Becoming a stepmom can be a pretty tricky task, one that you might be really worried about getting right.
Entering into a family with pre-existing relationships, attachments and bonds can sometimes feel like a minefield, and you are right in thinking that you have to be careful and mindful of certain aspects. But, this doesn’t mean that becoming a stepmom isn’t also one of the most rewarding and loving experiences that can be had.
There is a lot of joy, laughter and love on the stepmom journey. Making sure that you handle certain aspects of the process appropriately and with care can ensure that it is these loving parts that take centre stage.
If that is something you want, make sure to keep reading to find out our top 5 pieces of advice on how to be a great stepmom.
If they are of any use to you, please let us know in the comments below, share our blog with friends and family, and give us a follow on social media too so you never miss out on a new OnlyMomsKnow blog again.
Then let’s get started.
1. Don’t get jealous of your partner
First things first, don’t get jealous of your partner and their pre-existing relationships with their kids. You are entering a family with years spent together and this means that you will start off on an unlevel playing field.
I think that one of the most important things in stepparenthood is remembering not to get jealous of the biological parent. It can cause so much stress and tension in both your relationship with your partner and your budding relationships with their kids. Jealousy drives a huge wedge between family members and it is something that is not easy to rectify or heal down the line.
Try and keep things as positive and focused on gratitude as possible. If you do have difficult feelings around anything, try journaling or speaking to a neutral, adult friend about things.
2. Don’t bad-mouth your partner’s ex
Another super important thing to avoid is bad-mouthing your partner’s ex and the kids’ mom. This is one of the easiest ways to destroy any potential relationships with the children as it will make them feel upset, confused, and hurt. It can also lead to potential conflict between you, your partner, and the ex, and this is never good for children to be around.
While it might be difficult, maybe even very difficult, you will need to find ways that you can cope with being around your partner’s ex, for the sake of the children.
Putting your differences aside and creating a happy and healthy environment for the children to grow up in should be everyone’s top priority.
Again, if you are struggling with this make sure you are trying to deal with it in appropriate ways. Speaking to a counsellor can be very beneficial if things are getting very tough.
3. Honour pre-existing family traditions
Pre-established family relationships will come with pre-existing family traditions.
While you might want to start your own traditions straight away and establish your “new family”, it is important to remember that this new family can (and has to) integrate with the past too. If you try and move away from things that the kids already know and love, they can end up resenting you and wishing they had their life from before back.
While it is tricky, the role of a stepmom includes balancing the old and the new so that, ultimately, the children are happy and comfortable. At the beginning of your time as a stepmom you might have to deal with a little more of the past than you might want, but don’t worry too much, things will ease into new ways more comfortably over time.
Sometimes taking part in a family movie night that has existed for years or going to the same park your partner always went with their kids’ mom doesn’t feel great initially, but over time you can replace that discomfort with new, happy memories of your own and this is all that really matters.
4. Understand that stepmom relationships take time to build
Leading on very well from our last point, it is super duper important to understand going into this that building healthy stepmom-stepkid relationships takes time.
Even if you get on pretty well with your partner’s kids already, it will still take time to really cement your role in the family and it will take time for the children to fully accept you in your new role as their stepmom.
Try not o get too disheartened with the time that this is taking. It is well worth it in the end and, in fact, the slower you take it the easier it can be on the children too. Big shocks to the system are never good in childhood, it is far better to take things slow and steady and see the lasting benefits unfold.
5. Encourage new traditions of your own with the kids
When things start to settle a little, it is a great time to start your own traditions with the kids, one-on-one.
While being their dad’s partner, it is great for you to have your own relationships with them that flourish and grow. One of the best ways to do this is to establish activities that you enjoy doing together and then do these things regularly so they become traditions between the two of you.
If you need some inspiration for activities to do, check out this really cool Pinterest board specifically designed for stepparents!
Being a stepmom can also look a lot like being a friend, so try being a friend to your partner’s kid or kids first and see how far that can take you.
With a little bit of patience, time, and dedication, I guarantee that your relationships with your stepkids will be happy and healthy, ready to last a lifetime.
And then you will see that everything was 100% worth all of the effort. Trust me on that one!