I have plenty of fodder for some new posts, but life always takes away that time. The biggest thing I wanted to pass on in my first post for the new year is making sure that you always have a back up.
I don't mean a friend or your husband (necessarily). I mean that you need to have a back-up purpose...or 10. Like, I would say 3 at a minimum. But, that's me. I have to keep busy.
If you're a new or intermediate stepmom, you need a few back-up activities that are filling. And I don't just mean "activities". I mean "involvements". "Dedications". A few other "purposes." Other than being a wife or stepmom.
So a job is one thing, but we all know how awesome jobs are at making us feel meaningful. (Ha! Glass ceiling? Yeah, still exists.)
Volunteer. Be in charge of something, because you will not be in charge of your stepkids. Or, you may have some "in charge" but still feel worthless.
I coach soccer, and I found that I'm very good at that. I wouldn't be coaching if it weren't for my stepchildren, but now I coach with or without them. Before that, I was a youth ministry leader/counselor for the church, and I'm still doing that when I'm not coaching. I am also a cat and dog rescue/foster parent.
Are you noticing a theme, though? The good thing about my type of volunteer activities is that it involves youth looking up to me and respecting me. That happens to directly correspond with the disrespect or lack of love and meaning I receive from my stepdaughters. Even the animals rescue/fostering is perfect. These animals are my children. I care for them and they follow me around. And then my stepkids are jealous when the animals follow me around because they're only here every other weekend. (Ha! Love it.)
Anyways, you MUST find other activities that are fulfilling beyond your stepchildren. I know what it's like- even with these involvements and hobbies, I still am crazy, like the typical stepmom, about the issues with my stepkids. Even though I'm so busy and I'm working with all these kids that think I'm great, even though I "feel the love" from other kids all the time, it still barely compensates for the pain I sometimes feel as a stepmom.
But, you need to be selfish in picking out your involvements. You must dedicate yourself so that you are considered important and useful or a leader in the group or whatever it is. You must allow yourself to receive praise and attention. You must excel and show your stepkids that you're worth being in their lives, because they don't believe it on their own. They'll learn from it, and you get the fulfillment outside of the unfulfilled part of your home life.
But most of all, you need these things to tell you the opposite of what your stepkids show you. You need it for your self-esteem, your sanity, and your social life.
You must over-involve yourself elsewhere.