As I shared in a previous article as a childfree step mum, I received a lot of judgment from mums who couldn’t quite place me in a category as my situation was different from theirs.

The early part of my childfree, stepmom journey was rockier than it needed to be. I felt like I was headed into battle every time I left my home, and after some thought, I realized why. I wasn’t living up to other’s expectations of who I should be. Up until now, I did a pretty good job of people-pleasing, and this was the first time that I was making a decision that disappointed a lot of people. Identifying the root cause of the hurt was key to finding an abundance of helpful practices and solutions. I’ll share three here:

  1. Be solid in your decision and stand firm in who you authentically are. This doesn’t mean you can’t have bad days. You’re human; however, you are empowered to live your best life, not hers, so stay in this beautiful lane you’ve created and celebrate all of the opportunities you have in front of you. This helps you manage interactions that have the potential to be hurtful. Write down a description of your authentic self and post it somewhere to look at daily, until it is tattooed on your heart.
  2. Be mindful of who you give your time and energy to. Once I realized who I spent most of my time with, I understood why I felt depleted and defeated all the time. My days were filled with combatting people and situations that weren’t for me. It became imperative for me to find and cultivate my tribe so that I could be nourished and replenished. This allows me to be and feel my best. This world needs more people feeling their best.
  3. Celebrate yourself and your choices often! My husband and I find something to celebrate every day. Have fun with it. Focusing more on the opportunities, adventures, and potential surrounding you, allows you to get the most out of this life and to give back to others in a bigger way. By living more of your moments in celebration and gratitude, you bring about more of the good stuff life has to offer. Celebrate and attract even more to celebrate.

Speaking up for myself and my decision to choose to become a stepmom and remaining free of biological children released some very heavy chains I was carrying around at the beginning of my marriage. If there’s one thing you can’t do on the road less traveled, is to stay a people pleaser. Go easy with those around you, whose eyes are just now being open (thanks to you) to new ways of nurturing and building a family.

A family can look so many different ways now, and isn’t that a beautifully expansive realization? We’ve come so far as women, and in order to become even more, we need to support each other better. If you’re quick to judge another woman, whose life or family looks different than yours, ask yourself why? Another’s life decision has no impact on your life choices, so why judge her? Rather, let’s connect to understand each other better.

Becoming a mom, a stepmom, or remaining childfree are all equally valid choices women get to make, and each of them should be honored equally. Motherhood is wonderful if you aspire to be a mother. Becoming a stepmom is wonderful if you’ve determined it’s a role you want to take on. Remaining childfree is a wonderful option to free up some resources for other adventures that set your heart on fire. It’s amazing how much you can share with others when you’re not over-spent at home. Isn’t it wonderful being a woman in 2021, where there’s room for all of us?

It’s time to redefine some of these roles available to us and to start normalizing the celebration of our choices, no matter what path to fulfillment we choose for ourselves. Let’s spend more energy honoring the goodness in all roles, and creating tribes of inspiration to help us all navigate this journey through life. After all, if the future is, in fact, female, we’re going to need to show up for each other in a big way. Let’s start with supporting each other in whatever nurturing roles we choose.