The first time I met my stepdaughter, we went to a local trampoline park to play.
After a wild game of trampoline dodgeball, a few jumps in the foam pit, and a fun rendition of “school” where Krista was the teacher, I was the teacher’s pet (naturally) and Kevin was the troublemaker, Krista needed some water and a restroom break.
I accompanied her to freshen up myself, but before I could leave the women’s restroom, a little voice called out, “Can you help me wipe?”.
And that was the first time I questioned the stepmom’s role.
That Lost Feeling
In the beginning, I felt completely lost.
I didn’t know what to do, how to do it, or how to even measure if I was on the right track. I am well-educated, but in those first few months (years?), stepmomming made me feel like an idiot.
How do you date someone with children?
Like so much of adulting, stepparenting doesn’t come with a user manual: Section 1.0 Marriage, Section 2.0 Building Relationships with Stepchildren, Section 3.0 The Ex, etc. But with the help of some incredible resources, you’ll feel less like an idiot and instead, better equipped to handle any blended family situation you encounter.
The Best Stepmom Books to Help You Navigate Stepparenthood
The Single Girl’s Guide to Marrying a Man, His Kids, and His Ex-Wife: Becoming A Stepmother With Humor And Grace
This book is so stinkin’ funny but still totally relatable and full of great advice. Highly recommend.
This is my FAVORITE book about communication! Feeling heard and understood is a core human need, and this book gives you the framework to do that for your partner with ease.
Plus, Sorensen gets bonus points for this one being a super quick read. I opted for the Audiobook version and it was less than 3 hours.
Written by a mom and stepmom duo, you’ll love the perspective this book provides! Definitely one of my absolute favorites.
It is imperative for stepmoms to set strong boundaries and say “No” when they need to! Knight is direct and a little cheeky in this easy read that will empower you to stop saying “Yes” when you really want or need to say “No.”
Stepmonster is another ridiculously good and insightful read. The research that Dr. Martin shares is eye-opening and validating.
Stop Overthinking: 23 Techniques to Relieve Stress, Stop Negative Spirals, Declutter Your Mind, and Focus on the Present
Very rarely do I meet a stepmom who hasn’t done at least a little overthinking at some point in her stepmom journey. I really love the tangible tools and data that Trenton provides in this book. It will help you overcome anxiety and get out of your head so you can enjoy your stepmom life!
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert
If you haven’t heard of Dr. John Gottman yet, you’re welcome! The leading expert on the science of marriage, Gottman gives you seven big things to focus on to be sure your relationship is set to succeed.
Dealing with a crazy ex? This one’s for you!
If you’re looking for some help building up your marriage in your blended family, I highly recommend this read written specifically for couples in blended families.
A marriage staple, The 5 Love Languages will change your relationship without a doubt! Learning how your partner feels loved and being able to communicate what you need to feel loved is instrumental for a happy, fulfilling relationship.
This is another really incredible read about the mom/stepmom relationship and unique dynamics.
I’m certain that I’ll never feel 100% confident in the job I’m doing as a stepmom, but I’m just as sure that I’ll never feel 100% confident in my job as mom to my own children either.
We are all doing the very best we can, and each day brings new struggles, challenges, and adventures. Continue to take each day in stride and focus on what you can control.
If you’re feeling unsure about your role as stepmom, are seeking guidance, or just need validation that you’re not alone, I highly recommend each of these books.
I no longer face a choice about whether or not to help my new boyfriend’s daughter wipe in the restroom, but I definitely still regularly evaluate and adapt my role and where I stand to avoid overstepping any of my husband’s or his ex’s boundaries.
With a little bit of guidance and a whole lot of community, we’re going to get through this stronger on the other side.
P.S. Looking for free resources instead? I’ve got you covered!