Lessons Learned
Three Suggestions from Veteran Stepmoms​
StepSarah's List
From the perspective of someone who is no longer a SMOM. Not sure what it's worth, but I feel like I have a much better grasp on what's important and what isn't!

1. Decide from the very beginning your boundaries, what you are comfortable with, and the rules for your own home. Make sure you and your partner are on the same page and they are clearly laid out. Try not to get TOO specific, but make sure it's the "biggies." Do not budge on these once they are in place. It's SO much more difficult to try and set boundaries later on, and will likely only lead to resentment from all parties involved. You are going to be asked to compromise on nearly everything in your life from this point forward -- if you declare what you will NOT compromise on, it'll help save a bit of your sanity in the tough times.

2. Do not be curious about things that will upset you. Recognize that our instinct as women is to know every detail of every conversation or pickup/dropoff meeting or in some cases mediation sessions, whatever ... and also recognize that often times you will NOT FEEL ANY BETTER for knowing. If it directly involves you, ask to be included, but if it doesn't and you won't actually benefit from knowing what happened, opt out. You'll drive yourself crazy trying to keep tabs on everyone and everything ... let go of it, even if it's difficult.

3. No matter what happens, do not lose yourself in the SMOM life. Remember who you were before the complications and the crazy, the woman who your partner fell in love with. Keep doing things that make YOU happy, even if they're sometimes selfish or silly. Don't feel bad for taking care of yourself. Check in with yourself about how you are feeling. In the really tough times, remember that your dignity is important and must be protected at all costs. Base your actions and moral compass off of that and you will be thankful after. It's a slippery, quiet slope downward once you start giving up bits and pieces of yourself and if you don't check in with yourself occasionally, one day you'll look in the mirror and not recognize the woman staring back at you. Much will be asked of you as a SMOM, sometimes more than you've got to give. There are constant defeats and discouragements in this life. Don't forget to tell yourself that you are a wonderful, amazing, compassionate, understanding, loving woman and human being.
Stepmoms on a Mission®
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