Sometimes the life of stepmom can feel like a constant battle. You are coming into a situation where dad and kids have their own routines and systems that you have to try to fit into. Step-kids may resent changes in the family dynamic and be resistant to accepting you into their lives. And of course, there is the ex, who often feels threatened by your role in her kids’ life and will resent your presence.
It can be an exhausting and hurtful process. One where you feel like you take two steps back for every step forward. One that can breed conflict between you and your kids, your husband, the ex, and even extended family members.
My husband recently published his first book (brilliant man that he is!), and one lesson he teaches is the concept “Don’t pick up the rope.” I love this idea, and I find myself thinking of the phrase and reminding myself of this concept often in my step-parenting role. Not picking up the rope is a simple strategy and an easy parenting win.
Let’s face it. In step-parenting situations, there just will be conflict. There may not be a way to prevent it, particularly in situations that involve complicating issues such as mental health concerns, substance abuse, etc. Yes, it’s ideal that you co-parent beautifully all together for the best interest of the kids. But sometimes we must make the best of a bad situation. We don’t live in an ideal world. We cannot control the actions and behaviors of the people we do life with.
The Secret to Reducing Step-Parenting Battles
We can’t control WHO we do life with, but we can control our actions, behaviors, & feelings. The answer is difficult but oh, so simple. Just don’t pick up the rope! Have you ever tried to play tug-of-war by yourself? It doesn’t work. (And as an added bonus, you look a little crazy!).
Have you ever reduced step-parenting battles by refusing to engage in the back-and-forth tug-o-war? If so, I would love to hear more about how this step-parenting tool worked? What went well, and what would you do differently next time to reduce ongoing step-parenting battles? I’m excited about continuing the conversation in the comments below?