The greatest attributes about women make it hard for them in families, particularly stepfamily life.
The way we think about our role as the stepmother and family member can greatly affect our happiness and satisfaction with our own life.
Being aware of your happiness and satisfaction can make all the difference, no matter what kind of family you are in. When you shift your thinking on these ideas, you will make your life better.
Are you new to the stepmom life or dealing with an ongoing stepfamily struggle? Read on to learn how you can benefit from focusing on being centered as a stepmother, rather than being the center.
To Be The Center Or Be Centered As A Stepmother?
Women are raised in our society to be the center of the family. This mentality alone begins the struggle of the stepmother.
To most women, this means taking her rightful place as the creator of a loving home and beautiful family and partnering with her husband to make the home run smoothly.
But there is a problem with this role expectation by both the father and the stepmother. As Betty Carter, coauthor of The Invisible Web: Gender Patterns in Family Relationships explains that this mentality, “sucks the stepmother into a quagmire of domestic roles; it’s not only that somebody makes her do it, she also does it to herself.”
Trying to follow traditional gender roles in the biological family barely works, and it doesn’t work at all in the stepfamily realm. So how do you be centered as a stepmother?
Avoid Taking On The Role As Center Of The Family
How can you avoid this “I’m supposed to be the center of the family” quagmire?
Start by changing your expectations of your role in the stepfamily. Instead of seeing yourself as the center of the family, make the shift to just being happy to be a part of it. Know that your role will develop over time.
Also, your husband will need to change his expectation of your role as well. After all, you can’t be an “Instant Mom” to your husband’s children. And you need your husband’s help to gradually find your place.
If you are in a situation where you are taking care of your husband’s children on a full-time basis without him, you’ll have additional issues to work out. We’ll be further discussing those issues in the future.
Have you recently found yourself stepping into the role of stepmother before you and the children seem ready? Schedule a free consultation with The Bridge Across to discuss your options, boundaries, and overall how to start enjoying life on your terms again.
Shift What Your Feelings Are Telling You
Women have a deep and loving desire for their families to be happy.
Women have a natural instinct and intuitive nature regarding relationships. In “How Can I Get through to you?” Terrence Real writes, “Traditional socialization teaches girls to filter their sense of self-worth through connection to others, even at great cost to themselves, while it teaches boys to filter their sense of self through their performance.”
The stepmother struggles when she feels all the members of her new family wrestling with their own challenges and feelings. Her stepmother’s radar sensors are on complete 110% overload, and she feels overwhelmed.
The “Everyone Needs To Be Happy” Trap
First, you can start by noticing when you get anxious or upset about your family.
Typically, when a woman sees her family struggling, she starts trying to do things to make it better for everyone. Women tend to want to help with all the problems in the stepfamily, whether they are her problems or not. Her intentions are great but unrealistic. They cause her to feel resentful and unappreciated.
Worrying about your family? Shift your thought. Then remind yourself that it takes time and patience for a healthy stepfamily to form.
Remember, it will take practice to detach from your sensors driving you crazy, but you can do it.
When you focus on what you can do and take some time to figure it out, you will feel less anxious. And so will everyone else. In this way, you can be centered as a stepmother – positive and successful.
Are you having a hard time trying to detach from trying to make everyone happy? Know that you’re not alone. Reach out to The Bridge Across for a free consultation to help you find the balance that works for you and your stepfamily.
The “I Want To Help” Quicksand
Does the phrase “I want to help” resonate with you?
Recognize that you are trying to be responsible for the whole family and that no one can do that in any kind of family.
Stepfamilies actually teach us a lot about one-on-one relationships. It’s important to let each person in the family be responsible for their own relationships. Let your husband be responsible for his kids. Stand back and let him take care of his kids when he is there. Keep this in mind no matter how much you think you might be able to do it better.
Plan and enjoy family time with your stepfamily during some of the weekends. Plan and enjoy time with your husband. If you have your own children, then plan and enjoy time with them.
Above all, plan and enjoy time for yourself during the weekend. Stepmoms deserve a break, too.
Learning To Be A Stepmother Doesn’t Have To Be A Lonely Road
Need help defining your role?
Need help explaining this to your husband?
At The Bride Across, we help clients through all aspects of marriage, divorce, single parenting, remarriage, and stepfamily life. Our unique counseling and coaching services are specifically designed to help all types of families, and all the members that make up each family.
For more information about how to work out stepmother issues, The Bridge Across can help. Schedule a free consultation today to learn proven tools that can help you through this transition and into a happy life that you love.