S.M.A.C.K.s for Stepmoms: Unyielding Hope

5 11 2008

“Change has come to America.” Regardless of your political views, last night Obama gave a masterful victory speech. He said many powerful statements, but I’d like to bring up one that in my mind applies particularly well to stepfamily life. When Obama said our “unyielding hope,” is part of the true genius of our country, I thought of the stepmothers, stepparents, biological parents, and stepchildren who are out there struggling every day to create a home that feels good to be in. I thought of all the people returning to relationships after being hurt because of that same sense of hope. We hope we can create a family life in which conflict is not a way of life, but a rare occurance.  We hope that love and respect will overcome the differences between family members who don’t share blood.

But as Obama said last night, “We are one people.” If you have joined a stepfamily, can you readjust your thinking so that you can unite your stepfamily just as Obama wants to do with our country? What holds back your progress as a happy, healthy stepfamily? Can you earn the support of your stepchildren? Can you make peace with the exes in your lives? Can you create a bond with your partner that is so strong you can withstand any challenge that comes your way?

How? How will you do these things? How will you turn your unyielding hope to action? To a way of life?

Visit my other site www.smackyourinnercritic.com for more about the art of smacking down the Inner Critic.

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4 responses

6 11 2008
MF

Wow. You have summed up what I haven’t been able to “name” in my 23 years of step-motherhood. That is it! It is “unyielding hope” that keeps step family-life going forward – unyielding hope for real, unbreakable love blossoming from relationships not based on blood. I have seen it; it’s not always easy to hold on to; it is possible; it is worth it.

6 11 2008
JB

I’m not sure I agree with the term “unyeilding hope”. I’ve been married to my husband for two years now and there were definitely days when I wanted to give up, when all hope was lost and really, the only thing that kept us together was that it was easier NOT to leave. We’re on the road to being a happier family but I can’t say that our hope was unyeilding.

7 11 2008
Jacque

Thank you for your comments, ladies! JB: Thank you for being so honest about how difficult some days have been for you. The first few years of a new marriage in a stepfamily are some of the most challenging days there are. I’ve heard different statistics so it’s hard to know exact numbers, but I’ve seen some numbers that say up to two-thirds of stepfamilies break up by year three. And as we all know, remarriages have a higher rate of divorce than first marriages. That’s because you’re in the early, chaotic stages of stepfamily development when everyone’s fantasies are dashed with a dunk in the cold water of day-to-day life in this complicated arrangement. I promise you this gets easier! Well, maybe not easier, but you can learn how this new grouping of people is going to live together and create a brand new culture out of the ones that existed previously. Check out Dr. Patricia Papernow’s work. She writes about the stages of stepfamily development so you can see that you’re right in the thick of the mess right now. Hang in there!

19 11 2008
JB

Thanks so much for the advice and the recommendation. I’ll give it a look!

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