Entries tagged with “help for stepmoms”.


Christy Campbell’s heart blesses the Gift of Stepmom series. While Mother’s Day is over… the heart and love that stepmoms bring to their families lives and breathes everyday. Her story will touch you as she shares how she became a stepmother and the gifts she gives her family and the gifts they give her. Hope you enjoy her heartfelt words and will visit her blog GoodStepmom.

A Reciprocal Gift by Christy Campbell   

I used to think about what it would be like to have kids and what kind of Mother I would be.  In my twenties, I was busy going to school, working a job or two and paying the bills.  There was plenty of time, besides the fellow I had been with for years at that point wasn’t my future and I knew it.   I then met and eventually married a great guy.  He was one of the most sweet, caring, compassionate, smart and well liked people I have ever known.  We talked many times about starting a family, but he was focused on his career and I had moved on to graduate school.  We thought we still had time to do everything we wanted to do.  There went our thirties. Then he got sick.  Barely into my forties, I found myself the main bread winner and also caregiver of my husband.  Now I began to think oh dear, maybe we don’t have as much time as we thought.  That dear man passed away at the age of 44.  Well then, that was that.  I had missed my opportunity, so at the age of 42 I threw myself into my career and took up a few hobbies.  I filled my schedule.  My life became busy, orderly, predictable…quiet, but I wouldn’t have called it full.

I come from a small family.  My only sibling was killed in an accident many years ago at the age of 32.  He had no children.  As a result I was never able to attain Aunt status and enjoy nieces and nephews, apparently that wasn’t in the cards for me either.  Then, just as I had sort of settled into my reinvented life, some five years into widowhood, guess what…I met a guy. It didn’t take long for him to tell me that he had children. Almost as if testing my threshold, he told me he was not the Father of one, or even two, but three.  To be honest, at the ages we were I was sort of relieved. I had been introduced to some very nice fellows but you know…maybe he still lived with his Mom, was perpetually single, had been married multiple times with no kids, drank too much on our first date, never grew up…My thinking was heck, I would almost expect that a guy had started a family by our stage of life.  I let him know it didn’t scare me any and off we went!  I was introduced to them and to one of his sisters very quickly.  The kids were awesome, so accepting of and curious about this woman their Dad was seeing.  We spent a lot of time together from that point forward, all of us and he proposed 7 months later.  I went from me, a few good friends and my dog to a ready made family.  The oldest boy, was 14 and the twin girls were 10.  So that’s our background.

Reciprocal gifts.  I’ll start by the gift I think I have been to them.  I am their third party.  All of them have come to me at one time or another as a buffer or advice giver, to help them relate to their Mother or their Father.  That alone is pretty cool for them. I’m a built in sounding board.  I’m close enough to them that they value what I think, and they quickly came to sense and rely upon my mediating skills. I set up conversations with their Dad for them, when they would come to me with a plea, so that his ears were at least open.

I frame the situation for him and appeal to his intellect to hear them out before he just says no. It seems to work nicely.  I have listened to their points of view and during tough times with their Mom and their Dad. I have tried to help them with the way they approach their parents to foster productive conversations.  Though I don’t directly impact how my kids relate to their Mother, I do provide enhancement I believe.  I listen to them complain about her at times but I never participate.  I do rather, try to help them understand where she might be coming from and that she does the very best she can.  At times I have helped them come up with ideas to make their Mom feel more included in things, or to make up with her after an argument of some sort. So one gift I have provided is to teach my kids to aim for open yet respectful communication and tolerance in their communications with others, particularly their parents.

I have been the counselor, driver, nurse and mentor for these guys for years. I have tried to teach them the importance of manners, etiquette and the meaning of propriety.  I have hosted sleepovers and parties, have held hands through the angst at becoming more physically mature, through girlfriends and boyfriends, broken hearts, issues with other kids at school and various social mishaps. Lately I have been teaching them and some of their friends how to write (finally homework I can help with!).  And we’ve gotten some A’s yes we have!  In a nutshell, I try to provide sustenance not only physical but emotional.  I’m not their friend and I’m not their Mother, I’m their other Mother!  I would think having an active and involved Step Mother would be a big asset.  Mine wasn’t, I have tried to be.  Three years ago at the age of 49, I gave them a baby brother.  They all love each other very much.  My kid’s Mother I think, knows that their other Mother loves them and helps take care of them.  I think their lives are enhanced by my presence and that I will have some influence over how they turn out.  Now, let’s flip the switch and look at the other side of the story.

