Guest Author - Terrie Andrade
Whether you are about to become or already are a stepmother, you have been initiated into a special organization called a blended family. Unlike most organizations where the newest person enters at the bottom of the totem pole, this one places you in an immediate position of management and leadership. This automatic promotion and authority may not bode well with the other members who, in spite of their lifetime affiliation, may still be without voting privileges. Your own personal experience and qualifications, while perhaps stellar in previous positions, may prove useless in this new appointment. In fact, it is quite likely that you will need to develop a whole new approach if success is really important to you. Mistakes and failures are certain to occur as you observe and interact with the membership; but as with any endeavor, they will usually turn out to be your greatest teachers.
Even if you have no idea what you are doing, you will learn. You will learn that it is OK to ask for help from the very individuals you are leading. You will recognize the importance of a strong and loving marriage with trust, friendship and common goals as its foundation. Together you will seek the balance of being a devoted couple and a caring family.
Of course you will pay attention to the needs of your household, but equally as important is to acknowledge your own. Caring for your body, mind and soul will honor your own worth. Try to avoid beating yourself up over the errors of good intentions. They are inevitable. If your best effort results in something other than planned, do not let guilt be the surviving emotion. It will crush your spirit and replace it with irrational fears. Remember…a few bad decisions are part of every well-lived life and they actually play a big part in honing our intuitive skills.
There is a lot of advice out there for stepmoms. Resources such as books, therapists and support groups can be accessed with ease. Friends, family members and co-workers are generally willing to contribute, as well. I would recommend you listen and evaluate everything, then dismiss or embrace according to your own circumstances and wisdom. I can assure you that there is no patented method for success but when all else fails please try love, respect, encouragement, compassion, mercy and forgiveness.
You have been called to a position of huge proportion and responsibility in this new family structure. All eyes, ears and hearts will be set on you and it’s safe to say it won’t be perfect or instantly lovely. But the future is yours to hope and dream. Temper those dreams with healthy expectations; use your authority and position wisely, and it is yours to create.