Something I have noticed about being a stepmom is that in the beginning I allowed it to be my entire existence. I see that in other stepmoms too. Where does this come from? We are so hungry and so desperate to be a part of this family that, well, let’s face it, it is its own family and entity without us apart of the equation. Why does this piss us off and create so much turmoil in our hearts and bodies? First thing’s first- we LET it. We CHOOSE it. You’re probably thinking… why the fuck would I choose this? I didn’t sign up for this. I chose my husband and his children happened to come along for the ride! Wrong.
There are several things going on here, both internally and externally. While I am not a licensed psychologist, my rigorous studies and research, as well as experience, help me grasp and understand what is playing a deeper role here- the subconscious mind. We really believe that our conscious mind is what drives and motivates us on a daily basis. Unfortunately, while we ALWAYS have a choice, our conscious mind and body follow a subconscious pattern. I really think that being a stepparent brings out the ugly in us because we have not gotten to the root of what our subconscious patterns really are… what we BELIEVE to be true about ourselves…
In my experience, it seems though stepmoms struggle with serious self-worth issues. They grow angry, depressed and anxious because of 1 of 2 things- they either have no self-worth and are aware of it or have no self-worth and are not aware of it. Either way, they seem to desperately seek approval from outside sources, bringing only pain and emptiness while breeding a shit load of issues. They then generally chalk it up to the fact that these issues solely come from being in a blended family. Maybe the other bio parent is so filled with anger that they exhibit only batshit type of behavior. Perhaps the stepchildren are needy, jealous, or lack any kind or respect and discipline. Perhaps the partner the stepmom has exhibits “guilt” and puts the stepmom on the back burner. The list could really go on. The point is that all of these experiences, circumstances, and feelings are linked to outside sources that we have no control over or power to snap our fingers and make it change. The legitimately only power we have is the power within our own soul and mind. What is focused on expands. We can come up with millions of excuses as to why we should focus on all of these horrible things or convince ourselves that our internal happiness and peace would change only if the people or world around us changed.
I spent a lot of time doing this in the beginning. Bio mom was definitely angry- for multiple reasons. The kids liked and accepted me right off the bat so that was cool. But they were still kids, and I was young and found them annoying or a burden at times. I wanted it to be about me- my relationship and my life. At first, I disregarded my now husband’s behavior and role in creating this bullshit lifestyle. The picture he painted of his ex-wife wasn’t pretty. What was even less appealing was his lack of responsibility in the matter. I won’t go on and on about their past and how that family was created. What is important was that I decided to get real and rewrite MY story. I was more than a girl dating a guy with 2 kids. I was more than what the angry mother of his children thought about me. I was more than a stepmom role. I was more than all of it. I was a separate individual with thoughts, feelings, dreams and desires. The first thing I did after many moons of anxiety, depression, and no self-worth, was get clear on what my desires and responsibilities were. The first was deciding how committed I was. If I wanted to be with my partner, what did I want my life to look like?
Side note- I am ridiculously intuitive. I have an insane ability to be compassionate and empathize as if I were able to transplant my soul into the other person’s body and feel their experience as my own. It is a blessing and a curse. It allowed me to pinpoint things that my husband was unable to see or understand in terms of what was happening with his ex-wife or children. Everyone in his life steered me away from her, as it made no sense to them that she and I could be friends, or even coparent. Newsflash- she is a human being with feelings and still the mother of the children my husband shares with her. I followed my gut and pulled the trigger, clearing space for what I wanted, which was a healthy coparenting relationship between she and him, she and me, and transparency. It wasn’t luck that she and I ended up as friends- it was created.
Fast forward after years of losing a sense of self and making the face of anxiety and stepparent the only identity I had, I am set free. I am Brittany. I am a human. I am a stepmom. I am writing my story every day. It changes and shifts. I acquire new knowledge and experiences every single day. My perspectives shift. My soul changes direction. All of this is ok. What I know is when to seek help. My husband and I are in couple’s therapy. It has allowed us to create space for transparency and intimacy. I have my own coach. She has helped me make tremendous strides of change in my personal and professional life. Hiring a coach was the best decision I have ever made. I was on the fence because of the financial investment, but seriously, do it. You are more than just a stepmom in a blended family. You are more than the second wife. You are more than someone dealing with blended family bullshit. You are more. I have been to hell and back in many different forms, as all of us have.
The key to significant change starts with the choice to get real, raw, and take responsibility for yourself. No one else can write your story and leave you feeling empowered and whole. If you are hoping someone else will write your story so you can feel included, a part of something significant, or have confidence and self-worth, time to think again. You can have both. You can have it all, despite what society or anyone in your life has taught you. That does not mean it will be smooth sailing and shitting rainbows every day, especially in a blended family. However, I would suggest that you stop waiting for something to change, hire a coach, and have that coach kick your ass into the shape YOU want. I did it. So can you.
REMINDER: There is NO rehearsal for your life.