If you are planning on marrying a man with kids, this post is for you. Right now, everything might look as if it’s falling into place — you are happy with your man, his kids love, respect and have actually accepted you. However, nothing prepares you for the what it is to actually live in the new step family set up as a stepmum. The truth is, you will struggle in the very first year of being in a blended family. Your partner will also struggle. The kids might struggle even more. While this should be expected, it shouldn’t scare you from embracing this family set up. Here are some survival tips you can use to get through the first year of stepfamily life as a stepmum:
Lower your expectations
Trust me — this will save you a lot of stress and heartbreak. The kids may have actually liked and accepted you but that was before you moved into their home. Now that you are all living together, it will get worse before it gets better. According to stepfamily experts, it takes an average of seven years for a blended family to blend. So be patient and go with the flow.
Establish Law and Order
Very early on, ensure that you establish law and order in the household. Ensure that the kids now know that even though you started off as friends, now you have stepped in to the role of a guardian. This now means that you and your partner are in charge. For instance, you can tell the kids what words and actions are and are not respectful. Explain who has the final say when orders are conflicting. In short, give them an explicit idea of how the rules in your family will work.
Let the kids spend time with their biological parent
Even though you feel connected as a family, the kids still need their alone time with their bio parent. Allow your partner to spend time with his kids alone. This will ensure that the kids don’t feel as though they have been abandoned and they don’t matter. Encourage your partner to set time apart with his kids and don’t feel as though you are being left out. Besides, you will also have your alone time with your partner!
Don’t let the kids make decisions for the family
When you were trying to win over your step kids, you probably asked for their opinions on certain matters. This made them feel important and that is how you won them over. However, going into the stepfamily set up, this has to change. Like I mentioned earlier, make sure that law and order have been established. The family should not revolve around the kids. Make sure the kids know that it is the parents who will make the final decisions and they do not have a final say in the matter.
Don’t forget to work on your marriage
In the spirit of making your stepfamily work, you may forget to work on your marriage. You will be too focused on the kids accepting the new dynamics and this can have an impact on your relationship with your husband. The kids will distract you and your partner from solidifying your friendship bond — and that’s a fact. Therefore, you have to create space for you and your partner to bond. If you don’t create it, it won’t happen. You can set aside a day in the course of the week to spend time together — just you and your partner with no interruptions, especially from the kids.
I hope these tips come in handy for anyone looking to get into a blended family set up! If you feel I missed out on some important tips, feel free to leave a comment below!