I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the ridiculous double-standards we face not only as stepmoms, but as women, and wow… I am really fired up about it!
As women, we are trained to apologize for things, even when they’re not our fault. We are hard wired to serve those around us, yet somehow forget to take care of ourselves.
As female parents, moms and stepmoms alike, we are hard on ourselves… much harder than our male counterparts are on themselves. We feel the pressure society has placed on us, and we fight against it daily.
We are constantly seeking work-life balance. We are constantly deciding what we will need to sacrifice that day: our career or our family… that is, if we are even able to maintain our career.
We make sure to support our husbands as they seek their next promotion, all while realizing we have completely lost our own identities. We sing the praises of our husband and our children to whomever will listen (and they deserve it, because they’re amazing!). Then we go to bed, get up the next day, and start the cycle all over again.
We are hard on ourselves, but for what?! I’m tired. Tired of feeling like no one recognizes anything I do for the family. Tired of feeling underappreciated. Tired of feeling like the family administrative assistant, maid service, and chef, all outside of working a 40+ hour work week in the office.
I’m tired of being too much of a feminist to admit I need help from a man, while also being too ladylike to brag on myself the way men do.
I’m tired of it all.
My Not-So-Humble Brag: I’m a GREAT Stepmom!
Today, I’m declaring that enough is enough. Instead of celebrating my husband or my stepchildren, I’m celebrating myself. Today, I’m not being ladylike. Today, I’m not humble-bragging… I’m full-blown BRAGGING. I’m doing this without apologizing and totally guilt-free.
I’m taking back my identity as a strong woman… as an empowering woman who my stepdaughters can look up to. I’m reciting my affirmations more aggressively than I ever have before. This is my new anthem. This message is to me, from me.
I am a GREAT stepmom for all of these GREAT reasons…
I am a great stepmom because I care…
…because I try my hardest every day.
…because I think about the long-term impact my actions have on the kids.
I am a great stepmom because I take care of logistics: I make sure the kids are up, clean, well-dressed, fed, and at school on time.
I am a great stepmom because I understand and enforce the importance of routine and structure. I know that maintaining a routine is possible in a blended family.
I am a great stepmom because I recognize that my stepchildren are adaptable and resilient.
I am a great stepmom because I foster emotional strength and development within my stepdaughters, and encourage them to be strong willed free-thinkers.
I am a great stepmom because I advocate for myself and my personal well-being (this article is part of it!).
I am a great stepmom because I demonstrate career ambition to my stepchildren. I show them a strong work ethic, and avoid complacency.
I am a GREAT stepmom, despite what SOCIETY says…
I am a great stepmom because I show my stepdaughters that they can thrive both at home and at work. They don’t have to choose between career and family.
I am a great stepmom because I encourage the kids’ relationships with their mom. I don’t shudder or panic when they mention her or share experiences they have had with her.
I am a great stepmom because I am not threatened by their mom.
…because I understand my role as their stepmom is different.
…because I understand how unique and beautiful my role is.
I am a great stepmom because I understand that we are all separate pieces of the same puzzle.
I am a great stepmom because my husband trusts and supports me as a parent.
I am a great stepmom because I, along with my husband, have house rules and expectations, which we jointly enforce. I am not worried about being considered a wicked stepmom if it means the kids grow up with a good head on their shoulders.
I am a great stepmom because I don’t overthink my role, or what I should or should not be doing. I do what I feel is the best decision for my stepchildren in each moment.
I am a GREAT stepmom, thanks to my FLAWS…
I am a great stepmom because I know I’m not perfect. I know I’ve made mistakes, and I know I will make more in the future.
I am a great stepmom because when things go wrong, I reflect. I think of what I could have done differently, not what the other people involved could have done differently.
I think of how I will shift my mindset moving forward, not what demands I will place on those around me moving forward.
I am a great stepmom because I was raised in several non-traditional households. I fully understand that mom and dad are not the only two people capable of raising a child to be happy, healthy, and successful.
I am a great stepmom because I do not live within the victim mindset. I do not let my life circumstances or the statistics connected to them prohibit me from my future accomplishments, or impede on my happiness.
I am a great stepmom because I have struggled. I have been broken down, and built back up.
I am a great stepmom because I was pushed to be independent at an early age. I will find the fine line between coddling my stepdaughters and throwing them into the deep end when they embark on their adult lives.
I am a great stepmom. A really, really great stepmom (in my not-so-humble opinion).
The truth is, you are too. You are a GREAT stepmom.
Even when you feel defeated, or when you feel like the Hot Mess Express, you are a great stepmom.
Why? Because you’re trying. Because you care. Because you haven’t given up.
You don’t have all of the answers (none of us do!), but you do have the ability to learn through trial and error, and to grow in your role every day.
The next time you’re exhausted in your role as a stepmom, “man up” and throw that exhaustion in the trash can! We can learn a lesson from our husbands. We need to speak up when we need help, or when we flat-out do not want to do something.
More importantly, the next time you’re feeling underappreciated, reflect on this article. Tell yourself all of the reasons why you are a great stepmom. You are your own biggest advocate, and if you don’t fully believe that you’re a great stepmom, no one will.
You are strong and resilient. You are an amazing role model, not because you’re perfect, but because of your imperfections. Stop being so hard on yourself, and take this time to brag on yourself… you deserve it!
P.S. Tired of all the stepmom shaming? Here are 30 things we wish we could say in response…