Something I've been trying to remind myself of lately is that it's okay not to be a perfect stepparent. No one is expecting perfection and I shouldn't expect it from myself. Should I do my best, keep trying, ask for forgiveness when I screw up and try to do better again - YES!
But I also need to remember that biological parents aren't perfect either. Being a biological parent does not make you immune from screw-ups and in fact that are some really horrible biological parents out there. Being a biological parent does not give you all the keys of the kingdom of great parenting. It does not give you all the answers to your child's needs, understanding of their sometimes crazy behavior, or the solutions to nightmares, frustrated fits, inability to sleep, hormone changes and all the things that happen with children. Biological parents get short tempered, weary of kids shows on TV, incessant questions, kid messes, temper tantrums and exhausting schedules too. Feeling these same emotions does not make me a bad stepparent or unsupportive wife.
As a stepparent I too can study and learn good parenting skills, be patient, thoughtful and kind, act in love, be unselfish, continue to try and try again to do better, and I can forgive myself and be forgiven when I make mistakes. Making mistakes does not make me a bad person or a bad stepparent.
Being a stepparent, which is a very courageous thing to do, can also put one in a position to feel attacked from all sides. You are affected by so many other people's lives and needs, not to mention family courts constant upheavals and frustrations. The one person who should show up to support us every day is ourselves. We need to be our own best friend and biggest cheerleader. No one knows us better, can gauge how hard we are trying or be inspired to help us grow.
So I am going to try to be less critical and remember that biological parents aren't perfect either. I am going to keep working at being a great parent, step or otherwise and try to remember that each day I have the opportunity to do better and grow. That way, challenges of today will be triumphs of tomorrow.
Do you ever find yourself putting a lot of pressure on yourself to be perfect or beating yourself up when you haven't handled things are graciously as you would've liked to? How do you talk yourself back to center?