3 Truths About Being a Full-Time Stepmom

Updated on August 7, 2018
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As both a mother and a stepmother, Michelle explores the complicated dynamics of modern parenting and stepparenting.

What to expect as a full-time stepmom
What to expect as a full-time stepmom | Source

For many women out there, the role of being a stepmom involves planned out visitation schedules and plenty of back and forth between the biological mother and biological father.

But what about the stepmom who has her stepchildren full-time?

Whether you have just recently become a full-time stepmom, you are going to become one soon, or you have been in that role since the beginning, here are some tips and added advice for your journey.

Some stepmoms can go from being full-time to part-time and then back again years later depending on custody issues or the desires of older children who may be involved.

1. You Will definitely Be Overwhelmed

There's no doubt that being a mother is overwhelming in general but what about being a full-time stepmom to a stepchild or stepchildren who already have a mom who's not around much?

Whatever the circumstances of your current situation are, as a full-time stepmom you are it. You are the one who is there, you are the one who will feel responsible, and you are the one who is filling the mothering role.

Some stepmoms can go from being full-time to part-time and then back again years later depending on custody issues or the desires of older children who are involved. Other times, a stepmom could have spent years doing the every other weekend routine only to suddenly be left with her stepchildren full-time.

These transitions can be extremely tense and emotionally exhausting for everyone involved.

Source

If your relationship with your stepchild or stepchildren is healthy, then being a full-time stepmom may not be so bad. On the plus side, there's no going back and forth which can be great at times, but on the negative side of things, you pretty much never get a break.

Being overwhelmed with your stepchild's emotions over having a biological parent who is rarely or never there is probably the most difficult emotional landmine a full-time stepmom will face. Crossing through that territory with a stepchild can be filled with anger, resentment, and many, many turns.

Being a full-time stepmom requires a huge amount of love and commitment. If you also have your own biological kids in the mix it can be especially difficult to navigate through everyone's feelings and emotions.

If you feel like packing your bags and leaving out of frustration - try just taking a mini-break instead. Full-time stepmoms need to recharge just like any other parent.
If you feel like packing your bags and leaving out of frustration - try just taking a mini-break instead. Full-time stepmoms need to recharge just like any other parent. | Source

Being overwhelmed is to be expected. But you can't let it consume you. Part of the trick to being a full-time stepmom is to make sure you carve out even small pieces of time for yourself to unwind.

Depending on your situation, you may be experiencing lots of pent-up anger or resentment towards the absent biological parent which isn't healthy to harbor on a long-term basis. Let your partner know when you need a break and take it.

Being a full-time stepmom requires a huge amount of love and commitment. If you also have your own biological kids in the mix it can be especially difficult to navigate through everyone's feelings and emotions.

Being overwhelmed doesn't mean you're doing anything wrong. It just means you're human and need to take a step back for a moment. Parenting can be rough. Stepmoms need to recharge sometimes just like any other parent. Know your limits and allow yourself to take downtime.

Being overwhelmed with your stepchild's emotions over having a biological parent who is rarely or never there is probably the most difficult of emotional landmines a full-time stepmom will need to face.

2. You Won't Always Get That "Mom Credit" (Even When You Do Everything!)

Even when you're a highly involved or full-time stepmom who is doing most of the mothering grunt work, you may not get that full acknowledgment from your stepkids.

You know you deserve the credit and it sure would be nice if you could get it, but it simply may not happen until your stepkids are grown adults and realize how much work you actually put in as a step-parent.

Whatever your situation is that brought you to the role of a full-time stepmom, whether it's a biological mother who passed away, who lost custody due to drugs, or who simply didn't want that full-time mom responsibility for whatever reason, you are going to be the "go-to" woman in your stepchild's life. It's a huge responsibility and it doesn't come without feelings of resentment, frustration, and exhaustion.

Sometimes you'll get that "mom credit" and other times you just won't
Sometimes you'll get that "mom credit" and other times you just won't | Source

Even though many stepmoms feel as though they are on an island all alone where no one understands what they're going through, it's important to remember that you are not alone and there are others out there struggling with the same issues.

Whether you get your due "credit" as a full-time stepmom or not, there are more important things to focus on such as the day-to-day work of raising a child or children. Getting stuck in the "credit rut" is a trap many of us stepmother's fall into whether you're full-time or not.

Try and remember that even biological parents don't always get their "due credit." Most parents slave away giving everything they have and certainly get taken for granted without appreciation. As a step-parent, this feeling can come with far more resentment than a biological parent but it's definitely something all adults raising children go through.

Even though many stepmoms feel as though they are on an island all alone where no one understands what they're going through, it's important to remember that you are not alone and there are others out there struggling with the same issues.

Try to let go of the "mom credit" hang up!
Try to let go of the "mom credit" hang up! | Source

3. A Bond Deeper Than You Ever Expected

I've covered a couple of very difficult scenarios that can happen once you become a full-time stepmother. But what about the good parts? Are there any?

While it's true that being a stepmom for any amount of time is extremely demanding on a number of levels, once you find yourself in a full-time stepmom role for at least a few years, you can begin to literally feel as though your stepkids are your own children.

This doesn't happen for every stepmom. Many stepmoms do struggle dramatically in the full-time role -- primarily with tweens and teenagers. But if you have your stepkids 24/7 -- especially from a young age -- you're bound to form a very intense bond with them.

It's pretty difficult not to feel just like a "real mom" while being in the role of a full-time stepmom. You're there every day. You're probably going to end up doing a huge amount of the disciplining over the years unless that's something you've decided to completely back away from and hand off to your partner.

The time a full-time stepmom devotes to the lives of her stepchild or stepchildren is vast and all-consuming.

A close bond with your stepchild or stepchildren can be a lifelong treasure
A close bond with your stepchild or stepchildren can be a lifelong treasure | Source

A full-time stepmom does all the same things a biological mother would do on a day-to-day basis. She may work full-time, she may be a stay-at-home stepmom, or even work from home. She deals with messy rooms, homework, meltdowns, sleepovers, birthday parties, and so on.

The time a full-time stepmom devotes to the lives of her stepchild or stepchildren is vast and all-consuming. The relationship built in this time is not only highly influential, but it can change a child's life for better when there is a healthy relationship between the step-parent and stepchild.

Becoming a full-time stepmom isn't for everyone, but this type of stepmom role is on the rise in our current society. With more blended families than ever and an increasing amount of father's who win full custody of their children, the role of the full-time stepmother is becoming more normalized as well as much more appreciated.

If you're a full-time stepmom now and wonder what you've gotten yourself into, try to have some hope and patience. You are doing incredibly important work which you should be proud of and most definitely thanked for many times over.

I want to hear from full-time stepmoms like you!

If you are a full-time stepmom, do you feel appreciated by your stepchildren? If you would like to comment further please do so in the comments section

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    © 2018 Michelle Zunter

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