Entries tagged with “encouragement”.


Mother’s Day is one month away and it can be an emotionally difficult time for many stepmoms who often don’t get recognition for all they are and all they contribute to their family.

The word step may be placed before mother to define a woman’s physical connection to the children she loves but it does not define the heart she has for them or the love she pours into their lives.

stepmom, stepfamily, mother's day

All moms – bio, adoptive, foster and step – should be celebrated on Mother’s Day yet sadly not all “moms” are recognized on this day.

Just walk into any book store this time of year and you’ll see displays of keepsake books paying homage to mothers and rightfully so but what about recognizing the job that stepmothers do daily?

We know that as stepmoms we love, protect, nurture, and care for our stepchildren. We care for our husband and work alongside him to raise the children. We know that a stepmother does not seek to replace a mother but be a positive role model in the lives of her stepkids (hello – a blessing). And in the case of a custodial stepmom of which I am, we don’t seek to replace the mother but we do take on the complete role of mothering our stepchildren 24/7.

While the world may not pay homage to stepmoms on Mother’s Day, we certainly can celebrate each other. And in hopes of recognizing and supporting stepmoms, I created the series “The Gift of StepMom” last year to celebrate the many blessings that a stepmother brings to her stepfamily. And I’m bringing it back this year by popular demand.

Last year, women shared stories of the gift that their role has brought to their family. We also read stories from women who grew up in a stepfamily and the blessings that their stepmom (and in one case – stepdad) brought into their lives. The response was amazing! So many women were touched by reading the stories of other stepmoms. (Here’s the archived series if you want to check it out)

Starting May 1st, I’ll be running the stories that have been shared with me to inspire, encourage and support fellow stepmoms. We are a positive influence in the lives of our stepchildren, our husband, our kids and to those around us. It’s time we take a moment to celebrate the heart we bring to our family and the difference we make!

YOU are a gift to your family and I want to hear from you. I also want to hear from children who grew up with a stepmom and from husbands whose wife has really blessed him and his children. If you are interested in submitting your story, please email me at heather@cafesmom.com for submission details. I want to connect you so I’m happy to post your story, links, and photos.

One of my goals here at CafeSmom is for every stepmom to feel connected on her journey. These stories help connect stepmoms and celebrate the gift that we are to our families. Please consider sharing the Gift that you are to your family. Your story will touch and inspire many. Thank you!

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Your thoughts…. Is Mother’s Day a challenge for you? Do you celebrate the gift that you are to your family? Will you submit your story?

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.

It is easier to believe in yourself when you have a friend beside you saying, “I believe in you, too.” – Bonnie Jensen

September 12th is National Day of Encouragement! While we all seek to encourage and support daily, seems like a perfect time to talk about the power of encouragement and make a pledge to encourage another stepmom on September 12th! stepmom, encouragement, stepfamily, teen stepdaughter

National Day of Encouragement was created by a group of high school students who were attending a Leadership Conference in Arkansas and were challenged with the task of addressing the biggest problem they saw in their school. While the kids knew that drugs and alcohol were pressing issues, they felt at the root of all the problems was discouragement.

Wow! Those kids are insightful. It is the discouragement that many feel in their life that lead them to do and try things that are not helpful or healthy.

When we work tirelessly to encourage and support one another we make a powerful positive impact in the lives of those we seek to encourage.

No one can doubt that the job of stepmom is tough. It is not a job for wimps that is for sure. We can easily get caught in the dark feelings of being an outsider, feeling unappreciated, and the hurt that comes with being the target of our stepchild’s or their mother’s frustration, just to name of few.  And because we all experience the same emotions as stepmoms, we hold such power in being able to understand one another and offer encouragement and support.

 “A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.” Walter Winchell

I see this every day on Twitter. A stepmom tweets out a tough situation and within minutes, she’s got virtual hugs of support. Those tweets take seconds for us to send out yet they are powerful pillars of support for that stepmom in need and positively impact her day. As stepmoms, an encouraging word from another smom can truly transform our mood. 

“Little deeds of kindness, little words of love, help to make earth happily like the heaven above.” Julia A. Fletcher Carney

While I believe firmly that’s its important to encourage one another every day of the week and I know we are all great at doing that, I want to put out a special challenge to all stepmoms to reach out this Monday and encourage a fellow stepmom:

Email words of encouragement

Tweet an inspiring note

Send a personal card in the mail

Call someone on the phone and/or have coffee over Skype

Surprise a local stepmom you know with a dinner you made or offer to take the kids for a few hours so she can practice self-care and/or couple-care

Let a stepmom know you are praying for her and her family.

