The Sacrifices Of A Stepmom
If you are already a stepmom, or you are a stepmom-to-be, this article might help you weed through what you should and should not expect to sacrifice as a human being who happens to be mate to a man with children, adult or young. When I first became “stepmom” to my two small stepchildren, I seemed to sacrifice a lot of ~time~. Time was, and still is, a valuable commodity in our busy household. One of the biggest time stealers was getting organized in order to run our blended family home smoother. I wasn’t a single mom anymore with a tidy, small home in the city, I was stepmom to two and mom to one and mate to my darling in a large rambling multi-level home in the country. Multiply the mess by 3! Multiply cooking by 3, chaos by three, etc… Suddenly, I had no time for ~me~. Slowly, I learned how to recoup some of that time by backing off and having my hubby do at least half of the things that needed to be done. Ahhhh… relief. So, in reality, I didn’t have to sacrifice *all* of my time, but I did realize that I would have to sacrifice *some* on a regular basis. I could not be “superstepmom”. It isn’t possible.
As a stepmom, you can and probably will expend a lot of ~emotional energy~. Whether it deals with your stepchildren, the first wife, financial issues, “blended” issues, in-laws, etc… You will find yourself living a complicated life. Stepparenting IS complicated. Finding where *you* fit in to this life, is exhausting. But once you can find out where you fit in, and you are happy with it, it’s worth it. You have overcome one of the biggest hurdles stepmoms face. Bravo! Try not to involve yourself in too many issues surrounding the first family, your in-laws or “the ex”. Sometimes it is best to step back and allow them to battle it out. Don’t allow a lot of negative energy into your mind and soul. This is one of the most difficult things a stepmom can accomplish. Stepping back can also be called “detachment”. The trick is to find out what issues to detach from, you detach from issues, not people. If you can do this, you are certainly well on your way to success as a stepmom.
Physical energy is also another sacrifice, especially for stepmoms with younger children. There may be times when you are the “soccer stepmom”, when you have to escort the children to the doctor or the dentist. If you are a stay at home stepmom, you probably have a lot of responsibility when it comes to housework. Housework is a very demanding physical activity! If you have help from the children and your husband, you are in luck.
There are stepmoms who sacrifice finances/income to be a stepmom. There are stepmoms who actually contribute to child support, child support for children that they did not bring into this world. My hat is definitely off to stepmoms such as these. Of course, if you bring in any kind of an income, you probably help out within the family with expenses. Expenses incurred by a blended family can be exorbitant, especially if you have custody of your stepchildren. Do not sacrifice al of your income, you will probably become resentful if you do. Sacrificing income is a very sensitive subject for many stepmoms.
If you were like me, you started out as a single mom of one child and you had your life “just so”. You rose bushes were pruned regularly, your house was very clean, your lawn was gorgeous and you had more physical space than you might now. This was a big thing for me to overcome. It seemed as though I was swarmed by my stepchildren, I needed ~space~, space to digest the situation and space to figure out just how I was going to make this work. I really needed a “place” of my own. I didn’t need my house back, but I did need a place to go to when I became overwhelmed. So, my husband converted his/our storage room upstairs into a beautiful sewing room, complete with tables, shelving, etc.. That room was my sanity saver for quite a while. Please try to make sure that you don’t have to sacrifice personal, physical space. A cornered/suffocated/ stepmom, is not a happy one. Put a lock on your bedroom door!
Other things you may have to sacrifice were “wants”. Now that we were a completely blended family, we had to be careful about money, and how it was spent. My “wants” list had to be pushed aside for a time, and sometimes, it still is. I “want” a bigger house, I “want” a great big office, I “want” a diamond tennis bracelet every year, but the reality fairy tells me this isn’t possible right now while living in our stepfamily. These things, are okay to sacrifice if YOU are okay with it. If you are not okay sacrificing material things, you have to make some changes, and fast. You might even have to make some big life choices that can affect your family dramatically. Be honest with yourself.
One of the most important things that stepmoms must sacrifice both a stepmoms, and second wives/mates, is the idea of the “first experiences”. Naturally, if you are a stepmom, your husband has already been through the “baby stage”, the “first house stage”, the “gala-wedding” stage etc….
This can be quite disconcerting to even the most well adjusted stepmom/second wife. There are some women who feel as though these experiences have actually been stolen from them and feel resentful. I feel this is a normal emotion, and usually, with good communication and a new perspective, you can overcome it. Every experience is new, and it is to be cherished no matter how many times either of you have done it before. The birth of my second son, with my now husband, was actually “a first” for me and for us. It all depends on how you are willing to perceive the experience and your life.
As you can see, there are many sacrifices for stepmoms and second wives. Some are healthy sacrifices and some are not. You must be a great mental shape to take on the role of stepmom and second wife. If you are not in tip top shape, your relationships, your marriage and your family will suffer, and so will you. Take your time, be objective, don’t give too much of yourself right away, and most of all, take time to be you.
Canadian Mom & Stepmom to Four