Being a step mother means being assaulted by a million new emotions that your not sure if you should be feeling or don't particularly want to be feeling (in the beginning at least). I've heard from so many women out there who feel confused, ashamed and alone because of the way they feel. You may or may not have had a honeymoon period with your step kids, but once it ends (or sadly from the beginning) you can feel all sorts of mixed up emotions. Even if you already have kids of your own, it can be hard to adjust to having new children around. So here's a list of some common step mum emotions, and reasons why they are ok....
Definition 1 ; 'bitter indignation at having been treated unfairly.'
Definition 2; feeling or showing an envious resentment of someone
You come into a relationship wanting to spend all your time with your partner. You want the honeymoon period with the dinners out, the date nights, the rampant sex. Instead, evenings get rearranged due to child care demands, you spending more time than you'd like talking about/to your partners ex and you seem to have inherited children who throw every little bit of effort you make back in your face. This new title with the word 'mother' in seems so far fetched from what you actually are right now. Not only that, but the person you love most in the world doesn't feel quite the same. There is another person who takes up their heart more than you ever will. The whole thing feels unfair! So why wouldn't you feel resentful and a bit jealous?
The good news? It gets easier, and this emotions gets less over time. Even couples who have a biological child together can feel resentment as their relationship adjusts and they get used to sharing the attention and love.
Definition; the feeling of being upset or annoyed as a result of being unable to change or achieve something. The prevention of the progress, success, or fulfilment of something.
I put this as bordering with anger as the definition of anger is a 'strong feeling of annoyance' which then boils over into displeasure and hostility. Again, why wouldn't you feel like this? There are so many things you can't change, and the step mother- step child relationship takes so long, it can often feel like no progress is being made. It takes time to get to grips with what your role is, where you fit in, what you can/can't do. I literally felt like every time my SS came to stay I was going to combust I was so frustrated. It took so long for his behaviour towards me to change, and each weekend it was like starting all over again. Not only that, but each time he came over there seemed to be some new drama to deal with: some new behaviour, like or dislike to adjust to. Things never seemed to go anywhere and I got majorly fed up with my partner for telling me it takes time. Its a lot of effort to keep trying to be nice to someone who's pretty horrid back.
I felt so cross about the way my SS behaved some times, and so fed up with my partner for not disciplining him for it. He had a different way of dealing with naughty behaviour, but I couldn't understand that. I just felt like he was letting him get away with being rude and ungrateful. It was infuriating.
Anger towards your partner and their behaviour towards the ex can also piss you right off. See this article for a better understanding of why these behaviours may occur.
The good news? Things do change and its really rewarding to look back now and see how far we have come. If you don't already have kids (as I didn't) it takes time to come to terms with just how long it takes them to get on board with some things (you being one of them). We've all changed, not just my SS but my partner and I too.
Definition; feeling weary and impatient because one is unoccupied or lacks interest in one's current activity
Jesus Christ, the things kids like to do can be so boring! I've never in my life watched the same episode of Octonauts so many times. Actually, to be fair, I'd never watched Octonauts before my SS came along (its about the adventures of a polar bear, a cat and a penguin who have live in a submarine, in the shape of a giant octopus, with singing turnips for friends. WTF?!) Neither had I played snap for so long or spent an entire morning pushing someone on a swing.
The good news? Sorry girls, suck it up. This one you just have to get used to!
Recurrent Honeymoon Phase
Definition; A timespan during which problems known to exist are either not manifest or are ignored.
You might be reading this wondering why I'm constantly banging on about all these awful emotions when actually, you and your step kids are wonderfully happy. Unless your a number of years down the line though, you might be going through a recurrent honeymoon phase. In the very beginning, my SS and I had a honeymoon phase. As the definition states, there were no problems that had really manifested themselves . I was a novelty and eager to please, so all went really well.
Later on, when he moved in with us, we had another honeymoon phase. I told myself I was going to be a rock, solid and dependable and not let anything get to me. But, alas, I'm only human and there are only so many times I can be poked before I'm going to react. So that particular phase came to an end.
The good news? I know people 3-4 years in who still have honeymoon phases, but they don't last as long now. The relationship moves into a more even state, with not as many major ups or downs.
Definition; the fact of having committed a specified or implied offence or crime.
Ok, so I've put guilt but by definition, I don't think its the right word. I don't feel bad for having committed an offence- unless you count the offence as thinking horrible thoughts or having negative feelings. Perhaps instead we feel ashamed? Although the definition of that isn't quite right either. Whatever the word, I'm sure you understand what I'm getting at. Feeling like an awful human for being resentful towards a child, or for being jealous because their parent loves them more than they love you. But if you've come into this, especially with no kids, your bound to feel like this. For better or for worse, we are all human, and I think the fact we work through these feelings shows strength of character and counts for more than anything else.