It is one thing to be a parent. It is another thing entirely to be a stepparent. Taking on the role of becoming a stepmom to kids that may have not known you previously can come with its own set of rules and challenges. It is up to you to fully understand what you are up against as a stepmom:
1. They are under pressure to succeed
Being successful as a stepmom is difficult as you likely had little time to prepare for the task at hand. You likely just fell into the duty of helping to raise another person’s children when you entered into a romantic relationship, and you are more than aware of the importance of not failing.
2. They sit between being a friend and parent to their stepchildren
Since they have to often navigate between the needs and roles already established by biological parents, stepparents often find it difficult to find their place. As a stepmom, you are stuck in between being a replacement parent and an adult friend who the children can trust.
3. They have to be authentic
It is hard to fake your way through the task of being a stepparent. You have to be real. You really can never offer your best to the children by being someone you are not. Besides, children are often able to see through fake behavior and detect true motives regardless of how you present yourself anyway.
4. They sometimes take the blame
The children sometimes need an outlet for expressing the anger that they feel that it didn’t work out for their parents. And what better outlet than the stepparent? We often are the target of blame for their parents’ shortcomings, or the fact they their biological parents are no longer a couple.
5. They can struggle with not feeling loved in return
As much as you love the father of the children, and you treat the children with honesty, love, and respect, your relationship with them can still be challenging. It can be difficult to put your heart on the line and invest in loving the children if you fear they will never love you back, or that they don’t see you as a ‘true parent’ due the fact that you are not biologically related to them.
6. They always have their personality put to the test
It can be very hard to act with righteousness and enforce roles when you are a stepmom. It can feel like your personality is always being put to the test. There are many people you have to confront and contend with: the children, the ex-spouse, extended family, and even strangers sometimes. To deal with this positively does take a strong sense of self-worth and an ability to sail over insecurities and doubts.
7. They are sometimes used as bait in tense situations
Whether you are playing it cool or being a hotheaded stepparent, the children may want to understand your weaknesses and potentially use these against you when tense situations occur. These situations can create ethical dilemmas and test your values. For example, what if you have become entrusted with their secrets and personal affairs? Can you betray their trust, or do you tolerate everything they bring your way because you want to be the pleasant stepmom?
8. They have to go beyond relying on maternal instinct
You might feel that you have a maternal instinct and with that you can thrive against any challenge you face. But it does not work that way. While this maternal instinct can be very valuable, instinct alone isn’t enough to help you navigate the difficult terrain of being a stepmom.
9. They fear what will happen, but also understand that it could all be worth it
There is nothing guaranteed or assured when you take on the role of being a stepmom. It could work out great or not so great. You have to strive forward, believe in your role as a stepmother, and believe that no matter what, things will work out for the best.
10. They can still experience joy, despite all the struggles
It is one thing to assign yourself the role of being a stepparent. But having the children fully recognize you in that role and coming to you about their personal issues rather than their parents gives you a magnificent feeling of worthiness and accomplishment.
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