Let’s talk about what this man and our children have done for me. I got to love a man again, and all the crazy ups and downs that it entails.  I became an instant Mom.  I got to share my cooking, my interests and my beliefs.  I was finally able to say things like…I need time off to go to my children’s Christmas play.  I got to make cupcakes, cookies and gingerbread houses. I got to introduce them to snow cream and how to cut out snowflakes.  I got  to assemble toys till the wee hours of the morning on Christmas eve.  I got to have the conversation about the fact that I still believe in Santa Clause. I  was able to color Easter eggs, make Easter baskets, go trick or treating again.  I got to teach them what swimming at the lake was like and I got to introduce them to the ocean, riding on a plane and show them the mountains.  I got to hug and sometimes snuggle with them. I was able to cook for my family and actually host holiday dinners at my house.

I found I was relied upon to get them from here to there…even their Mother would call and ask for my help at times.  I got to take care of my kids when they were sick and got to pick them up at school from the nurse’s office and receive medical instructions.  I got to shop for dresses for proms and go through the drama of preparing for dances and dates, I got to teach a guy how to be thoughtful of the women in his life, his Mother, his girlfriend, his Grand Mothers and Aunts.   I got to be a soccer, basketball, volleyball mom. I was able to share my thoughts on their progress in school and get them thinking a little bit about their future.   I get to be aggravated at the attitude of teenaged girls,  I get to enjoy the young man our eldest son is becoming.  I was given the opportunity to have a baby of my own.  Without these lovely people, that would never have happened. That little family I met one day a few years ago has given me so much in return.

I may go on about all I do for all these guys at times, but when I look at what my life was and what it has become, hands down I come out ahead.  I have a husband and dear friend and I have 4 kids.  I never have drawn distinction about who I actually birthed and who I didn’t.  I have a 21 year old son out there in college, an elected Fraternity officer with a job, making me proud.  He’s my baby boy’s hero and that’s so cool.  I have two 17 year old daughters.  They have allowed me to be a Mother.  I’ve lived with them the longest…they test me…I’m sure I test them…but I have 2 beautiful healthy smart incredible daughters.  And my little man.  He’s three now.  He loves his family.  He is my crowning moment.

My Grandmother gave me some advice right after I lost my first husband.  I’m sure she had no idea how profound her words were.  She was awesome, very loving and a strong woman.   As a widow at that time of almost 25 years, she offered me this.  All you can really do is try to make a life for yourself that you know he would have been proud of. At any point that I could have taken a wrong turn, made a bad decision, done something that wasn’t good for me, I thought of what she had said.  I look at what I have now, and I think I’ve done that.  I think he would and perhaps is very pleased at the life I have created. I think she would be too.

So you see, my story is about caring, perseverance, hope, determination, reinvention, love and destiny.  I think life takes you in the direction you are supposed to go.  I think in ways, I rescued this divorced, fractured and scarred family and I know that they saved me.

My statement about the gift of a Stepmom is this:  Give and you shall receive.  I believe that.  I have been through my fair share of loss and disappointment. I have told my husband many times…they are my reward.  Bless them and all the things they have given me.  I have a full life now and a big part of the reason for that is because I became a StepMom.

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You can learn more about our guest contributor, Christy Campbell, at her blog GoodstepMom. You can also connect on Facebook and on Twitter.

What are your thoughts? Have you experienced the reciprocal gift of stepfamilies? “Give and you shall” receive is true. Often we may not receive when we want to but our efforts bless regardless. Please share your thoughts.

