Stop Complaining Already – Empower Yourself!
BEFORE YOU READ: I must note that the articles I mention below are fabulous. Jenna Korf’s website www.stepmomhelp.com and Barb Goldberg’s website www.theevilstepmotherspeaks.com are rated #3 and #1 respectively for blogs about blended families and stepparenting. Unfortunately, these articles impacted me the wrong way at the time. So, I hope that by reading this post, you won’t feel like I did 🙂
Since you are reading this article, you know that I (duh) have a blog about being a stepmom. Part of blogging is sharing stories and advice with members of the community you blog about. So, I sought out other blogs about being a stepmom.
My intention was to read other stories, make a connection, maybe laugh a little… Instead, I became super depressed and started feeling really sorry for myself.
Why? Allow me to demonstrate. Here is a short list of articles I found.
- Why stepparenting is harder than parenting by Jenna Korf.
- Stepmothers feel like a raw piece of meat by Barb Goldberg
- Suzanne Somers says Blended Family Life was “Hell”
That is just to name a few. See the same trend as I did? Yeah. Great.
As I read more and more blogs, community posts, and searched for Facebook and Google + groups to join, the more and more I became bitter and depressed.
Apparently, this became exceedingly obvious as the day turned into evening and my husband got home from work. I had started the day feeling down right chipper, but started the evening like crusty, old curmudgeon who just realized their grandkids just dumped them off at a nursing home.
He asked, “Um, baby, is everything all right? You seem really pissed off.”
I wanted to shout at him and say, “No! Everything is not ‘all right’! My life is so hard. Can’t you see that? I am nothing but a piece of meat and my life is hell! I have to do all the work and yet I have no real authority. Woe is me! Woe is me!!!!”
What? No. Just No. I took a deep breath and really thought about why I was in such a bad mood. I had absolutely no reason to feel so crappy.
Yes, I have to raise two teenagers that aren’t mine. Yes, I’m fifteen years younger than my husband, which gives me a certain stigma. Yes, I do everything around the house like laundry, cleaning, cooking, more cleaning. Yes, it’s hard. Very hard.
But you know what? I am proud of myself. Not many people can do what I do. I have no shame in saying that and I have no problem tooting my own horn if I think it’s warranted.
I am seeing way too many posts about how it’s impossible to be a stepparent. Well, I got news for ya – it’s hard, but we as stepparents are in a very unique situation that can be more influential for a child than their biological mom or dad. So, step up to the plate and get over it.
Am I saying we are never allowed to complain? Of course not. A good vent session is cathartic and (in my humble opinion) necessary to keep your sanity. However, constantly looking at how things are unfair and difficult in your life instead of actively focusing on how much good you can do for both your spouse and your stepchildren is just selfish.
Stepparents out there, don’t give up! You have no idea how powerful your presence can be. It is hard, it is frustrating, and yes it is a self-sacrificing, and often thankless job, but you can do it! Take a look at yourself in the mirror when you feel badly and say, “Damn, I’m not too shabby.”
Do you know who needs to take this advice most of all? Yes. Me.
How do you empower yourself and help empower those around you?