In addition to encouraging one another, reach out to other smoms if you are in need of encouragement. If you don’t share what is on your heart, no one knows how to support you.  We’ve all been in a tough spot, we are all here to help one another. It is wisdom, not weakness to seek support.

It is so true that when you encourage another, you will be encouraged and uplifted yourself. Not only will your act of kindness bless another but it will bless you in the process.

 “Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.” J.M. Barrie

Will you take the stepmom pledge of encouragement today?

Leave a comment below taking the pledge! If you’ve got tips on how to encourage other smoms and/or how you feel most encouraged, please share below. Feel free to list your twitter or Facebook account if you would like to connect with others. On behalf of all stepmothers, thank you!

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 “There can be no happiness equal to the joy of finding a heart that understands.” Victor Robinsall

 

 

Last week, I had the fortune of spending five days in sunny San Diego. By myself. Yes, that could be a post in and of it self because I did not feel one ounce of guilt going to San Diego. This is not how I would have traveled four years ago. Back then, I would have had to pay extra for the second suitcase of guilt I would have checked with customer service for doing something without the kids.

Barb, Myself, Lisa, Debra at BlogHer11

So there I was in grown up clothes that were neatly pressed and crumb free at BlogHer11 which is an amazing conference for bloggers. Among the over 3,600 women in attendance I had the fortune of meeting up with women of whom I respect and admire for their contribution to the stepmom and co-parenting arena. When we actually met, I felt like I had known them for years from all the sharing we had done through our blogs, on Twitter, interviews on the StepMom Connection webshow and some phone conversations. These women are authentic and wonderful!

I had the extreme pleasure of meeting Barb of Evil StepMom Speaks, Lisa of  HersHisandOurs, Deesha of CoParenting101, Diana of A Life Well Blended and Debrae who is going to be launching a blog soon (I’ll let you know when). I also met a non stepmom, Colleen of MommyAlwaysWins who was bravely checking out our stepblogger room of your own at Blogher.

Meeting these wonderful women was a true blessing and further fueled my passion for creating a strong community of positive thinking stepmoms. Each one of us has a different story. Each one of us is in a different stage of stepmothering. Each one of us cares deeply for all stepmothers and the children they love and care for.

In addition to these wonderful women, I met countless stepmoms who were attending the conference. Many of these women spoke with me at length about my site only to tell me in  a whisper at the end of the conversation “actually, I’m a stepmom too!”

Stepmoms are all around us but they don’t wear Tshirts shouting I am a stepmom (although I do know where you can get some:). Barb and I were talking about how often we talk with women only to have them “admit” at the end of our conversation that they are a stepmom and it’s usually in that same ol’ whisper.

I have found that the response I get when I tell someone what I do for a living and the type of blog I run, falls into one of three categories:

Mainly, I get Oohhhhh! Those long, drawn out oohhhhs usually come from non stepmoms whose children either have a stepmom that the woman doesn’t care for or they just have a stereotypical view of stepmoms. They are always polite and kind but I get the feeling that they think they are going to catch the “stepmom bug” from me.

Secondly, I get Ooh! In an excited way and they seem interested but don’t tell me that they are a stepmom til the end of the conversation and then they want to share their horror story and seek advice. These are typically newer stepmoms and/or stepmoms who are in the middle of a very tough stepfamily situation.

Thirdly, I get Wow! That’s great!. This response mainly comes from veteran stepmoms who indicate that they wish they would have had online support when they started out “15 years ago”. These women have stayed the course and they are all about the high fives and support.

So, why all the Oohs??? I think its because our culture still has a negative view of stepmoms. And because of that, many stepmoms don’t feel comfortable saying out loud what they are feeling inside. There seems to be a fear of judgement for some stepmoms. Its when they know for sure you will not judge them for their stepmom role that they open up, share and seek connection.

Meeting fellow stepbloggers was pure joy. We shared our personal stories and our missions for helping stepmoms. We talked about how we can support one another. We laughed and we cried. We connected. We created community in that stepblogger room of our own. There was no judgement. There was no competition. There was only community!

Deesha and Me at BlogHer11

I want the conversation that we all shared to be extended to all stepmoms. I want stepmoms to feel free to express their joys and their struggles without fear of judgement.