Kerri Ann wrote to me sharing her journey from successful single girl to stepmom. Her wit, wisdom and honesty will touch you. Her heart for her family and the everyday challenges is refreshing. Enjoy Kerri’s story and check out her blog Simplicity Interrupted.

From Single Girl to Stepmom by Kerri Ann

Three years ago I was a single law school grad.  My cares and concerns revolved around my job search, my social life and caring for myself and my dog.  Are you sensing the theme? It was tough work, obviously.  At the time, my five year plan involved landing a dream job, finding the perfect man, and living happily after.  And three years later, here I am with all of that accomplished – kind of. 

The job is not anything I set my sights on in law school, but it challenges me every day and I am always learning and growing as an attorney.  And the man … well, he is my perfect man.  Except that I never dreamed my perfect man would be older, divorced, or a father of two.

My life has definitely taken on a new focus.  Now, I am grocery shopping for four, baking cookies, and packing lunches.  I’m helping with homework, coloring and crafting at the kitchen table, and folding doll-sized laundry.  I am playing Headbandz, listening to Radio Disney, and having impromptu dance parties.

The amount of four legged friends in my life has doubled.  My beloved Michael Kors purses have turned into carriers of crayons, snacks, band aids, and permission slips.

Any mom will tell you that this is her life too – a life that no longer revolves around just you anymore.  But moms have an advantage of a slow but steady evolution to this point.  It can be jarring to the system to have an insta-family, with no real preparation for what is to come.  And, especially at first, it was difficult for me to determine what my role really was.  I was busy – busier than I had ever been – and I was doing mom-type things.  But I am not the mom.

Their mom is very active in their life, whether they are at our house or hers.  It’s great for the kids – their parents are in constant communication about homework, doctor’s appointments, after school activities.  I would never wish that to change.  But it made it difficult for me to determine what I was bringing to the table, when the phone would ring with instructions on what to pack for lunch, who needed what at school the next day, and whose birthday party Todd and I would be bringing them to that Saturday.  There were (and still are) times I felt like hired help – baby sitter, maid, dog walker, snack preparer.

 

Knowing that I “chose this life” made it difficult to talk it out with friends and family.  This is not a situation that is easily understood from the outside – the relationships and the emotions are complex and confusing.  It was something that Todd and I were going to have to work on for ourselves, and only I could make the decision of whether I was happy in this undefined role.

 

It’s taken a lot of work, but we’ve gotten to a comfortable place.  I am not their mom.  But I am Dad’s partner, and that’s pretty significant.  Todd and I make sure that our relationship takes a front seat – date night is a priority, spending time together each week is a must.  We’ve decided that it is really important for the kids to see a healthy, loving adult relationship, and that they deserve the security of knowing that they cannot pit us against each other.

And as for my happiness in the role – well, it took some soul-searching.  I still feel like hired help at times, but then I remember that I am not doing any of this because Todd or their mom asked me to.  I am doing all of it because it is what I want to do for the kids.  When I get really overwhelmed with the situation, I stop to think – if someone else was caring for my child … if someone else was putting my daughter’s hair in a ponytail, getting my son ready for baseball practice … how would that make me feel?  I don’t have children and this thought causes a wave of uncertainty & regret … so I can only imagine what it feels like when it’s really happening.  This allows me to take a deep breath, and do what needs to be done, knowing that empathy is the only feeling I should ever have towards their mom.

The kids – they are thriving, and they are teaching me and helping me grow more than they could ever understand.  Without them, I’d never have developed this level of patience, never would have really understood what true empathy and compassion means, never would have learned how to make the perfect peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Now, as I’m picking up socks, making pancakes, and rushing home from work to read Harry Potter before bed – I smile.  This may not be exactly what I pictured for my life, but it’s beautiful and happy, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

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Kerri is an attorney in Boston and a lifestyle blogger at Simplicity Interrupted.  She lives just north of the city with her fiancé, Todd, his two children (half the time), and their dogs, Stella & Coco.  She loves joining the #TwitterStepMoms conversation on Twitter, and can also be found on Facebookand Instagram!

Lissie shares her story with us today. She had one of those “light bulb moments” that changed her life and her perspective. Her honest outlook will draw you in and her insight and heart will leave you feeling blessed.

