Do you absolutely dread “transition day?” Maybe you find yourself having thoughts like this: “Uh, oh. It’s here. How am I going to survive another one of these?” It doesn’t matter HOW many times you’ve been through it before but maybe you find yourself feeling upset to your stomach and stressed. The tears, the yelling, the attitudes, the hiding behind closed doors. You just wish this day could be over. Again.
And yet for you, a stepmom in a blended family, it is your normal – and something that won’t be going away anytime soon. So, how do you DEAL with this regular occurance in your life? How can you make it less stressful?
I, as a fellow step mom, want you to feel READY for these days, so that when they come, you’re prepped & empowered, to handle whatever comes at you. I promise you, by the end of this article, you will feel empowered & relieved because you will learn some practical tips that’ll prep you for transition days, and ultimately, help you have smoother & more peaceful transitions in the future.
First, I gotta break it to ya, sister – you may be unintentionally making a few mistakes that are robbing you from making these days easier on your heart and smoother for your entire household. No sweat, it’s something you can totally change and fix. Let’s go over these top 3 common mistakes, to see if you’re doing them & how you can turn them into practical choices for your good.
Wrong Expectations of Kids
I’ve been there too. You & your stepkids left on a good note, and it’s been a non-dramatic week with them at their bio parents’, and then boom. They come back to your home and everyone’s a mess. They won’t even look at you, let alone talk to you. It may feel as if you got emotionally punched in the gut.
What. Just. Happened, right? Well, more than likely, you may have had some false expectations on your stepchildren and the entire situation. Try to imagine yourself in their shoes – you go to a new home every few days, with your other parent (who may have some strong opinions about the other parent), with different household situations (ex. spouses, siblings, step siblings), with different rules and values. You’re cotinually adjusting to the way they do things, getting comfortable in that envrionment and then boom, it’s time for you to switch again. This reality would be hard for any adult – however, for children, even though it’s their norm, it’s a lot of emotions to navigate.
Having a healthy expectation that when your stepkids come back into your home, they may be a little emotionally closed-off and distant, would be completely normal and understandable. Try not to take anything they say or do personal. How they are reacting is saying a lot more about what they’re going through, then anything to do with you. Perhaps, cut them some slack on the first day or two as they adjust back to you & your spouse’s way of doing things. When you expect that they may be “off” for some time, you’re setting yourself up to be prepared for no matter what comes.
Wrong Expectations Of Your Spouse
Where transition day might be a somber or hard day for you, it’s a joyous one for your spouse. It’s the day their children finally come back. No parent wants to parent under these conditions of having to see their children going back and forth all the time. So, when they DO come back, your spouse is going to be eleated and relieved. FINALLY they get to see their babies again. This may mean that you have less time together to process your emotions or discuss situations than normal. If the children come reluctantly to your home or with attitudes, it may hurt your spouse more than usual.
Do expect that your spouse will also be transitioning back into “Daddy” or “Mommy” mode on this day, especially if you do not have any “ours” children together. There is an emotional and mental shift that takes place when the children are all around and some people, more than others, need more time to adjust. Perhaps, your spouse even needs help in doing so. Take transition day as one where you can help your spouse and elevate any extra stress or pressure on them. Ask them how they are doing, ask in what ways can you help make this day easier for them. Remember, you both are on the same team. Open Popup
Focusing too much on family’s peace & happiness, and not enough on your own
No matter if you’re a biological one or not, you’re a mom. You think like a mom. You act like a mom. You don’t just “turn it off.” Which often means, you’re putting your family’s needs before your own. Often times this is necessary, in a family, however not at the expense of your own peace. Transition days are challenging on everyone in the family (yes, even the high-conflict bioparent who may be spitting more venom on those days through calls & texts – it’s hard on them too.) Instead of worrying, stressing or taking on more anxiety to try to make everyone “happy,” take extra time on these days to do something nice for yourself. With having the right expectations, as discussed above, that these day’s may be more emotional and difficult, take a proactive approach and schedule in something special that makes you feel better.
Is it yoga? Do that. What about a walk? Grab your dog and get out. What about reading a book or taking that hot bath? Whatever it is that soothes you – do so. There’s not a lot you can control in a stepfamily, however, the one thing you can is your mindset. Choose to do something that puts you in the best possible head space for a challenging day like this. Perhaps, you also need to find a space of retreat, when it all gets too overwhelming. Whatever it is – choose you. Be selfish. Give yourself the care you need, so you can be the best wife & stepmom you can be the other days of the week.
Ok, mamas, here’s your check-in:
How do you feel?
Do you feel better prepared to handle your transition days? Just remember, all these things take time. Cut yourself some slack too. Over time, as you apply these 3 tips, and turn them into habits, you’ll be well on your way to being a healthier & happier stepmom.
If you’d like extra guidance in that, come check out our “Healthy Mindset Guide For StepMoms.”
And sometimes, we ALL need the extra support. If you find yourself wanting an atmosphere & community where you have other people who understand what you & your family go through, come join us at our exclusive FB group for stepfamiles who wanna create their own happily blended after.
We’d love to see you there.
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