I grew up in a stepfamily and had played the role of stepmom once before. Going into my remarriage, I was confident I knew what I was getting myself into. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I was committed, in love and ready for the challenge. I learned an important lesson almost immediately: Every stepfamily situation and relationship is different.
Lessons don’t always carry over from one circumstance to another, and the advice or good intent you hold onto won’t necessarily mean much at the end of the day. The changing and diverse circumstances of stepfamily life are at the core of why we find them so difficult to manage. As it turns out, there isn’t one set of rules, expectations or boundaries that fits every situation.
So, in many ways, each new stepparent is going into their role completely blind. It would be scary except for the fact that, as stepparents, we are routinely and overly optimistic in our ability to blend, merge and create happy families. Optimism is a positive trait to have. But it’s one that can often lead to heartache when things don’t play out how you had hoped.
No matter how peaceful the start, there will likely come a day in which you find yourself in tears. You’ll wonder how you got into this mess and how the heck you can get out of it.
Hitting stepmom rock bottom feels incredibly lonely. It can leave you questioning everything from your motives to your future. …To read the rest of this article and receive expert stepmom advice, log in to your account and download the October 2016 issue. Don’t have an account? Click here to subscribe.