Simple Ways to Increase Your Joy as a Step Mom

Blended family

Post written by Blended Family columnist Melissa Gorzelanczyk of Peace & Projects.

The step relationship is not always easy. You meet a man, fall in love and work on building a life together. But it’s not just the two of you. His children are wondering how it’s all going to work, too.
Are you their Mom now?
Do they really have to listen to you?
Do they have to love you?
These are tough questions – maybe even loaded questions – but they are real. My advice is not to focus on them. Instead, work on bringing true joy to your new role in the family.

Love & the Step Relationship

I’ve been a step mom for more than 5 years – and with my kids for more than 8. In those years, I’ve learned a really simple practice that brings me joy no matter what.
Are you ready? Here it is:
I look them in the eye, and think about how much I love them.
Depending on the moment, this is not always easy to do. If there is a rift and we are arguing about something, the last thing on my mind is love.
I’m working to make it the first thing.
Love them.
It’s simple, but makes such a difference in the way I respond to the conflict.

3 Ways to Add More Love

I know the step relationship feels fragile at times. You may wonder if the love you have for your step child is different than it would be for a biological child. I’ve wondered that before. I feel strongly that it doesn’t matter. Love for my step child is love, and that’s all I need to know.
Next time you feel frustrated or discouraged as a step mom, return to love.
Here are 3 easy ways to do that:

  • Hug them. Say their name, smile and reach out to them.
  • Do something nice for them. My kids forget a lot of things. They are poor planners, unorganized and wait until the last minute to get ready. Be their rock. Get involved in their lives and offer your help. (Note: This is not the same thing as becoming their doormat. You’ll know the difference based on how you feel.)
  • Look into their eyes, especially when they are speaking to you. See them for the precious human being that they are, despite their faults. Despite how they have disrespected or challenged you. This person you are helping to raise is someone very special and unique. Love them for that and appreciate the depth they bring to your world.

Joy, Increased

I’ve made mistakes as a step mom, but it’s always been easy to love my kids. I’m lucky that way. They’re great kids.
Some step relationships are not as easy. Maybe you have a step child that is difficult. Maybe you feel he or she makes your life miserable at times. There can be a lot of pain and emotional tension in a blended family … I’m not naive.
When things are stressful, return to love. Despite their actions, your step kids need you. They want you to love them.
Give love freely. It will make everything in your life more beautiful.
How do you increase your joy as a step mom?

(photo source)