Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Great Expectations and Mislabeling

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.

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