The “Secret” Struggles
This topic is even more taboo than the Nacho Kids method, believe it or not. People tend to avoid discussing their struggles or airing their “dirty laundry”. Whether it’s marriage problems, parenting issues, or blended family issues, people don’t want others to think their lives are not perfect. However, I do have to say in the last ten years, people are becoming more open about their mental struggles and their choice to seek help with counselors or therapists. This is great progress! When I was growing up if you went to see a counselor or therapist you were looked at as if you had three heads because obviously something was wrong with you. Thankfully, things are changing!
Although things are changing, there is still the stigma of getting help and this results in many people choosing not to seek the help they need. A lot of those people who are struggling so much are stepmoms. There are more stepmoms than you can imagine that are put on antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications, and even more stepmoms than you can imagine that have suicidal thoughts. Let me repeat that. Stepmoms tend to be depressed, and even suicidal. Why is this? Struggling stepmoms feel unappreciated, undervalued, unimportant, unloved, unsupported, unaccepted, and misunderstood. There are many factors, of course, that can contribute to these feelings that lead to depression and suicidal thoughts. Let’s look at a few of them.
Everybody Hates Her
Picture this scenario. A stepmom comes in, has all the best intentions to make this blend work and to not be part of the 72% failure rate of blended families. She cooks, she cleans, she helps the stepkids with homework, she schedules doctor’s appointments, you name it, she is pretty much doing everything for these kids. In return, she expects the stepkids to do what she says. The stepmom expects them to do what she says because after all, she is an adult in the home. They are expected to do the chores she assigns, to do well in school, to eat the food she cooks, etc., all without complaint or resistance. Well… that rarely happens.
The reality is the stepkids won’t like her, they’ll complain to their dad about her, and she’ll be complaining to him also about his kids. She’ll feel like he doesn’t have her back when it comes to disciplining the stepkids’ like she sees fit. This is a bomb waiting to explode. In this scenario, no one is happy. And we didn’t even mention that the web of unhappiness can include the bio mom, the in-laws, the stepmoms bio kids, etc.
The stepmom becomes the target. Things were fine until she stepped in and took over. She is the reason life is so miserable for everyone. The stepkids hate her, her husband is being pulled in two different directions by her and his kids, the in-laws hate her, the stepkids’ bio-mom hates her, and her own bio kids aren’t particularly loving life because she’s always grumpy because of the stepkids. She feels the world is against her. In her mind, she is a failure and is a horrible person when all she was trying to do was “help” make the blend get going.
Unrealistic Stepmom Expectations
Stepmoms are expected by society to love their stepkids like their own. Why? Because when they married the dad, they married the stepkids too, NOT! That’s crazy to even say! Stepmoms didn’t marry their significant other’s kids!
When a stepmom says she doesn’t like her stepkids or doesn’t love them like her own, she is attacked, shamed, and judged because she doesn’t love someone else’s kids like ones she biologically gave birth to. A bit unrealistic to expect that from someone, right?
Other stepmoms jump on the “bash other stepmoms” bandwagon with “You knew what you were getting into!”. Of course, no one knows what they are getting into in a blended marriage! That’s ridiculous. Let’s not forget the notorious, “They are a package deal. You must not love their dad if you don’t love them.” That’s another assinine thought. Then there’s the, “They are just kids.”. Apparently the stepmom is expected to love them for this reason alone if nothing else.
In many cases stepmoms are expected to come in the home, take over all the motherly duties, except the disciplining of the stepkids because they aren’t the mom and disciplining the stepkids is a job reserved for the biological parents. But then they are expected to love them as if they were the mom. Do you see how this is crazy thinking??
Some kids are vindictive, conniving, lying little humans that make it difficult for even their bio parents to love them, so why expect someone that doesn’t have that biological bond to love them?
Stepmoms that are also bio moms, how do your bio kids feel about you loving someone else’s kids exactly like your own? I bet they don’t like that at all! After all, you are their mom and the stepkids have their own mom!