A Stepmom’s Heart: Love is What Matters by Lissie

I read somewhere recently that it takes 2 to 4 years for a stepfamily to mesh and feel integrated. Part of me wishes I had read this, say, 2 to 4 years ago, and saved myself a little heartache, but there is a bigger, wiser part of me that understands it was the journey I had to walk.  

I look back on the genesis of our little family and I remember so much pain, so much adjusting. I was so hard on myself then. My stepson would push and push and my stepdaughter was this tiny little enigma and I just kept thinking something had to be wrong with me that I didn’t feel this overwhelming sense of love and that every other weekend wasn’t this picture of domestic bliss, full of arts and crafts and cookies straight from the oven. Becoming a stepmom is hard under any circumstances, but because of my husband and I were rebuilding his relationship with his kids just as much as I was building one from scratch, there was just so much pressure to get everything right and to be perfect.

I honestly don’t know how I survived those first couple years. The kids’ mom was doing everything she could to stop my husband from getting his time with them back and to ruin what time he did get. My in-laws were so resentful of me being in limelight after years of playing parents to the kids while my husband struggled to put the shattered pieces of his life back together. My husband was trying to dance that dance of moving on and moving forward while being pushed down every other weekend and sometimes most of the days in between by the very person he was trying to move on from. The kids were just being kids, confused and scared and wide eyed and wanting so much for someone to just put the pieces together for them. And I was in the middle of all of this, trying to help everyone and feeling like I was failing with every single step. I was hanging on by tattered threads a lot of the time, defeated by the chaos that seemed determined to keep me from making a family out of the mess that was loving this man. I remember thinking over and over again, “this is my life now??”

But one day, something clicked. We were taking our first family vacation and my stepson, fraught with anxiety at being away from his mom and knowing she didn’t like it, had a major meltdown that at the end found him hiding under the bed in shame and me laying on the ground looking at him and crying, giving in and realizing I couldn’t be perfect, I couldn’t ever be a replacement mom, but we were still a family, for better or worse, even if the parts didn’t look the way I expected them to. I couldn’t tell you what exactly happened that day or what words I said, but I can tell you that from that day forward, the dynamic changed from four people trying to learn to occupy the same space to family of four, who experiences challenges, disappointments, happiness and sadness, but loves each other all the same. We settled into a little routine and I let go of expectations and instead started to learn what were real smiles and what was anxious and forced and what exactly it was I liked about each child and how to love them and what kind of stepmom I wanted to be.

And it’s a good thing, too, because before I knew it, they were ripped away from my husband and I, moved across the country with their mom & military stepdad and suddenly we were all alone again and living every divorced parent’s nightmare, struggling with how to be long distance parents.

There was a lot of grief to work through. We had just watched the closest thing that either of us have had to perfect slip right through our fingers like sand. We had to rebuild our lives all over again. We packed up and moved a few hours closer to family and waited for the kids’ return. I don’t know how many sleepless nights before that first trip back I spent wondering if that short time of happiness was enough, wondering if they would forget that they loved me, wondering if what we had built was lost forever.

For the longest time, I thought that the gift of being a stepmother was all about the gift of learning to love someone else’s children as my own, but that isn’t it at all. From that first trip back and every time after, when they step off an airplane and meet my eyes and love me without having seen me for months on end, I realize the gift all along has been their love. Their love tells me not only I am enough, just as I am, but I am living the life I am meant to live. It’s still hard work and it will never be perfect, but it is our life.

I was lost in my life, before I found them. I thought they would be this thing I would have to overcome or adapt to, something that would bring pain, but came along the side of finding and loving my husband. But it turns out they are my whole reason for living, the destination my life has been walking towards all this time. I didn’t know who I was or who I wanted to be but one smile from my stepdaughter, one laugh from my stepson, and I remember, I want to be their stepmom.

am their stepmom. Through better or worse, they have me, but better yet, I have them

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Lissie has been stepmom to her two wonderful kids, age 9 and 11, for almost 6 years. Her and her husband have been married for 2, but have been a family from the start. No kids together (yet), but incredibly blessed already. They live in a peaceful, rural town on the west coast and look forward to each and every trip the kids make. You can find more of Lissie’s story at http://exceptthat.wordpress.com/ and twitter.com/exceptthat

Share how Lissie’s story touched you? Did you ever have a lightbulb moment that changed your perspective?

