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  • Summer Mulder

To Stepparents: When You Want to Give Up...

Updated: Oct 13

As a stepparent, you have days where you are giving so much. You’re putting in so much time and you receive no appreciation in return. Those moments are low, but they’re real.



Think of sleepless nights, toddler tantrums or teen attitude and most parents (of any kind) will remember the times they just wanted to hand over the keys. It’s tough!


As a stepparent, you have days where you are giving so much. You’re putting in so much time and you receive no appreciation in return. Those moments are low, but they’re real.


Those are the moments you wonder if you should have signed up at all.

Can I take it back?!

But, then there’s that side to you that says, “I’m the adult! It’s not all about me!” And you figure it out. 


You will have days where you are frustrated, angry, and sad and you will feel unacknowledged. You will feel that your voice isn’t being heard and your opinion doesn’t matter. Then you’ll worry that you aren’t stepparenting the “right way.”


But, I  want to offer some insight and perspective on what this role really is and what it is not. 


Stepparenting is not a role that is meant to be easy and filled with love and gratitude. It’s rugged. It’s bumpy and it’s way mind boggling.


On the good days, stepparenting is rewarding and gratifying. But, those days are definitely mixed in with days that feel like a big hot mess. 


So what is the real role as a stepparent? What if you looked at it as simply as this - It’s to keep calm and strong during the turbulent circumstances with as much poise that you can round up. Take some pressure off of yourself.


Instead of looking for a way out on those bad days or the fix for peace - what if you look at those moments as an opportunity to learn a new strength about yourself? 


What if you looked at what feels imperfect about the moment - like your desire to control the situation, your fears or what’s making you angry. 


Take notice of those feelings and call them out. “I  feel angry!” “I  feel scared!” “I  feel totally unappreciated!” “I  feel like a failure.”


Then look towards the opportunity to grow from the moment. Just being aware of these emotions will bring you closer to the good feelings you want to have. It sounds weird, but it’s true. Identifying the feeling and acknowledging the real emotions you are having is your ticket up the emotional ladder. Once those good feelings start coming back, you realize you don’t want to give up at all. 


Being a parent has taught me so much in terms of my own resilience and imperfections and being a stepparent has illuminated those things even more! 


It can be lonely and frustrating as a stepparent. You don’t have control over so many things. Even if you and your partner agree. You may have the best intentions, but they’ll often go unnoticed.


BUT… there will be precious triumphs, within yourself and with your family. Those days will happen. So stay the course, my friends, because whether you see it or not, you are needed and you are not alone. 





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