“Last weekend, my stepdaughter was playing with a ketchup packet and literally exploded it all over herself, me, my antique rug, and a not-so-cheap dining room chair.
What was her response? Hysterical giggling.
What was MY response? As usual, I bit my tongue and with a patient smile—and a slight twitch—asked her to please grab something to wipe it up with.
Let me just tell you something: If my five-year-old had done this, I would have FLIPPED. MY. LID.
I would NOT be smiling. I would be giving him the double stink eye. And the first words out of my mouth would have been, ‘OH MY GOSH. WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!’
Then, I would have wiped it up with his hair. Just kidding, but you get the drift.
The thought hit me…I don’t treat my stepchild like my own kids—I treat her so much better.
When she messes up, I automatically respond with grace and understanding.
When she gets caught doing something wrong, I always stop and consider the deeper issues driving her behavior.
I have never once raised my voice at her. In seven years.
I am hyper-aware of her feelings, her struggles, and her insecurities.
I always go out of my way to make sure she feels special, safe, and included in our home.
I am constantly analyzing the impact my words and actions are having on her.
I have my living room bookshelves slam packed full of step-parenting books.
And this is just the reality for a lot of us stepmoms.
More often than not, we find ourselves putting so much emotional energy into our role as a stepmom that it feels like we have nothing left for anyone else. Not even our own children.
This stepmom stuff is HEAVY.
So to all the stepmoms out there trying to do it all and do it right, I see you. I feel you.
Keep fighting the good fight.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Rachel Dunne. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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