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Bright Side

Why Being a Step-Mom Is One of the Hardest Jobs

In a survey of around 2700 people, 18% of participants had a step-parent. That means that being a step-mom or a step-dad is not uncommon. Unfortunately, movies often shed a bad light on step-moms: they’re evil, they treat children badly, and always have an ulterior motive. But that’s just not true, and step-moms have to prove themselves to overcome the stigma, and to make their step-child love them.

Bright Side understands how hard it is to be a step-mom. So let’s learn a bit more about the struggles step-moms go through and how they deal with them.

You have to be patient, because bonding can take time.

Your step-child might look like the complete opposite of you, and they already have certain personality traits that are similar to their biological parents but not to you. This might dishearten you, but it’s really worth making an extra effort to bond with the child. It might not be easy at first, but it can be rewarding in the end when you notice that they’ve internalized what you taught them, or that you start to have common interests.

You have to remember to not let words define who you are.

Children might call their biological mother their “real mom,” and that can be hurtful to hear because it makes you feel like you’re an outsider and like you aren’t appreciated enough. But don’t take those words personally, because your step-kid might not mean to hurt you. For them, it’s just a way of distinguishing between 2 people.

You should accept that you can’t control everything.

You might feel like you’re losing control every time your step-kid spends time with their biological mom, which can make you feel worried and anxious. But you can’t and you don’t have to control everything that happens in their lives. Just be the best mom you can be when they’re with you, and deal with matters as they come.

You should remind yourself that you play an important role.

Understand that, even though you’re not your step-child’s biological mom, your role in their life is still very important. Once you realize that, it’ll give you more confidence to be a better step-mom, who doesn’t focus on her insecurities and who doesn’t have to feel second-best. And you’ll also be able to enjoy the whole family experience more.

You have to remember to not forget about yourself.

Trying to be the perfect step-mom and wife can be exhausting and stressful. And sometimes you might focus too much on what you need to be to others, and forget that you need to take time for yourself. It’s not an easy job to be a step-mom, so it’s okay if you need to spend some time alone or with your friends to reset yourself.

You shouldn’t try to replace their biological mom.

No matter how much you love your step-children, you can’t become the same person as their mom to them. And that’s okay. Being a step-mom is a unique role that you can play in their life, and it doesn’t mean you’re any worse than their biological mom.

You shouldn’t compare yourself to others.

Your family doesn’t have to be similar to other families that have step-parents. You might see families where a step-mom gets along really well with their step-kid’s biological mom, and start to feel like you’re not doing a good enough job because that’s just not the case for you. It’s okay to not be a perfect family, but what matters is that you can appreciate the good moments you have.

Do you have step-parents? What’s your relationship with them like? If you’re a step-parent yourself, what’s your experience been like?

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