The transition to becoming a stepmom can feel incredibly daunting. Not only are you trying to make a romantic relationship work, but you’re also trying to make a relationship work with your partner’s children.
There is no guarantee that you will hit it off, and it will likely take several months to possibly years of adjustment for both you and the kids. If you find yourself feeling depressed as a stepmom, you’re not alone. Furthermore, your depression doesn’t have to be permanent.
By examining the reasons why stepmoms might feel depressed, you can more easily pinpoint from where your depression originates. Then, you will have the power to be proactive and seek the help that you need.
1. Lack of Boundaries
The most significant conflict that arises when new people live together is a conflict of boundaries. When people are raised a certain way, they tend to think that their boundaries are the “normal” way of life.
As a stepmom, you may feel your boundaries heavily infringed upon by your partner’s kids. Furthermore, you may feel like you are the only one who has to make compromises for the sake of the kids’ comfort.
You shouldn’t have to sacrifice your comfort, and it is important to discuss boundaries both with your partner and their children.
2. Your Space Is No Longer Your Own
Along with an invasion of boundaries, you may feel that you no longer have personal space. If you moved in with your partner and their children or they moved in with you, it is difficult to adjust to new living circumstances.
Odds are, the kids will make themselves very comfortable without thought-but you might feel uncomfortable. I may seem that you have no personal space.
The solution is to once again speak with your partner and the kids. Perhaps consider giving yourself a designated no-kid space.
3. The Other Parent Is Calling the Shots
Trying to make a relationship with a new partner and kids work is hard enough. It is even more complicated when the kids’ mother is calling shots from afar. Perhaps she is dictating what the kids can and cannot do, even when they aren’t with her.
It can be especially difficult if she is making individual decisions seemingly out of spite. It is essential to be patient with the kids’ mother and attempt to see her point of view. You could even try talking with her directly.
You don’t have to be her best friend, nor she yours, but communication is vital in this type of familial situation.
4. The Kids Tell the Other Parent Everything
Along with the kids’ mother calling the shots, it can be especially difficult if the kids go back and complain about things that you do. If you do things differently than how they know, they may feel resentful towards you.
It’s possible to find a compromise with how you function in your household vs. how the kids were raised to function. Odds are, if you fell into a relationship with their parent in the first place, you had a similar upbringing. However, this isn’t always the case.
Have a discussion and talk about how it makes you uncomfortable to have the kids telling their mother everything you seemingly do “wrong.” Again, there is a compromise to be found.
5. You and the Kids Don’t Get Along
Depending on the age of the kids when you start dating their parent, it can be tough to get them to like you.
Stepmoms have a reputation for being overbearing or sometimes downright cruel. Prove to them that this is a complete myth, but never compromise your comfort and well-being.
It can be emotionally draining to feel disliked by someone you live with. Keep in mind that the child may feel the same way emotionally, as well.
You may have to put in a little more work than the kid, but there is a way to navigate difficult relationships gracefully. They’ll come around; you have to give it time and patience.
Stepmom’s emotional well-being often gets overlooked in new family dynamics. The focus is on the kids and their comfort. However, your comfort is just as important, and if you find yourself feeling depressed, these five reasons might be why.
Talking with your partner and the kids is essential to lay down boundaries. If you feel your desires are being ignored or put on the back-burner, speak up. Never be afraid to speak your mind-if you consistently downplay your emotions, your depression will only escalate.
If you’d like support navigating the role of a stepmom, feel free to contact me today.