-Join a Support group – it may be silly but joining a support group and hearing other people’s cray cray stories will help you and maybe make you realize that your situation isn’t as bad as you thought. I didn’t have one in my community, but there are numerous ones online that you can participate in. Sometimes an anonymous posting to a forum with a bunch of women that understand is all you need.
-A Magazine for you - Step Mom Magazine is an awesome magazine dedicated to step moms like you! I subscribed to a year of it last year, and it helped me find inspiration to stay positive. It’s strictly an online magazine, so a tip I can share with you of what I did was I printed out my favorite articles, put it in a three ring binder and whenever I needed a pick me upper, I read through my book. There is also a support group forum that you can join and get email notifications. It’s $45 a year, which is why I could only afford the one year.
-Allow your partner to actively take care of his children - If you want to have a good relationship with your stepchildren and your partner, don’t automatically become the primary housekeeper. Of course, you may do some tasks for your stepchildren, just as you would for other family members, but you'll become resentful if you feel you must fulfill all maternal duties for them -- especially if you don’t feel appreciated for what you do. You aren’t shirking stepmother duties if you don’t cook, clean, and do their laundry. Those are your partner’s jobs, even if you're staying home to care for your own biological children. In most cases, stepmothers should operate more as a babysitters or aunts than as parents. This will leave you more time for activities that provide you with the most meaning and pleasure.
-Make your Marriage a Priority - Did you know that second marriages have a higher risk of divorce than first marriages? 70% to be exact... 70 FREAKING PERCENT!! Your marriage is a delicate flower, no matter if this is your first or second. It takes work to nurture it, to grow it, to make sure the hypothetical petals don’t fall off. To be content as a stepmother and survive the stresses of stepfamily life, your relationship with your partner must be the most important priority in your life and his (right after your own well-being, which should always come first). Having fun together and making sure you have your date nights alone strengthens your relationship and makes it easier to get over the crises when they occur.
-It’s a Business Relationship with the Ex - If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say, Don’t Say it at All or Don’t Even be Around to Risk Saying it. I do not like the ex. She is very rude, cray cray, irrational, and difficult to deal with. Because of my tendency to protect the ones I love, I have made the decision not be around her as much as possible. You may find this odd. I just do not want to risk getting into verbal blows with her, especially when my stepchild is around. When I am around her, I keep conversations short, sweet and business like. Remember, there is a reason why your husband divorced her.
-Accept that your feelings for your stepchildren and the feelings that your stepchildren have for you are “good enough”- Oftentimes, stepmothers feel pressured that they must love their stepchildren and expect their stepchildren to reciprocate that love in return. Love is an emotion that can’t be forced. If you love your stepchildren, that are wonderful, but if you don’t, that’s also acceptable, as long as you provide kindness, compassion, and respect to them. No more and no less should be expected of you. When you remove expectations that you must love your stepchildren, it'll be easier just to be nice to them -- and in a genuine way. This can lead, eventually, to love.
-Don’t take it personally-This is something I need to personally work on myself. Most of us as stepmothers try our hardest to be kind, considerate, and loving to our stepchildren. If our efforts are rebuffed, we naturally feel extremely hurt. Stepchildren may reject your attention and warmth for various reasons. Perhaps they feel that since they already have two parents, they don’t want a third one in their lives. They may be afraid their mothers will be hurt if they become close to you. They may not trust that your relationship with their father will last and don't want to experience loss again. Or they simply may not share your interests or temperament, and find it hard to relate to you. Any of these obstacles can take a long time to overcome, and the situation might not change at all despite your best efforts. Whatever the case, you need to accept things as they are for your own emotional welfare and not take stepchildren’s rejection of you as a personal attack.
-Not all step moms are created equal – Don’t compare yourself to those other step moms because you’re not them. Everyone’s situation is different. You’re going to meet moms who are best friends with the husband’s ex (yeah I know, I could never), you’re going to meet moms that have amazing relationships with their step kids, you’re going to have step moms that absolutely hate having step children, and you’re going to meet step moms that have cray cray ex’s they have to deal with (I’m in this category. Sigh.). In this crazy blended world, each situation is different and comparing your relationship to someone else will only drive you nuts.
-Knowledge is Power – Read this book. It’ll give you some insight on step motherhood and justifying the feelings you feel as a step mother. I promise you won’t regret it.