10 Best Things About Being a Stepmom

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Stepmom celebratingThere are probably 100 reasons why the most common words out of a stepmom’s mouth are “this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

But why focus on the negative?

Here’s a countdown of the top 10 BEST things about being a stepmom!

10. You get to have kids AND keep your kickin’ body. No stretch marks or saggy boobs here!

9. You get to deflect blame. When you’re out with your stepchildren and they decide to throw a loud, embarrassing fit, you can stare back at the crowd and with a clear conscience say “Oh, they’re not mine.”

8. You get to have “behind-the-scenes” influence. You get to co-parent with your husband behind closed doors, then sit back while he dishes out the discipline. What evil stepmom?

7. You’re growing as a person. Anytime you’re faced with something challenging, you can’t help but learn and grow from it. What have you learned? How have you grown?

6. You get to watch your husband be in awe of his offspring. One of the sweetest things is to see the man you love fill with pride over his children. You get to sit back and listen intently while he shares his thoughts, hopes and plans for their future.

5. You can go from outsider to instant insider. There comes a time when you go from being a stranger to being part of the family. This can show up in a million different ways. It could be with a first hug, or when the kids finally decide to talk to you, or when you walk in the door and your stepson yells “Hurry up! Look what I made in school today!”

It’s an inclusion that wasn’t there the day before, and there’s nothing quite like it.

4. You’re not their parent. Instead, you’re a safe place for them to open up about things they might not want to share with their parents. This could be good or it could be bad, but either way it lets you know you’re special to them.

3. You can heal a family. Sometimes it takes an outsider to break the pattern of the family drama. You can provide your husband and your stepchildren with a new way of being that they otherwise might not have experienced.

This also gives the kids an opportunity to witness what a healthy, adult relationship looks like.  And with that vision, when they grow up, maybe they’ll seek out nurturing relationships, where the dynamic is supportive and reciprocal, instead of what they might have witnessed when their parents were together.

2. You get to walk away. When the kids are throwing attitude, acting ungrateful or just plain mean, you have the option of walking away. When YOU’RE the one with the bad day and can’t bear to be surrounded by kids, you get to take a time out.

Many stepmoms don’t take advantage of this option for fear of appearing “separate” from their stepfamily, or because they feel too much guilt. They end up burnt out because they don’t remove themselves when they desperately need to.

But the fact remains, as a stepmom, you can tell your husband it’s all on him and you’re taking the night off! I suggest every stepmom exercise this option at least once every two weeks.

And the number one best thing about being a stepmom is…

1. You’re loved for just being YOU. You have an opportunity to be loved by the kids, simply for who you are, not because you gave birth to them. Now how freakin’ cool is that?

Did I miss one? Feel free to share!

© 2011 Jenna Korf    All Rights Reserved


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13 thoughts on “10 Best Things About Being a Stepmom

  1. I just wanted to say about #2, even if you aren’t a stepmom it’s ok to sometimes hand your kiddos over to Dad and say, “It’s your turn, Dad. I’m taking a break.” In fact, most mom’s need this and are better mom’s for taking much needed me-time. I personally think it makes for better Dad’s as well.

  2. I am fortunate to have a very positive experience with my stepkids. They are now in their mid 20’s and early 30’s. I’ve been in their life for 13 years and I can honestly say we have never had cross words or arguments (face to face), however we have had very deep discussions and disagreements all along keeping respect for each other. Trust me, it has not been an easy road. We’ve been through the unexected pregnancies, substance abuse, financial turmoils. And, I dare not be stupid enough to think that we are over the hill. I never had my own kids so I’m sure that has worked to my advantage. I had the stamina and patience to withstand the troubled times because I wasn’t worn out by raising them from birth. My husband and I are a good team. I am thankful that he is open to my observations and appreciates sacrafices that I have made to help him raise his children. I understood coming into this picture that there is nothing more important to a person than their children, however my husband has always put me right up there with them. I love these kids as they are my own, they are close to their maternal mom but somehow they have found room in their hearts for me and I am thankful for them. My life would be boring without them.

