Being a Stepmom for the past four years has taught me some straight up HARD life lessons. Being flexible and patient are probably the biggest character traits I’ve been pushed to pursue. As a working Mom, I’ve come to recognize the lessons that I’ve learned at home, directly correlate to my work life. Read on to find out the tough lessons I’ve learned.
1. It’s not about you. There are more than two parents in a blended family which means that sometimes it’s two against one. I have learned that patience and flexibility are the top two traits of a thriving blended family.
Career Lesson: Your workday is not always about you. I get questions, emails, phone calls all day that I wasn’t expecting. Sometimes it takes me away from projects I really need to get done. Don’t fret over it, the sun will rise again tomorrow.
2. Don’t bad-mouth your stepchild’s Mother in front of them. It never turns in your favor when you do. Your stepchildren will always protect their Mother. The same way you always protected your little sister, even when she stole your clothes when you were little. You may not always like what she does, but don’t confide in your children. Plus, children learn from your every word, and if you emulate negativity, so will they.
Career Lesson: Don’t bad mouth the boss.
Karma will get back to you. Don’t be Negative Nelly at work. It is best when you are known for always being positive and doing your part to facilitate productive relationships at work. If you must vent, talk to your spouse or your best friend, not your colleagues.
3. Parenting can be a thankless job, don’t take it personally. As a Stepmom, your stepchildren are more often than not with their biological Mom on Mother’s Day. Know that they love you and are thankful for you in their heart.
Career Lesson: You won’t get credit for every one of your ideas at work. Keep working hard, keep your integrity and in the end, the good guy always gets accolades.
4. Don’t play favorites. You may have birthed your biological children and not your stepchildren, but they are all human beings that need positive parenting in your household. Don’t encourage an atmosphere of jealousy, resentment and strife by playing favorites when it comes to your kids, biological or not.
Career Lesson: Chances are you won’t go to happy hour with every colleague after work, shoot you might not even say hi at the water cooler. But when it comes to office relationships and communication, it’s best to treat everyone like you would want to be treated, whether you like them or not.
5. Blended families aren’t perfect. Heck, NO FAMILY is perfect. Blended families have additional challenges so cut yourself, as well as your spouse and kids, some additional slack. Like I said in lesson #1, I am always working on my patience and flexibility.
Career Lesson: There is no perfect workplace. Even with all the perks in the world, no workplace culture will ensure creativity, effective communication or even fairness all of the time. Be positive, be flexible and be a good listener.
6. Recognize the need for boundaries. I do not pretend to be my stepson’s Mother, I am their role model. I love and care deeply for them. Their health, their heart and their education. Even so, I have learned to recognize the boundaries that this brings. It means that my opinion isn’t always heard. I have learned to respect and trust my Husband in his role as their Father and in turn he has trusted me to be a Stepmom to his boys.
Career Lesson: When you understand your work life responsibilities, you feel safe and more satisfied in your role. You will also trust your leadership team and be more effective at work.
My goal in writing this blog post is to give you a few takeaways that will enhance your personal and career lives. I also hope to encourage other Stepmoms in their role, you are not alone! What did I forget? Tell me your life lessons in the comments below!