I was talking with some fellow stepmoms over the past weekend and realized that no matter our situation, there is one thing as a woman parenting someone else’s children, we crave….
Stepmoms just want appreciation!
Now this appreciation can come from many places. As I left the conversation I realized that a Stepmom is looking for appreciation in three areas. I think the closer you get to achieving these three areas of appreciation, the happier you feel as a stepmom. I know at the start of my stepmother journey I was less joyful, but I’ve come along as these areas of my life have progressed. I’d say personally I’m about 2/3 of the way.
So here are the three areas:
- Stepmoms want to be appreciated by their husbands!
In any marriage you want your husband to appreciate your contribution to the marriage and family. But it goes farther than that in a blended family. As a stepmom, if you put a lot into the children your husband had with someone else, you want him to appreciate this work. Personally, I had to explain this to my husband early on. This dynamic is different than biological children, because really this effort on the part of a stepmom is a choice. Stepmoms aren’t looking for their husbands to worship them or thank them daily, but a bit of appreciation goes a LONG way in the heart of a stepmom. Don’t take for granted the work your wives invest into your children.
- Stepmoms want to be appreciated by their stepchildren! One stepmom I spoke with mentioned wanting her step-kids to appreciate all she does for them. She mentioned the countless rides she gives them… the vacations she worked hard to provide them. I could definitely relate to these feelings. Kids don’t naturally appreciate things; this is a learned skill. I believe for this appreciation to exist, #1 has to be achieved. It wasn’t until my husband taught the older berries to appreciate me that I felt a difference. It took many explanations on his part that everything I give them is a “bonus” and one that they shouldn’t take for granted. And like all children, the true appreciation will hopefully come later in life as the kids reflect on what was done for them. This later appreciation is what most children come to terms with, so as stepmoms we also hope this appreciation will be extended to us.
- Stepmoms want appreciation from Bio-Mom. While I don’t think this one affects your household as much as the first two (cause she isn’t living in your home), I do think it’s integral in having the two households get along. When I say appreciation, I know that most moms aren’t excited about another woman raising their kids. As a mother to two biological children, I get that. I wouldn’t want anyone else raising Tyler and Kennedy. However, the fact that there are so many blended families, means that other people are sometimes raising your children. Again, a stepmom isn’t looking to be cherished or have the ground she walks on kissed, but a little appreciation goes a long way… and probably farther when expressed by the Bio Mom. Having Mom recognize that we Stepmoms are giving our all to her children… all of our time, all of our hard-earned money, all of our love.. to her children, well that shouldn’t be taken lightly, least of all by Mom. As long as the stepmom in your life treats your children well, we stepmoms would sure enjoy just a bit of appreciation in your hearts.
Parenting isn’t an easy job. Parenting someone else’s children is even harder. But the one thing that can keep that stepmom going is a bit of appreciation!