StepMom Balance


I BELIEVE IN YOU!!!!

These are four words that your husband will never tire of hearing.  I hadn’t realized it until recently but my words of affirmation towards my husband were getting fewer and fewer the more and more stress we had in our family that centered around the kids.  Pom Poms, cheering

It’s not that I believed in him less, loved him less or even thought less of him but rather when I disagree with my husband’s stance on some parenting issues the words of affirmation weren’t flowing as freely as they should have been. Especially since my husband’s love language is words of affirmation.

Recently, I was watching a video which is part of a series called The Art of Marriage sponsored by Family Life. In it, a woman commented on how a wife is her husband’s biggest cheerleader. She said when we put on our wedding dress we are putting on a cheerleader uniform and pledging to cheer our husband on.  It really hit me when she made the team sport analogy. She talked about how loyal people are to their sports team and how they cheer them on year after year always remaining faithful and supportive regardless of the tic marks in the winning column.

When our husband isn’t doing things the way we want them to, do we stop cheering for them? We may not stop believing in them but we may stop verbally cheering them on.

Being from Cleveland, if I can cheer on a group of football players year after year despite bad trades, bad plays and consistent losses certainly I can cheer my man on through every season of his life. I do believe in him and I recognize the importance of cheering him on each and every day regardless of how I am feeling because its’ not about me.

Cheering on our husband is about being a good partner. That’s what we pledged on the alter. We didn’t say “I would love, honor and cherish as long as he does what I want him to do” but rather we commit to love, honor and cherish through it all.

The most amazing thing happened when I picked up my pom poms and started affirming my husband several times each and every day. My encouragement and belief in him was so powerful and gave him additional energy to handle things with more peace and, as he would put it, “with more reserve in his tank.”

I also noticed that the more I verbally affirmed my husband in front of the kids the more they were verbally affirming each other. I have made it a point to thank my husband  at the dinner table in front of all the kids. Often I thank him for working so hard for our family or thank him for always being a man of integrity. He always beams when I compliment him and the kids take notice. He always compliments my cooking and shows gratitude that we can eat each night as a family which I appreciate. If our kids choose to marry when they get older I want each of them to be very verbally affirming of their spouse. We have to model the life we want our children to live.

I love cheering him on! I see the energy it brings him. I see and love the additional energy it brings to our relationship. He cheers me on too and our team can’t help but win when we are both each other’s biggest fans and are marching down the field striving towards the same goals.

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How do you cheer your husband on? Do you find it difficult to be verbally supportive when you are in a season in your relationship where you aren’t agreeing on important issues? Share your thoughts on this. Would love to hear from you.

Where’s Waldo? is a popular book series that gets the reader focused and excited to find the character in the red and white stripped shirt. I have had so much fun looking for Waldo with my kids and crossing my eyes a time or two as Waldo is immersed in so much detail that it makes it hard to spot this beloved character at first glance.  

It’s funny how life often imitates art (or the other way around… I never really know which way is first).

As you may have noticed I unplugged completely from my blog, writing and social media at the end of 2011. My apologies for the abruptness and non-notification. This unplugging wasn’t pre-planned. But it was necessary.

You see I had become like Waldo. So immersed in my blogging, tweeting, writing, radio talk show interviews, coaching, and volunteering that I allowed myself to slowly get lost in the busyness of life. I had plugged my time and talents into so many areas in addition to my family (church, school, writing, social media, etc…) that my priorities were all blending together and the ones that were truly at the top of my list weren’t standing out and weren’t getting the attention they needed.

The top priorities in my life (God, my husband and six kids) were often getting a tired, emotionally exhausted and often run down me. And that wasn’t the wife and mom and stepmom I had promised nor wanted to be. Just as an extension cord or power strip can short circuit if to much is plugged into it so can we as wives, moms and stepmoms when we put to much on our plate without the right balance to carry it all.

I was clueless that I had spread myself so thin because I run at full speed and give life all that I have. Having more to do just meant sleeping less – simple enough but lack of sleep takes its toll over time. I  have a heart to serve and don’t like saying no to anyone in need or any project that requires my help. I was always home with my family and was there to serve them but I had allowed myself to be pulled in so many directions that I wasn’t running at full capacity and was often distracted.  I had to pull back and refocus energies on my husband, my marriage and my six kids.

The bottom line is that I had over extended myself. 

In the past two months, I have become my best client. In plugging completely into my husband and my family and being plugged into God, I have seen tremendous positive changes in my marriage and in my kids. The mom/stepmom truly is the heart of her blended family and when mom/smom is peaceful and bearing the fruits of the Spirit; love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control … her home sings a sweet song. I see the benefits of my more balanced approach in our home. While I felt our family was doing great before, we have bonded and transformed to a whole new level since the first of the year.

My kids seem more peaceful. I feel like my husband and I have fallen in love all over again. I’ve had such peace in my heart and I have seen that peace transferred to the kids and to my husband. Now, this isn’t to say that we haven’t had our challenges. We have six kids between the ages of 13 and 8, two ex-spouses; a child with ADD and a list of activities the kids are involved in; of course we have our challenges. But a more balanced me has brought more balance to my marriage and to my family.

Instead of thinking about deadlines while eating dinner with my family, my thoughts have been focused on what each child accomplished that day and about how my husband and I will spend our quiet time after the kids are asleep. It has been amazing to give my husband all of my time after the kids go to bed instead of “just a few more minutes and I’ll be done in the office.” A few minutes often turned into an hour or two ….my husband is a very patient man and my appreciation for him has grown exponentially. I’ve had more time to just talk with the kids and with my husband. I’ve shared stories of what I struggled with as a young teen with both my daughter and stepdaughter and have drawn closer to each of them because of it. I have learned more about video games, Boy Scouts, and basketball in connecting with the boys and I’ve had time to sit and enjoy the many impromptu fashion and singing shows my youngest daughter and stepdaughter love to put on. And they only charge a cookie or two for admission.

I have learned so much in the past two months of complete focus on my husband and marriage and my family. I have also spent a great amount of time in prayer and in self-reflection and really looking inward. Often it is so easy to see what others around you are doing wrong but holding the mirror up and taking a long hard look at yourself and your contribution to situations is tough to do but essential in making progress. We are not our past but we are shaped by it and it was very helpful for me to dissect things that happened in my childhood and young adult hood and look at how they shaped me and my current thinking (more on this in future posts).

The reality is that the world is not going to fall apart because I don’t blog or tweet for two months or four months or a year but my family and my marriage can suffer if I don’t tend 100% to it daily.

I am beyond humbled that you missed me and I apologize for any worry or concern that any of you had. I never meant to cause anyone worry. I saw from tweets that many thought something had happened to me or my husband or kids and I do feel bad if I caused you any grief.

While I missed everyone, I know it was the right thing to do and now I look forward to sharing my learnings with all of you. I’ve built this blog around being transparent about the joys and sorrows of stepmotherhood and it’s my intention to continue sharing what I’ve (and my family has) experienced these past few months and how our family is growing stronger because of it.

You are going to start seeing me again but this time you will find a more balanced me and a me that will not be online as much as previously.  I have created a life balance plan for myself to help me balance my time and talents to serve God, my husband, my six kids and the stepmoms that I love. I do love my stepmom sisters and I know that together we are stronger, smarter and more supported.

 It’s good to be back! More balanced and ready to share!

What are your thoughts on unplugging from it all to focus on your family? Have you ever had a similar situation? Please share.

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It may sound cliche but it’s true; we often have to take a step back to step forward. Unplugging from the distractions of life can help you become more plugged into your family.

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