The deepest feeling I have had as a stepmom is frustration. Other feelings attached to frustration can be anger, sadness, anxiety, and depression. The tug-of-war that comes with trying to co-parent can easily bring out these emotions.
This is normal, but you must be able to manage your weariness so that it is not projected onto the children. It is so important not to let your aggravation for the other parent affect the wellbeing of your stepchild.
Easier said than done, I know. Here are some steps you can take to harness and redirect yourself when you are feeling frustrated.
Check yourself before you wreck your
If you have noticed that you have a shorter temper, little patience, or every little thing is bothering you, it is time to check yourself.
You have to ask yourself if these feelings are coming out because the kids are misbehaving, or if it’s because your mood has been affected by something else.
One of the hardest things to do as a stepparent is to receive an antagonistic text or phone call from the other parent and appear like nothing is happening to the kids.
Excuse me… be right back!
It is okay to excuse yourself! Call a sitter, go to the store, or take a bath if leaving the house is not an option. Then, take that time to pinpoint the source of your anger and set your feelings free.
Even if you think you are holding it together, kids have a built-in radar for emotional distress.
Pinpoint the source. (It’s usually not what you think!)
Why am I feeling this way? Well, she makes me so angry when she acts like this! Sorry, but you will need to dig a little deeper than that.
Settling for surface-level sources of frustration is not going to help you find resolve. If your stepchild’s mom is a trigger for you, what is it about her that makes you angry?
These are deep-rooted sentiments, so get out the shovel.
You have to understand not only what it is that makes you angry, but why. The more introspection you can do in this area, the easier it will be to recognize your triggers the next time they come up.
Set your feelings free… to the right person.
We want to be so strong all the time for our children and our spouses, but this can end up having the opposite effect. Avoid bottling up your feelings.
You will want to find someone you can trust and feel comfortable sharing your feelings with. This person should be someone who will help you deescalate; not rile you back up.
There are certain friends that will jump on whatever emotional band-wagon you present to them. While you may like that they share in your same enthusiasm, it is not going to help you work out your emotions in a positive way.
The feeling is mutual. You’re better together!
There is a good chance that your partner is feeling the same way as you are. Remember, there is a reason they are not together anymore. Your partner knows better than anyone the mental state of mind she can put you in.
It can be hard not to think, “I didn’t ask for this!” but it is what it is. When you chose your partner, you accepted them unconditionally. It is best not to waste time dwelling on things that are beyond your control because it is not going to make either of you feel any better. Instead, you can bond over your feelings and let it be known that you are there for each other.
My partner and I have (many times, after several frustrating incidents) ended up laughing together. Sometimes you just have to look for that little piece of humor to add light to the situation.
Speaking the words, “We are in this together” is very therapeutic. You may feel like you are but when you physically say it to each other it gives you a different level of reassurance.
Stepmoms deal with diverse situations that result in compound emotions. Frustration is what lurks in the shallow end of the pool. Deep diving into the source and talking about them is so important for family functionality.
Our little people are dealing with so much. If we can take a few steps to prevent misdirected feelings, it is well worth it. Take the time, feel the feelings.
I used to get so angry and sad from the frustration caused by my stepchild’s mom. I know now what my trigger are, and I understand why those situations are triggers for me.
To be able to calmly express my frustration before it turns into anger has not only helped me with our family life, but carries over into work, friendships, and everyday situations.
P.S. Is the source of your frustration different parenting styles than your partner? It can definitely be frustrating when your partner doesn’t parent the same way you would…