August. It is that special time of year when you start seeing “Back to School” Tips for Students, Parents and Teachers. But what about us Stepmoms?? I don’t know about you, but when I first became a Stepmom, I wish someone had given me a few tips on how to prepare for the upcoming school year and what to expect as someone that is seemingly “on the sidelines”.
There are many challenges that Stepmoms face during the school year. If you are a Stepmom with your own biological children, you probably struggle with challenges such as enforcing the same rules related to school work, bedtime on school nights and the kids attending different schools. If you are a childless Stepmom, you may deal with issues such as others thinking you can’t possibly help with homework as you don’t have any children of your own.
There are numerous challenges when it comes to being a Stepmom that is involved in their stepchildren’s school activities. It could be making lunches, helping with homework, signing school forms, attending school events and much, much more. Social Stepmom wants to help you navigate through these Blended Family challenges.
Here are just a few tips on how to prepare for the new school year:
- Establish house rules and clarify expectations - In order to ensure mutual respect in your family, it is essential for you and your spouse to establish rules that apply to everyone in the home. These rules could be expecting all homework to be done before dinner time, having the kids empty their lunch bags and backpacks when they get home or asking the kids to get their clothes ready for the next school day before they go to bed. Being consistent with the rules not only sets a good example, but creates a smoother daily routine for everyone.
- Don’t take anything personally - Most Stepmoms try very hard to be kind and loving to our stepchildren. We often offer our help with making lunches or dealing with homework. If your stepchildren tell you that they like what “Mom” puts in their lunch better than what you do, or they want Dad to help them with their homework, don’t take it to heart. We do what we do because we love our spouse and we are not the “wicked stepmom” that society and Disney portrays us as being. Keep doing the right thing. One day, they will recognize you for it. And even if they don’t, you should be proud to be the good person that you are!
- Communicate!! - Often times the important information regarding the children’s school activities, hot lunches, etc. are discussed between Mom and Dad. If you are a Stepmom that is involved in scheduling and picking children up from school, you will need to ensure that you are communicating with your spouse to find out the important details. Now, I would suggest that you only get the “need to know” information as sometimes getting TOO involved can be stressful. There are many schools of thought out there on Stepmoms getting involved in Parent / Teacher conferences, field trips and volunteering in the classroom. This may depend on the relationship you have with “Mom” and how much you choose to get involved with your Stepkids school events. Have a chat with your spouse and clarify what your expectations are.
- Put the child’s needs first - This is crucial when dealing with school issues. If they really want you to attend a school event because it’s important to them, put your differences aside and make the child happy. If your stepchild only wants Mom and Dad to attend the Parent / Teacher conference, let your spouse go and have him communicate any updates to you as necessary. Sometimes, it takes time to get to that step (assuming you want to be that involved).
Do you have any tips that you would like to share with other Stepmoms? Join us at Social Stepmom.com!
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