I see life as being a continuous stream of lessons.
If we're open to it, everyday we have the opportunity to learn new things. To learn from our mistakes and to learn from others' mistakes as well.
You know what they say, "When you know better, you do better"
I also believe that life pans out in a way that allows us to learn the lessons that we need to learn.
If we don't learn the lesson the first time around, it will come back again and again and again! (And ain't that the truth!)
Call me crazy, but for that very reason, I think was meant to be a stepmom. I was destined to be part of a blended family.
Not only because of the joy it was supposed to bring to my life, but because I had so many lessons that I NEEDED to learn. Real life lessons that have come directly from trying to figure out the ins and outs of this steparenting gig.
Here are my TOP 10:
1. You have no idea where life is going to take you
I often joke around and say, "When I grow up I want to be a stepmom... said no one ever"
That may offend some, but it's the truth. I'm pretty sure as little girls, none of us sat there playing with our Barbie's dreaming of being a stepmom when we grew up.
But that's what happened.
In life, your 5, 10, 20 year plans... they are all great, but many times life throws you a curve ball and you end up somewhere you'd never expect.
Let that happen. Be flexible and open-minded. Because many times the universe has bigger and better plans for you. Ones that you couldn't have possibly dreamed up on you own.
2. The good shit doesn't come easy. Life isn't easy.
Being a stepmom is hands down my hardest job. Harder than being a mom, harder than being a wife, harder than any job I've ever had
Sometimes the stress, chaos and unpredictability get the best of me. To be completely honest, there have been MANY times where I have been so overwhelmed that I have spent nights wide awake, with a pit in my stomach and shaking hands under the covers.
But there are also those moments when we are all sitting in the living room, laughing together, when I stop thinking about ongoing stepfamily saga and am overwhelmed with gratitude.
It's those perfect moments that remind me it's all worth it!
3. You cannot control everything. The only thing you can do is control your reactions.
When you are a stepmom, another woman has their finger on many aspects of your family. And rightfully so, because most of your family members were her family members before they were yours.
The lack of control and susceptibility to curve balls can be a tough pill to swallow. But the reality is, many times in a stepfamily, even the simple things aren't simple.
It's important it is to remember that you can't control how other people are going to act, all you can do is keep your reactions in check.
4. "If you can't do anything about it, then let it go. Don't be a prisoner to things you can't change" - Tony Gaskins
5. The way people treat you is far more about them than it is about you.
When you feel that someone has wronged you or is acting in a way that from your perspective is completely unreasonable, instead of passing judgment ask yourself "I wonder what's going on in their life that's making them act like this?"
It can help you look at stressful situations from a whole different perspective.
6. What others say and do is a projection of their reality. What you say and do is a projection of yours. There are always two sides to every story. The truth is somewhere in between.
7. People love a good scandal. Stay out of the gossip.
My husband and I got together by accident. He wasn't looking to move on with a serious relationship and I certainly wasn't looking to marry a man with three kids. But it happened.
It was pretty simple love story. No scandal. No dirty little secrets.
However, if you were to ask the people in our small town, they would say differently. People love a scandal, they love to speculate, fabricate and plain old make stuff up.
Almost four years into our relationship I had one of my best friends tell me she had always thought there was some sort of an affair. This couldn't be further from the truth.
Now, unless I hear something from the horse's mouth, I don't consider it to be true.
8. Perception is Everything
Everyone sees the world through a difference lens.
9. You are the expert on your own life
There are many beliefs and expectations about what step-parents (and parents) should and should not do. The thing is... no stepfamily is the same. There are so many contributing factors that determine the dynamic of your family. Contributing factors that only you know about.
Don't give others permission to have a say on how your run your family.
The same goes for your life. Don't let others dictate the path you're going to take!
10. A little empathy goes a long way
Putting yourself in someone else's shoes, and taking a peak at the world from their perspective can be a complete game changer... whether you're dealing with stepfamily stressors or not.
If you can see where someone is coming from, even if you don't agree, it can make the stressors easier to tolerate.
"Be selective in your battles. Sometimes peace is better than being right"
Jamie Scrimgeour writes candidly about her blended family life on her blog The Poptart Diaries. Finding little to no positive support upon embarking on the world of step-parenting, Jamie is passionate about supporting fellow stepmoms in overcoming the chaos that of blended family life. To stay updated on her latest, follow Jamie on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.