People often refer to a new romantic relationship as being in the “honeymoon phase.” This basically means it is all rainbows and butterflies. When you are in the honeymoon phase of a relationship, there isn’t any arguing, the physical attraction is out of this world, and you could not imagine your life without that person.
You overlook small differences of opinion and minor flaws. You ignore habits that would have been a pet peeve of yours in past relationships. You slightly bend and adjust your hobbies and interests to better align with your partner’s, and then are “completely shocked” by how much you have in common.
The honeymoon phase of a relationship can last anywhere from 6 months to a year, and can feel like the best 6-12 months of your whole life.
The Honeymoon Stage of Being a Stepmom
When you start dating a man with kids, your honeymoon phase looks a little different. Your relationship may get close to the norm but at some point, whether it’s while dating, once engaged, or once married, you begin transitioning into your role as a stepmom.
At a certain point, you become more vested in the kids and their well-being. You start being more involved with them, and you start paying attention to detail. Maybe it happens when you all move in together, which could happen before marriage.
You may find yourself living with and raising kids that are not yours, while still only dating their biological parent.
You may be a newlywed when you move in together, and need to start sorting out all of the blended family logistics.
You may have biological kids of your own, and there may be multiple parents you need to coordinate with who are not a part of your household… who you never imagined you would be parenting with, for better or for worse.
Regardless of when or how it happens, we all enter the Honeymoon Stage of Being a Stepmom at some point… and it is the exact opposite of the honeymoon phase of a romantic relationship.
In the honeymoon stage of being a stepmom…
In the honeymoon stage of being a stepmom, you realize that you have no control over what feels like literally anything.
In the honeymoon stage of being a stepmom, you get anxious every time you see your stepkid’s mom’s name come across your husband’s phone, and it can take you hours to get your heart rate back down.
In the honeymoon stage of being a stepmom, you focus on every little detail in regards to the care of the kids.
In the honeymoon stage of being a stepmom, you feel fully committed, but those in your inner circle still do not consider you a parent.
In the honeymoon stage of being a stepmom, you resent your husband for bringing more baggage into the relationship than you did.
In the honeymoon stage of being a stepmom, you are devastated when your name cannot be listed on school paperwork as “Mom” or “Dad.”
In the honeymoon stage of being a stepmom, you try desperately to pass your stepchild off as your own in public, and feel like a fraud when she blows your cover by calling you by your first name.
In the honeymoon stage of being a stepmom, you realize that you can’t have all of the new, flashy things that your friends are getting, because you’ve settled down with a man who’s paying child support, daycare costs, etc.
In the honeymoon stage of being a stepmom, it hits you that you will likely never have all of your kids under the same roof permanently.
In the honeymoon stage of being a stepmom, you realize you don’t get to chaperone the school field trip if your stepkid’s mom volunteered, as well.
In the honeymoon stage of being a stepmom, you want your husband to run every text, call, and email he shared with his ex by you.
In the honeymoon stage of being a stepmom, you deem the bio-mom as “high-conflict” just because she has a difference of opinion on one, or even several, topics.
In the honeymoon stage of being a stepmom, you think “everything will be better” once you have your own biological child.
You are on-edge. You are tense. You crave control, but feel like you have none.
You watch your non-blended friends get married and go off on romantic honeymoons, while you’re packing lunchboxes for children who may grow up and choose to never speak to you again.
If you do not have biological children, then you know that you and your husband have the right perspective on every topic, and you know that you can take better care of your stepkids than their mom can.
If you do have biological children, then you know that you are raising your child the right way, and you know that your husband and his ex are both jointly screwing up their child.
The Honeymoon Stage of Being a Stepmom is a bitter, tense, chaotic time in every stepmom’s journey, and unfortunately, it cannot be avoided.
What you can do is continuously try to better yourself every day.
The honeymoon stage of being a stepmom is critical for your personal growth and development. This stage teaches you perseverance unlike any other life experience. This stage breaks you down, but then builds you back up stronger and more confident than ever.
When I was just dating my now-husband, I took my “future stepmom” role very seriously. As women, we often feel the need to care for and nurture those around us. It didn’t matter that I was just “Dad’s girlfriend” to me… I was so personally invested that I felt like a full-blown parent.
If I could go back and give younger me one piece of advice about this whole stepparenting gig, it would be not to rush it. By that, I mean don’t take yourself too seriously. Don’t focus on titles, and don’t get wrapped up in the parenting plan. Your partner is much more capable of handling things than you realize. Even when you first get married, just relax, and focus on the marriage.
When it comes to the kids, your sole focus should be on building a strong, genuine relationship with them. Model good behavior and be consistent for them. Keeping yourself as removed from the nitty-gritty as possible will undoubtedly smooth over your honeymoon stage of being a stepmom, and will help keep you mentally and emotionally grounded.
The next time you are worked up about something in your blended family life, ask yourself if you may still be in the honeymoon stage of being a stepmom. There is no shame in realizing that maybe you are taking yourself a little too seriously, and maybe you should pawn some responsibility back off onto your partner.
Let go of the small parenting differences, the custody schedule, and the awkward encounters with the biological mother.
You can continuously try to better yourself every day. That’s right, every single day.
The choices you make each day will either drag you through the honeymoon stage of being a stepmom, or will aid you in a smooth transition to being a highly-functioning family. The choice is yours.
P.S. Still feeling like you’re stretched too thin? Check out this Open Letter to the New Stepmom.