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, may be just as unrealistic and have the potential to cause a lot of unnecessary strife, recriminations and heartache.
Whilst expectations can have a thousand different faces, some relating to yourself could be:
· I am going to be such a terrific parent, the children won’t even miss their real mum.
· Of course I am going to love the kids; after all, I love their dad.
· My new family’s well-being definitely comes before my own.
· If I get angry with my partner or his children, it means I am failing in my new role.
· I’ll be a better partner and a much better parent than his ‘ex’.
· I can take anything the kids dish up.
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 even 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.