Stepmoms Must Step Back To Make Blended Families Work, Author Debbie Smith Says
No doubt about it, I will be a mother one day. The thought of raising cute, mini versions of me is exciting. But what’s going to happen if I meet a man who already has kids? We always say that a man should accept the whole package, so I would happily accept the right man who just happens to have children. But if I were his child, would I accept me? My parents have been married for 34 years, so I know for a fact that even as an adult I would not be keen on kickin’ it with some lady who thinks she’s going to be my daddy’s new woman. But as blended families become more and more common, I have to prepare myself to possibly be someone’s stepmom one day. And author and relationship expert Debbie Smith knows that blending families is not as easy as Carol Brady made it look.
“Being a mother is probably one of the most difficult jobs a woman can ever have,” Smith said. “Choosing to become a step-mother is beautiful, unselfish, and very scary. Children often expect the worst from their stepmother because, after all, the stereotypical stepmother is viewed in a very unfavorable light; even stepmothers in fairytales are evil– just think about poor Cinderella and even Snow White! Unfortunately, in reality there are too many real evil stepmothers and that has given all of us a bad rap; regaining a positive reputation will take a tremendous amount of intentional work.”
Smith has co-authored books with her husband such as The 5-Star Wife and The 5-Star Marriage, sharing intimate details of what it took to make her blended family work. And she provided us with some key points on how stepmoms can step their game up and make the transition smoother for the family.
- Step Down Your Expectations: Don’t expect the children to fall in love with you immediately. Give the children time to get to know you and build a relationship that works for both parties. Remember that rules and regulations without relationship lead to rebellion.
- Step Back When it Comes to Discipline: Discipline the children through their father– at least in the beginning. Adults should agree on the discipline but allow the biologic parent to administer the discipline. This protects you as the Stepmother from being seen as the “mean” one.
- Step Out of Her Shoes: Never force the children to call you “Mom.” This new relationship must grow organically; forcing it will only lead to dysfunction.
- Step Up the Love: Although you are not there to take their mother’s place, you must see all the children as “your” children; creating a mental separation of “step” children can lead to unintentional physical separation in the treatment of the children.
- Step Into Love: Be intentional about nurturing the husband-wife relationship. Strengthening your bond as husband and wife will make handling the complexities of a blended family more manageable.
- Step Towards The Light: Being a Stepmother will present tremendous challenges. There will be days when you feel like giving up and walking away. It will be during these challenging times that you’ll need to run to your source of strength, hope, and faith. Lean on the Lord– there is nothing too hard for Him!