To The Stepparent Who Wants To Give Up
Generally, in any kind of parenting role, it’s a well-known rule that giving up is simply not an option.
Anyone who is a parent or who has been a parent at one time knows that parenting IS that one role where you can literally feel like giving up on a daily basis.
And for stepparents, this struggle can be even more glaringly real.
Though I have given countless words of advice to stepparents who have asked me, written dozens of blogs about the struggles, triumphs, and experiences I have experienced as a stepmother, I quite often feel burdened by the same emotions I know my fellow stepparents feel.
There are days when you feel like you give and you give and you give without any form of credit or special appreciation. Those days can be some of the lowest days in a stepparent’s life.
It’s not pretty. It’s not a Hallmark movie. It’s real life. Real stepparenting life.
All of us remember what it felt like as a child to be left out of a game or that sinking feeling when we weren’t picked by our peers for a team. Being a stepparent can be a lot like that and suddenly you are 8 years old again wanting to run away and cry.
Now, as an adult and as a stepparent, you can certainly shed those tears or dream of running away — but you know you have to stay in the game.
You know it can’t be just about YOUR feelings.
You KNOW better.
You may still feel unappreciated for years to come. You may still get mad — a lot. You may still have to bite your tongue until it bleeds. You may still agonize over how imperfect you think you are.
But your job isn’t to be perfect. It never was.
Your job is to remain resilient in the face of glaringly imperfect people and situations while muddling through with as much grace as you can muster.
Stepparenting is not meant to be smooth or easy. It’s jagged, turbulent, and confusing.
At its best, stepparenting can be an emotionally rewarding and fulfilling experience. At its worst, stepparenting it can be a total nightmare. You can’t sweep that reality under the rug.
Some days, the best you can hope for isn’t for peace or for the ability to let go, but for the kind of self-discovery which only the toughest roles in this life can bring us.
Awareness of our jealousies, our fears, and our resentments can ultimately bring us closer to our own personal light.
Being a stepparent has taught me to savor these things — these precious victories — in my darkest hour when everything else feels lonely.
Persevere, fellow stepparents — you ARE needed, and you are not alone.
More from Michelle: Why I’m Not Mad At My Ex-Husband Anymore