Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Perfect Mom

perfect mom, stepmom, blended families, step family, mistakes in parenting, stepparents
There is no such thing as a Perfect Mom unless it is in the movie world.  I am not a perfect Stepmom! Are you surprised? Well to the biological mother, us Stepmoms are never perfect or the best Stepmom to their children. Yes, I admit I am not a perfect Stepmom but the stepchildren aren’t perfect children either. No one can be perfect. We all make mistakes from time to time in being a parent. That’s how we learn to be better parents. There is no such thing as the “Perfect Parent”.  If you really know one, please feel free to share it in the comments at the end of this post. 
I have made some mistakes as a Stepmom; I have made some mistakes as a biological Mother too. I have owned my mistakes and apologized for them.  It’s what we do after we make the mistakes and it is how we learn from them.  We need to learn to try to better ourselves from the mistakes we have made.  I don’t think any of us Stepmoms when we were little and playing with our Barbie dolls played “Stepmother” role with them.  It’s a role that we never thought we would be in.  But this is the life we chose after we said “I do take him to be my husband".  We might not have known everything we would be getting ourselves into at that time.  After all the Brady Brunch can do it, we can do it, right?  I was a stepdaughter myself and knew what it was like to have a Stepmom.  I didn’t make the same mistakes as my Stepmom did with me, but I made other ones.  Being a Stepmom is very hard and there isn’t a manual on how to do it.  Maybe there should be one and call it: “What to expect when expecting to be a Stepmom”.  You can be a successful Stepmom if you do a lot of research on all of the complications and join a support group of Stepmoms to help prepare you for the issues, struggles and obstacles you will face.  You need to be prepared for everything and learn to be able to accept the role.  It’s okay and good to make some mistakes as long as you own it, apologize, and learn from those mistakes.  The overall take from this post is: when you make a mistake, Own it, Apologize for it, and Learn from it.
Yes, Stepmoms may make some mistakes, we are only human and being a Stepmom is much harder than being a biological mother because we have all of the roles as a biological mother but none of the power or authority.  Please show me a biological mother who doesn’t make mistakes too?  Why are the mistakes that a Stepmom make much worse than if a biological mother made them? I think there’s a double standard here.  I know us Stepmoms didn’t give birth to our stepchildren but that doesn’t mean we don’t have their best interests in mind.

Steps to take when we make Mistakes
  1. Own it. Suck in that pride and admit that we made a mistake.
  2. Apologize for it. Very important to do because it shows the stepchildren to admit when they are wrong too.
  3. Learn from it.  What could you have done differently for a better outcome?
  4. Educate Yourself.  You can purchase books on how to be a better step parent or get blended family books.

How can we avoid making Future Mistakes
  1. Educate yourself.  Purchase books about being a Stepmom and other blended family books.
  2. Join a Support Group for Stepmoms either online or your local church.  I have a great support group I started on Facebook called: Stepmoms Are Us. Come check it out and join there are over 100 Stepmoms already.
  3. Think of these three things always before you speak
  4. Is it Nice? Is it True? Is it Necessary?
  5. Pray to God for wisdom, strength, and direction. When you seek him daily, you will get the help you need.
  6. Take an Adult Time Out. Yes, sometimes when we get heated up and full of anger, it’s best to remove yourself from the situation and take the time to calm down. Don’t respond in anger over something, always be calm, cool and collected.
Realizing why you make the mistakes you make is half of the battle.  Sometimes we make mistakes because of our backgrounds in how we were raised.  I know most of us say we will never do what our parents did with us when we were growing up, but in reality, we do often make the same mistakes our parents made with us.  Even though our hearts are in the right place, we often times follow the same example.  We need to write down all of the negative things in our childhood that we think our parents did wrong in raising us.  Then write down all of the positive things they did in raising us when we were children.  Are the negative things something that you struggle with now? If so, we need to realize it and stop it now.  It’s never too late to change course and stop making the mistakes your parents made with you. Share these lists with your spouse and even have him write his own lists up and you can both compare with one another.  Make each other accountable for each list and give each other permission to tell one another when one is doing something off of the lists.
As for my list, one of the negative things on my list was that my mom used to call us children names a lot when she was angry with us.  And as you guessed it, I struggle with that too now. I sometimes call my children and stepchildren “Brats”.  I am trying my best to stop myself from doing it.  I am happy to say I haven’t done it for over a year and a half now and I’m hoping I will overcome it.  You can overcome anything you put your mind too.  Trying to change is going to be hard, but you can do it.  Sometimes we made mistakes as Sue Patton Thoele said: “anything that is unrecognized, unresolved, wounded, or disowned within us is likely to be projected onto another person or situation”.  That’s why it is so important to take a look at ourselves and our own upbringing. Sometimes there is hurt there that goes deep. If you do experience that in your past or childhood it is best to seek help with a therapist to help resolve it.  You can become a better Stepmom if you heal those hurts and unresolved feelings that happened in the past.  Break the generational curse of being just like your parents. 

If we educate ourselves more it will change the sixty percent divorce rate that is among blended marriage right now.  Blended families can’t do it alone; we need help to be successful.  The good news is that there are more books, resources, support groups and help within our churches are increasing.  Which also means that the rates of divorces within blended families will slowly decline.  I would personally like to see every church have a small group for Blended Families.
You will not be able to undo the mistakes and hurt you caused already, but you can make a difference right now and for your future. As Jackson Brown Jr. said, “There is never a wrong time to do the right thing.”  Just remember when you do make a mistake to Own it, Apologize for it, and Learn from it.  There is no such thing as a Perfect Mom or Parent, educate yourself and learn from the mistakes you make.  Let’s make a difference in our stepchildren’s lives and avoid leaving scars of hurt and pain from the mistakes we make.
Have you ever made a mistake in parenting? Please share how you overcame it.


References:
Sue Patton Thoele (2013). The Courage to be a Stepmom. Finding Your Place Without Losing Yourself. 

11 comments:

  1. I'm not a parent but these are good rules in general - it is good to own up to your mistakes.

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  2. nobody is perfect - it's just about doing your best every day - you're still doing a good job :)

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  3. I think this is a great post. When you really think about it, all of these principles can be applied to many aspects of life. In general, you always want to improve, learn from mistakes, and not repeat them.

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  4. Great post! No one is a perfect anything, much less parent, which is such a tough job!

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  5. Yes, perfection is only a goal and we shouldn't get too attached to it. If we do the best we can, that is good in my opinion, and look for opportunity to grow.
    Carol
    http://carolcassara.com/maui-coffee/

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  6. You're right. There is no such thing as perfect mom! Motherhood is tough, but you are right about owning up to your mistakes. Nobody is perfect!

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  7. I struggle with censoring myself when I'm angry, too. I'm working on it! It's great that you started a facebook group for step moms.

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  8. Saying sorry is also a good thing to do. Thanks for your truly helpful tips!

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  9. It's a tought job and sometimes can be thankless, but very worthwhile at the same time

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  10. This is something very similar to what I was taught when working a theatre in customer service. It was called the LAST principle. Listen, Acknowledge, Solve, Thank. When we are with our kids we try to own our mistakes and help them understand we are all learning too.

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  11. There is no such thing as perfect mom. We just do our best to become the best mom to our kids.

    Mhar Sefcik
    http://www.brightbundles.com/

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