I would like to share with you the 5 essential To Do’s as a stepmother.
- Establish healthy “me” time and a positive support system. We all need someone who will be impartial and not too critical to be our shoulder to cry on when drama pops up in our lives. Leave those negative, trouble maker friends alone at this point. Negative begets negative. Use this opportunity to pray and ask God for peace in your home, for serenity. Call a girlfriend and vent. Or take a walk or exercise as a stress reliever.
- Nuture your relationship with your spouse. If you have date nights or special time alone together (i.e. after the kids are in bed) you will be doing your blended family a huge favor. Statistics on blended families aren’t good but the bottom line is that the couple relationship is the foundation and if it’s damaged or not strong then the family will surely suffer or even fail.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate. This is so important in all relationships but vital to the blended family. As the stepmother you may want to initiate this if you see it hasn’t happened yet. Sit down with your spouse and discuss discipline, visitation, communication with the birthmom, how your house will run (rules and consequences). Open the door of communication with your stepkids and allow them to share their feelings with you even if they are negative feelings- just listen. They will learn to appreciate your open ear and respect you for not trying to change them or “rule over” them. Remember as long as your rules and consequences are set (and posted for all to see) they can’t challenge you without hearing about it. Back up your spouse in decisions and keep an united front going.
- Plan ahead of time to have family time together. This has to be intentional. Often times your spouse may make up plans or exclude you from plans but if your intentional then it will show your intentions on staying involved and nurturing the family. If nothing else, at least have mealtime together at the dining room table.
- Choose your battles wisely. Sometimes we need to just “let it go.” A power struggle will only damage your already sensitive relationships. Ask yourself “Is this worth the fight?” Come on, life is too short and unless you want your relationship to suffer, let it go and discuss it at a later time alone when you are not so upset about it.