If you are considering marrying a man and his children, you have to ask yourself, “Am I ready to be a stepmom?”
It’s a complicated question with a complicated answer. And even if you answer yes, the likelihood is that you really aren’t ready.
Because, nobody is actually ready to be a step parent. Ever.
But if you’re considering being a stepmom, here are some factors to consider before you accept the ring and walk down the aisle.
I want to warn you, though. These are a little brutal. Becoming a stepmom and involving yourself in their life is a HUGE decision. It should not be taken lightly.
Really take the time to think about the answers to these questions. Be honest with yourself.
You might be interested in – STEPMOM’S TOP 5 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Questions to ask yourself before becoming a stepmom
Do I even want kids?
This may seem like a ridiculous question. But let me tell you a story about a friend of our family’s.
Jack (not his real name) is a divorcee who met and fell in love with Jill (not her real name). They dated for almost 2 years before he finally proposed.
After being engaged for 6 months, Jill gave Jack an ultimatum. “Me or the kids.”
Jill did not want kids. Not really.
She had convinced herself that she could either encourage Jack to take less time with his kids or that she would eventually get used to them.
Jack kindly but firmly sent Jill on her way.
The only blessing in this story is that Jill spoke up and voiced her desires before they actually got married.
But if you find yourself in a similar situation….
Thinking…maybe I can convince him to take 1 weekend a month instead of 2.
…or perhaps…surely having kids will grow on me. How bad can it be?
Then have mercy on everyone involved (including yourself) and find someone who is better suited to the lifestyle you want.
Because A) any man worth having will not chose you over his kids. And B) it can be bad. Really bad. Especially if it’s not even what you wanted in the first place.
Am I willing to make mistakes until I figure it out?
I did a quick search of Amazon for “books on being a mom.” There were 2,000 results.
A similar search for “books on being a stepmom” gave me 98 results.
What I’m saying is, there is no right way to be a stepmom. Even if you take two perfectly successful stepmoms, their methods are going to be entirely different based on their family situation.
One family may split parenting time 50% while the other gets 2 months in the summer. They are each going to (step)parent VERY differently.
You are going to feel like you’re fumbling around in the dark and you WILL make mistakes.
Ego and pride will have to take a step back while you figure it out.
If you’re struggling with guilt for your mistakes, take a look at my post on why guilt is actually a good thing.
Can I live with kids who may or may not want me there?
Most parents never have to ‘earn’ the love and respect of their children. It’s a natural by-product of the child/parent relationship.
Stepmoms do not have this luxury.
You may be looked at as the person who ended the hopes their parents are getting back together. Or they could be teenagers who are offended by everything including the way you breathe. Maybe they’re used to having their parent all to themselves and are unwilling to share.
But the truth is, you are the outsider as a new stepmom. You have the heavy burden of earning their love and respect.
And boy that is hard. Especially if you have an ex who is actively trying to sabotage your efforts.
Truthfully, you may not be successful. They may continue resenting your existence forever. But equally possible is that you can build a successful relationship given time and effort.
Either way is going to tax your mental health more than you thought possible. And you need to be prepared for either eventuality.
Can you truly be happy and feel at home if your husband’s kids don’t like you or want you there?
It’s something I know I would struggle with. I’m fortunate to have a great relationship with my step kids, but I would have had serious doubts if I knew I wasn’t wanted.
You might be interested in trying these questions to help you build a relationship with young step kids.
Will the ex cause me more stress than it’s worth?
This question is buried in the middle of more questions, but don’t let that fool you.
It is one of the most crucial aspects of being a successful stepmom.
Navigating the ex relationship will make or break you. And really, it’s doesn’t matter if it’s a positive or negative relationship.
A low to no conflict relationship still requires time and energy to maintain. A high conflict situation can consume you if you let it. Even an absent ex can complicate your life. Especially if they have a tendency to pop back up and throw a chaos bomb at you every so often.