Today, I am honored to share the heart of Cheley. She shares an event with one of her stepchildren that changed her life and the choices and decisions she makes as a stepmom. Often we aren’t sure if our stepkids are paying attention but they are – Cheley’s story is a testimony to that. You’ll be inspired by her heart and her hug therapy.

Choices and Decisions by Cheley Frazier

There was never an instruction booklet that came with “single woman falling in love with a man who had just won sole physical custody of his three children”. The first six months proved to be overwhelming but nothing I was not able to handle with three young children ages four, six, and eight that needed so much. I was fairing far better, even to my own surprise with a sickly special needs child, a young boy who did not know how to read and an eager, yet mischievous oldest boy.

With a background in Human Services, I was able to navigate through most situations as we all adjusted to living together and the new setting that had taken place, but nothing in my background could have prepared me for the life-changing meltdown I was about to witness.

To this day, I remember it vividly. It was a Thursday in March 2003, the biological mother was a no call no show again. It was a series of many no call no shows for the newly given visitation schedule that had just broke from supervised visits (in which I was the supervisor). With the history of no call no shows, we were always cautious and careful in letting the kids know mostly Romeo because it was harder on him. 

My husband had gone to work and I was to be there for the pick up. The time came, the time passed. I could see Romeo getting antsy as I was giving an extra half hour for pick up time just in case something happened. The half hour came and left. I had to tell Romeo “I’m sorry bud” in which he replied “its okay”. He appeared to be okay as I peeked out of the kitchen every few moments to watch, to see if he would be okay.  The other two children just went on about their play time, he joined them and then… I hear Romeo yell “its your fault”  and  I quickly peek out to see him standing over and yelling at his brother, ready to pounce on him. I rushed over to the kids, stopped him and let him know we talk about these things in which … he broke, dropped to his knees, and began to sob inconsolably, desperately asking why didn’t she want to see him.

[insert “I don’t know what to do face”]

I instantly dropped to the floor, sat him in my lap and did the only thing I knew to do…. Hug Therapy.  I held and rocked him while he sobbed and sobbed inconsolably for 32 minutes until he fell asleep. Here sat this eight year old boy, lost, confused, heartbroken, and couldn’t understand why things were happening this way.

My heart shattered into pieces.

This very instance changed my life.

That evening, I went through things in my head and made decisions within.

These children, not only having to go through growing pains, had to deal with this reality, not knowing if it would ever change or get better for them. How does a child comprehend this when they are still in the stages of learning skills to navigate in a typical life.

I decided that day that no matter how difficult it may be I would choose the higher road, not allow for them to be used as leverage or methods of getting to be the better parent,  and would be devoted to teaching them things in life in a positive manner, cultivate love, but most importantly sometimes … you must learn to love someone from a distance by my definition.

[My definition of learning to love someone from a distance.  When faced with a toxic or hurtful relationship whether it be short term or lifelong, its not wrong to love that person but you must put some distance within the relationship by not setting expectations within the relationship. When someone has hurt you so deeply, you need to heal, and sort out things, your own emotions. You cannot change anyone. Also, a practice that takes time to learn. ]

Have there been days when the children tested me beyond the universe, court dates, visitation schedules, “buying” the child, story telling, bad behaviors and frustration got the better of me? Yes, there have been many, many days where I needed to step outside, take deep breaths, take a walk, a hike to remember my goal, my choices I had decided on. When faced with tricky questions like what do you think of …. ?  My answer was simple, we are different people, who handle things differently just like people you meet everyday in school or at the bus stop.