Lisa and I spoke about how we all want the stepmom community to be where the mom community now is which is a place where we can feel free to share our hearts without fear of being judged or fitting into the “evil stepmother” persona that Mr. Disney created decades ago.

On Tuesday, August 9th, Matt Lauer on The Today Show was covering a story about a man who was ordered to take down his blog about his “psycho ex-wife” as the couple was embittered in a custody battle. Matt made a comment to the effect that this judge must not look at blogs, because they are all about the negative and untruths.

Au contraire, mon frère Mr. Lauer. On the contrary, I am proud of the work that many stepmothers are doing to demystify the “wicked stepmom persona” and offer support through personal stories and encouragement. I just met some of those stepmoms in San Diego.

Stepmoms often live under the lens of false judgement of society. Our positive community is important because as stepmoms, we don’t judge each other. We listen, support and encourage one another. Personally, I may not agree with another stepmom’s choice but I will NEVER judge her character. There is no cookie cutter way to be anything in this life we live.

That’s one of the beautiful things about our community. Our stepmom community is about support not judgement.

What response do you get when tell someone you are a stepmom? Do you feel judged because of the role you play in your home? Have you benefited from the community of positive stepmothers that social media has allowed us to create? Have any of you thought about starting your own blog about the job of stepmotherhood? Please Share.

Back-up. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word as “help or support” and as “a person or thing that can be called on if necessary.”  What does that word mean to you in the context of being a stepmom?

I have a whole new appreciation for the back-up in my life. You see, a few days ago my blog was the victim of hacking. Someone or something found it’s way in and did a number on it. Thanks to an incredible hosting service who backs-up my site, the blog was restored within 36 hours. And thanks to a wonderful husband who knows me better than I know myself, I felt backed-up and supported by his guidance and grace.

The first thing I did when I received an email from a blog subscriber letting me know there was a “funky blog post published” was call my husband. Even before I looked at the page, I immediately picked up the phone to call him as he is my emotional rock. He is my back-up in life. He keeps me grounded. He speaks calm and love into my heart.

After a few minutes talking with him, I had a plan.

I was thankful at how calm I felt given that safety and security are so important to me in all areas of my life. I placed a call to my web hosting service and decided to leave it in their hands and let go of the whirl of emotions that had started to swirl inside me.

I knew that getting angry about what happened would do more harm than good. I didn’t cause this situation and quite frankly, I personally couldn’t fix it. If I got all worked up, the people who I love most would be the ones impacted and that’s not fair. My husband didn’t hack my site. My kids and stepkids didn’t hack my site. My smoms didn’t hack my site. So I decided to unplug until the issue was resolved and let the experts do what the experts do.

During those 36 hours, I thought long and hard about two words: hacked and back-up.

Just like blogs, emails, and computers can get hacked so can our lives. Wikipedia defines hacked as “cut with rough or heavy blows” and as “use a computer to gain unauthorized access to data in a system.”

The first emotion I felt when I found out that my blog was hacked was a sense of being violated. I didn’t like the idea that someone or some tech robot had found its way into my site without my permission and then wreaked havoc that I couldn’t immediately mend.

Isn’t that what happens in our lives as stepmoms? The Ex finds her way into our business and/or the stepkids “borrow” our clothes, makeup, money, etc… without our permission. Often our schedule and/or our purse strings get hacked by outsiders and we have no control over it. And often others can speak lies about us that feel like rough and heavy blows to our heart. When our lives get intruded on like that, how do we react? Who does our reaction impact and in what ways?

Often, it is our husband who bears the brunt of our emotional tailspin after our lives have been “hacked into” by outside forces. He is our confidant and the person we are closest to physically and emotionally.  Yes, someone outside our relationship is causing us stress and yet we often take our stress out on the one we are closest to and who may or may not play a role in the stress we are under.

And that leads me to my new favorite word – back-up. Love the concept of knowing there is someone there  to always back me up. For many of us, it’s our husband or partner. And for most of us, it’s other stepmoms – other women who walk the same path and get what we are going through.

In the case of my blog, back-up was used to restore it to it’s pre-hack state. Wow! Isn’t it wonderful when our heart and spirit can also be restored after a stepfamily storm. I found myself praying a little extra these last 36 hours and while I felt guilty asking God to fix my blog when there are so many more “pressing” issues in the world, I also know that every detail of my life and every detail of your life is important to Him.

