As a stepmom, I find a lot of my time gets sucked into being mad. Not just at Mama Ex, or Hubs or my stepkids. Sometimes I'm mad at everyone and everything. And I need someone to turn to. Lately on Twitter and blogs, I've seen a lot of people pondering where they can go when they're at the end of the rope.
Stepmoms...you need friends. Good friends that can listen and help and offer advice. Here's a list of the 6 friends you need, and the situations for when you need them.
Everyone needs a bitch fest. Sometimes we just need to sit down over a glass of wine or beer or club soda and just....spew. But this type of vent fest is not for every friend. You need The Listener.
The Listener This is not the friend that interrupts every two seconds to ask, "Wait, what were you wearing when Mama Ex did this?" or to say, "I know exactly what to do. You need to do the following things, in this order...."
You need the friend that will listen with open ears, and an open heart and just let go...for hours if necessary. This friend is probably someone you've known for a long time, but it doesn't have to be. Sometimes people who don't know us well are the best listeners, because they don't have years of experience with us to navigate through. The Listener is there to serve one purpose. Listen.
Best place to hang with The Listener: At home with no one else around. There will be ugly tears.
You know her. She's the girl that can take a paper napkin and magically turn it into a 40 minute comedy routine. She knows you well, and she knows what you need to turn the frown upside down. This isn't the friend for the heart to hearts, when you're really needing answers about a problem. This is when you need to laugh so hard you wake up the next morning and feel like you did a hard-ass ab routine. Sure, you can tell her stories about Mama Ex and the kids and Hubs, and she's going to hear that and empathize. But she's going to be more concerned with doing a killer impression of Nikki Minaj on quaaludes in an effort to make you STOP thinking about Mama Ex and the kids and Hubs. And that's what you need right now.
Best place to hang with The Comic: At a hole-in-the-wall bar, where no one will care that you just laughed so hard you snorted cabernet up your nose.
That's it. The last straw. You can't take it anymore. Your stepdaughter is a monster, Mama Ex is driving you up the wall, and quite frankly, you aren't sure you even want to be with Hubs anymore.
You need a friend that can hear every awful, terrible thing you're thinking right now...and will keep it to herself. We all experience times when the stress of it all just seems insurmountable. We feel the only way out is to give up, throw in the towel, and throw around the "D" word (that's "divorce"). The Confidant has known you a long time and can see the difference between moments of weakness and true despair. She can decipher if you really mean the things you're saying, or if you just need time to cool off. Either way, she isn't going to judge you or hold you accountable for anything you're saying.
Most importantly? She is a vault.
She is not the friend who's going to hold what you say over your head later. Nothing says Lousy Confidant like someone who drunkenly brings you up at a dinner party by saying, "Hey, Ruby! Remember that time when you said you hated Hubs and hoped you could get a quickie divorce? Whatever happened with THAT!?"A true confidant has enough secrets to create Hiroshima on your life, but never will.
Note of advice: if you've ever had even the slightest trust issue with one of your friends, she is not your Confidant.
Best place to hang with The Confidant: Like with The Listener, at home with no one else around. Perhaps a nice restaurant with a corner booth if you aren't sharing earth-shattering secrets.
The Go-Getter Coach
This friend takes no bullshit from anybody. She is in your corner all the way, and won't let anybody walk on you - including yourself. As stepmoms, sometimes we find ourselves taking a back seat to important situations because we don't feel like we have a right to be there.
The Go-Getter knows better, and she's going to let you know. This is the friend to seek when you're feeling sorry for yourself and need someone to WAKE YOU UP. To help you remember that you chose a great man with great kids and you have a great life if you'd stop sitting around brooding about it. Are times tough? Sure they are! Are you going to put your big girl panties on and deal with it? DAMN STRAIGHT YOU ARE.
The Go-Getter also has answers when you only have questions. She is a "to the point" kind of gal that doesn't mess around with "what if's" and "I'm nervous about"'s. She has time for one thing and one thing only: results.
BONUS: Schedule some time with your Go-Getter right before a confrontation/event where Mama Ex will be present. Not because you're going to punch Mama Ex in the face, but because you need to exude confidence and know that you belong.
Best place to hang with the Go-Getter: The gym. Burn off some calories and get endorphins flowing while you plan your world domination.
Okay, not really. She can't see the future, but she can certainly see answers that you never thought of before.
(My Oracle just happens to be my mother-in-law (who knew?)!)
This gal is likely older than you, but certainly wiser than you. She's seen things you've never seen and knows how to navigate your situation because she has the unique ability to remove emotion from the equation. The Oracle can objectively look at every trouble, pick it apart, and put it back together again in a way that makes sense to you.
The Oracle is likely armed with a pretty vast knowledge of what you've been through as a stepmom, so she knows all the players of the game. This enables you to jump right in with your problem, rather than having to give a lot of background info to catch her up. She is ready, willing and able to make decisions where you can't, and dole out advice that is sound and thoughtful, rather than impulsive and potentially damaging.
When in doubt on which friend to see, head to The Oracle.
Best place to hang with The Oracle: Anywhere. She is there to help you, to listen and to guide. Period.
C'mon, you didn't think I'd forget about this one, did you? Ironically, The Stepmom can be a combination of all of the previous friends I just mentioned. Because The Stepmom truly understands where you are - because she is a stepmom herself.
The Stepmom can be the next door neighbor, a Twitter follower, or even your best friend from high school. She could be new to the stepmom world, or she can have 25 years of experience. It doesn't matter. No one relates to the struggles of a stepmom more than another stepmom.
The Stepmom is all of us.
We are here to laugh, to cry, to vent, to scream. We are never too far away, but know when to step back. We understand custody decrees, legal battles, and practically have a doctorate in acronyms that no one understands (DH, SD, SS, SK, BM). And we will never leave you. Whenever you need us, we are here. There is no "best place" to hang with The Stepmom. We are every place, every time.
So use us. It's what we're here for.