Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Outsider Looking In

Outsider looking in, stepmom, stepparenting, step parenting, step mom, step mother, step mom alone
Have you ever felt like you’re an outsider in your own home? In the past, I have felt this way many times on the kid weekends. There were nights where I felt like I didn’t belong, felt like I didn’t exist even with my own kids in the mix with my stepchildren and husband.  It always seemed to feel that way the first night of the weekend and it would sometimes carry over to the next day. I felt ignored, not just from my stepchildren and husband but even my own children. It was very hard, I would sometimes go in my bedroom and cry wishing this wasn’t my life, wishing that someone would notice that I am gone and in my bedroom while they all laughed and talked to one another. It made me feel like I was an outsider looking in through a window into my own home. I felt such a deep fear of loneliness and frustration of walking on eggshells around my stepchildren.  I felt like no matter what, I could never say or do the right thing, that no matter what they would find something to report back to their mother to start more drama with.  Often times, I would just sit and listen to them talk to their Father and my kids and not say anything at all, that way there would be nothing to report back.  I felt so alone with all of these feelings because I didn’t really have anyone I could talk to about it all since a lot of my family and friends are not in my shoes. I didn’t know who I can turn to for advice and who I could trust with everything I was going through. Here I thought since I had a stepmother, I would know how to be a stepmother and I knew that I would be much different than my own stepmother was with me.  And I can definitely say I did treat my stepchildren different than my stepmother treated me and I expected less and yet still struggled to be a great stepmother to my stepchildren. I automatically assumed that because I was a stepdaughter myself, I knew how to be a better stepmother.  Boy was I so wrong there. 
When I first noticed problems within our family, I started praying and asking God to help teach me to be a better stepmother and to help me know when to speak and when not to speak and to fill my heart with compassion, understanding, love and grace towards my stepchildren. I started going to counseling to help me deal with all of the anxiety and stress I was feeling. At first it didn’t happen right away, but over time and through a lot of prayers, I started feeling less alienated, less lonely and less vulnerable, I felt my guard come down slowly. The church I belonged to was small and didn’t really have any blended family support. I did at one point think about creating my own small group on blended families, but wasn’t sure I would have a lot in it because most of the church members were married for the first time and weren’t in a blended family. Then I started buying books about being a stepmom and being in a blended family. I even reached out to a book author of one of the books I was reading just to look for more support. I did some searching on the internet for stepmom forums to seek out other stepmoms but didn’t really have any luck there.  
 This past month is when I decided to create my own group on Facebook and found other groups about stepmoms and joined them. After joining them I finally realized, I am not alone in this, that there are other stepmoms out there that are going through the same struggles as I am.
I have made some mistakes as being a stepmom that I can’t take back and change, only to say I am still learning what is to be the best stepmom I can be.  It’s not an easy role to be in and there wasn’t much out there at first to help me with my daily struggles when I first started to be a stepmom.  All I have to focus on now is the things I did right and things I have shown my stepchildren as far as morals, values, traditions and having God in their lives. We were the ones to take them to church, their mother doesn’t attend church, so the only way they knew of God is going to church with us every other Sunday. 
I have realized that I have grown so much more in this past year about being a stepmom and using stepparenting strategies to help better myself.  I know even more than when I first started six years ago and I am sure I will know even more in another year from now. I have a much deeper understanding about how stepfamily development works and how to apply to my own blended family.  It took me a long time to get where I am at now, it didn’t happen overnight.  Will I still make mistakes sometimes, yes, because I am only human, however now I will make fewer mistakes going forward. I have a stronger support system now, where now I am not alone anymore. Being a stepmother is a long process where you can go from surviving to thriving, but it does take a lot of time, development, dying to self, patience, sweat and tears at times. Every stepfamily is different and everyone goes at their own pace.  All I know is that I feel much better about where I am at now, even though I do not see my stepchildren currently.  I just know there will come a day where I will see them again and I want to be ready to be a better stepmom and do the right thing for them because after all I do have their best interest at heart and I do love them in spite of how they may feel about me.
You are not an outsider looking in a window, you are loved and cared for, more importantly, you are not alone on this journey.
Here’s a prayer that will help encourage you with your stepmom journey.

Dear Lord,
I feel lonely and feel like an outsider in my home at times and feel like giving up and running away from it all.  Being a stepmom is much more complicated and harder than I thought it would be and it never seems to get easier.  Thank you for comforting me when I feel alone and afraid.  I know it says in your word that you know the pain I am feeling and see the tears I have cried and store my tears. I know they are precious to you. Just knowing that you are there for me and care for me, helps me to endure my current situation.  I know you still love me and will never leave my side. For that, I am very grateful for.
Lord, I need your strength and a new attitude towards everything I go through as being a stepmom. You say that you will take my hard heart and make it soft and loving. Please put your spirit inside of me to provide wisdom and truth.  I desperately long for your guidance and your ways. I feel so overwhelmed and discouraged that it’s very hard to find a solution, that’s when I feel like wanting to escape it all.  Help me to discern when it’s wise and right for me to speak and when I should be silent. Please help guide me through those hard to handle situations or circumstances. Give my husband a way to see and understand things clearly, please teach him to stand beside me and still love and be there for his kids.  Thank you for loving me when I feel alone, thank you for loving me when I make mistakes along the way, please help me to forgive those who have hurt me along the way.  Amen.

Have you ever felt like you were alone and an “outsider looking in”? How did you overcome it and get through it?

6 comments:

  1. So glad that you found a way to be a peace with your situation and the support to work through it. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Sometimes I feel that way with my husband and son. Being the only female sometimes leaves me feeling left out.

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  3. It IS a journey. I have been in another situation feeling like an outsider. But as you said community and love and time help so much!

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  4. Sounds like great insight. No one wants to be an outside. {{hugs}}

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  5. fortunately never been a problem I've had to deal with but always good to address troubles before they boil over.

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  6. Great to know that you are doing awesome now. Just be the real you and continue asking HIS guidance.

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