    • Thank you for the positive feedback. I am glad that there are stepmoms out there that get along and love their stepkids. I am struggling with where I place in their hearts. I know they love me and care about me, but I felt deeply hurt when my stepkids did not make me something at school for Mother’s day. I feel torn.

  3. Wow, I wish this were my stepparenting experience. I would have put some of these on a “good” list a while ago, but my stepdaughters have seen through every one of them and thrown them right back at me. I am manipulating their dad with my “behind the scenes influence.” I am abandoning them and showing I don’t care if I “walk away”. To deflect blame and say, “they’re not mine” would be a mortal wound to their fragile egos. And of course, having had my own child, my body is already wrecked with scars and sags. Yes, I’m not their parent, but while they don’t want me to have any of the rights of a parent, they expect me to have all the responsibilities of one, and it is a freakin’ minefield. And of course they and their mother say I am doing more to damage their family than I could ever do to heal it.

    If they did love me, if they cared at all, I suppose it might be worth it. The only one of these I can lay claim to is that I AM growing as a person.

    • It is so hard to look past a child’s anger and frustration but if you can you may find that they are relating from a place of fear and anger that resulted from their parent’s divorce. Most of their baggage was packed long before you. Unfortunately they see you as an easy target…their real anger is directed toward their parents.
      Take a breath, walk away, if they are being especially difficult go out with a friend or for a quiet time alone. Don’t engage them, if they are being rude call them on it. Not by screaming or yelling but by telling them calmly that it s unacceptable for them to talk to you/carry on in a disrespectful manner and leave the conversation. Make sure hubby is right there to back you up, for step parenting to be worth it your new hubby/their father mst be 100% in your corner or you are screaming in to the wind. In life we teach people how to treat us and your hubby’s kids are no different. Stop the insanity, stop the cycle and don’t back down. When they can speak to you with respect you will be thrilled to continue the discussion. The same goes for dealing with their mother. I onced refused to deal with our bio mom for about 6 months…everyone survived and she started treating me with more respect. It is not your job to mend the family for their mother. Instead create your family in your home with your values and expectations. The children will appreciate it in the end and so will you.

    • This is my experience too, it is incredibly tough to build and be part of a ” family”( that word is a joke in step situations!) I have had two saboteurs that I foolishly underestimated since day 1, the mother and her desparately unhappy and black hearted daughter. After 11 years I am now just surviving until they are no longer part of my life.

  4. One of the most difficult things about be a stepmom for me is having all of the responsibility (homework, meals, teacher meetings sick days, cranky days, taxi service…) and no rights as a parent. No matter what feel is the right thing to do medically or educationally i do not get fo make that decision for my kids. I agree with K10, it is a mine field and a very difficult road to travel.
    I also agree with the article. I am a totally different significant adult in the lives of our children. My place is special…not the same as their Mother but different and just as important in their day to day lives (I have been a step parent or almost 6 years and our oldest is 11). I have made my way into their hearts the same as they have found a home in mine. I love our special relationship and would not trade it for their mother or father’s role. I am a friend, a confidant and an older person that they can trust and who does special things with them. I am involved in the raising too but I do not have to be as strict as their bio-parents.
    I often take time out for myself to recharge and I feel absolutely no guilt about it. I do everything a parent does until I need a break and then Daddy is on duty solo.
    I worked very hard to be the best Mum I could be and it is reflected in the relationship I have with my hubby’s kids. I was fortunate to come into their lives when they were very young and they took to me immediately. I also have a hubby that gets that I am here to support his parenting and not to take it on as my responsibility.
    Many step mums see step parenting as an extra weight they have to carry. And some days it feels like a two tonnes tru k around your nek. I felt the same way for a long time. A lot of soul searching and many mistakes later (with more to come I am sure…the better to learn from my dear…) I see it as freeing because I better understand my role and know that it is my choice to get up everyday and do my very best for the kids and if one day I deide to stay in bed and read the paper…well that is the step mum prerogative.

