Today is a special day for a few reasons. First, the United Nations has designated November 16th as International Day of Tolerance. And because of that @redheadstepmom has designated today as Take Your BM (the mother of your stepkids) to Work Day.
@Redheadstepmom told me she had the idea for @TakeBM2Work2012 because she thought it would be fun for Stepmoms to invite their BMs (or representations thereof) to walk a mile in their shoes for a day, be it at the workplace, home or school, and perhaps improve relationships through communication and understanding. I believe that is something most stepmoms wish for.
She and another amazing stepmom, @LovingStepMom on Twitter, started posting about this day. Before long, lots of stepmoms were inquiring more about bringing the
Both mom and stepmom leave footprints on the the children they share. Work together for positive imprints.
mom of their stepkids to work.
As I thought about it, this thought came to my mind (as it has many, many times)….
I would love for the mom of my stepdaughters to know the depth of my heart for my family, for her two daughters. I never want her to be threatened by my presence but rather at peace with it.
Have you ever longed for the mom of your stepkids to understand the journey you walk? Have you ever wished she would accept your presence in her children’s lives? Do you ever think… ‘does she know the impact her hurtful words/actions towards me and her ex are having on the kids’?
Maybe you have a great relationship with the mom of your stepkids. If so, then you live the blessing that occurs when all parents put their egos aside and parent with the best interest of the kids in mind but sadly that isn’t the case for many stepmoms.
So taking my kids mom to “work” with me would be great. I would love for her to see what I do daily and not from a work perspective but from a heart perspective.
Since I can’t take their mom to “work” with me given I’m a custodial stepmom, here are the things I would want the mom of my stepdaughters to know about a typical day for me and the steps I take out of love each day ……
I wake up every morning with the attitude that I will do my best.
I make sure your daughter’s have clean clothes and warm meals.
I’ve taught them the value of dressing modestly. I’ve bit my tongue when they want to wear some outlandish accessory but spoke up when their shirts were too low cut. I protect them.
I teach them to respect themselves.
I’m home when they get off the bus. I listen to the drama of the day. I’m there when they cry because they didn’t get invited to a birthday party. I listen to them share about a crush that they “just can’t tell dad about.”
I offer advice on how to make friends, how to talk to a teacher when they don’t agree with a grade… I help them make life choices.
I’ve had to have the puberty talk with each (and yes, the sex talk). I’ve shared my experience and cried silent tears when they ask me “how old was my mom when she started her period?” There are so many questions I can’t answer for them.
I helped them each buy their first bra and talked to them about the importance of “good support.”
These aren’t conversations that I relish having with them but as the mom in the house, it is my responsibility. If not me, than who….
I’ve worked hard to build into them that their worth is not in the clothes they wear or the boys that like them. They are worthy because God loves them. I’ve taught them that they have to love themselves first.
I’ve been there for questions that they don’t feel comfortable going to dad about.
I’m teaching them to cook and why they should make their bed every morning before they leave the house.
I give them daily chores and make sure that they do them.
I’ve corrected them when they’ve made a poor choice or lied. And I’ve yelled at them at times as I have my own kids. I’ve also asked them to forgive me when I have had a harsh word. I want all my kids to understand the power of asking for forgiveness and receiving it.
I monitor the books they read and the movies they watch.
I get them to practice on time (most days).
I take them to church and small group and have a close group of adult women I trust that they know they can go to if they feel they can’t come to me on something. I am building a circle of trust for them.
I love their dad and I support him. I take care of the house so when he comes home he can just hang out with the kids. I do that so he has more time to pour into his girls and my kids as well.
I tell them you love them.
I tell them they are going to be okay. I tell myself that too.
I’m here everyday.
But being a stepmom is not a glamorous job. Honestly, it is the most difficult and thankless role I’ve ever had. It has tested my patience and endurance. Through it all I have learned a lot about myself. I am stronger, braver, more courageous than I ever gave myself credit for. I am modeling that for the kids in our home.
Things have gotten much better but I want you to know that I am committed to this family. I am committed to loving your girls through it all.
I have endured much in my role. I’ve been sworn at by my youngest stepdaughter. Spit on (by the same one). I’ve had those four dreaded words “YOU ARE NOT MY MOTHER” screamed at me when I’ve had to enforce a consequence.
The job of stepmom truly tests a woman’s character and her endurance. Many things I’ve endured “on the job” as many of us have would make most people run. Far. Away. But I get up every morning and try my best. I know the pain my youngest stepdaughter spews at me is just that – her pain. I’m trying my best to love her through that.
Moms, please know as stepmoms we are loving your kids through their life. Love. Yes, love. No one can have too much love. Please don’t be threatened by the presence of a stepmom in your children’s life but rather accept the love they bring.
We don’t become stepmoms because we want to take over the mom’s role. We become stepmoms because we fall in love with a man with children. When we marry him we commit to caring for and nurturing his children.
