How to stay positive and keep afloat
when you feel like everything is coming
crashing down around you.
A day in the life of a Step Mom!
I hear from a lot of people since starting this blog. How do you stay positive? How do you have such a good outlook? Your life must be a lot easier than mine because I’m not nearly as happy and upbeat as you are. How do you do it?
First things first, this is not a façade, this is not me trying to pretend I’m one way when I’m not. I’m not trying to sell the idea of a perfect life here. I am an honest person, an open book. I’ve shared with you some of the struggles I’ve faced so far in life. It hasn’t been an easy journey for me either.
A few things that I’ve learned that have really helped me face the tough times are this:
- Life will continually test you
- Things always tend to happen at once
- When you think you can’t take anymore, more comes your way
- Through it all, always believe in yourself, this will get you through
- One day you’ll look back on this time as just a chapter in your story and you’ll be so proud of yourself for not giving up and not giving in
- Stay the course, hard times don’t last forever
- The haters want to see you suffer, they want to see you fail
- Never give up, you have too many people to prove wrong
- You are enough
And my favorite of all comes from Reinhold Niebuhr – “The Serenity Prayer”
GOD, grant me the serenity
to accept the things
I cannot change,
Courage to change the
things I can, and the
wisdom to know the difference.
(You can read more helpful tips and lessons I’ve learned in my e-book “Divorce: Not for the Faint of Heart” Available on Amazon Kindle or receive a free copy when you sign up on the website.)
Hard times come to all of us in many different ways and when these times come it’s up to us how we respond and react to them. The only thing you have control over is you. If someone is annoying you or you’re faced with an extremely frustrating situation because of someone else the only thing you can do about it is change your reaction to it. You can’t control that person, you can’t make them be less annoying or get them to like you or not like you. All of that is beyond your control.
One crucial piece of learning when it comes to being a step mom especially, is that you cannot control anyone else. You can’t always control the situations around you either. You can only control you and the sooner you realize this, the sooner your life takes a turn for the better. Trust me on this one, I’ve learnt it the hard way too.
At the very start I spent many nights in my room crying wondering how I could have gotten myself into a situation like this….being a step parent to three kids with a very involved ex-wife living two streets over, an ex-husband that lives to torture me and a family of origin that just doesn’t get it or support it because they’ve never had to deal with anything like this.
Mark would try his best in those early days to help me see that things would get easier, that you can’t let life beat you down, that our family, as hard as it can be, really is amazing. I could have thrown in the towel said, “that’s it, I quit, I’m just not cut out for this” But I didn’t… and boy am I glad, I didn’t.
Now it helps having a tremendous partner like Mark to remind me of my strength when I’ve forgotten. To be strong enough for both of us when I just don’t have it in me. I think that’s a huge key to the success of rising above the hardship and keeping a positive outlook. I have a partner that isn’t only my partner but my best friend too and that makes all of it not only worth it but easier than it would be trying to do it on my own.
Whether or not you have a partner like that, it really does rest with you to make a change in your life. I love the quote “change your mindset, change your life” read that, over and over, until it sinks in.
Raising kids is hard, raising other people’s kids is harder. The more you resist it because it’s not what you thought it would be or it’s harder than you thought it would be, the harder it stays. Think about it. If the kids are driving you crazy, you yelling at them to stop not only makes them feel bad, it makes you feel worse too. Why are they driving you crazy? Are they looking for attention? Spend time with them. Get them to help you do whatever needs done and while you work together, talk about your days and use that time to bond with them. Did you have a bad day and having to listen to them bicker is enough to send you over the edge? Take a time out for yourself. A quick break away from the chaos, pour yourself a glass of wine or make a tea, whatever you like and head to your room where you can close the door. Light a candle, listen to something that relaxes you. Read for a bit. If you’re into meditation, do that. I love doing the guided meditations found on the Calm app. Do whatever makes you feel more relaxed. You’d be amazed at what a 10-15-minute break can do for you.
This life isn’t easy, but it really is what you make of it. Learn to let go of the little things. Pick your battles. Focus on the good, because there is always so much of that too. Remember that the only thing you have control over is you and if you stop reacting negatively to things, then you’ll very quickly see how your outlook is more positive. You too will have people asking, “how do you stay so positive!?”