This article popped up “on this day” on my personal Facebook page last night. I don’t tend to reread articles, but for some reason I pulled it up. If there is one article I could stand on the mountain tops and scream ” READ THIS ARTICLE STEP MAMAS”, it would be this one!

READ ME!!!!! ( the below link was not written by me. The link was shared on my Facebook page, from CrazyBuster Facebook page, written by Pam McCoy).

Adventures in Step-Parenting: Why Boundaries for Yourself are Critical to Your Marriage

Though the initial article was not written by me ….. here is my take:

I am going on year 6 ladies. YEAR SIX! And most of these bullet points in the article have recently been implemented. Why did I wait so long? Why did I try so hard? These are two of a million questions I honestly can’t give a clear concise answer to. I can tell you upon finally accepting to implement said bullet points in my life ( and actually follow through with them), that the past 12-18 months of my life have been hands down the most peaceful, self gratifying months. DO IT and don’t wait my friends!

Don’t engage. If you try and don’t succeed, do not ( I repeat DO NOT ) try try again. You wait for her to come to you ( and for most of us, that’s honestly never going to happen ). You’re polite. You speak well of the kids mother in front of them. You don’t complain about her to mutual friends or two faced family ( that’s what wine Wednesday and your best friends are for), and you carry yourself with dignity and grace. I can not tell you enough, trial and error will teach you every time not to engage!

Nothing good comes of being the middle man. This includes but is not limited to, direct contact, indirect contact, texting or emailing from your husbands devices/accounts, etc. The puppets and crayon summary for this paragraph is DO NOT GET INVOLVED.

Being told I am going to do something that wasn’t talked with me first is HUGE on my list. This started early on in my relationship with my husband with his oldest daughter. At first it started out all sugar and spice and everyone played nice. Then it went from me trying to opt out of one on one due to lack of respect and he would agree when I wasn’t there to what I was going to do. There are a few issues with this:

1) It’s overruling the boundaries you have set for yourself. Whether intentional or unintentional on the end of your husband or child, to go against what you have put in place and it’s absolutely not ok.

2) It’s teaching the kids that what you say doesn’t matter. If you set boundaries and let everyone know expectations those have to be followed through. THIS IS NOT OPTIONAL!!! Allowing plans to be made without your consent is showing the kids that you will do what you are told and you don’t have a voice. This is a slippery slope and you will quickly find yourself at the bottom with no life lines

3) Husbands don’t always know your schedule. If he commits you and you can’t follow through, this is going to cause hurt feelings and turmoil. Kids don’t understand this, at all.

Schedule changes pretty much are on point to the above paragraph for most of the same reasons. Your schedule should be changed when you can and if you can not because you are told. Agreeing to schedule changes without your consent just starts a spiral of irrationality when spouse has to go back to bio mom and tell her that you can’t accommodate what he has already agreed to. Or it will cause huge tension and conflict between you and spouse when you either comply and throw your schedule or he has to. Either way the outcome is rarely ever positive..

Extra curricular activities. This can be the best and the worst. And let me tell, at its worst is absolutely horrible. This happened a few years ago to me, at a sporting event where bio mom decided to make a scene. My husband did his best to deescalate the situation but the honest truth is, if she starts making a scene there is very very little that can be done at that point. The less said the better. Do not engage. DO. NOT. DO. IT. EVER. I would strongly encourage you to call the police and file a report. In our case we didn’t and she later tried to come back saying I was the instigator and shouldn’t be allowed at activities. Luckily, a very kind bi stander had slipped me her contact info stating she assumed there was more going on than met the eye and she would be happy to write a statement or later confirm the incident if needed. It was needed and we were absolutely grateful. Just because a police report is filed does not mean that there are charges filed or the kids even have to see the cops are involved. But it allows it to go on record, the police to include witnesses in their report, and ensure that your bases are covered. This could have easily been a very bad situation later and I still to this day will forever be grateful for the kind kind lady that stepped up and did the right thing. Trust your instinct. Trust your feelings. You have EVERY right to be at kids events cheering them on and rooting for them, if you choose to. No one has the right to tell you that you can’t be there or you shouldn’t be there ( and vice versa, if it’s not your gig and you aren’t into it, don’t go!).

Lastly, therapy!!! There is never enough! Never. Enough! I was blessed about a year in to find an amazing therapist that really meshed well with me. She was a bio mom and a step mom so she had great perspective from both sides and really put my mind at ease when I was unsure of my path. Individual therapy for each of you when the path is bumpy is so crucial. Honestly, even when it feels like navigating is easy, it’s always good to just check in with someone third party that has a detailed understanding to make sure you are in check and also can see when it make get rough. This can make or break a lot of obstacles that we don’t easily see on the inside. Same with couples counseling. About three years into my relationship with my now husband ( about two months after we got married ), we started down the road of a very very long and exhausting court battle. This can take a toll in your life in areas you didn’t even know exists ladies! It’s horrible and if it doesn’t break you, it will feel like it did. We went to several therapists together in addition to our own individual therapists before we found the right match for us. It’s been over a year we have been utilizing this resource and it’s the most valuable tool in our marriage. Sometimes we go once a week, sometimes once a month, sometimes we take a break and it’s a while before we go back. But it’s something that we know is there and definitely has saved our marriage. Literally.

The biggest lesson I have learned was in the beginning going with the flow even if it wasn’t putting myself first. Even if it was sacrificing my values and needs to ensure the peace got kept. But the truth is ( at least in high conflict situations), no matter what you do, you are always going to be criticized, picked at, complained about, being told you are wrong, accused of things you didn’t do, hear every situation is blown out of proportion, and on and on and on and on. So, put on your big girl happy pants from the get go and set your boundaries early on. The outcome of the drama will not change on bit. What will change, is your reaction to the situation. What will be better is your attitude because you aren’t an anxious nerve nelly wreck express! Yes, you will still have to deal with each and every issue but you will do it with dignity and grace and have a peaceful mind each and every day!


Strong Struggling Step Mom

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