Saturday, January 17, 2009

Don't fall into the "PERFECTION TRAP"

Transitioning into stepfamily life can set us stepmums up for a multitude of false expectations. Believe me, I know. After all I harboured more of those myself, than I care to share with you. And it isn’t just the unrealistic expectations we might have of ourselves that can cause us unnecessary misery. Some expectations we place on our partner and often on our stepchildren too, may be just as unrealistic and have the potential to cause a lot of unnecessary strife, recriminations and heartach.

Although expectations can have a thousand different faces, some relating to yourself could be:

• I am (going to be) a much better parent than his ex.
• No question that I am going to love his kids; after all, I love their dad.
• Of course the stepkids come first!
• I won't get angry with him or kids. Haven't they had enough of that already?
• I can take anything the kids dish up - I'm the adult, after all!

Well, if you are a saint in disguise, you might just ‘make it’. However, if you are like the rest of us fallible humans, chances are that you won’t. So, be smart and don’t even set yourself up for the kind of trap that unrealistic expectations can turn into. Inform yourself, talk about your expectations with someone who understands the reality of step-parenting. This could be another (perhaps older or more experienced) step-parent or a stepfamily professional. Challenging the ideas, hopes and aspirations you have for your step-journey at the outset, will save you a lot of heartache later on.

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