The reason I find these kinds of articles "funny" is that I know that doing these fairly typical parenting things made me seem quite evil to my s'kids, and every stepmom knows what I'm talking about! I completely agree with the author, but you are particularly hated if you try to employ just regular parenting techniques you thought everyone knew about... But because I was in my 20s, the second wife, and not the real mom...Whoa doggies. It was like I was coming from the Gingerbread House for really normal stuff.
But no, in the divorce world, parents are often bending over backwards to maintain favor, so you're damn evil if you do something presented in that very normal article! Or, some see it as: If you're a stepmom, you're not allowed to parent, even if the kids are with you an inordinate amount of time. We know the catch-22 in that one and often err on the side of more-important caution though, understanding that if we don't parent with some standards, we get written up in the next court custody order as an endangerment to the children! (As such, I maintain standards that will keep me out of any false claims that I "don't care" and don't provide.)
Ladies, keep your standards. You DO know the difference between right, wrong, and spoiled. You will help your s'kids learn things that their parents maybe can't because they're too emotionally conflicted. But, do try to do that horrible balancing act...Pick your battles, if you will. Your marriage comes first. Keeping your husband and your house out of a court write-up is a part of that. ;-p
I wrote this a while ago. I don't know that it describes me now, but it sure is worthwhile.
We try too hard. Every book and article claims that a stepmom's goal is to be....A friend. A back-up Mom that is happy to take no credit. Like an Aunt. A mentor. A role model.
What if you don't want to be either? That's where I'm at. I've been OK with the other mother role, or I was when the kids were younger. Probably most of the time, I wish I wasn't anything, though. I don't necessarily want to be their friend...I was once and in our situation, being "friends" is setting myself up for being punched in the gut repeatedly.
Why is that supposed to be our stepmom goal? Can we come up with smaller, more attainable goals that we can actual feel some accomplishment and progress over?
How about.... get through the day without losing it? Handle depression? Make it to a therapist, maybe with your husband, regularly? Get through just one good meal a week with the kids?
I'm just sayin. If you're in the situation of a struggling stepmom, trying to figure out who you are in all of this, it doesn't help much to throw out lofty titles that aren't realistic at that moment in time.
Stepmoms: Don't be focused on that. Don't read an article and think "Oh! I will be a mentor then!" and then try it out and find out that that failed, too. It will be something that will take shape over time, but if you're in chaos, confusion, frustrating, depression, and near hell... Those lofty goals are just too much to think about. Even positive labels can be hurtful. (See #socialPsych #childdevelopment)
Focus on the little things. Rejoice in any accomplishment whatsover, like, "Today, I didn't want to toss the teenager out of the house!" Or, maybe something even smaller: "Today, my stepdaughter made me laugh."
And sometimes, stop trying. Sometimes, when you're going in circles, you can't find your footing, you really don't know your role here- Step away for a while. Take a break. Go hang with friends. Schedule time with your "original" family. Just step away, because your role will work itself out over time or after the kids age a bit or when other life circumstances change. I'm not saying, "It will all work out great!" I'm just saying that you'll find your groove, your fit, your spot, your rhythm eventually. Screw the titles or expectations others, or you, put on yourself.
It's an honor to see that my blog is read every day despite the fact that I haven't posted in months. I apologize for being so behind, so writer-blocked.
I get ideas for articles to post all the time, but I have not had the time. I also continue to self-censor, a lot. I also second-guess and doubt myself plenty, and I have been rather distracted from normal life by major life events.
I also try to only write about things that really strike me as unique, especially if I have a contradiction to the stepmom articles, lit, and messaging I see proliferating the Interwebs. I like to write on society's hypocritical beliefs of stepmoms, divorced dads, and parenting and share stories from others that illustrate the opposite of what I hear or read. I want to shed light on the misunderstandings, misconceptions, and myths of stepmothering and the bogus concept of a "blended" family. I will never be surface level, and I will always get in deep.
Don't expect anything less, and I will never give you fluff.