    • I totally agree with you Tracy, I too have a hard time with having all of this responsibility and no rights. Most of the time it really hurts and bothers me, but I realize I can’t do anything about it until my husband is willing to take on some of the load. I even carry my skids on MY insurance. When I’ve brought this up in the past I get nothing but flack from my husband. He expects that his kids are mine, but I can’t convince him to realize they aren’t my kids, it’s not that I don’t like them or love them, I do…but the fact that I don’t have any rights makes it emotionally difficult on me. How would our husbands like it if he took kids into our home, he barely knew them and had to run for them, provide for them, go out of his way for them and only to get dirty looks, no thanks, and notes written calling him names? I don’t honestly think that anyone would want to be in that boat. It is a growing experience. We are having a grad. party for my SS in a few weeks. I know most of the preparation will fall on MY shoulders….but I have to look at it as a party inviting friends and relatives. I have to look at it as a gift to my Ss.

      • Carol,
        If you have not already done all of the prep for the grad party then there is no time like the present to insist that the bioparents take responsibility for this event. If it something you guys are doing just on your side then it is time to enlist Dad and SS into the party planning committee.
        The honest truth is that until you speak up they will not hear you ask for help and until you stand up they will keep walking on you. One thing I have learned in the year and a half since I wrote my comments is that no one is responsible for your happiness and how you are treated but you.
        I am not suggesting that taking that step back is an easy process but IMO if you ever want to end the resentment you feel and be happy living in the blender you have to do it.
        If Dad is home than step kid duties fall to him. Bottom line it… You don’t mind helping but refuse to continue to carry the load ( his load if we want to get technical) by yourself. Start with this party … If SS does not get one whose fault is it… Best answer I can come up with is NOT yours.
        Start speaking your truth and living the life you want to live. In our best life being treated with respect is a main ingredient.
        It does not mean you no longer have or show love to DH or SS it just means that you show yourself the same amount and ask for reciprocation in kind.
        DH may not love this at first ( mine had a hard time but I kept him involved every step of the way so he knew what I was doing).
        As for the “final” decision making… I am over it. I say my piece to DH and offer opinions but am quite comfortable with the fact the final decision is not mine. These children have a Mom and Dad and it is their job to raise the children they chose to create. I do not always agree with what they decide… But as long as it does not involve me or my time I move on.
        You are an important factor but at the end of the day you can love a kid and help them to become their best selves without any power in a “legal” sense. You have a huge amount of power ( control) in an emotional sense. We all have different roles to play and yours is that of a significant person other than their bioparents in their lives.
        I am still a Smom with 3 great step kids… I am no longer- taxi, maid, babysitter, event planner ect… At least not alone, DH has picked up the heavy lifting and I have never been happier in my stepmom journey.

        Best,
        Tracy

  5. I have raised my husband’s daughter since she was 7. She is 42. When I look at her Facebook pictures, I am not there. Her kids, her biological mother, step dad (20 years), and my husband are. Lip service, hugs and obliglitory thugs are said and done but never a gesture from the heart. No lunch dates, no invitation to come for dinner or anything. We have never been invited to a meal at her home. When her mother comes into town, they stay with her and pictures are posted and they have a great time. Breaks my heart. We have been good parents.

  6. I have raised two stepsons since they were 9 and 13. The nine year old had visitation since he was four, so he was very familiar to me when he came to live with us at 9.

    I love what I read about “keeping your own identity” and giving yourself the right to back off. I did none of this. I completely immersed myself in my stepson’s lives because their mother completely backed off. I mean she just abandoned them. And now my oldest stepson defends her by saying “she didn’t come see us because she knew we were being taken care of” (bull—-). My stepsons are now 35 and 45, and love me to death, I know that. But if I had it to do over again, I would have insisted that their mother fulfill her responsibility (and their dad as well). I wouldn’t have burned myself out playing Super Mom. As others have said, you can’t change the fact that you are not bio-mom. And it makes a difference.

    • Yep! The parenting really should be done by the parents. If they would step up, then the stepparents could have the luxury of being the kids’ safe place, mentor, friend, etc… Instead of getting burnt out trying to parent kids that aren’t theirs to parent. Live and learn! 🙂

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