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?