It is a blessing to you the mom and your kids that we take that role seriously.
The above is a glimpse into my heart as the stepmom of my two stepdaughters. And I want to leave you with these quotes on this International Day of Tolerance and Take Your BM to Work Day:
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” – Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
“Don’t judge any woman until you have walked two moons in her moccasins.” - American Indian Proverbs
Just as we don’t want the mom of our stepkids to judge us, we too have to be sensitive to them. We don’t know what they are going through and what motivates them. Would be interesting for them to give us a glimpse into their heart and their fears. As women, it is our heart and our fears that have the power to propel us forward or get us stuck. We all have hurts and burdens and we deal with them in different ways. Being compassionate towards one another can go a long way. Hard to do but important.
If you could tell the mother of your stepchildren one thing, what would it be? Are you participating in TakeBM2Work2012?
We are stepmoms. We care for our families. That means we probably cook once in a while. Recently, I had the pleasure of going to a blogger meet-up for Bruegger’s Bagels. At the meet-up, Bruegger’s Executive Chef, Philip Smith, made a recipe (on the fly) for us using plain bagels. It was amazing! I asked for the recipe so I could share it with you.
I made the recipe for the first time the other day and decided to video myself making it and turned it into a vlog so you can watch me below if you like. This strata makes an amazing breakfast on a holiday (or any day) as you can make it the day before you bake it. It would also be a great dinner and it’s a wonderful idea for “what to do with day old bagels?” There is something to be said for eating fresh bagels (sorry Thomas)!
I vlogged the recipe so if you want to watch me make it, ramble on as I assemble the ingredients and wear my nearly 10 year old apron, you can tune in below. I’m also posting the recipe here.
BRUEGGER’S SMOKED SALMON AND DILL STRATA Serves 6-8 people
This makes a fantastic Sunday brunch item or is perfect for a holiday breakfast for a group. It can be prepared and refrigerated overnight and baked next day.
5 Plain bagels , cut into thumb sized pieces
6 large eggs, cracked into a bowl
1 lb Bruegger’s smoked salmon
1 tub/ 6 oz Bruegger’s Chive and Onion Cream Cheese
1 Cup half and half
1 stick of butter/ 4 oz
Pinch Cracked Pepper/ Salt
¼ Cup Fresh Dill- end of the branches, picked into tiny pieces
¼ of a medium Red Onion- finely chopped
Preheat your oven to 350º F/ 325º F convection .
Melt the butter in your microwave on high for 20 seconds.
In a stainless bowl beat the eggs until they yolks and whites are blended. Then add the melted butter, half and half, salt pepper and fresh dill.
Soak the cut bagel pieces in the egg mixture, and using your fingers, work the eggs into the bread, so it is thoroughly soaked and all the custard has been absorbed.
Spray a 13” shallow baking dish with pan spray.
Layer the baking dish with ½” layer of soaked bagels.
Top with a layer of smoked salmon (half lb. or half the side of salmon)
Dot the smoked salmon with dollops of half the cream cheese.
Repeat a soaked bagel layer and another salmon layer. Dot again with the remaining half of cream cheese.
Layer the remaining soaked bagels (this layer will be thinner).
Top the soaked bagels with the chopped red onion, scattered over the top
Bake covered for 20 minutes then between an additional 15- 20 minutes uncovered until the egg dish soufflés up and the center is firm.
Serve warm in 2.5” squares with a small salad dressed with a lemony vinaigrette
I substituted crab for the salmon. You could even use sausage, beef or go all veggie. I also added 10 minutes to my time when baking in my convection oven and did not serve with a vinaigrette.
The verdict: my family loved it and I loved making something unique and delicious. Would love your feedback on this recipe. Your thoughts? Do you love cooking with your family? For your family?
I do have to give a plug for Bruegger’s for all the good they do for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. On Wednesdays throughout the year, you can buy a dozen bagels for half price. And this Wednesday, November 14th, they are giving out FREE COFFEE til’ 2pm. Guests to Bruegger’s can enjoy their first cup of coffee that day while donating their spare change (or more) to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals at canisters located by the register. In 2011, guests on this special day contributed more than $30,000 on Free Coffee Day! So plan on Wednesday, going to Bruegger’s, buying bagels and cream cheese for this great recipe and enjoying a free cup of coffee while donating to the Children’s Miracle Network.
note: I was not compensated for this post. Sharing the recipe with you because it is super yummy and super easy.
Day 24: 31 Days of Life in the StepMom Trenches (Vlogtober)
Truth: We can’t change our stepkids.
Even when we want the best for them and we try our best, true change only comes from within them – they have to want to change and they have to make the change. Today, I’m sharing a story about my youngest stepdaugther. The truth is she likes to draw attention to herself and she also likes stuff. We were going to the eye doctor today and while we thought she might need glasses anyway, she made it her mission to “fail” the eye exam in many ways. Most humorous is the color blind test.
