No one really plans to be a step parent – I certainly didn’t.
When I first entered the lives of my stepsons, I underestimated the impact it would have on me to suddenly have 2 little people, who I barely knew, be at the centre of every decision I would make.
It took me a good 5-6 years to fully find my stride, to be comfortable in my role and feel that we had all adjusted. I am deeply passionate about supporting other step parents to find their own stride as quickly as possible.
I have rounded up 5 strategies that you can implement immediately help you take control of your role as a step parent, build confidence and empower your step parenting journey:
You become a step parent for and because of your partnership. Your relationship should remain the backbone of your family and must be nurtured and prioritised. You should be able to rely on the support of your partner when things get tough and have the communication tools in place that ensure you remain on the same page. Regular check-ins on logistics with your partner should be balanced with time to reconnect and have some fun together!
2. Prioritise yourself:
You can’t pour from an empty cup. It is so important that you set boundaries that are important to you and stick to them.
Having this clarity and asserting yourself is important for your wellbeing but also helps to start to chip away at the naturally ambiguous nature of the role. Flex your “boundaries muscle” as much as you can as it will reduce resentment, pave the way for stronger relationships and provide you with the strength and energy you need to be empowered in your role.
3. Routines & traditions:
The adaptation of old and the creation of new traditions provides a brilliant opportunity for step families to come together and bond in ways that are unique to day-to-day life. Even a simple routine meal such as having pasta every Sunday night will allow everyone in your family to know (and hopefully be excited) about what to expect. As time goes on, you can add to the tradition – maybe you take turns cooking, make it a competition or add in a post-dinner board game – all fun twists on the tradition of spag-bol Sunday!
Try to develop traditions that are sustainable, can be maintained and give everyone time and space to adjust. Consistency will help everyone settle into your step family and adapt.
4. Get clear on your role as a step parent:
Take an active role in creating your world as a step parent. Think about where you are and where you want to be in your role and how that fits in with your wider life. Make sure that you and your partner are aligned on this so that you can support each other in bringing this vision to reality.
Plan for the short term and plan for the long term so that everyone (kids and adults alike) are clear on the schedule. It is incredible how much freedom and empowerment can stem from having a plan. It is especially helpful when you have the children for an extended period of time as it alleviates any stress or pressure that might come from everyone having different ideas or priorities for their time together.
If you are careering-into ”step”motherhood, please reach out and say hello! I would love to meet you and hear more about your experience. I believe that every parent, regardless of how you become one, deserves the right to thrive in their role and feel empowered to bring their vision for their family to life. Book a free discovery call using this link https://calendly.com/ainsleykeller.
This article was written by Ainsley Keller, an executive coach specialising supporting step parents to be more confident, in control and empowered in their role. 1 in 3 families in the UK are “blended”. Step parents are a huge yet under represented group and Ainsley aims to elevate, support and celebrate the role of step parents in the UK and beyond. She can be contacted via her profile page or on Instagram at the.stepcollective.
November 1, 2023