1. Be YOURSELF!. Hang up the tap shoes and give your Stepkids the gift of getting to know the REAL YOU. Too many of us tried to be the Super Stepmoms doing every conceivable creative, clever, kind and thoughtful thing we could think of for our Stepkids in the sincere attempt to let them know they matter, etc. Many times this strategy backfires into their sense of feeling entitled to you treating them like royalty every day. So...be your naturally kind, loving, and real self in reaction to whatever you experience together. Trust that they will one day see you as an adult who has loved them enough to NOT be manipulated by their antics or hurtful reactions
Check out these Books and Articles:
|Now SMOMs Recommend several books in our BB Forum "Recommended Books"|
|The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle|
3. Check out Cathryns Articles on Relationships and Behavior: For over 2 years Cathryn wrote monthly article for an international women's website, check out the collection of articles for more insights on human behavior. Being aware of what and why we are doing wht we do is the first step to lasting change. Youn can find the articles at the top, via link, or just go to cbdoyle.com.
7. Clarify and discuss personal roles and boundaries. Get clear on roles and responsibilities. So many times it is the unspoken issues that sabotage the peace and joy in a relationship. Learn where to draw the line about what you will and won't do, what you expect and what is expected of you. Write out the discipline guidelines for ALL the kids in the family and find out where you agree and disagree. Create a strategy for how to handle the disagreements so you are both ready next time the issues arise. Make time to have these conversations with your husband and all the kids in the house. Every moment you spend clarifying a boundary or expectation is saving you untold future stress, hurt and anger.
8. Learn to Stay out of things that are
NOT your responsibility. This is a hard one. Accept that
you are NOT going to be able to fix or heal the past between your
husband and his ex-wife and between your husband and his kids. Whenever
possible, step back and become the reflective observer. This is
a behavioral term that describes a role you can take when there
is tension between your husband and his kids or ex-wife. Rather
than jumping in and trying to get them together and make everything
happy and fun, just be there and observe the situation. It is amazing
how powerful it can be to just BE THERE. What can you do? You can
set the stage for happy times and then "let go" of what
they do in it. Do your best to stay neutral. HA! I write that like
it is easy. When you can stay neutral, you will save yourself and
your marriage a lot of stress! It can be hard to do nothing and
yet experience shows that staying out of their arguments, wounds
and problems allows you and your husband to stay closer. It can
be very uncomfortable to watch as others deal with their "stuff.
Remember you are NOT responsible for their feelings of the past.
Refocus your attention on your own feelings. Watching others argue
can create lots of anxiety for everyone present. It is often more
comfortable to jump into their issues than comfort yourself.
9. Become aware of the urge to control and "counter-control" the situation. When people get afraid or anxious or worried, it is a natural and common reaction to clamp down and try to control the situation. Many people have had parents who "ruled" via control or manipulation or had parents who did things so they could feel like they were in charge. Control does work: however it is hurtful. When you are trying to control the situation, you are not being loving and you can feel that harshness. If you and your husband can both remember that relationships can be built on mutual love and respect, clearly defined boundaries (that will be tested), constantly creative choices for each situation and good communications skills, you have a greater chance at a positive relationship.
10. Be patient with the process. A
friend of mine once said, "Impatience is a lack of trust in
the timing of things." She said that if we totally knew that
things were happening at exactly the right time, we could relax. Many of us want to get to the "happy family fantasy"
as soon as possible-totally understandable. Unfortunately not something we have complete control over. Impatience changes our outlook,
our gentleness and our attitude. So be aware of the power of patience.
Check out our new pages under "Get Help" to learn more ways to support yourself and your relationship.