‘People ask about our relationship. We get weird looks. We crack jokes about it, but we know who we are because we fought like hell to become us.’: Stepmom shares co-parenting advice

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“I didn’t dream of being a stepmom – does anybody? There is so much about being a blended family that feels unnatural. There’s no instruction manual. We’re not raised to be good at it. And you have to fight basic animal instincts while simultaneously developing new skills AND providing a loving home with stable parents for the kids involved.

This is my husband’s ex. My step kids’ mom. But I just call her ‘sistermom.’ People ask about our relationship. We get weird looks. And we crack jokes about it, but we know who we are…because we fought like hell to become us. I’m not an expert; we’re still learning. But we weren’t always like this and I’ve learned some things along the way I wanted to share for anybody further behind on the path we’ve walked.

1. Fight Fair

I’d never tell you not to fight…honestly, I believe with my whole heart the fighting heals. But you have to be fair. Admit when you’re wrong, don’t take cheap shots. Apologize. Forgive. Repeat.

2. Work On You

Every time you catch yourself complaining about your co-parents, gossiping about how they need to change if your family’s going to be successful, or placing blame completely on the other person — ask yourself what you could be doing differently to help your family. And if you don’t know how to do that thing, then the only thing you should be doing in your free time is figuring out how. Watch what happens to your family when YOU look inward and heal.

3. Pray

Like, constantly. God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called. You don’t have to know how to do this. Just ask for guidance and open your heart to it.

4. Give Credit Where It’s Due

If she helps you, thank her. If she strives to do better, acknowledge her. If she’s doing something you’d high five any other mom for…high five her!

4. Buy Her A Coffee

For real. There doesn’t need to be a reason. Extend your hand. BOTH of you. She’s a human…so don’t be a catty B.

Stepmoms: Stay in your lane. Stepmom is a bada– roll, and you’ll miss the blessings it offers if you’re just trying to be or replace mom. Jump in. Get involved. Try not to overstep, but recognize, pivot and ask for forgiveness when you inevitably do.

Moms: Be patient. And welcoming. And forgiving. While she figures out what in the WORLD being a step mom means and how the heck she’s supposed to do it: Include her. Respect her boundaries. And if she’s good to your children, give her freedom to run her own home.

You’ll never hear me tell you to ‘get over it.’ It’s not healthy or reasonable. There is hurt and trauma and loss in every single blended family. You don’t just get over it. But you can get through it. And I just happen to be one of the crazy people who thinks you’ll be better for committing to getting through it together. And who knows? With a little work, maybe someday you’ll find yourselves sneaking wine into the football game in a Yeti together like real sisterfriends do.”

Mom and stepmom giggle as they share wine they snuck into their kids' football game in a Yeti cup
Courtesy of Brianna Hiroshi

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Brianna Hiroshi of Minnesota. You can follow her journey on Instagram and Facebook. 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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‘How did that happen?!’ I live with my husband’s ex-wife. Marrying him was package deal.’: Mom and stepmom peacefully co-parent, ‘What matters most is having each other’s back’

‘I invited my husband’s ex-wife to my wedding. In our family, we’re not ‘half’ or ‘step.’ We’re just family.’: Mom and stepmom come together to peacefully co-parent after feud, ‘women should always support each other’

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