I knew that being a step-mum wouldn’t be easy, I’ll have to deal with upsets, jealousy, confusion, but I never thought I could hit rock bottom. I probably had a few burnouts before, but I ignored them and instead I blamed myself for over-reacting.
Burnout is usually work and business related. It’s a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands.
What is the step-mum burnout?
It’s the point when you can’t and don’t want to deal with his baggage, ex, children, co-parenting and other sh*** anymore. You feel like you’re done with pretending, pleasing, helping, being nice and making sure that everyone is OK. You feel alone, tired, used, sad, empty and not yourself.
But most importantly you start questing your relationship and start asking yourself if this is all worth it?! Or what the hell are you doing here?! These thoughts are so scary and make you feel even more miserable.
Where things go wrong
1. Doing way too much for too long just not to make a mistake
You want to be the perfect step-mum, you don’t want to make any mistakes or be the Evil step-mother. All that googling Do’s and Don’ts for step-parents, just to look good and not to upset anyone. You’re scared to cross the line or that your stepchild will say something about you that can be twisted, misunderstood or used against you. So, you’re tiptoeing and zipping your mouth because you know if something goes wrong, you’ll be the first person to blame. You know he’ll choose his child over you no matter what. And the only way is to be perfect and pretend everything is perfect.
My tip: Take one big ass step back! Stop running around them all the time to prove yourself. As long they love you and respect you, you’re good so give yourself a day off. Things can go wrong no matter what you do, don’t be scared of something which is not even happening.
2. Men are from Mars or some nutcase planet without Google or Pinterest
How many days have you spend online to find out what to do as a step-mum? How many articles have you read on blended families? How many boards do you have on Pinterest with kids stuff even if you don’t have kids yourself? Way too much just like me!
What really upset me was realising that my husband never looked deep into what things are like for me by himself. It’s something that men don’t think about. They don’t Google these things, they think all is hunky dory until you lose your sh**. Like it or not, it’s your responsibility to let him know how you feel before you reach your limits.
I’ve been “managing” my husband for four years to be the father he is today. He created a strong and loving relationship with his daughter with my help and support, now it’s up to him to maintain it.
My tip: Take one more massive step back! Once again, he’s the father let him to do it all (well almost all), only then will he realise how much you’re doing for him and the kids.
3. Guilt of ‘I don’t care’
I just recommend taking a few steps back, but it always comes with guilt because you got used to being in charge a little or even completely, you think that without you everything will collapse, they will burn the house down, eat crappy food and who knows what else.
Stepping back is not about not caring anymore, it’s about letting your man to be the all-inclusive father. I learnt the hard way that my husband knows in back of his mind that I’m always there ready to correct, remind, teach and to help so he’s not fully present. I’m not going to lie, it’s very hard to step back but I know I need to do it, it’s not my battle. I’m a part of it and ready to support and help when he needs no when I think he needs. And I can guarantee you he doesn’t need you as much as you think.
My tip: Think before you speak and let him be, make mistakes and learn from them. Sit him down, explain what is going on and that you’re need to take it easy from now on and find the right balance together. Something that will work for everyone.
The only way not to get tired of being a step-mum is learning how to step back and communicate with your partner. I had a massive burnout yesterday and I’m responsible for it. I can’t blame my husband because he had no idea what was going on. We had a long chat with some tears, he got how much I was driving myself crazy and he needs to step up.
Please share your experiences with Stepmum Burnout in the comment section to support other step-mums. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need any help or support!