"Stress is a state we experience when the demands that are put upon us cannot be counter balanced by our ability to deal with them." ~ Richard Lazarus, University of California
Being a stepmom is a lot like having a chronic disease that affects the central nervous system Most of the stepmoms I know and hear from are stretched and stressed beyond what I consider humanely possible. Based on the guests I’ve interviewed on my radio show The Stepmom’s Toolbox, I’ve put together a list of ten tips to help you not just survive but thrive as a stepmom!
Believe in Yourself ~ When you believe in yourself you trust your judgment, your decisions, and your choices.When you believe in yourself, you are less apt to seek approval from others who may not like or disagree with you.
Believe in Your Husband or Significant Other ~ If you want to make your man feel like he can move mountains, four simple yet powerful words will do the trick: “I. Believe. In. You.”
Keep a Journal ~ You don’t have to write a blog or tweet on Twitter. A single spiral notebook and a pen is all you really need.Write every day. Write about anything that pops into your head. Write about your feelings, your fears, your hopes, your dreams, your insecurities, your troubles, your joys, etc.Watch yourself grow as a woman, a wife, a mother, a stepmother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a colleague.
Move Every Day ~ Physical activity keeps your heart and lungs healthy, your metabolism revved up, and your feel good endorphins flowing. Move your body any which way – run, walk, skip, dance, jump rope, practice yoga, karate, kickbox, Pilates, zumba, roller-skate – whatever makes you feel good. When you feel good on the inside you are more apt to have a peaceful mind. As a bonus, you’ll look better on the outside, too!
Meditate or Pray Every Day ~ Spend twenty minutes of quiet alone time with just you and your thoughts. Mind your mind. Observe your thoughts. What thoughts are you attaching yourself to that make you feel angry, sad, happy, or joyful? Write them down in your journal after you’re done meditating.
Give and Receive Hugs ~ I once heard that if you don’t receive at least three hugs a day, you will become weird. I don’t know if it’s true or not but I give and receive three hugs a day…just in case. Give a hug to someone you love and you’ll receive that warm fuzzy feeling inside your heart.
Kiss Your Husband or Significant Other for at Least Thirty Seconds Every Day ~ Sounds like fun, right? This tip is inspired by Ron L. Deal and David Olson’s advice from their book “The Re-married Couple’s Checkup.” This thirty second kiss isn’t about foreplay or having wild monkey sex (don’t get me wrong, both of these activities are fun, too!) It’s about reconnecting with your honey after a long day at work, a day running the kids back and forth, and life’s general busy-ness. When life moves at the speed of light take a thirty second kiss break. You’ll both be glad you did!
Create Something ~ Rediscover your creative self. Bake cookies, experiment with new recipes, spend an afternoon taking candid photos of your kids and stepkids and create a photo montage of them for your husband. Paint, craft, crochet, knit, take an art class in something you’ve always wanted to learn how to do.
Become a Resourceful Stepmom ~ Read “Stepmonster” by Wednesday Martin, “No One’s the Bitch” by Jennifer Newcomb Marine & Carol Marine, “The Smart Stepmom” by Ron L. Deal & Laura Petherbridge, “StepCoupling” by Susan Wisdom, StepMom Magazine published by Brenda Ockun and written by stepmoms for stepmoms. Read books on personal development like “The Four Agreements” and “The Alchemist.” Listen to The Stepmom’s Toolbox Radio Show and hear the experts answer your questions. Find a stepfamily or stepmom coach who will work one-on-one with you and help you help your stepfamily to become successful. With all the resources we have available, stepmoms are no longer left in the dark, left alone, left out, or left behind.