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Stepmom Standards: The Pressure to be Perfect

January 5, 2017


I’ve been a stepmom for a few years now, but when I first met my husband’s kids, I was a nervous nelly. I was so desperate for them to like me that I tried to say all the right things, play with them in the right ways, buy them the right stuff, etcetera. I grew up with an a@#hole stepmom so I was determined to be the polar opposite and be the “perfect” stepmom to my stepkids.


The good news is that the stepkids and I hit it off tremendously. It has truly been an amazing, loving relationship from the start (mostly because they are incredible little humans). The bad news is that even several years after meeting them and “winning” them over, I continue to apply this insane pressure on myself to be “perfect” for them. Lucky for them because I jump through hoops day in and day out to make them happy. Of course their happiness provides me with happiness but I take it to a stupid level and I drive myself crazy. For example, if I didn’t have a chance to go to the store and we run out of their favorite cereal and they have to eat frosted flakes instead of their beloved cocoa krispies, my morning will be completely ruined. I will feel like a total failure. I know it is insane! But why do I feel like this? Why do I feel like I have to be this super perfect stepmom? I put so much pressure on my every little move and it is just too much!


No doubt part of my neurosis has to do with my bad relationship with my own stepmom and an avoidance of re-creating that scenario , but I also think it has a lot to do with the fear that a stepmom is not unconditionally loved like a “real” mom and that the love I receive from the kids is performance based. Deep down I think I equate sucking at motherly duties as sucking as a stepmom. And sucking as a stepmom ultimately means my family falling apart. Again with the enormous pressure! No wonder I’m starting to get grays!


Does anyone else feel this pressure to be perfect for your stepkids all the time? I know I am a little neurotic but I am hoping it is normal neurotic, not bat shit crazy neurotic.

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