I love how technical support advises that you back-up your systems daily with a minimum of every three days. Wouldn’t that be great if we took that advice to heart as stepmoms and backed-up our emotional well-being everyday. Reading devotions, sharing with our stepmom sisters, keeping connected to our husband are all ways to provide a daily back-up service to our soul.

I want to hear from you.

What happens to you in your role as stepmom that can make you feel like your life has been “hacked”? and How do you react when that happens?

What is your most reliable back-up for restoring your mood and keeping you centered in the eye of a stepfamily storm?

Thanks for sharing! Stay Strong. Press On.

Okay, I have to admit it. I am proud of my progress on this challenge. For the most part, I’ve been keeping it in check. The accountability and the journaling are huge parts of my success.

But today the words flew. They flew out of my mouth faster than my brain could keep up. But this time, I believe my words were meant to be heard. These are the words of my heart. The words that have been burning inside of me for a long time. They are the words that so longed to be spoken and heard. Tonight was the night they poured out of me into a vessel that was on the brink of exploding – my stepdaughter. Believe it or not, she didn’t sink upon hearing them.

You see my SD was having the “tantrum of the decade” I referred to on Twitter. She had been in an agitated and combative stage since she stepped foot off the bus coming home from school. She was arguing with her sibs over silly things and pounding me with absurd accusations.

I could write down every exchange between her and me and between her and all five of her siblings because she got into it with each one. But I won’t because who wants to read a 5,000 word blog?  I will say it was just one of those days where she was “relentlessly combative.” A day when I could have said the sky was blue and she would have argued with her dying breath it was aqua.

Needless to say, I was feeling the heat beneath my collar but I was not engaging. Found myself in different rooms than she was in but then I hit a crossroad. Long story short, I gave her a punishment for some inexcusable harsh words she was using on her sister. She refused it. So I asked her another time. This time she stomped her foot, said no and started in on her sister again. Well, I had to make a decision. I had asked her to do something that she was refusing yet I knew she was in a mood and didn’t want to engage her. Remember one of my mottos “you can’t fight crazy.” Well she was being “crazy.” But I knew I had to stand my ground.

“Serenity now, serenity now” was the chant in my head. Oh Seinfeld, how I call on your wisdom and wit during these times. I decided to give her additional punishment. This time I told her to go up to her room and write 20 times “My behavior is mean when I tease my sister. I will ask her to forgive me.” She actually went upstairs. I breathed a sigh of relief.

When an hour had past and she hadn’t come down, I went up to check on her. She was hiding in her room and hadn’t written one sentence.  When I asked her why she replied, “because I don’t want to do it and you can’t make me. This is harsh. You are harsh. I’ll stay up here forever.” Deep breathes… count 1,2,3 . I replied “I can make you and I will make you. You need to finish what I asked you to do and then you may come down to finish your homework.”  She started yelling at me but I was out of her room and down the stairs with my fingers plugging my ears. I did not want to engage.

I made dinner and called the kids down to eat (my hubby was travelling and not home yet). She came stomping into the kitchen complaining about her punishment and how I’m so harsh. While we were eating, she preceded to pull apart all of her food and eat in a very inappropriate manner. I tried not to notice or get upset but it was difficult. I could see she was doing this for my “benefit.” 

It’s our custom that everyone remains at the dinner table until the last person is done eating and either I or my husband excuses the table. But tonight I made an exception. When I saw she was done eating, I told her she could be excused to go back upstairs and complete her sentences.

She started screaming and I mean screaming at me. I tried to ignore it and kept redirecting her to her room. The other kids were getting very agitated with her nonsense and were becoming protective of me. She refused to move her body and go upstairs all the while screaming at me about how I hate her and how I want her to leave. It was truly unbelievable.

I choose to tell my SD “go up to your room now or I will drive you to school tomorrow, march into the principal’s office with you and have a long talk about what we are all going to do about your behavior.”

At this point my SD had slid halfway down the stairs and just started screaming and pounding her fists: “You hate me. You don’t love me. You never loved me. You want to go live somewhere else. You love everyone else but me. I’m a nobody. I know you hate me. I just know it.”

I’m walking away as she is saying these things but then something made me turn around, march half-way up the stairs so I’m at her level and I fired these off at her:

“Stop saying these things to me. Do you know you aren’t talking to me right now; you are talking to your mother. I am not your mother.  Stop taking your anger out about your mom on me. I did not leave you. I did not move two time-zones away from you. I did not go to Las Vegas instead of visiting you.  I am not your mom!  I am your stepmom! Stop treating me like I’ve done those things to you. I didn’t do them.

