Sunday, April 8, 2012


For the first couple of years that I was a stepmom I used to really get carried away ruminating—that is, dwelling on my worries over and over again.

I was frustrated that neither of my stepdaughter’s parents seemed worried that she wasn’t meeting her developmental milestones. That her speech and cognition were delayed. That she seemed unreasonably terrified of the world. That she seemed to always be eating junk food. That she would never stop throwing tantrums. That she'd never graduate from diapers and she’d end up calling me from a high school bathroom stall asking me to come wipe her bottom.

I’m guessing that there are a lot of stepmothers who struggle with ruminating. After all, there’s just so much new territory to cover as a stepmom, and so much of it is out of our control.

Not only is dwelling on problems frustrating, but excessive ruminating has been shown to lead to depression. So when you find yourself dwelling on something that your stepchild or their parents have done (or not done, or keep doing…), I’ve found that it’s best to try your best to nip your worries in the bud before they have a chance to take over.

This MSN article has some good tips:

1) Put on music and dance, scrub the bathtub spotless, whatever engrosses you—for at least 10 minutes.
2) Tell yourself you can obsess all you want from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., but until then, you're banned.
3) For one minute, eyes closed, acknowledge all the thoughts going through your mind.
4) Consider "What's the worst that could happen?" and "How would I cope?"
5) Ask a friend or relative to be your point person when your thoughts start to speed out of control.
6) Accept that you're human and make mistakes—and then move on.

Do you have any suggestions to share?

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