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5 Tips For Gaining Clarity on Your Role As a Stepmom and Achieving a Blended and Flourishing Family

Updated: Sep 12, 2021

I remember sitting on my room floor feeling so overwhelmed, stressed, and defeated. I can still hear my voice in my head saying, "this can't be life; it can't be my life!" I would have days where I would lock myself in my room and cry. I did not think being a stepmom would have me feeling lost, confused, as if life was happening to me instead of me living life. I couldn't figure out how to move forward or make my situation better.

Through some much-needed prayer and thinking, it hit me! I couldn't improve my situation without fully understanding the problem and the root cause. The emotional roller coaster I was going through was hard for me to understand because I liked being a stepmom, and I love my stepchildren. Although I'm not too fond of the added challenges that came with them being a part of my life, I enjoy taking care of them.

However, I was not myself. It was as if I had created an idea of what a perfect stepmom should be, and I was playing the part. But the position was not true to who I was, so I was overwhelmed and miserable. It was through the much-needed prayer and thinking that I discovered the 5 R’s that changed my life by giving me clarity on why I felt the way I did and what I needed to do to get back in the driver's seat of my life and take control of who I am as a stepmother.

The first R that led me to clarity is “Reflect”:

It is vital to reflect because our thoughts and experiences all helped shape our now. Therefore, if you don't have awareness and a clear understanding of your past experiences and what led you to this point, you won't be able to connect it to how it is impacting you. Preventing you from gaining true transformation. Any solution you come up with without full awareness would be like putting a band-aid over an injury without treating the wound. The band-aid might stop the bleeding, but the wound won't fully heal without the proper care.

When you reflect, I want you to consider these questions:

  • What are your thoughts about what a stepmom is or should be and why?

  • What type of emotions do you feel when you say or hear the word stepmom? (happy, sad, defensive..etc.)

  • Do you have previous experience of being a stepmom?, or had a stepmom? If so, analyze your experience.

Through reflecting, I realized that I was playing the role of super stepmom based on my childhood experiences. I had experiences with two different types of stepmom as a child. One who made it known that she did not like me, and that she could convince my dad to do whatever she wanted, including neglect me. Another, who loved me as if I was her own child. Surprisingly, it was my negative experience that shaped who I was as a stepmom.

I wanted so badly to prevent my stepchildren from experiencing what I felt as an unloved stepchild. At the time, I didn't know that was what I was doing. I saw it as me loving my stepchildren and being a great stepmom. However, I was overdoing it and neglecting my needs because my life became all about them. I also ended up neglecting my biological child in the process. Through reflecting, I was also able to come up with a new definition of family. We no longer had to have every member of our immediate family there for us to be a family and do things as a family. That reflection enabled me to provide my biological child with the memories she deserves without feeling guilty that my stepchildren were not a part of all of those memories.

The second R that led me to clarity is “Reach”:

Reach out to God for guidance in your stepparent role. I genuinely believe that God's exact requirements for parents are the same requirement he has for stepparents. However, how we carry it out may be different because parents have natural authority over their children. But as a stepparent, we don't have that same authority. We don't have that same natural bond with the kids that biological parents have. It takes time to build and get to that level. We cannot try to parent from the start the way biological parents do because we don't have that natural bond with our stepchildren from the start. We have to build up to that.

God created the entity of what parenting is, and he has restrictions and requirements on how to fulfill that. So who better to teach you how to do that than God?

When you reach out to God, I want you :

  • Ask him to reveal to you how He wants you to stepparent

  • How can you fulfill your purpose as a stepparent?

  • If you don't know your purpose/ assignment as a stepparent, ask him to reveal it to you

  • Ask him to guide your steps

  • Stay in consistent contact with God

The third R that led me to clarity is “Realize”:

I want you to realize that this is new territory for you. It may be new territory for your spouse, your stepchildren, and their biological mom. Realize that they are trying to figure it out too, just like how you are trying to figure it out, realize that you may have different values than your spouse and the children's biological mother. Their values are going to shape the children's behavior. You may have different expectations of children, different parenting styles than your spouse or your stepchildren's mother. Realize that your life experiences have shaped your worldview, and your worldview may be different than theirs. Once you realize these things, it truly helps you focus on things within your control and let go of things out of your control.

After going through your realization process, consider:

  • What are you and your partner's strengths, and how can it benefit the family unit?

  • How do you and your partner differ in values, expectations, parenting style...Ect and where can you all compromise?

  • What are your expectations of yourself as a stepmom, and what is your spouse's expectation? If it differs, how do you all compromise?

  • What type of relations do you currently have with your stepchild, and what kind of relationship do you want? Do they want the same thing?

The Four R that led me to clarity is “Respect”:

This could be a little hard because sometimes we feel like when we respect other people we disagree with, it means that we accept what they're doing, which is wrong. . In actuality, we are accepting that person and meeting them where they are. Don't try to force them to change or see things from your perspective. It takes more of your energy and may end up hurting you in the process.

Here is an example of how I apply Respect when I disagree with the other person's point of view.

Before I moved back to New Jersey, my husband wanted his kids to live with us. We knew it was a higher possibility for one of our kids to come and live with us based on the complexity of our situation. Although he wanted all of them, we knew the possibility of getting at least one to live with us was higher. However, that biological mom's stance was that her son would not live with any stepmom. When I moved to New Jersey, I became active in my step-kids life. About a year after my husband and I moved in together, we got the opportunity for our son to live with us. I respected his mom's point of view on not wanting her son to live with a stepmom. I didn't try to change her mind. It wouldn't have been my place in the first place.

When he came to live with me, I still respected her point of view. I realized that it was hard for her, and I didn't try to rub it in her face. Over the years, things progressed that even in person, she told me, thank you for helping take care of our son. However, if I did not respect where she was and tried to force things, it would have made the situation more difficult and would probably not have progressed the way it did.

The Fifth R that led me to clarity is “Relax”:

I know it's easier said than done, but take the pressure off yourself. Being a stepmom is not a natural role. Therefore it's not going to come quickly to you. I'm pretty sure it's not something you planned for when you were a child. Move to the drum of you and your family, and don't allow anyone to put pressure on you. Create your definition for blending and what that looks for your family and take it one day at a time. Make sure your needs are being met in the process.

Implementing these 5 R’s will help you gain clarity in your role as a stepmom and prevent you from feeling stuck, setting unrealistic excitation, and second-guessing everything. It's also not a one-and-done process. These are things you can do consistently to help you along your journey.

I provide stepmom resources on my social media pages as well as Programs and one-on-one coaching sessions. Click the link below for a gift:

Winell Wilmote,

Stepmom Coach

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