The beginning of stepmotherhood can be exciting. It can also be extremely daunting and stressful. Stepmother’s commence this new role with no template to guide them, no map, and no manual NOTHING! Stepmothers will often wonder just ‘who’ and ‘what’ they are in this stepfamily. Their new role is highly ambiguous. As a result the role of stepmother is considered the most challenging in the entire stepfamily. This challenging experience can create increased levels of stress, anxiety and depression for stepmothers. Do not despair as there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Your sense of self in your family will take shape over time. This sense of self will develop through your ongoing relationships with your partner, stepkids and other significant adults in the children lives (i.e. biological mother, maternal grandparents, friends of the family, community members, soccer mums, school mums). Your role will also take shape based on all of your attributes, interests, values and desires. And finally your role and how you are in your step-family, will also be influenced by your past and parenting style. Your role will be unique as your stepfamily is unique and what you bring into this new family will be unique.
Here are five tips which may help to guide your developing stepmother role:
1. Take your time:
If you are in a long term committed relationship there is no reason why you can’t relax and be present to all the unfolding moments.
2. Get interested in your step-kids.
Find out what they like and create opportunities to share in a moment together doing something that they love to do.
3. Bring your interests and hobbies to the new relationships you are forming.
For example, if you like to bake cakes, bake the children cakes; invite them to make cakes with you. Share your joy of baking. By bringing yourself to the relationships you ensure that your new role includes who you are too.
4. Share your unfolding experience with your partner.
Your partner will be your pillar of strength during the beginning stages.
5. Look after yourself. Remember to take time out for you!!
Remember that if you are asking yourself the questions Who am I? What do I do and How do I do it? You are not alone and actually you’re experiencing a very natural phase of stepmotherhood. This time will pass as you gently bring your wonderful self to the stepfamily, gently form relationships with your stepkids, strengthen your relationship with your partner and navigate your place with other significant adults in the children’s lives.
Tell me about how you are going navigating your role as a stepmother. I would love to hear from you. Send me an email, or a message via my Facebook via.
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