collaborative post with Notino.co.uk
Being a step-mum or step-mom is hard work. For the sake of reaching a wider audience we will use the spelling of “mum” interchangeably with “mom” to discuss the stepmom journey that many of us are on or have been on in the past. When you are part of a blended family, there are stepmom struggles that some people just don’t understand. Some may even ask why we are writing a post on self care ideas for step-mums? Well, if you are in this boat, you will know that whilst it’s a very gratifying experience, the waters can be choppy. This is why we knew that sharing a list of self-care ideas to help you through this journey is a great way to help you through this experience.
Tableof contents for: Simple Self Care Ideas for Step-Mums
Start a gratitude journal
Journaling can be very therapeutic, and a wonderful way to help your mental health as a stepmom. It’s one of the simple things that we can do to take care of ourselves and get our feelings down on paper. A gratitude journal will help us keep track of the little things that are important in our blended family life, as well as our own needs as individuals and step-parents.
We may be short on time, but carving a little break within your day to write down what you are grateful for in blended family life can make a huge difference in helping you be a better mum. Make your writing space special by lighting scented candles and enjoying your coffee during this time you can ensure that it will be a priority to schedule time to do this.
What can you write down in your gratitude journal?
We can all do with some prompts, so we wanted to share a few to get the inspiration flowing.
- In what positive ways has being a step-mum changed your life?
- What is the most gratifying part of being a stepmom?
- Dedicate a day to writing why you are grateful for/what you have learned from each of your stepkids.
- Make a list of all of the ways you can show your stepkids you are grateful for them.
We hope that these prompts can show you a great example of how taking care of yourself can help you take care of others even on the hardest days.
Prioritise physical activity
I remember the days when I thought that personal care or self-care was running a bubble bath, drinking a cup of tea, and listening to an inspirational podcast while I soaked in the tub was self care. It was great for a moment, of course, but scrolling through social media just to take a mental time out really didn’t do much for me. The problems were still there when I was out of the shower, and my stress levels returned back to their peak as soon as the warmth of the bath left my body.
Instead of soaking away in the bath night after night, sometimes with a glass of wine to catch my tears, I embraced my alone time by getting some fresh air and moving my body. We all know the many benefits of physical activity, and even if you’re not up for going to the gym and joining a crossfit class, getting outside and making your way to the local park can be so beneficial. It’s a great stress reliever. You can get your hit of endorphins and this time can be used to listen to a good book (audio, of course) or to help you process your thoughts. If you don’t have time to go out then turn up the tunes and dance to your favorite song in your living room – this helps too!
Once you are exhausted and sweaty, you can take that hot shower, enjoy some aromatherapy by lighting a Bath & Body Works candle, and sit down for that much needed cup of coffee and relax.
Take care of your social needs
When my stepchildren were little kids, all I could think about was the next time that I was able to have them with me. My priority was always to be the best mom (stepmom, if you want to be technical) and my free time was usually spent shopping for them, planning days out, or wishing that their mum was busy with work and would ask us to have them out of the ordinary contact schedule.
Aside from being with my partner, this consumed me, as being a childless stepmom meant that I was very attached and spending time together was my priority. As soon as I took on a new hobby I was feeling like a more complete version of myself and that made a big difference as to the quality of stepmum I could be for the children. By having a social life, I didn’t only fill my schedule with something other than my partner, and the thought of my stepkids, but also with real self-care strategies that helped me cope with how difficult and lonely life as a childless stepmum could be. Especially as a woman who lived thousands of miles away from her extended family and friends and out of her comfort zone.
A list of activities of some simple ways you can be more social;
- Join a book club
- Join a gym or take classes like Zumba,
- Go to adult education classes and take a course,
- Get involved in church activities,
And if your relationship with bio mum is good, why not see if you can get involved in the children’s school or extracurricular activities as a volunteer.
Make time for date night
Being a stepmum is hard, but being a father who doesn’t live with his kids is probably one of the hardest things that one can experience. This is why one of the things that helped me tremendously was helping and supporting my partner. By making time for us as a couple, I not only helped myself, but I helped him and made our relationship that much stronger.
Make plans for the days that you won’t have the children. If you are on an every other weekend schedule, then try and make plans to have a weekend away, or even a full day of activities. This makes sure that you don’t find yourself grieving the emptiness of those days and that you enjoy the weekends with the kids as much as the weekends without them.
Those of us who walk the path, or have walked the path of step-parenthood know that it isn’t always easy to set boundaries and take care of yourself. The journey can be hard, but taking the extra time to care for your own well-being will not only reap the benefits in the present moment, but in the long run too! So ame time for yourself in a deeper way than by just putting on a face mask and taking a couple of deep breaths (though those help too) and focus on the lasting changes and habits that really are good self care ideas for step-mums.