Many dances have a move called the “two-step”.
The way it’s danced depends on the type of music you’re listening to.
There is no “right way” to do the two-step.
It varies depending on the music, which ranges from country, fox trot, hip-hop, polka… they are all quite different. You wouldn’t dance that same step in the same way in every situation, it all depends on the music and your own personal style.
Well, if you think about it, the same goes for your role as a stepmom.
You are dancing the stepmom two-step, and your way of doing it depends on the music of your family and your own personality. You would never do it the exact same way as someone else who is dancing to the beat of a different family. What's overstepping for one stepmom, is normal for another - and that's okay.
We wouldn’t dance the two-step polka if our family is a hip-hop kinda family.
Get the point?
Now enough with the dancing analogy.
The main point is this –
You will find the stepmom style that works best for you in the different situations you encounter.
And you will learn that by practicing and making mistakes. You may (and likely will) over-step. You will under-step. And, over time, you will learn to step-up in a way that works for your family.
Then the situation will change - the kids will grow up, biomom will get married, and what was before will be no longer. You may overstep again. But you too will grow and evolve if you’re committed to doing so.
There is no magic formula. You need to do what’s best for you in your unique family situation. Your role as a stepmom evolves and changes over time. And you have a choice - you can either take control of your role, or get swept up in the waves of change.
It's not as complicated as it's made out to be.
We tend to focus so much on fixing what’s on the outside, defining our role, cleaning up the mess... but we don’t realize that to make truly meaningful change, we need to start with ourselves. Our greatest power in any situation is the power to control our own thoughts, beliefs, emotions and actions.
Thoughts fuel our actions, so tending to our own inner-world is really so important.
The best thing you can do for your family is tune into your own inner-wisdom, listen to your intuition, and honor your own needs.
It’s from that calm, centered, and connected place that you can learn to not take things personally, and live a purpose-driven life despite the chaos that may be happening around you. It’s from that place that your actions will truly be driven by love, and it doesn’t matter if other people interpret that as overstepping or under-stepping.
As long as you are truly connected to yourself, and doing things for your family out of love (not judgement, attack, “shoulds” or proving to someone else that they are wrong and you are better).
The problem is that many stepmoms (and people in general), don’t know how to listen to their intuition.
They may listen to that self-critical, fearful voice, and let that be their guide. They may think they are doing good by trying to control everything, but they are really just acting from suppressed fear. I used to do just that. It's not our fault - we were never taught to listen to our intuition, we were taught to live in fear, competition and defense. Many of that is ingrained in Western society and encouraged by the mainstream media.
Over time, I learned that critical, fearful voice is not my intuition.
Your intuition will guide you to take actions that feel expansive, freeing, and aligned with your highest purpose. When you follow that inner-knowing and act from that inspired and loving place, your life may effortlessly fall into place around you. Opportunities will open up, people will be more open and feel safe around you, and your energy will begin to transform the dynamic of your own family and the world around you.
It's simple, but not easy.
Self-improvement and personal development are not for the faint of heart.
I can almost assure you that what looks simple won’t be easy. You will need to feel your feelings, be in the darkness, and experience that which you are avoiding. You will have no control over the timing, or the actions of others. But when you do the inner-work and come out on the other side, it opens a floodgate of healing, positive energy and love that didn’t seem possible before.
You will learn to dance your own two-step, and you will inspire others to do the same.
So in summary, if you’ve been accused of over-stepping, meddling, or taking over – check yourself. What are you intentions behind the action? Is it coming from a sense of obligation, “shoulds”, fear and judgement, or is it coming from a space that allows you to feel expansive, free and fully self-expressed. Catch your ego – if you’re doing it for the outer praise and recognition, there’s something else there that you need to uncover.
Dance to the beat of your own drum.
I dare you to explore your own thoughts, assumptions, judgements and fears. Do the work, go deep, and transform yourself to become the best stepmom, and person, you can be.
Have you had a transformative experience by listening to your intuition? Have you recognized actions that are being fueled by thoughts of fear, judgement, comparison? I'd love to hear about it and help guide you in the comments!
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Anna de Acosta
Stepmom, biomom, and wife... living life with the blended family of my dreams and being a lighthouse for love and inner peace.