I used to think talking about gratitude was so cheesy!  I’d scroll through my newsfeed seeing articles & quotes about the power of being grateful, and think *barf* what a load of hocus pocus.  Sure I was grateful for my life, but I didn’t think it was important to talk about AND think about just HOW grateful I am all of the time.  I was like “come on people!”  The other day in The KICK-ASS Stepmom Community, I asked the group what their major “Stepfamily Stressors” are. I wanted to get a feel for where everyone was at. One of the stepmoms tagged me, and said “Jamie, I’d love to hear what your biggest stepfamily stressor is”.  I quickly grabbed my phone and clicked the reply button… and then I paused. I had to think. I didn’t know off the top of my head.

It wasn’t that I have so many different stepfamily stressors that I didn’t know what stressor to choose. In that moment, I had to actually think about what they are.   This was a WOW MOMENT for me.  I was like “What the heck has happened? Normally I would be all over this post”  So I did some thinking about what has changed. How did I get to this point? I could only think of one thing!  Because honestly, my stressors are basically the same as they were when I first became a stepmom. Some more and some less.

My husband still has an ex wife, I still have three stepkids, we still have to juggle and coparent, and there are still differences of opinions and blips in our communication. I still deal with some behaviors from my stepkids, in fact, maybe now more than ever….  So why was I not verbal diarrheaing all over this post? Well, it’s because they honestly don’t affect me the same way as they used to.

I may or may not have told you this before, but there were times when my hands would shake. Where I would go to my room and just cry, or I would lie awake at night stressing about things like the latest holiday schedule, or a disagreement over an expense (all problems that really weren’t mine to be stressing over)  Now, the one thing that is different, is I’ve changed my thought-pattern.  And I know some of you may be reading this saying, “Changed your thought pattern? Oh Jamie, come on… I am going to throw up here”… But it’s true. And trust me, the fact that I am typing a post about the power of gratitude and positive thinking floors me just as much as it floors you.  I often refer to this quote

“Change your thoughts and you’ll change your world”

And has hearts, sparkles, rainbows & cheese as that sounds, it’s so true.  Amongst the chaos that STILL exists in our blended family life, I am so freaking grateful for the life that I have.  Even in the midst of dealing with hormonal tween-age behavior, I dig REAL deep and make the decision to be grateful that I have a stepchild that is teaching me a whole new level of patience.  When my daughter bawls her eyes out at the door when her brothers and sister leave to go to their Moms, instead of resenting this family dynamic, I am thankful for the one-on-one time.

When shit really hits the fan in our stepfamily world I am so grateful that I have a girlfriend down the road who gets me and will have a glass of wine or five on a random Wednesday night!

In all seriousness though, I don’t dwell on the bullshit like I used to. So it’s not at the forefront of my mind. I focus on the great things in my life and really try to find the positive in a situation, even when I have to dig really really really really deep to find it!  To sum up this rant I’m going to share the 5 things that I am grateful this whole stepmom gig has taught me!

1. I’m grateful that being a stepmom has taught me that sometimes it’s best to just keep your mouth shut

2. I’m grateful that being a stepmom has taught me that trying to control every aspect of your life (and your families) will backfire in a BIG.FAT.WAY.

3. I’m grateful that being a stepmom has taught me that the perfect family doesn’t exist. 

4. I’m grateful that being a stepmom has taught me that there is no shame in admitting that you don’t have it all together all of the time…

5. I’m grateful that being a stepmom has taught me that if you buy wine by the case, you end up saving a few bucks!

… and to top it all off I am grateful for these five people… because amongst the chaos that can and does come with a blended family, they have brought me more joy then I ever anticipated having in my life!

Do you have a story to share with our readers? We want to hear it! Sign up for our Spoke Contributor Network and start submitting your writing today.