STEPFAMILIES HELP SHAPE PEOPLE
You’d be surprised how difficult it is to find “pictures” or “research” on stepfamilies! This is surprising to me, considering how common it seems nowadays. I remember growing up, begging my mom to use her maiden name on all of my school documents. I didn’t like the idea of my friends asking me why my mom had a different last name than me. Little did I know, my parents’ divorce would shape me into the person, mother, and STEPMOTHER, I am today.
NATIONAL STEPFAMILY DAY
According to nationalcalendarday.com, National Stepfamily Day was founded in 1996 by Cristy Borgeld to recognize and observe the success of blended families. My families should all be proud that we are a solid representation of what this day signifies. As I’ve mentioned before in my previous post on honoring stepmothers, I am a product of divorce. I have a stepmom and am a better stepmom because of it.
It may seem like stepfamilies are more common now than not. But that doesn’t make the job any easier. Being a part of a successful stepfamily or blended family is hard work and worthy of being celebrated. You often hear of the fears or the “ugly” of being a stepparent or even a stepchild. There is simply not enough positive information out there on the beauty of being blended. Nor positive information to pass down to your kids. The ones most affected by this concept.
A simple Google search will prove that there may be a plethora of ideas for stepparents but there isn’t much information to share or illustrate to children. Leaving it up to us: THE parents and THE role models of their lives to show and teach what real blended love is. This may sound harder than it is. But really, if you truly love and support your partner then the “work” is halfway done.
WHERE THERE IS LOVE, THERE IS HOPE
I can tell you firsthand that being a stepparent is not “the goal.” You grow up thinking you are going to marry the love of your life and create a family of your own. When you meet someone who already lived out this dream and it failed, you tend to lose sight of reality. The reality is that just because one relationship didn’t work out, doesn’t mean that yours isn’t destined to. Kids did not ask to be brought into this world. But it is our duty as their parent, step or not, to teach them to love and be happy.
Where there is love, there is hope. This applies to so many different and relative aspects of our lives. But it is especially true when it comes to blended families. When you come from a happy home (or in this case two happy homes) we take for granted just how much love we come from. Parents also forget how much harm they can be doing when they suffer from parental guilt or are constantly worrying about the approval of their children.
THERE IS GUIDANCE AND SUPPORT
I am no therapist or psychologist but am a living testimony that children can feel all your feelings. Including the guilt. I was lucky enough to grow up in two loving homes with 3 different extended families. I understand that may not be the case for all blended families. And if you find yourself in a less desirable blended or stepfamily situation, there is help. There are therapists who are certified to work with these families and children. You can reach out to your insurance company and they will be able to provide you with a list of certified and approved therapists.
We never took that route, but I did look for guidance through books and podcasts. Some of my favorite books were
Love Him, Love His Kids: The Stepmother’s Guide to Surviving and Thriving in a Blended Family by Stan Wenck and Connie J. Hansen
The Courage to Be a Stepmom: Finding Your Place without Losing Yourself by Sue Patton Thoele
Stepmonster: A New Look at Why Real Stepmothers Think, Feel and Act The Way We Do by Wednesday Martin, PhD
And some podcasts to look into:
The Step in Mum
Step-Parenting at its Finest
Plus HER- A Stepmom’s Journey
There are also a ton of resources on social media platforms and groups on Facebook where you can reach out to other stepparents who may be on similar paths as you. Always remember how you fell in love to begin with. And remember there is no such thing as a child being too loved or loved by too many people. Blended families can sometimes be the best thing to happen to a child. Just ask my own stepdaughter!