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My identity as a stepmom

January 20, 2013

When I started my journey to prepare for becoming a stepmom, I immediately dived into the task. Early on it turned out to be a challenging journey, but as every challenges they are not draining until they have lasted for a while. For me the beginning was a true honeymoon with many, many blissful moments. There were so many victories. Gaining my step kids trust was a great experience. I thoroughly enjoyed becoming a part of their lives and them becoming a part of my life. As I continued on my journey, they became a bigger and bigger part of my life until it was al-lconsuming. I found myself in a place where I had given my whole heart to them. When people occasionally  would tell me it would be different having children of my own, I just looked at them thinking to myself that they had no clue. Having the kids in my life brought so much joy, that it was not an interesting approach for me at all.

I slowly started having new experiences in my journey as a stepmom. I learned that I was putting my whole identity into my new role. Moving to a new area where nobody knew me other than being my step cildren`s stepmom, complicated things for me. My husband frequently encouraged me to maintain a life outside the family. In his opinion women often get so involved in their family that they seem to loose interest for other aspects of life. He wanted me to be involved in the family, but he also wanted me to enjoy other things in life as well. I started feeling a need for it after a couple of years into the relationship.

Every other weekend wednesday-monday we have time without the kids. For a long time I have spend these days preparing for the kids to be with us, cleaning their clothes, tidying their rooms, grocery shopping, working over time so I would be more flexible while their stay with us. But most of all I have been thinking a lot about my step children and all the worries connected to caring about kids. It turned out that I never had any breaks, I never even had any mental breaks.

I am practicing giving myself mental breaks from my step children. I still value moments with the kids, and sometimes when they are not with us I keep looking at videos or pictures of things we have had together. I also go through little episodes such as having one of them see me on the other side of the playground and then start running towards me and jumping into my arms. But I am trying to focus on other things as well. I try to talk about other things when meeting friends.

This weekend me and my husband had pizza with a group of friends. None of them have children. I spend the night laughing and having fun, talking about all kinds of things but not so much about my step children.

My family is my first priority. But it does not have to be my only priority. The privilege of having the children part time, is that you get to be involved in other beautiful things in life.

Do you give yourself a mental break from your children/stepchildren, or do you worry, ruminate, miss, grieve and plan constantly when you are not with them? I really think it has to do with identity. I need my identity to be about more than being a stepmom.

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