Stepmom – Do you ever feel like no matter what you do or say to your stepkids, you feel as if you’re failing? That no matter how hard you try, you’ll never get close to those stepkids of yours?

I can tell you that I’ve felt that way many times. I kept wondering what was it that I was doing WRONG!!!! I’ve read many books on being a good stepparent, took classes and even went to psychotherapy. Then I realized that maybe all those “failures” were my way to learning to becoming a better stepmom. I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

I also came to realize that what I was doing were the many ways in NOT to stepparent. HA! What a change in mindset.

Many failures are stepping stones to successful endeavors.

I’ve recently started watercolor painting. The first time I picked up my brush and put the watery paint on my paper, it looked horrible. My 3 and 4 year grandkids did a better job finger-painting than my attempt at doing something recognizable. What I remembered from previous painting classes was the teacher telling me that I needed to go through the ugly stage (of my painting) before I could see the beauty of the work. I’m thinking to myself WHAT? There is no beauty in the mishmash of color.

And yet, the more I “practiced”, the nicer the piece progressed. I use the word “practice” here because that took away a lot of the pressure in trying to succeed at something I had no idea how to do.

So often, we expect to become instant experts or successes in things we have very little knowledge in, and I see this a lot with stepmoms and stepdads. Oh! And even when you become more knowledgeable, the Universe has its way of showing you there could be a better way still.

As a stepmom of 27 years, I’m still learning. Our kids are grown, they now have kids of their own, life as an empty nester is different. And once we retire, there will still be more learning to come.

The trick to success in your relationships is to embrace your failures, no matter how catastrophic, as learnings and insights on your path to new discoveries. The failures may show you what doesn’t work, or they could give you entirely new purpose and direction. In fact, many artists, scientists and innovators will make intentional mistakes in order to push the limits of their creativity and learn from the realm of the unknown.

If you want to find success in your life, start failing, dare to make mistakes, take the hit, and see what you can learn from it. Your life, your relationships and your endeavors…whether you realize it or not, are moving you forward, even when you fail.

How can YOU learn, grow and succeed by failing forward?


  1. Jackie Harder

    Yes! We high-achieving women (in particular) believe that if we are not instantly successful in doing new things that we are a failure. Which is not only ludicrous but trains us to not take risks. When we don’t take risks, we don’t put ourselves up for promotion. We don’t ask for raises. We don’t go for the big stretch — and in the end (as in “the end of our lives”) we suffer. It’s not just regret but in the the comforts of retirement at much lower levels of Social Security benefits and pensions, to name a few. So yes — please stop expecting to achieve perfections (which doesn’t exist anyway) and “practice.” And thanks for letting me vent!

    • StepmomCoach

      Jackie, you bring great points around risk taking, especially for women. When we don’t up ourselves out there, it costs us big time in terms of financial gains, like those you mentioned above.
      I was raised with the attitude “look pretty and don’t talk.” How is this going to help me move in this world, to raise step/kids and provide for my family in case something happens to my husband? I love the feeling of security that my husband provides, and I am well capable of doing the same for him because we are willing to take risks and not be afraid of failing.
      Thanks for those points you brought up.

  2. Sharona ES

    failures may show you what doesn’t work…so true…sometimes we need to know what is not working to discover what will work.

    • StepmomCoach

      So true Sharona. When everything is going well in our lives, we don’t feel there is a need to make the changes that could help us improve. Yet when we fail, only then will we seek alternative solutions.

  3. Cathy Sykora

    Exactly. Stepmoms are going to make mistakes. It’s nice if you’re in an environment that is accepting and understands the intent it’s a lot easier. I say jump in and make some mistakes – if you do, you’ll have more successes at the same time. Thanks.

  4. Tandy Elisala

    I feel these tips are great for stepmoms and all moms! It’s never going to be perfect. We are going to make mistakes. As long as we learn from them and use them to fuel us forward. Building relationships with stepkids takes time, persistence, connection and lots of patience. Depending on the ages of the kids when you come into their lives, they want to know you love them, you’ll be a consistent force in their lives and that you’ll listen to them. It takes time to develop those relationships.

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