Everyone’s relationship with their stepkid(s) is different. Regardless, I am a firm believer that if you have a happy, healthy relationship with your stepkids, even if you seldom see them, it will lead to a happier YOU. Let’s work on those relationships together (I’ve got your back, stepmom!), so we can get to a better place.
All families have different interests, so I’ll leave the specifics of the actual bonding activites to you. What I’m urging you to do is follow the below guidelines:
2. Show Up
3. Be Consistent
INITIATE: No matter how distant your stepkids are or how much time has elapsed since last seeing/talking to them, be the adult and just dive in and INITIATE. You can’t get anywhere if you don’t start somewhere. Don’t overthink the relationship or the possible outcomes of you spending time with your stepkids. And certainly don’t stress about the details of the activity. Just do it! Nike has it right.
SHOW UP: Feel free to judge me, but I do not enjoy watching sports. I just don’t. However, do you know how many soccer, lacrosse and baseball games I’ve been to over the last five years? Too many to count! I hate it, but I show up for the kids. Do they ever flat out say, “Thanks so much for coming. I really appreciate the support.” Rarely. But do I believe that my presence in the stands truly makes a difference in our level of closeness? Absolutely. Showing up to the kids’ school and extracurricular stuff doesn’t require much dialogue, so consider it somewhat easy. Annoying, yes. But hard? No.
BE CONSISTENT: Taking the stepkids for ice cream that one time last summer does not get you off the hook. Like anything you want to improve, you must be consistent. If you really want to bond with your stepkids (which you should because it will lead to an overall happier life for you), then you better pack your patience because this is a long term goal. Like all good things, it requires time to evolve. So hang in there, stepmoms, and be consistent when it comes to hanging with the kiddos. Even if it is hard or awkward at first, it will only get better with time. I promise.
Jennifer Zelman is a stepmom/mom to three children and a stepchild herself. She is the creator of www.NachoMom.club, a video blog that discusses the challenges and joys of stepmotherhood in an informative and upbeat way. She is passionate about creating a supportive community of stepmoms to make our journey more manageable, and fun!