I’m not laughing at her yet stressing that we have to laugh with our situations and understand that which we can and cannot change. Even though I know what to do, I don’t always do it and I see the difference when I “go with it” and when I choose to fight it.
Takeway: WE are committed to our family. We have to love each person where they are and not wait until they are where we want them. Our love can’t change them (we wish it could) but our love is given because it’s the right thing to do. Albeit hard at times but we have an opportunity to show unconditional love. Today, think about your stepkids and about your spouse. Are you fighting hard to change something that you truly don’t have the power to change? How does that leave you feeling? How can you better channel your energy into your family?
Tough questions but it’s the tough stuff that yields the great results.
Day 23: 31 Days of Life in the StepMom Trenches (Vlogtober)
“Halloween’s coming and the goose is getting fat,
Would you please put a penny in the old man’s hat,
If you haven’t got a penny, a halfpenny will do,
If you haven’t got a halfpenny, God bless you.” – Celtic Nursery Rhyme
Halloween is a time for kids to dress up and eat candy. It has the potential to create many cherished memories for both kids and parents. Sadly, in co-parenting situations, Halloween can become a time of stress when two households vie for treating time and costume rights. Often, as stepmoms, we step in to help our stepkids when they tell us they don’t have a costume. Many times after we get the costume, mom gets one too and then the child is left to decide. Kids just don’t like having to choose between homes.
In today’s vlog, I speak candidly about how Halloween can bring heartache to stepmoms and offer words of encouragement.
Takeaway: Think of a solution to your Halloween dilemma if you have one. Offer to keep a costume at your house for the kids to play dress up in. Take them trick or treating when they are at your house (ask a few neighbors if they can save some candy for your kids.) Tell your stepkids that you hope they enjoy their Halloween with mom and that you will never ask them to choose between the two homes. Tell them their happiness and peace is important to you – wow! Now that’s a great message to send.
Note: sometimes our words spoken will precede our feelings. Speak positive words and feel positive afterwards.
Day 15: 31 Days of Life in the StepMom Trenches (Vlogtober)
Today, I’m sharing with you an idea that comes from a class that I teach: “catch your negative thoughts.” I love this expression and what it signifies. It acknowledges that we all have negative thoughts and encourages us to catch them when they enter our head.
I believe it is important to understand and accept that negative thoughts happen. It’s what we do with our thoughts, both positive and negative, that really define our day.
In today’s vlog below, I share with you the phrase and how it benefits us stepmoms. It works much better than just telling yourself “don’t take things personally.”
Takeaway: Remember this phrase: “Catch your negative thoughts,” and think of it when negative thoughts enter your mind. It is normal to have negative thoughts. It’s what we do with these thoughts that can define our mood, our actions, our state of mind. Catching our negative thoughts doesn’t mean we don’t have those thoughts but rather says we are going to catch them before they catch us off guard and cause us to say or do something we might regret.
For more information on DivoreCare please click here. If you know someone hurting from a divorce or separation, I encourage you to put them in touch with this ministry. Whether a friend is separated two weeks or divorced twenty years, DivorceCare can bring healing to a broken heart and spirit.
Day 14: 31 Days of Life in the StepMom Trenches (Vlogtober)
Today, I want to take a moment to tell you how special you are. My vlog speaks for itself and it’s my heart’s desire that you will embrace the beauty of you and share this message with another stepmom and/or woman who is in need of being reminded how very special she is. This is my message. This is my takeway. Enjoy! And thanks for being YOU.
Day 5 of 31 Days of Life in the StepMom Trenches (Vlogtober)
Today is Friday and I want you to take a moment to celebrate YOU! We can often become focused on what we are not or what our family is lacking that we completely overlook the amazing things we DO bring to our stepfamily.
Today, I share a few things I bring into my stepdaughter’s lives and things that my kids benefit from in regards to their dad’s home.
The mom, stepmom relationship is not a competition. We can compliment one another when both are committed to working together for the sake of the children. When a mom values what a stepmom brings to her childrens’ lives, it allows the stepchild to embrace the new world the stepmom brings.
A mom should not feel threatened if her child’s stepmom has a talent or passion for something that she doesn’t have. That talent or passion is something that the child would never have been exposed to if it weren’t for their stepmom. Whether you are or are not embraced by your stepchildren’s mom, YOU ARE blessing your family with your love, commitment, time, talent and passions. Celebrate those things today!
Hope you’ll watch the video below and take time to celebrate the amazing things you bring to your family.
Takeaway: Get out that piece of paper I mentioned in the vlog and jot down five things you bring to your family. Celebrate those items. When you are feeling down, take those items out and look at them. Then add five more. Before you know it you will have a long list of wonderful blessings you bring to your stepkids and to your family.