To The Stepmom Who Feels Broken
Every stepmom knows that mothering is hard. Whether you are a stepmother who has her own children or you’re a stepmother who doesn’t, it’s pretty much universally agreed that being a mother or in a mothering role is one of THE hardest jobs out there.
So if you’re not the biological mother but you’re still trying to mother children in all kinds of varying dynamics and circumstances as a stepmom — there will be moments when you may feel absolutely broken.
There will be days that seem to hit you like a ton of bricks. There will be feelings of bitterness, isolation, and exasperation.
You may be lucky enough to reap joyous rewards from your stepmom role OR you may be in a pit of despair with no view of light at the end of the tunnel.
Dating and/or marrying someone who already has children is a commitment that’s on a whole other level. Stepparenting is not a game. It’s a journey of compromise, sacrifice, and humility.
Feeling broken within these blended family dynamics isn’t just normal — it’s a rite of passage.
The formal definition of broken is, ‘having been fractured or damaged and no longer in one piece or in working order’ OR ‘having given up all hope; despairing.’
Does this feel like you in your stepmom role? Do you feel hopeless? Do you feel damaged beyond repair?
This stepparenting thing certainly isn’t for everyone and so many stepmoms find themselves torn between the emotional stress of trying to please everyone and the desire to simply quit and walk away.
So, what do you do? How do you become unbroken?
Well — you don’t.
You ARE going to break — maybe over and over again and in varying ways.
But it’s what you do with those broken pieces when you battle to put yourself back together again that matters.
As humans, we are made up of many broken pieces — some pieces are broken by experiences— and some are broken by chance. Sometimes we can’t control what pieces we have to use or to repair ourselves with. But sometimes we can.
It’s important to realize that although so often it may seem as if we’re not in control at all, there are things we can still have domain over — such as our personal integrity, our personal boundaries, and our personal goals.
Knowing who you are and what kind of values you stand for is vital in a blended family situation. Don't ever give up your integrity to please or satiate others. At worst, you might risk disappointing people who don’t respect you anyways and at best you could imprint an incredibly positive influence on your stepchild or stepchildren by showing them that what you believe in matters — no matter who is offended.
Boundaries represent the level at which we've decided our time and personal integrity are valued. This means that if someone is blatantly ignoring those boundaries or attempting to manipulate us into giving up what’s important to us, a wall must go up until a compromise can be met. This isn’t necessarily a combative stance — but it IS a firm one based on how we want to be treated both in the present and in the future.
Personal goals are our individual rights. No one can take that away and goals are definitely unique to each person and something we can feel like we have control over. As a stepmom, it’s imperative that you have your own life, your own ambitions, and your own goals. Otherwise, you’re going to end up lost in a sea of other people’s wants, needs, and mistakes.
Unfortunately, stepparenting challenges aren’t always pretty. In fact, they can be quite ugly. The fact that you are a stepmom in the first place means you probably stepped into a family situation that didn’t quite work out for whatever reason. But that doesn’t mean things can’t get better with time and patience within the new family dynamic.
Feeling broken isn’t pleasant. Being a stepmom can break your heart. It can break your self-confidence. It can break your stride. But there’s always a chance to pick up those pieces and put them back in a different way than before. Perhaps with more intention, firmness, and self-love.
Sometimes breaking can be good — sometimes we need to lose things. But it’s what we decide to gain back by ultimately rebuilding in a new way that can make the real difference going forward.
More from Michelle: 3 Things Every Stepparent Should Remember About Their Stepchildren