Ep 53 – Gaining Clarity in Your Stepparenting

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Hey Stepparents,

As the new school year is getting under way and things feel chaotic and busy, you might be feeling overwhelmed and like it’s virtually impossible to keep up.

When this happens often you might feel like not doing anything because you don’t know where to even start.

If you can relate, you’re definitely not alone. But stick around, because I have some great step-by-step tips for you to not only stay afloat, but flourish.

Your mind and body are letting you know that you’re burnt out. So, take a step back. If you need to skip out on an activity or 2 to have some breathing room – Do it!

Find a peaceful place to land. Maybe it’s a favorite room or chair in your home. Or maybe being home is too stressful so your oasis is the park, the beach, or a favorite coffee shop.

Grab your favorite note-taking tools, be it a special journal and pen, your laptop, or a napkin.

It Starts with You

Sit back, and consider the following:

What do I need right now?

Stay with yourself and your needs even when you might be tempted to consider the needs of others, like your stepchild, partner, or other family members and maybe even work-related tasks.

Remember, you can’t fill from an empty well. Since your body and mind have alerted you to being depleted, it’s time to tend to your own needs and fill your bucket first. Trust that this will position you to better tend to all those other needs afterwards.

What to Include

Consider what you need right now. Don’t judge what comes up, just notice it and jot it down. Is it more time to yourself … more of your favorite hobby … more time with your friends … more movement?

Whatever it is, write it down.

If several things come up, write them down and prioritize them based on which ones resonate the strongest. Sometimes closing your eyes can help to notice which ones are most resonant.

What to Exclude

Now consider…

What do I need to get rid of?

Is there one thing that is draining your time and energy? Write down what comes up.

Once you have some items written, allow yourself to explore each one a little deeper. Is the temptation to get rid of the thing really about the thing? Or is it about an unpleasant emotion it’s causing inside of you for another reason?

For example, you decide you need to stop doing car-pool because it’s sucking up all your time and energy in the morning as it’s a logistical nightmare because of where all the kids live.

If, however, you had beef with little Joey’s mom because she snubbed you at a party last month which is why you want to get out of doing the carpool, then it’s best to focus on addressing the differences with Joey’s mom, which is the heart of the issue.

Implement the Change

Now that you’ve taken the time and space to think about these things you have more clarity about what to do to unload something that’s been draining you and what to incorporate that gives you energy.

Choose one thing for each category. You’re now ready to consider what you can and will do to create these changes in your life. Lay out exactly how you will set the changes in motion.  

At this point you’re likely feeling more energized because you have a clear plan for yourself.

You may be ready to consider this question for everything else in your life.

Your Stepchild

Follow the same process as above, as you consider

What does my stepchild need?

If you have more than one stepchild, do this exercise for each one separately.

Consider your stepchild’s personality, strengths, and struggles. Also, consider your relationship with them and what kind of relationship you want to have with them.

Do you wish you were closer?

Do you wish you had more things in common or activities you could enjoy together?

Allow these desires to inform what comes to mind to do about it.

Take your time and go back to the section above and refresh your memory on the details of the process.

Come up with one thing that you want to include or increase and one thing that you want to exclude or decrease. And come up with the specific action plan of how to set it into motion.

Your Partner

As you think of what your partner needs consider your relationship with them. What do you want more of? What do you want less of?

Do you feel there’s too much tension over little things and you guys are constantly bickering? What would you need to add or remove to ease that tension?

Do you wish you were more intimate and had more romantic times together? What would that look like?

As you think about what’s needed, consider what is your relationship like now and what kind of relationship do you want to have?

How will you go about creating it?

Your Work

As you go through the exercise think about how you feel about your work, your role, and the company overall.

Is everything moving in alignment with your goals and values?

If the answer is no, are there things you can do to align it?

Or is it time to change direction and look for something new?

Your Family

As you think about your family and consider what is needed…

Is there a particular relative that you want to spend more time with, get to know more, or build a closer relationship with?

Does a relative come to mind who drains your energy? What can you do about this? Is the only answer to spend less time with them or avoid them all together?

Or is it pointing out that there is something for you to let go of?

Now repeat this process when it comes to your friends.

Action Items

Set aside some leisurely time to sit with and do these exercises and schedule it on your calendars.

Let someone close to you know so that they can hold you accountable. Or you might need to share it with your whole family, bestie, and a co-worker and ask them to hold you accountable.

It may feel beneficial to do them all together in one session. Or you might choose to break it up and do them on different days at different times to allow some breathing room and time for reflection.

There is no one size fits all here, what’s most important is that you set aside some time in a peaceful location to allow yourself to breathe, feel, and think.

Even better if you do this exercise with a buddy and afterwards discuss your experiences.

###*Pro tip: kids love to explore new things or at least hearing that the adults in their lives are trying new things. Even if they make fun of you and act like it’s stupid.

I’d love to hear how this goes for you, so please be sure to email me, or DM me on LinkedIn or FB and let me know.

Until next time, be well.

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