It’s easy to feel like one some days, isn’t it? Especially when our stepchildren treat us that way, despite our best efforts.
My friend, Carol Boley, and her co-author Kathi Lipp wrote a resource for stepmoms, But I’m Not a Wicked Stepmother! Secrets of Successful Blended Families that gives great advice on how to thrive in your role and overcome the evil stepmom stigma.
They write about our desire to feel we’ve made a difference in our stepmom role, but we often misjudge our success. Here are wise words:
“Your success does not depend on the outcome of your stepmothering efforts. Your success depends only on those things you can control—your attitudes, words, and actions (including the choice to accept God’s grace and love). Your success as a stepmother does not—indeed, cannot—depend on those things you can’t control, including the actions of your stepchildren. You can be a successful stepmother regardless of how they think, act, or speak. If stepchildren do turn out well and you have a good relationship with them, you can consider that an added bonus.”
We often believe that how our stepchildren behave and react toward us is a reflection of how well we’re doing as a stepmom. We try harder and harder to get it right, thinking that will change their behavior.
But it might not. And that’s OK.
Regardless of how our stepchildren behave day-to-day or what decisions they make as teenagers or young adults, we’ve done our role successfully if we’ve focused on our behavior in treating them fairly, lovingly, and with Christ-like attitudes.
That doesn’t mean we have to be perfect. And when we rely on our own strength, we make it harder. They go on to say:
“What a relief to know our success as stepmothers depends on believing that God loves us and that by His grace, He will enable us to love others even when it seems impossible. Remember, love is not just gushy feelings. The role of stepmother demands strength of character, endurance, resilience, wisdom, flexibility, a willingness to serve and sacrifice, an ability to love unconditionally, and a constant reliance on God.”
They also give the rewards of stepmothering, regardless of what kind of relationship we have with our stepchildren.
“Many Christian stepmothers, even those struggling in the toughest circumstances, find that their deepening friendship with God, resulting from staying humbly on their knees before Him, is more than worth the pain.”
They’re not saying we give up hope for loving, bonded relationships with our stepchildren. They’re suggesting we take the focus off how our stepchildren behave toward us (which we can’t control) and recognize we find success in our role through our own behavior (which we can control).
The book gives other great advice with chapters and stories on:
- The Ex-Factor: Accepting Your Stepkid’s Mom
- Forgiveness: The Cure for Your Hurting Heart
- Define Your Role: Mom, Martyr, or Minister
- Accept Your Reality
- Say This, Not That
My desire for you, beautiful stepmom, is that if you’re feeling defeated in your stepmom role based on not-so-perfect relationships, stop beating yourself up.
Ask for God’s help. And commit to doing your part to create loving grace-filled relationships.
Then … define yourself a success!
Do you have other ideas on how you define success in your role? I’d love to hear them in the comments.
For additional encouragement in your stepmom role, check out my devotional book, Quiet Moments for the Stepmom Soul.