3 Ways to Prevent Stepmom Burnout

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Stepmom burnoutWhat is stepmom burnout?

It’s what occurs when a stepmom’s emotional and physical tank is on empty.

Just look at any stepmom who hasn’t learned to say “no” and you’ll see it on her face, etched in her frown lines.

She’s the stepmom who’s lost her smile. The stepmom who’s feeling resentful that she picks up ALL the slack at home and gets nothing in return.

She’s constantly stressed out and on edge.  She’s forgotten who she is. She’s forgotten what makes her laugh and how light she used to feel. She doesn’t like who she’s become and if she doesn’t do something about it soon, her family may fall apart.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. We want to fix our families. We want to save everyone from themselves. We are the never-ending helpers.

But in being all that, we sell our souls. We become worn out, hurt, feeling used, tired; a shell of the vibrant, happy women we used to be.

If this describes you, are you ready for a change? Here are some strategies for recharging and for hopefully preventing you from experiencing Stepmom Burnout ever again:

1. Learn to say “No.” Saying “no” doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you a person who knows their own worth and values their emotional health. It makes you a good role model to your stepchildren, teaching them what it looks like to care for themselves and  honor their own needs.

As you might have guessed, this is easier said than done. People like to be taken care of. When your family sees that you’re no longer at their beck and call, they’re going to push back. Don’t be manipulated.  Stay strong and explain why this new you is necessary. Reassure them that they will soon reap the benefits of a more relaxed, happy-go-lucky you.

2. Learn to say “yes!” to YOU. When you’re constantly saying “yes” to everyone else, you’re saying “no” to you. In turn, you’re zapping your own energy source, robbing yourself of the fuel that feeds your spirit. The result?  You lose the best parts of you.

It’s time to awaken the old you. Give yourself permission to do something FUN! Think of one activity you’ve given up that used to revive your energy. Commit to doing it once a week.

And because you’re not a selfish bitch, let your family know ahead of time that you’ll be carving out this time for yourself so they can alter their plans if need be.

Has it been so long you can’t even remember what you like to do? Try browsing through magazines and tear out anything that strikes you. It’ll help you kickstart your creative side.

3. Reconnect with friends. Good friends keep us grounded. They remind us who we are and reflect the best parts of ourselves.  When was the last time you spoke to a close friend? If it’s been so long that you can’t remember, it’s time to give them a call. Make plans to get together, Skype or just gab on the phone like the old days. Life is pushy and gets in the way, but it’s time  to push back.

 Still not convinced you have it in you?

Ponder these questions and see if you make any progress:

  • What are my beliefs about honoring my own needs?
  • What does it say about me if I put my needs first?
  • What does saying “no” to other people mean?
  • How will my family benefit if I choose to take better care of myself?
  • What’s getting in my way of being happy?

Share your experiences with Stepmom Burnout in the comment section.

© 2012 Jenna Korf    All Rights Reserved

(Photo credit: Nujalee) 

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9 thoughts on “3 Ways to Prevent Stepmom Burnout

  1. I am on the verge of burnout, and this reminded me to come back to reality! 3 weeks of a 4 yr old is enough to drive anyone insane, but somehow I made it and I feel good about how we all did. It was just in time, though. I started out thinking I was going to be super mom (again) and instead just decided to LET IT BE.
    Thanks for posting!

    • Kate,it sounds like you caught yourself just in time!Good job in “letting it be.” Being super-anything usually backfires. Keep up the good work 🙂

  2. Thank you so much. After reading this I realize that I have Step Mom burnout and my husband has Dad burn out. Every thing is about his 15 year old son and not us. We have lost our selves along the way and I was thinking yesterday that I don’t remember what I like to do?

    • Hi Corina, at least you’ve identified a problem here. Now all you and your partner have to do is start focusing more on yourselves and your relationship and less on your stepson. Modeling a balanced lifestyle is one of the best things you can do for the kids. 🙂

  3. I LOVED this article. It’s easy to have burn out as a stepmom, but easy to quickly feel guilted back into doing all it is you do. This is a good reminder, that in all parenting, sometimes you have to take a step back.

    I’d love you to also check out my blog on blended family: http://www.peterberries.com

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