This is about getting to where you feel like you know what you’re doing, where things are starting to come more easily, where you feel relaxed and confident about step-parenting.
Remember how you felt when you learned to ride a bike?
You probably started off with training wheels, or with someone holding the seat and running along beside you. And then, there was the incredible moment when you took off by yourself and you could do it.
What a feeling!
There’s nothing that boosts your confidence like knowing you can do something that seemed really hard only a few moments ago.
Any challenge worth entertaining deserves enough of the right kind of support to make success possible, and as my friend Christina Providence said in our live interview:
“It’s not your fault if you don’t have enough support, but it IS your responsibility.”
My advice to you about getting to where you know you’re a capable skilled, worthy stepmom is like pretty much all my advice – off the beaten path.
The road to I’ve Got This is the road less travelled. That’s actually a line from a poem by Robert Frost:
“TWO ROADS DIVERGED IN A WOOD AND I – I TOOK THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED BY AND THAT HAS MADE ALL THE DIFFERENCE.”
I can speak to the road less travelled because I’ve not only walked that road in my own stepfamily for 12 years but I’ve spent all my professional career on an alternative path.
In my day job, I’m an alternative health care professional. I use what works, and I don’t care what anyone else thinks about that. My career rests on thinking outside the box, and my clients are happy because they get better. That’s the only metric I care about.
So here are my 5 important but unconventional steps on your way to that joyful Fist Pump of Stepmom supremacy.
1. Be bold, don’t follow the crowd.
If you want to be like all the other stepmoms, you’ll likely end up in the ditch because that’s where most of them are headed.
If you didn’t already know that 70% of stepfamilies fail within 5 years, get that figure into your head right now. You don’t want to be joining a cascade of lemmings rushing headlong towards the abyss.
Know that not everyone will agree with the path you’re taking, and that’s OK. Talk to them again in 5 years.
2. Much of this path is walked backwards.
Learn to back up.
It’s like dancing, or driving a car; backing up is an essential move. Steps that move you backwards or away from your dance partner are an integral part of every dance. If you drive, you have to be able to put the car in reverse to get out of your driveway – and you have to practice doing it. Backing up might feel scary at first, but you’ll get used to it and soon, it will feel natural and easy.
Stepping back is the natural antidote to overstepping and you’re going to do plenty of that. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about, but you have to learn to recognize when you’ve done it. Overstepping is the result of following your GPS (see step number 3).
3. Unplug your GPS.
Your automatic (i.e., unconscious) inner guidance system is being powered by your maternal instinct and it’s sending you in the wrong direction.
Your maternal instinct wouldn’t fire up if you were trying to be a good teacher, or aunt, or fairy godmother, but as a stepmom, it will try to run the whole show.
Instead of allowing yourself to act maternal, try instead just to observe and understand and keep an open heart. Then you can give what’s really wanted, which is the maximum connection with dad to fill up their tank. If you can do that, you will get to stand on the podium and receive the gold medal in step-parenting.
4. Shine a light.
You need to see where you’re going, and the best way to do that is to shine your own light by continuing to be connected with yourself and your creativity.
Don’t give up what makes your heart sing. Make time for your hobbies, your friends, your interests. Definitely make time for your relationship so you don’t forget why you set off down this path in the first place.
Be all of who you are, and remember that the best thing you can do for your stepfamily is to model the attitudes, values and relationships that you want to rub off on them.
Shine your light.
5. Log the landmarks along the way.
Make note of your wins. Pin them to your heart.
The road to “I’ve Got This!” is long, but the whole journey is actually a lifelong sort of thing, at least that’s the hope!
Hang onto those wins and cherish them. You can use them like a scythe or a hatchet to chop through the thicket when you step off the path and get lost in the bushes.
Seriously, write stuff down in a little book you can look at to remind yourself that you’ve passed enough signposts to know you’re going the right way.
Post your wins in our Facebook group so everyone can help you celebrate. It’s not silly, it’s how you deeply integrate those moments in your being so they form the foundation of your new self-image, the one where you feel accomplished, capable
Ready For More Support?
Stepmom Success Lab
My signature group coaching program starts again Sept. 1!. It’s like training wheels for your stepmom skillset, and you get me running along right beside you in real time to keep you balanced and confident.