In the past, I’ve wrote about being overly sensitive, and how thick skin is needed to be a stepmom (Let’s Meet in the Middle.) But how do you cope with the people in your inner-circle making discrediting remarks?
For context, since SD3 broke her arm, we have been keeping her out of preschool, alternating taking days off between the three of us: my husband, BM, and myself. Yesterday was my day to stay home with her, and we spent a little time with my mother-in-law, who was also off from work.
Now, to be clear, my mother-in-law loves me, and she always means well… but in our conversation, she stated, “It was nice of your work to let you off so you could help out with [SD3]!” My heart immediately felt broken, as this was a totally discrediting comment. It made me feel like a babysitter. Of course, she didn’t realize this, and I didn’t address it… the best way I know to explain this is that it felt like a stepmom micro-aggression. She would have never told my husband or BM it was “nice of their work” to “allow them to help out” with the kids… so if she’s truly supportive of my role as a co-parent, she shouldn’t have said that.
This is just one example of the many, many comments I hear all the time discrediting to my role as a stepmom. So how do you cope? How do you move forward appropriately, when comments hurt?
Here’s my super simple three-step (and should-be-common-sense) recipe for success when the people in your corner upset you like this… I hope it helps!
ONE: Stay Calm. Getting angry is not going to solve anything, nor is it going to make you feel better in the long run. You have to brush off the immediate feelings you are flooded with for the greater good. Remember, in our self-centered society, you typically do not become sensitive to a topic until it directly impacts you.
TWO: Educate. As with most micro-aggression’s, know that the person who made the comment likely has no idea they upset you. Conversationally, explain to them how what they just said was perceived by you. It doesn’t have to cause a rift, but just pointing the comment out will hopefully provide a new perspective this person, who truly is your ally.
THREE: Know Your Worth. Regardless of how your statements are received, believe in yourself and your role as a stepmom. Know that your worth is not defined by outside opinions. Find peace in knowing your children love you, and the perception of others- no matter their role in your life- does not define the type of parent you are.
Remember it is truly impossible to make it through life without saying something that is going to offend someone. Remember that you have been guilty of this too, and that no matter what side of the issue you are on, staying calm and informational is always a better option than lashing out. Be confident, and always stay true to yourself. Never compromise yourself for anyone.
Stay tough, Mama’s!