If you are unable to unwilling to navigate this EXTREMELY TRICKY relationship, you’ll be much happier if you chose not to.
Personal story – I’ve mentioned previously that I will never use this platform as an opportunity to talk about my husband’s ex.
But I will say that she has been responsible for some of the worst and most helpless moments of my life. And I 100% was not ready for it coming into our marriage.
But even knowing that, I would chose to marry my husband and be a stepmom again.
The silver lining is that every conflict that arises and sleepless night you spend teaches you how to handle it better. But it is painful, stressful, and maddening. More than likely it isn’t going away and it will be up to you to live with it or try to improve it.
Are you prepared to face the challenge?
If nothing else, you can read my post about where to apply essential oils for migraines.
Do I trust my Significant Other to help me parent his kids?
Boundaries, support, and understanding is the name of the game here. Both with the kid(s)’ mom and with the kids themselves.
You will not be successful, not matter how hard you try, if you do not have the support of your spouse.
Kids love to test boundaries. And step kids are no exception. Then add the complicating factor that you are not known or trusted (yet) and you have a combination that can blow up in your face.
Unless you have the authority given by your spouse to (appropriately) interact with and set boundaries for the kids, you will feel like a helpless stranger in your own home.
You also need your spouse’s trust. If you tell them there is a problem and they don’t listen, imagine how much that will hurt.
Admittedly, it’s hard to predict how someone will act in any given situation. But you can, at the least, make sure your trust your SO to have your back.
And dear lord, make sure you’ve discussed your needs with him ahead of time. If you don’t feel comfortable asking him to support you before you’re married, I guarantee it will not improve after marriage.
I interact with a lot of stepmom groups. There are countless toxic situations that could have been saved or avoided by knowing their partner’s strengths and weaknesses in this area.
Not every woman is able to be a stepmom. And not every dad is cut out to support a stepmom. Make sure you’re marrying one who can.
Am I resilient enough to live through the bad times?
New stepmoms feel lost, underappreciated, despised, confused. You name it. They feel it. Unlike the joy and celebration that comes with being a new mom, stepmoms get side-eyes and judgement.
It’s not a matter of ‘if you’ll have bad days’. It’s ‘when and how often’.
There might even be times when there’s more bad than good.
Can you live with that?
Because the last thing you want to do is set yourself up for a failed marriage. And statistically, “66% of those living together or remarried break up, when children are involved.” (Source)
Which means you need to be in it for the long haul. It is downright hard.
Wait until the lovey-dovey phase wears off and you start seeing reality again. Then you can evaluate your relationship for what it is and if it can sustain the heaps of hard times that it’s going to face.
No one enters a marriage entirely informed. Time changes people. But you can at least go into it knowing that you thought it through and made a conscious decision.
If all else fails, you can check out this post on how to cope with bad days.
Will you be a good stepmom?
Honestly, only time will tell if you will be a good bonus mom. (Or smom, or stepmom, or whatever name you use)
Because it takes time and hard work to be a good stepmom.
It takes patience and resilience and patience. Did I mention you should brush up on your patience?
The pay-off can be huge, though. You get to be married to the person you love. And hopefully, you gain more love and fulfillment from helping to parent some amazing kids.
It will be different than having a child of your own. It will be harder in some ways and easier in others.
But if you’re willing to put in the work and think you’re ready, it can be amazing.
A lot of people look at ‘stepmom’ as a cuss word, but I happily wear my status as a badge of honor. I’m not embarrassed to say I’m my step-kids’ Smom. It’s a title I’ve earned through hard work and tears. It’s a title my step kids enjoy calling me. And there is nothing in the world I would trade it for.
But that’s me.
Don’t feel like a failure if you determine it’s not for you.
Think of it as standing up for yourself, your needs, and your future.
Take the quiz to find out if you’re ready to be a stepmom!
Enter your info below and it will be emailed directly to you.
Don’t forget it. Pin it!