I am here each and every day for you. I take care of you. I cook for you. I make sure your field trip slips are signed, I help you with school projects.  I love you. Don’t you ever, ever say that I don’t love you. Because you have NO IDEA what is in my heart.

You have every right to be angry at what your mom did. You have every right to be hurt and sad but don’t you dare transfer that anger on to me. I do not deserve it and I’m not going to stand here and listen to you accuse me of something that isn’t true. I do care about you. If you can’t stop saying these things then you need to march up to your room and shut the door because I’m not going to listen to this crap anymore!”

I said it very sternly but never yelled or screamed at her. I couldn’t believe I said those things. She never said a word, just seemed to be looking at me and staring intently at my face. When I finished,  I walked away, afraid of her retort.

My SD followed me into my office and said “I’m sorry” and she sobbed and sobbed. She said “my mom would kill me if I told her how I really feel. “ Then she got close to my face and said “can I just ask you one thing?” “Sure,” I responded. “May I have a hug?” she asked. I grabbed her and hugged her and held her and cried with her.

After we were done crying, I told her how I was never angry or mad at her but that I could no longer listen to her scream at me that I don’t love her. She seemed to understand. I told her to go take a warm bubble bath to relax and we would talk more when she was finished. We did.

I needed to say those words and I think she needed to hear them. For the past three years, she has been transferring all of her hurt, confusion, pain onto me and it’s very hard to take. While I know in my head that it could be any woman in my shoes and they would still be getting the same treatment, it’s still hard to hear and experience. I know it’s not me personally but in the flesh, it sure is hard not to hurt from it.

I have to admit. I do feel much better. Let’s see how tomorrow goes. One of my many lessons learned is not to have expectations.

What? Do my ears deceive me? It can’t be or maybe it can!!!  Did I just hear I love you?  After months of “you hate me”……

My stepdaughter actually came up to me and said “I love you.”

Still in shock, I can’t speak while my little one was quick to say “my mom doesn’t like you. She can’t like you because you are so mean to her.” I was about to butt in because I didn’t want my little one saying such things. Plus I didn’t want this moment to have any negatives attached. But then my SD replied “well, we do have some arguments but we always make up and I love her.”

Deep breath. Wipe away a slow tear falling. Close my eyes and etch her words and this moment into my brain and into my heart!

“WELL SAID,” I replied to my SD. And off she and my little one went to go play Barbies.  Perhaps she is seeing my love for her more clearly now that I’m not engaging. Perhaps, she is just having a great day. Perhaps, she is buttering me up. Her birthday is a few days away and she knows I’m the cake maker, present buyer, party doer.

Whatever the reason, I’m not spending time thinking why. I’m living in the moment of “I love you” and in the moment of peace. And that’s where I’m staying today. No questions asked!

Wow!  When I think about it, I have so many things to be thankful for. Why then, do I tend to focus on the pain I feel from my stepdaughter instead of all the wonderful things in my life?

I know personally, I am very approval seeking. Want to do everything right. Be a great wife. Be a great mom. Be a great stepmom. Be a great friend and the list goes on…..

And if someone in my life isn’t doing great, then it must be my fault. If I was just better at ________ then __________________ would be better at that. I can fill in the blanks for many people in my life. My biggest approval issue is with my stepdaughter. Hence, my 21 day challenge. I kept thinking if I was a better stepmom, then she would be happy. I have to remember I didn’t raise her, I cannot and should not change her.

Today, I woke up thinking I’m really loving this challenge and I am going to only focus on the good things in my life. If a negative thought rolls in, it’s going in the trash can and getting dumped out. I’m not gonna let it stew inside.

I am feeling good about feeling good. It’s not necessarily easy to not take some things personally but boy do I have energy at the end of the day when I don’t engage SD’s negative behavior. And I’m using that energy to do things I love. Things I haven’t focused on in a while because I was so exhausted every day by dinnertime from all the emotional stress I was storing inside of me.

I’ve started writing more. I’ve started “finishing” sewing projects that have been waiting for me. And I’m actually reading (just a little) for pleasure. Typically, I’m so knee deep in stepfamily or self-help books that my stack next to my bed is actually taller than my nightstand. I’m just one of those geeks that loves to do research and be in the “know.” Probably dates back to my approval thing where I have to know everything about stepfamily life so I can be the best for everyone.

