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8 of the Most Common Stepmom Struggles

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In my early stepmom days, I struggled alone and in silence for the longest time. I was ashamed that I was unable to navigate this role with grace, gratitude, and happiness. The reality is, I was not alone in these challenges, and neither are you. Stepmom struggles are common as you learn how to navigate this new role in a blended family.

An important part of my mission at Stepmomming is to validate the stepmom experience and help you to recognize that you aren’t alone, there’s nothing wrong with you if you find yourself struggling, and that there’s help available to guide you on this journey.

When you become a stepparent, you may think it will be easy. It's usually not... Here are 8 of the most common stepmom struggles!

8 of the Most Common Stepmom Struggles

As a Certified Stepparent Coach, I hear a variety of stepmom struggles everyday. Here are a few of the most common challenges stepmoms grapple with.

1. Feeling Like You Have No Control

Many of us come into this role after living an independent life where we can have as much autonomy as we’d like. From where to live, to how we’ll spend our time, to something as simple as what we want to have for dinner, single life has its advantages in the independence department.

When you become a stepmom, the differences are striking. Your decisions now affect your family; if you choose to hit up a yoga class after work, the family might be at home wondering if they should wait for you to eat dinner or go ahead and start without you.

Further, your partner’s past now has an impact on your present in numerous ways, including, but not limited to, custody schedules, child support payments, and court fees.

When it feels like your partner and their ex get to make all of the decisions, it can be hard to stomach for an independent woman who’s used to making many of her own decisions without having to consult others.

If this is something you’re struggling with, keep reading here.

2. Feeling Like You’ve Lost Yourself

I clearly remember looking in the mirror one day about a year into stepmotherhood and realizing I hardly recognized myself.

I was no longer doing things I enjoyed for me because I (incorrectly) believed that being committed to my partner and stepdaughter meant that I had to be present 24/7, especially on our custody days. I had all but stopped visiting my family, I was no longer tutoring after work, and I never went out with friends.

I was experiencing an identity crisis as a stepmom. And I’m not alone, this is one of the most common struggles that stepmoms face learning to adapt to their new role with new responsibility in their family.

If this is something you’re struggling with, keep reading here.

3. Not Loving and/or Feeling Resentful/Jealous of Your Stepchildren

This challenge is particularly isolating for stepmoms because we feel this intense pressure to love our stepchildren (like our own) and it’s simply not possible for some stepmoms to get there. The stepmom-stepchild relationship is an unnatural one, and it’s unrealistic to expect that bond to be the same as a mother-child relationship.

Not loving your stepchildren or feeling resentful or jealous of your stepchildren does not make you a bad stepmom. Now, read that again.

Just because it’s not uncommon for stepmoms to feel this way and it doesn’t make you a bad stepmom, I still don’t want you to live in this guilt-ridden place.

If this is something you’re struggling with, keep reading here.

4. Feeling Like Your Partner’s Second Choice

Second wife insecurities (whether you’re married or they were married, or not!) are so real, y’all. I used to be consumed with thoughts of my partner’s ex and the relationship they shared.

If she hadn’t asked for the divorce, would he be with me? Will he ever love me as much as he loved her? Will things be as special for him the second time around?

In order to have a strong foundation for your family, your relationship needs to be build on trust, respect, and love. Work with your partner to resolve any insecurities or questions you may still have lingering.

If this is something you’re struggling with, keep reading here.

5. Not Knowing How to Effectively Communicate with Your Partner

Does your partner get defensive when you try to explain your perspective, your concerns, or your insecurities? It’s pretty common for divorced parents to have fragile egos and to take feedback as personal criticism.

The key to this is learning how to communicate in a way that your partner recognizes you’re on the same team, and that you’re not trying to tell them they’re a bad parent.

If this is something you struggle with, watch this video.

6. Parenting Style Differences

When you and your partner disagree on rules, expectations, and discipline in a blended family, it can be a recipe for disaster. One of the most common stressors I see for stepmoms across the board is parenting style differences.

This is a topic most people feel passionately about and believe there is a right (and wrong) way to do things. When those beliefs clash, it can feel insurmountable… especially when you combine it with struggle #1, feeling like you have no control/say in your home.

If this is something you’re struggling with, keep reading here.

7. Sharing Custody with a High-Conflict Ex

When your stepchildren’s other parent is high-conflict, every other struggle is amplified within your stepfamily. Sharing custody and stepmomming are difficult enough already, but when you add in the additional stress of a high-conflict ex, things are exponentially more challenging.

If you’re stressed out trying to determine how to best cope with a high-conflict co-parent, you’re certainly not alone.

If this is something you’re struggling with, boundaries will quickly become your best friend. Learn how to become a boundaries master here.

8. Feeling Like You Don’t Have What it Takes

Nothing breaks my heart quite like hearing a struggling stepmom tell me she’s not sure she has what it takes to make it in this role.

Every struggle you’re facing can be overcome with the right tools and mindset. You will not stay stuck forever, and with the right strategies, stepmom life will get easier.

If this is something you’re struggling with, keep reading here.

If you’d like personal guidance on your stepmom journey to help you overcome your stepfamily struggles, apply now to find out if stepmom support coaching is a good fit for you!

All my best,

P.S. I’d really love to help you write your own happily ever after. You deserve it, sweet stepmom.

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