The Happy Stepmom

19 05 2010

Last week’s Stepmom Circles Podcast with Rachelle Katz, the author of The Happy Stepmom, got me thinking. Am I a happy stepmom? Is there such a thing as a happy stepmom? What is different about happy stepm0ms than unhappy stepmoms? I’ve explored this topic from different angles in my book, podcasts, and on this blog, but I think happiness makes for an interesting way of looking at stepmotherhood. I also just finished reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, a woman who spent a year working on making her life happier and so happiness is on my mind! Here are the things that make me a happy stepmom:

Time alone. This is huge for me. I love hanging out with my family and friends, but to recharge I need to have some solid me-time with no one else within earshot. When I have a balance of time alone and time with family, I am happy.

Time with my husband. With four kids in our house,  weeks can go by when my husband wave at each other twice a day. If we don’t pay attention we can easily become the proverbial ships passing in the morning and night. Spending time with my husband makes me a happy stepmother.

Curiosity about my stepchildren’s lives. When I’m feeling low I will often consciously turn on my curiosity about my stepchildren’s lives. What makes them tick? What’s happening in school these days? What’s it like to be a kid in 2010? What does it feel like to be 15 or 12 or 10? Being curious can lessen resentment or hurt feelings and turn me into a happier stepmom.

Feeling included. Even though I know I don’t have full parenting rights, I like to be asked at least for courtesy’s sake. My husband is usually very good at making me feel like part of the parenting team. But I still don’t feel included all of the time. I look at it this way: As long as I feel included 80 percent of the time, that’s pretty darn good. And that makes me a happy stepmother.

Exercise. If I don’t work out, I turn into a nasty beastie. It’s better for everyone in my family if I get my tush off the couch.

What makes you feel like a happy stepmother? If you were going to consciously work to be happier in your daily life, what would you do?



5 responses

20 05 2010

We are introverts. We gain energy being alone (as opposed to extroverts who gain energy by being with people). Alone time is, therefore essential.

20 05 2010

1. The rituals I have with my fiance on the nights we don’t have the kids.
2. Spending time with my friends chit-chatting and laughing.
3. Definitely getting some alone time. I need the alone-time to decompress and recharge after spending SO much energy trying to meet everyone else’s needs and taking on the psychological challenges involved in living with kids that aren’t mine. Blah! 🙂
4. Photography!
5. My dog.
6. Having the kids tell me that they LOVE something I cook for them.
7. Having the younger one holler at me as soon as I walk through the door about something he wants to show me.
8. Building a support network for fellow steppies!

20 05 2010

1) Time in the house alone
2) Spending time with my friends
3) Date night with my husband

20 05 2010

So funny how so many seem to need time alone – ME TOO! It can be a hard one for my husband to understand all the time, but he is pretty good about letting me have it. I’m currently unemployed so it’s a bit easier to be at home alone during the day. Other than that:

– time with friends
– going to bed 20 minutes early to spend the time chatting with my husband or Sunday morning when we stay in bed talking w/o the kiddo around
– I’m a FT stepmom (bio mom lives in another state and does not take advantage of her visitations) – so really any time alone with my husband is my favorite time
– reading
– jogging
– having the kiddo tell his dad that he wants to save special activities so we can all do them together

12 09 2010

Taking our great dane on any kind of adventure with just him and I.

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