And stepmoms that are not bio moms, how do you know what loving your own kid is like? Many stepmoms say they love their stepkids like their own until they have bio children of their own, then they realize what a tremendous difference there is in the types of love.
There are a lot of double standards when it comes to a stepmom. For example, when a bio mom says her kid is a brat, all is well within the world. When a stepmom calls her stepkid a brat, then hold on to your britches, it’s about to go down! She can’t say that because the stepkids aren’t hers! The stepmom is to love them like her own in all the “good” ways, but when it comes to disciplining the stepkids, it is not her job because she’s not their mom, or she’s being mean to the stepkids! So really it’s “Love them like your own when it comes to buying things for them, feeding them, cleaning up after them, praising them, and caring for them. When it comes to “parenting” them, it’s not her place.
The Quest to Find Help
Stepmoms join blended family groups on Facebook looking for help. They find others in the group with similar situations and don’t feel alone in their struggles. Which is the one good thing about Facebook groups.
The groups are made up of anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand other members. Of those members, the majority of them are also in an “unblended” blend or are struggling in their blend. Sometimes, if you are lucky, there may be a few members that have found a way to blend successfully and offer productive advice to other members.
However, most stepmoms who are out of the blended tornado and are finding the calm in the blended storm don’t hang out in the Facebook groups to give valuable advice. Once they no longer need support, they are gone. Not many stepmoms want to relive the crap they went through reading other people’s problems when they no longer have those issues. It can be a type of PTSD to relive the struggles through someone else’s post or comments! So what you have is a lot of stepmoms that are struggling in the blend telling other struggling stepmoms what they should do to make things better. Kind of the blind leading the blind scenario.
Often times, when looking for help stepmoms see all the unicorn and rainbow stepmoms that have the “perfect” blend, and the struggling stepmom feels as if something is wrong with her. Like she’s not good enough. Especially if she doesn’t love her stepkids like her own, as mentioned above.
The Pressure Gets to be Too Much
When a stepmom feels like everyone hates her, that she can’t do anything right, that it’s the world against her, that no one understands her and she is all alone, and she has no purpose, it’s easy for jer to believe she means “nothing” to anyone. Of course, it’s not true! But what support is she being given? What kind words are being said to her? Why is she not given the same grace that bio parents are given?
If you are struggling with depression please know “You are someone! You are an awesome someone and you matter.” Whether you realize it or not, you matter to more people than you will ever know, and you matter to me.
I decided to do a poll in the Facebook group. The question asked was: “Since becoming a stepmom, have you experienced the following.” There were two options to choose from. The options were “Depression” or “Suicidal thoughts”. Members added quite a few other choices as you can see below. Within 24 hours, the numbers were as follows:
Stepmom Feelings Nacho Kids 24-Hour Poll
All of the above 289
The urge to run away 148
Lots of stress 127
Feelings of Hate 98
Obsessive thoughts 82
Drinking to escape 72
Suicidal thoughts 69
All except drinking 12
All except suicidal thoughts 4
The Nacho Kids Academy
We created the Nacho Kids Academy to help stepparents that are struggling in the blend and provide real help! In the Academy, we teach tools to help better the blended journey and save your sanity. These tools are not only valuable in helping with the blended struggles, but life struggles in general. Nacho has become a way of life for many! By lowering the stress levels of the stepparent, their life becomes better, and so does the blend. Our mission is to help stepparents not become one of the 72% statistics and to not just survive the blend, but thrive in it! However, with that being said, we are not certified suicide prevention counselors but we are here and will talk to you and guide you to where you can get help from a certified suicide prevention counselor. If you are feeling suicidal, please reach out to someone today!.
If you are having suicidal thoughts, please contact one of the following! There are multiple ways to reach out to them!
Suicide Prevention Hotline
Chat online: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/
Crisis Text Line
United States, text “HOME” to 741741
Canada, text “HOME” to 686868
UK, text “HOME” to 85258