Welcome to 2019 and the era of FOMO, YOLO, and “self-care.”
If your experience as a stepmom brought you to this blog, then you’ve probably already kissed your YOLO/FOMO days goodbye. You may, however, still be trying to figure out this self-care thing. Don’t worry, I’ve been trying to figure it out for decades myself.
If your preferred brand of stepmom self-care is a good mani/pedi and some white wine, I feel you, but I also challenge you to read on…
It’s Time to Get Real about Stepmom Self-Care
I want to share with you the three things that have helped move me from a place of anxiety, not-good-enough-ness, and grasping for control, to a path toward peace and acceptance. Notice I said “path toward.” I’m on the journey with you.
Still here?? Oh good.
Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist. Disclosure: Not by a long shot.
My brush with nutritious eating was purely forced. After years of stubbornness and incorrect diagnoses, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, and it was recommended that I cut out all gluten from my diet.
To make a long, painful story short, I realized seven years later what a blessing this has been. Not only have I spared myself the specialist visits, blood testing, experimental drugs, and countless invasive procedures, but I know how to practice self-restraint when it comes to my diet.
Okay, great. You could have received this info on any health and wellness blog. What does this have to do with stepparenting?
A few months ago my husband and I decided to follow a Whole 30 diet. For those unfamiliar (like I was) this includes eliminating all sugar, gluten, legumes, alcohol, and dairy from your diet for 30 days. Woof!
Basically, anything in a package that included more than 2-3 ingredients was out, so everything at Costco.
Whole. Foods. (like actual foods from the earth) Only.
This forced me way out of my comfort zone and into the kitchen. What I started to notice was the more I cooked for the family, the more maternal I felt. I took pride in the healthy food I fed my family. Everyone knew the diet we were on and, while at our house, we were on this journey together.
I am no longer on the Whole 30 diet, but we learned a lot of valuable lessons during that month, particularly about sugar, and we strive to make healthier choices that we can commit to. Finding alternatives to a few guilty pleasures, like sparkling water for Diet Pepsi and nut pods instead of sugary coffee creamers can go a long way. Best news of all, less sugar = less anxiety!
Again, I am no expert here; however, I can confidently share how expanding my fitness education is keeping me engaged and sane as a stepmom.
When the challenges of stepparenting become a little too much, fitness gives me:
- A place to go
- A goal to focus on, and
- A boost in confidence
These little “time-outs” have become invaluable to me. Whether it’s a Zumba dance class, personal training session in the park or a walk to the community gym, these pre-planned breaks in my week have given me respite in an otherwise hectic and unpredictable schedule.
For the first time in my stepmom tenure, I prioritize these moments of self-care and try to protect them from cancellation as much as possible.
Oh, and becoming stronger and more confident each day does not hurt in the romance department….#amirite?
Yeah, I said it… and I’ll say it again. I love therapy.
Each time I make (and keep) a therapy appointment, I feel proud. I feel proud that I’m making a financial and emotional commitment to myself, my husband and my stepchildren.
I’m proud that I have made the choice to avoid letting my personal battle wounds from stepparenting and life bleed onto my stepchildren.
I know many stepmoms feel like they have no one they can talk to about their frustrations and I would highly recommend considering a therapist to give you unbiased and professional advice.
If your hesitation is for financial reasons and perhaps you feel guilty over the cost, I completely understand, but I truly consider that hour a gift to my family each time I go. It’s my way of protecting peace and love in my home. What an honor.
If you’re like me, you struggle with the lack of control in your stepmom life. Decisions regarding schedules, finances, and communication often don’t pass by your desk. Redirecting my focus from the things I can’t control, to those that I can like nutrition, fitness and mental wellness, has been the kindest, most loving thing I could do for myself, and in turn, for my family.
Committing to these changes is not easy, so be gracious with yourself. Every step towards a healthier lifestyle is important, even the small ones.
How have you shown yourself love this week?
P.S. If your excuse for neglecting your stepmom self-care is that there’s not enough time in the day, here’s how one mama finds her work-life balance.
2 thoughts on “It’s Time to Get Real about Stepmom Self-Care”
I can’t stop reading in here today! So many struggles lately that I’ve been neglecting myself. I have twin 15 year old strep daughters and 50/50 custody. Lately I feel like a complete stranger and rejected. I’m starting to feel inspired and not so alone. Thank you
So glad we could connect, Wendy! You’re definitely not alone!