Because for me, showing them anything less than they deserved i.e.; a typical childhood with two parents who loved them very much, worked through things together, and giving up was not the answer. Teaching love and life skills in the most positive manner possible even when faced with the negatives is what we believe in. No matter, what they held onto that we taught them and some days I worried nothing we worked on teaching or showing them would remain with them.

And then about a year and a half ago, Romeo eighteen at the time, was in the kitchen talking with a friend. He was listening close as the friend was discussing the difficulties she was having with a family member and that it had gone on for years. I went in to get a cup of tea quickly, but they remained talking. As I was leaving  the kitchen I heard Romeo say “sometimes … you must learn to love someone from a distance” as he went on to explain by our family definition of what that means.

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Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of the individuals involved.

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Cheley Frazier is a.k.a. istepmother and you can learn more about her at http://about.me/istepmother

Have you  ever had an event or moment during your stepfamily journey that really defined your approach or had an impact on the choices you made? How did that shape you and your family?

Announcing the Stepmom Retreat

Join us September 27 – 29, 2013 in Dallas for a weekend you will never forget!

One of my favorite types of emails to get from a stepmom reads something like this…. “I’m so grateful to know I’m not the only one feeling this way. Since connecting with other stepmoms I don’t feel alone anymore.”  You are not alone and now you have an opportunity to attend a national Stepmom Retreat and gain valuable tools and connect in person. There is power in community and the Stepmom Retreat offers help, healing and hope. You’ll also leave feeling refreshed and with friends who you can continue to walk the journey with.

We all spend money for insurance to protect our valuable assets like our home, car, jewelry. Our most valuable treasure is our family and a retreat like this in a priceless investment in you, your marriage and your family.

I am so excited to be a part of the Stepmom Retreat. Here are all the details:

 

Visit www.BlendedandBonded.com to register and take a peek at the agenda.  Here’s some helpful info on the retreat by Laura Petherbridge:

Who should attend this stepmom retreat?

This retreat is for any woman who is dating, engaged or married to a man with children of ANY age (even adult kids). PLUS it’s a great event for single parent moms because if they remarry they will form a stepfamily. Four of the five stepmom hosts have a ministry to stepmoms. The fifth is an amazing magazine filled with practical tips for stepmoms.

Why is there a need for a stepmom retreat? 

Stepmoms often feel confused, ashamed and fearful about the complex issues associated with a stepfamily. They often don’t tell their husband or even a best friend how they are feeling deep inside. The loneliness and feeling of being “outside the family circle” is real and significant.

Why are so many stepmoms shocked by the complex issues they are encountering? Didn’t they recognize these problems beforehand? 

One reason is that it’s human nature to ignore problems and believe that “love will conquer all.” Another is that the kids often don’t protest the marriage until afterwards. And a third reason is because couples inaccurately assume that if the couple is happy, the kids will be too. Basically “They didn’t know—what they didn’t know.”

What topics will be covered at the Stepmom Retreat?

We will tackle the common issues stepmoms face such as: overcoming the day-to-day frustrations of stepfamily living,  co-parenting between 2 homes, and the levels of step parenting authority. In addition, we will address unique issues such as : the childless stepmom, the full time stepmom, how to blend yours, mine and ours, what to do when the former spouse is difficult, and husbands who parent out of guilt.

How will a stepmom benefit from The Stepmom Retreat?

This event will allow a stepmom to mingle with other stepmoms and learn how her feeling are normal, and that she is not alone. It will also help her to hear honesty from experienced transparent stepmoms who have survived stepfamily living, and now thrive. We even have a panel of Dads joining us to share the male perspective. Our goal is to provide help, healing and hope!

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Will you be joining us? Would love to hear your thoughts on the retreat? What would you love to see? Who would you love to meet? What would make the perfect stepmom retreat for you? Don’t be bashful ladies… please share! Hint, Hint… this makes a great Mother’s Day gift. Note that early bird registration ends June 1st.… tickets are selling and there are limited seats. Get yours today! Can’t wait to say hi in person and hug…. it’s going to feel like a family reunion (borrowing this term from a dear friend who referred to the retreat as such. She is so right!).

