Every now and then I get asked if I would marry my husband again if I knew then what I know now regarding step-parenting.
However, I would not have said ‘yes’ a few years ago, which was a couple of years into becoming a stepmom. Life was harder then. I struggled with so much, such as transition days; the house was quiet and clean for three days and then…well, you’re a mom or stepmom, you know what a house is like with children!
I wasn’t completely clear on my role or my boundaries and they changed at times because my husband didn’t know either. We were both encountering a new world together.
Nearly six years in, yes, I would marry my husband again. We’ve had the important conversations several times and continue to have those talks because they are ever-evolving. Communication is so much better between us. I have also shifted my mindset, which has been a game-changer.
I read parenting and step-parenting blogs. I have gone to counseling to better understand parenting, as well as how my parenting has been impacted by how I was raised. I don’t engage with the ex (she isn’t my ex!). I have learned how to have more fun. I also keep in mind that several of our challenges are not blended family related, they are parent and kid issues! Every day is a work in progress; blended family life is always changing.
If I could go back and share advice with pre-married Lindsay, I would offer the following:
- Ask your soon-to-be husband what his expectations are of me as a stepmom. Like I said, we were entering a new world together and talking a few things out would have been positive for both of us! When we got married, life was very different. We both worked from home and he handled everything kid related. Now he works at an office and I work from home. When the kids are home, I handle school drop-off, pick-up, and lunches. I didn’t think that would be my role when we got married; having these conversations earlier on would have been good. And they’re great conversations whether you’re in a blended family or bio-family.
- You don’t need to know everything! At the beginning of my stepmom journey, I wanted to know about anything that had to do with the kids and I learned a few years in that I don’t need to know everything. I don’t need to know about doctor or dentist appointments, I don’t need to attend parent-teacher conferences, etc. If I want to know something, my husband is happy to answer the questions, but it isn’t needed!
- It’s hard, but let the small stuff go! I am a Type A. I have a very demanding job and manage a lot at work. I am a firstborn rule follower. But the small stuff is just that, small and mostly insignificant. Ask yourself, “Will this matter in five hours, five days or five months?” If this answer is no, which it often is, I shift my mindset and stop putting so much energy into something that doesn’t matter. (This works well for all areas of life!)
Marriage and parenting both have great times and challenging times. As long as my husband and I work together as a team and have meaningful conversations, even if we disagree, life is more relaxed, tension-free, and fun! When those challenging times hit, we lean on each other for the wild ride! And I’m forever grateful for our relationship and I would marry my husband again and again.
You may also like: Perfectly Blended: Celebrating Stepfamilies on National Stepfamily Day