Insecure. Jealous. Uncertain. Alone.
At different points in my first few years stepmomming, I felt them all. How could I avoid it? The stepmom role is simply unnatural; you’re choosing to love another’s child and stepping into a very intimate role as an outsider, a stranger.
As if that wasn’t terrifying enough, society is skeptical of you, the mom is terrified of you, and your husband has no idea how to support you or the emotions you’re experiencing.
Misunderstood. Inferior. Unsupported. Overwhelmed.
The Unnatural Part of the Stepmom Role
Sometimes, being a stepmom can feel unnatural. You have a lot of uncertainty. It can be especially rough if the kids don’t like you, and even worse if they blame you for their father’s breakup with their mother.
Even in a relatively painless divorce, children can have deep wounds, and the stepmom often becomes the scapegoat. It is realistic to expect that you may want to shrink away from filling the stepmom role right away, especially if you are made to feel guilty.
However, it’s not just the guilt. Becoming a stepmom is a complex relationship. You have this great marriage with a guy you adore. You have all the excitement of the honeymoon period; maybe you are buying a house together or making plans for travel.
Perhaps you are expecting a child with your new husband, and you are eager to celebrate your baby’s birth. But despite the celebratory mood surrounding your new marriage, there’s still the stepmom role to navigate.
That part can be tricky. You may feel jealous of the bond he has with his kids, or with their mother. It can be challenging to see someone we love interacting with someone that they were in a relationship with. You may wonder if there might still be something there.
You may feel insecure, especially if you are not a mother yourself. While babies don’t come with an instruction manual, usually when you become a new mom, you have plenty of advice from eager grandparents. There’s help readily available, and there are a ton of books for parents of newborns.
As a stepmom, you may not have the overwhelming love and support that a new mom receives. It is natural to feel insecure in your mothering abilities.
An Intimate Relationship
However, those are not the only reasons that you may feel unnatural assuming your role as a stepmom. The truth that no one is going to tell you is that you are stepping into the middle of a very intimate relationship.
The family dynamic is one that is very profound. Mom and Dad have shared special moments as their children have grown. First steps celebrated with grainy video; that first birthday party surrounded by family and friends. The miracle of childbirth, where both parents are at their strongest and their most vulnerable. Those moments were shared together, helping to strengthen the bond. And you weren’t a part of that.
Unnatural? Awkward? Devastatingly, completely so.
The thing is, though, that you are there now. While you may never experience the depth of closeness that your stepchildren have with their mother and father, you have an opportunity to be someone remarkable for them.
It may not be easy. Wait. Scratch that. It will not be easy, especially in the beginning. As an outsider stepping into such an intimate relationship, you will have to accept that you will be distrusted.
You will be the one to catch the blame. You will have to be the bigger person more often than you want to be. But your hard work and effort will pay off in the end.
You are a fortunate woman. You get to enjoy the benefits of building a sound relationship with your stepchildren, even though it took time and effort. I can only be happy that you also have such a unique opportunity.
PS: Can you relate? This is exactly why I don’t want my daughter to grow up to be a stepmom.
14 thoughts on “The Unnatural Part of the Stepmom Role”
Thank you so much for this… I’m literally experiencing all these emotions right now. I can relate on several levels with this article. I look forward to other insightful articles to read.
So happy to hear it helped you, Stephanie!
I’ve literally been through all of these emotions! Love this post, thank you so much for this!
I’m so happy we have community to know we aren’t alone in these feelings!
Oh boy! Can I ever relate to this!!
I love our blended family. I would absolutely do it all over again if I had the opportunity. That said, I certainly don’t want the “stepmother/father life” for any of our kids! It’s just so hard. But, we only get one chance to avoid it, and that is to meet, marry, and have a family with Mr. or Mrs. Right the first time!
Yes! 100% – I completely agree!
I used to think I was a strong woman. I became a widow at 42 raising 3 daughters ( 17, 15 & 10). I remarried 2 years later to my current husband who had full custody of his three daughters
( 12, 11 & 10) . I only knew how to be a mom. Not t a step mom. I always thought I did a good job. After all the girls were grown and had their own families did things seem to turn ugly. All the SD began to exclude me from their lives but talk daily, have lunches with their dad. Only calling me when they needed something. Only calling their dad when they needed US to baby sit. Complaining about me to their dad a lot. I’d have to say that having grown SD is way harder than anything I have ever experienced.
Unfortunately, stepparenting doesn’t end when the kids turn 18 🙁 I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with this after all of these years.
I am totally in the boat of feeling misunderstood, unloved and pushed away. To my husband, the kids are first priority, and if often feels like I’m second rate or on a back burner. I’m getting frustrated and burned out. I look forward to any tips, help and advice you blog about… I definitely need it.
Stepmomming can be SO challenging. Hang in there, sweet friend! Here’s a great blog post for when you’re feeling overwhelmed: https://stepmomming.com/exhausted-stepmom-needs-to-hear/
I needed to hear all of this!! I’m having such a hard time adjusting and trying to make everyone happy. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this article. It means more than you could ever know ?
I’m so glad you found it helpful, Victoria! Stepmomming can be so challenging, but it can also be immensely fulfilling!
My adult 23 yr old step daughter that lives at home has never accepted me and my young children. She chooses not to speak to us when her father or brother isn’t around, but puts on a front when they are. Five years I have spelled my pride and not reacted but I’ve had enough
Don’t feel obligated to be dismissed or ignored in your own home. You have an equal say in your home. Have you read this article yet? Hey Stepmom, It’s Okay to Take Up Space