Valentine’s Day is a day to show love. This year as I started to think about the day my mind went straight to my stepmom sisters. A group of women who overflow with love and support for one another.

I wrote this Valentine for all the wonderful stepmoms out there to thank them for the love they show to one another. Whether it is on a blog, on Twitter, Facebook or in person… stepmom sisters are blessing each other.

A Valentine Poem for Stepmoms   stepmom love

You understand the journey and share your joys and sorrows

You never judge but listen and offer a loving word and hope for a better tomorrow

You love each other through the hard times

You share advice on how to achieve peace time

You make sure another stepmom never feels alone

You give love to another when it feels like there is none in their home

When a stepmom hasn’t been heard from in awhile

You reach out with a kind word, an offer to help, a gentle (virtual) smile

You validate one another’s joys and fears

You develop trust and gently tell one another what they really need to hear

You encourage

You inspire

You support

You are love

You are a gift!

You may not always have the best days but you will always be the best. On those days when you are down and feeling blue, please know your feelings are real and you are not alone. So many of us have shed the same tears and cried the same cries. We’ve wished for the same things and let go of the same dreams. Together we are stronger, smarter and wise.

You bless all those around you! Today on Valentine’s Day and everyday… please know you are love and you bring so much love to each other. Thanks for who you are and what you do.

Happy Valentine’s Day my friends.
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Would you share how the stepmom community has positively impacted you?

It’s a new year! A time when we think about new beginnings. The reality is that every day is a new beginning. A time to start afresh. We all make mistakes and we need to give ourselves grace and move on. Yet many of us often find ourselves dealing with some pretty heavy stuff and we need daily inspiration and encouragement to help lift us up. Dusting ourselves off each morning just isn’t enough.

We all need inspiration to get through our days and just like we are all different so are the things that inspire us.

Some of us are inspired by uplifting quotes, listening to music, reading books, praying, connecting with others. writing, attending seminars, etc…. Some women like to be around others when they are down while other women prefer solitude to reflect and become refreshed.

Regardless of what inspires you it’s important to ensure you are feeding your need to be inspired.

In the coming weeks, I’m going to be focusing on different ways to get inspired and connected and offer practical tips and tools for everyone for every type of inspiration. In addition, I’ll be getting more personal and sharing some of my own personal struggles and the different things that help inspire me along the way. Personally, I’ve found that different challenges in my life require different types of inspiration and support.

Whether you are looking to loose something like weight or negative feelings or looking to gain something like a support network or positive attitude…. you need to be inspired, encouraged and supported on your journey.

Life is a journey and one that regardless of what inspires you is best traveled with those who are on the same path. Together we learn and grow and support.

Hope you’ll join me and be inspired!

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Would love for you to share what types of things inspire you? Share what type of support are you looking for.

Every person has their joys and their struggles. And every person feels support and encouragement when they find others who are navigating their same journey.

One of the greatest blessings of our stepmom community is the encouragement, inspiration, support and understanding we give each other. We are authentic about our struggles while striving to remain positive and without putting others down.

To better understand the needs of stepmoms, I have teamed up with @RedHeadStepmom on Twitter to conduct an intensive survey to understand the many relationships in a stepmom’s life and how it impacts her “happiness quotient.”

The survey is being sent to stepmoms via email in order to preserve the integrity of the data (to ensure stepmoms only fill it out). This is an important research study and we want to hear from YOU!!!

Please email me at heather@cafesmom.com to participate in the survey.  The results will be shared on my site in December and will be sent to those who provide resources to stepmoms. Please email me today!

By better understanding our challenges and our joys, we can better serve YOU!

Encouragement. Support. Inspiration. Resources. Together our stepmom community is strong!

 

 

Thank you so much for participating. YOUR Voice Matters. You MATTER!!!!

Stepmom friends, we all know the importance of being mindful as a stepmom and we also know how important it is to get useful tips and tools from other stepmoms who have been there and thrived through a challenge. My StepMom Magazine colleague, Joan Sarin, is writing a book that will help you build your Emotional Intelligence as a Stepmom and she is looking to get YOUR input.

