Moms and stepmoms often do the same job but are often seen very differently. Why is that? What makes being a stepmom hard?
When we become mothers, we have about nine months to get ready to the concept of taking care of another human being that is essentially helpless and needs all of our attention. We often forget about ourselves in order to give to this tiny little person. We have time to adjust and acclimate ourselves to this little person. Our role and perspective changes as this young person grow. A mother’s bond is strengthened through time and shared experiences.
Stepmoms are different. They are often an addition to the mommy role. They are often new to this concept and some may not have experience as to what taking care of children requires. She must learn, in a very short period, the likes and dislikes of her stepchildren, what makes them happy and what they dislike. The stepmom doesn’t have the history that the mom has with her children. She doesn’t have the shared experiences that mom has either.
Feelings around the stepchildren are all new and very confusing. What is right? What is appropriate? Should I be saying this to them? Is it OK feel that way about them? Will we ever get over these humps and have fun together? Will I ever be seen as a real mom?
Moms do many things for their children. They cook and clean, nurse the sick ones back to health, help them get dressed and off to school. Then it’s time for homework and other chores. Moms provide the learning skills that our children need to become well adjusted and well rounded adults that contribute to our society. Moms are there for the happy moments and when tears need to be wiped. She will tuck her little one in bed and read a nice story.
Moms love their children when they are good and even when they are bad. She will forgive them even if they forgot to give her a card. She goes to the games and cheers just as loud as the other moms. She drives her children everywhere because she can.
These are many of the same things stepmoms will do for their stepchildren. They give and often receive nothing back in return, not even a thank you for being there. The reason that it is so much harder for stepmoms than it is for moms is that stepmoms will often feel like an outsider. She tries to fit in but there is always something missing. The fit isn’t quite right. What is it? It’s time. It’s history. It’s a feeling that she matters to her stepchildren no matter what happens. She wants to learn to love them but sometimes, circumstances make it hard for everyone to be free to do so.
Stepfamilies don’t have more or less issues than traditional families. They are just different. And therefore they need different set of rules, tools and skills to fix them.
Claudette Chenevert, known as “The Stepmom Coach” provides advice, support and guidance to those women who are entering the “Instant Family” realm, feeling overwhelmed, misunderstood and isolated.
Claudette became a Master Certified Stepfamily Foundation Coach when she realized that too many women weren’t getting enough help and support. In 1990, Claudette became a stepmom to two stepdaughters. She is also a mother to a grown son and grandmother of seven.
When she is not speaking to women’s groups, or conducting many of her free webinars, she offers group and one-on-one coaching to women around the world. She is also a contributing writer for Stepmom Magazine. Claudette is an active participant on many Facebook groups and has her fan page at https://www.facebook.com/ClaudetteChenevert.StepmomCoach .
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