advantage of. You feel like all you do is give, give give to your family with not so much as a “thanks” thrown your way. You cook, clean, chauffeur, do laundry, handle meltdowns, take care of bathtime, find the missing favorite toy, and you do everything in your power to take care of your families needs. They expect it from you. (Because you’re so good at it!! *wink, wink*) They are so used to you taking care of everything that they probably get a little complacent. They forget to say thank you, they forget to recognize your hard work, and it seems like they don’t appreciate you. But I’m here to say, YOU ARE APPRECIATED. You work hard, and even if your family doesn’t tell you, they appreciate everything you do.
“There’s wine in the cabinet, and there’s a sale on that sweater you’ve been drooling over!”
Probably the most important one! Lol But seriously, you deserve that glass of wine and the sweater! You work hard, you do so much for your family, and you are such an integral part of your family dynamic. Even when it all sucks, try to remember what it’s really all about – that amazing little family of yours.
Love your family, love yourself, & live your happiest life.
xo – jessicanicole.