I am making a trade; having to be right with my stepdaughter FOR time, energy and peace in my heart. I haven’t felt this great internally in at least 6 months. And even my husband has noticed a difference. He says I’m back to my smiling, happy self. I didn’t even realize that I had stopped smiling. But as I have taken on this challenge, I have begun to realize how I have allowed the pain that my stepdaughter throws at me to hold me down. I’ve been trying to seek approval from someone who doesn’t feel approval herself. That is why she is acting out at me. She so desperately wants approval and love from her mother and because all she gets is rejection, she is rejecting those close around her. 

I’m far from a psychologist. My degrees lie in Communication and Research. But I am learning a heck of a lot by doing nothing. By not engaging my stepdaughter but rather documenting and examining her triggers, I am learning and understanding that it really isn’t about me.

To be fair, my loving husband has been telling me for months that it isn’t my fault that my SD lashes out at me. While he is truly the wisest person I know (and that’s not just because I’m madly in love with him) I was too stubborn to listen and accept his advice. Realistically speaking, I think I needed to “get it” personally to believe it. I needed to know it was true not just hear it was true. I had to live it and I am. I am so thankful for it.

Now, I am not out of the woods in terms of not being offended and hurt by my SD’s words and actions, but I’m doing so much better and I’m gaining so much strength from what I’m learning and all those other stepmoms who have rallied with me. I’m actually started to get it…It’s really not about me. Yeah!

Late last night I had a lightbulb moment. After rehashing the day in my head – it hit me. The reason she is ramping it up and saying all those things is because she thinks I don’t care. She is equating me not engaging her with me not caring. I think she would rather get into an argument every day then have me calmly dismiss her antics.

She thinks I don’t care. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In regards to the day, I woke up to the local news announcing school was cancelled. Two weeks ago, the idea of being snowed in with her would have had me a nervous wreck. I would have been wondering who am I going to get? The SD who says she loves me or the SD who believes my mission in life is to make her miserable.  But this morning was different thanks to my challenge. I was excited about a snow day. Baking cookies, staying in our jammies all day, watching an old movie.

Since the kids are at my mercy on snow days, I typically take the opportunity to introduce them to the “classics.” I choose to watch Singin’ in the Rain.  I just love the “gotta make them laugh” sequence and Debbie Reynolds jumping out of a cake is priceless.  Anyway, she wanted no part of such a boring movie so she went out to play in the snow. And it was great, I got to watch the movie with the kids in peace while keeping an eye on her through the window. She played outside with one of her siblings and they wore off a lot of energy. A win win for both of us.

Overall, the day proved to be more of the same. She purposely broke something of her sisters. Took every opportunity to pick a fight with me.  I stayed calm and strong. My husband is so thankful. He said “I love to see your smile. You wear your smile so well.” How can I argue with that. I have more peace, more energy at the end of the day and my husband is noticing a huge difference.

I don’t want her thinking that I don’t care. But I’m not going backwards. I’m not going to start engaging her. And I’m loving how I feel inside by not taking things as personally as I have.

Believe me. My feelings still get hurt. My brain still can’t figure out why she says what she says and why she does what she does. The key difference is that I am learning not to internalize everything. I’m learning that I will probably never understand her and that I am so thankful for the harmony and energy that I have at the end of the day.

My husband takes our daughter to the counselor tomorrow. It will be interesting what she says about the week.

I am certainly not where I want to be on this journey of not taking my SD’s attacks personally but I am moving in the right direction

Ditto. That’s a good word for today. I’m continuing to stay the course and my SD is continuing to find ways to push my buttons.

Today, I received a note home from the teacher that in the past would have really been hard to read regarding my SD’s behaviour in the classroom. But reading the words brought sadness to my heart this time over anger or embarassment.

She is just lashing out at everyone. That pattern is becoming very obvious. A call from her BM, equals a rough week at home and at school. She wrote in her school journal about her feelings about her mom. It wasn’t flattering. She is drowning in the pain that has been inflicted upon her. Hurting people hurt others.

I’m learning not to take it personally. This is all good. I’m starting to see a shift away from focusing on my feelings to focusing on the root of her problem. In my opinion, she needs to rid herself of the spirit of rejection.  

My husband and I have her in counseling, we work closely with the school, we talk with her. I feel that the only one who can free her from this bondage is her BM. It’s hard to wait on a third party who you have witnessed not make good choices in the past.

All I can do is stay the course. Set the tone for the house and continue to think positive thoughts.

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