One of the things I cherish about our stepmom community is the way we come together to support, encourage and inspire one another. Please read the following from Joan and I ask you to take the two calls for action and consider sharing your stories with her:

Learn to Love Being a Stepmom By Building Emotional Intelligence (working title)

This book is written by a stepmom for stepmoms – it’s about building the emotional intelligence to make a highly challenging role into a successful and fulfilling one.

Anyone who’s a stepmom knows how hard it is, and how tricky it can be to find your way. At first it seemed like my home was a landmine field, where I could set off explosions of conflict with the slightest misstep. I didn’t know then that all of us had the same anxiety, and our household was often an awkward and painful place to be.

In my book, I tell the story of how we made it through; we will celebrate our 20th year as a stepfamily as this book is published. I now thoroughly enjoy my role as a stepmom in the successful stepfamily we have built. My experience as a stepmom is my most important qualification for authoring this book; however I am also a social psychologist, as well as a Master Stepfamily Coach with the Stepfamily Foundation. Last year when I trained as an EQ (Emotional Intelligence) Educator, the proverbial “light bulb” went off. The Six Seconds’ (a top international leader in EQ training) framework for developing emotional intelligence is an ideal method for a stepmom to use for transforming her experience to a more positive, and happier, one.

There are books for stepmoms, and some give excellent advice. But in my work with many stepfamilies (teaching “The Stepfamily Success Course”) I am struck by the complex variations of stepfamily life, there’s just no “one size fits all” solution. As a smart stepmom, you need a system to work through your feelings and to find answers that are uniquely right for you and your family. Learn to Love Being a Stepmom provides that system.

Fortunately, EQ skills are trainable (unlike IQ, which is pretty much set by our genes). There are eight “EQ Competencies” in the Six Seconds framework. Each of them has a chapter devoted to developing that skill as it relates specifically to stepmoms. Each skill is taught by example and stories, and is followed up by a Study Guide to help you practice. The skills range from better awareness of our feelings to learning how to navigate the difficult emotions; from recognizing patterns we find ourselves repeating to using consequential thinking; and from finding our own intrinsic motivation to practicing optimism. In addition, we learn to practice the critical skill of empathy, as well as discover the importance of pursuing noble goals.

The book is authentic, well-researched, and rich with stories of real stepmoms. It also gives surprising insight into what’s going on in the emotional lives of the other members of the stepfamily. It gives you the “how to” you need to build the internal resources that will help you make good choices for yourself and your relationships. Through this book, you will learn to use your emotions in a smart way, in a way that will benefit you far beyond the stepfamily. All your relationships will improve, with the emphasis on the most important one – the relationship with yourself.

Call to Action:

Please vote for the title you’d most likely purchase by leaving a comment below and Joan will get the vote:

1. Learn to Love Being a Stepmom
By Building Emotional Intelligence
2. The Emotionally Intelligent Stepmom
3. Other(After reading the summary): _____________________________

Share Your Story:

Also, you can help other stepmoms by sharing what you’ve learned. I need several more stories from stepmoms. The focus is on a difficult challenge that you’ve faced and overcme through taking an emotionally mature approach. Just write a brief summary (half to a full page), and I’ll interview you if your story is selected for possible inclusion in the book.

Everyone who sends in a story will receive a complimentary electronic copy of the book; those whose stories are included will get a print copy and more!

- all information will be confidential and anonymous (you can select the name you want to use)
- Please respond to Joan@StepmomSOS.com
- When sending a story, provide your email address & phone number as well as the best time to reach you.

~~~~~

I hope you’ll consider helping Joan and in turn helping many, many other stepmoms.

Day 27: 31 Days of Life in the StepMom Trenches (Vlogtober)

My husband often texts me thoughts he has throughout the day. He is very insightful and plugged into his faith and his wise words give me something to chew on for the day.

In today’s vlog, I’m sharing this gem that he shared with me: “You cannot love well that or who you are trying to control.”

Takeaway: What does this quote mean to you? Do you ever find that you either consciously or unconsciously try to control things in your life over which you have no control?

 

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