Entries tagged with “mother’s day”.
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Fri 10 May 2013
Two weeks ago, I received the following note from a devoted husband whose heart aches for his wife, a stepmom to his children, on Mother’s Day. I asked him if I could share his words and a photo of his family and he graciously agreed. Here is how one husband views Mother’s Day and grieves the day for his wife:
Hi. My wife led me to your post regarding the gift of stepmoms and regarding the upcoming Mother’s Day holiday. So I wanted to share the bittersweet blessing with frustration from dad’s perspective on the matter…
My wife will not see my kids’ faces on Mother’s Day, and unless the third time is a “charm”, she won’t be able to speak with them on the phone either. All calls over the previous two years on Mother’s Day since she has become a part of my family have gone unanswered and not returned, as they are not yet old and responsible enough to carry their own phones, and gifts made at school are intended for one mom (bio mom)… not two. The schools don’t seem to have caught on yet. So while she won’t admit or describe it this way, at least not out loud, perhaps to shield her precious heart, this is deeply heartbreaking to her. She has chosen to love and adore my kids, and as we have them half of the time; also feeds them, provides for them when they are in need, and she creates a stable, caring, safe, and nurturing environment. Just to name a few of her selfless acts. Yet the investment usually lacks a measurable dividend.
I adore her immensely for this sacrifice, but as much as I try, I simply can’t provide the same kind of adoration and appreciation on their behalf on Mother’s Day as they potentially could, had they not been a little bit discouraged. So the burden falls heavily on me, not even to fill the void, which is as far as I can see, basically impossible, but to close the gap a little. This is an emotionally exhausting role in itself. I usually don’t even know where to begin.
This is a situation that rips away at the fabric of what my family is trying to be, so I simply try to remember to thank God every day that this is at least a problem I could have the unfortunate circumstance to be without. That even to have a fabric of a family with two loving adults in the same home, and having her to love all of us, is a blessing. She loves them, and she grieves their absence on Mother’s Day. I could have a far worse situation for my children. I’m lucky to have such a lovely woman whom I can call my own.
I thank her for everything she does for my kids, which in turn, provides for me more than anything else she could ever actually do for me directly. God Bless her sweet, beautiful soul. The kids and I have never really articulated it this way, particular because dad is a proud achiever, but we would all be lost without her.
His words bring tears every time I read them. What a blessing he and his wife are to one another and to their family. What does this letter mean to you? Does it speak to your heart?
Wed 8 May 2013
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.
I am their stepmom. Through better or worse, they have me, but better yet, I have them
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?
Sat 4 May 2013
The other day I was looking through a collection of poems by Blue Mountain Arts called The Heart of Happiness. As I read the words in one particular poem, my heart reflected on one of the greatest gifts from our stepmom community: the gift of friendship. It’s a wonderful thing to see women connect on this journey, reach out, share their heart and their hurt and be there for one another. When you have a tough day, it helps knowing there are others who have gone through the same struggles and are there to listen, comfort, and help you stay positive.
The stepmom friends we have all made, both in person and via social media, are true friends. We have all gone through dark times and felt broken and alone and from those experiences come compassion and love for each other on the journey.
Sometimes the struggle that one of our stepmom sisters is going through is so tough and challenging and nothing we can do can change their circumstance yet them knowing they have a friend who cares and understands can make the world of difference.
A true friend is hope and hope is something a stepmother holds dear to her heart. Thanks to all of you who reach out to befriend another stepmom. And remember that it is strength and not weakness to reach out to others for help. Together we are strong.
I could probably write a book about my personal experience regarding the invaluable gift of stepmom sisters and the gift I see friendship bring to our community but today I simply want to say thank you and share this poem:
The Gift of Friendship
Friendship is a gift
that is given so freely.
Sometimes it is wrapped in smiles,
sometimes in tears,
but always in encouragement.
When it’s given away,
time and again,
it only grows stronger,
It will be there during trials.
It will be there during joys.
It’s the gift you keep tucked away,
right near the center of your heart.
- Donald W. Hiatt
What does the stepmom community mean to you? How have you been blessed by the gift of friendship?
Thu 2 May 2013
Today’s post comes from Meghan. Her words will move you. Her heart will inspire you. And her journey will give you insight on the blended family journey. I am honored to share Meghan and the beautiful beginnings of her blended family.
The Beginning of My Blended Family by Meghan
My blended family story doesn’t start the day I married my husband. My story starts when I was a young child, adopted into a wonderful family. I grew up feeling nothing but love from my parents and siblings, but always felt I was missing a piece of my puzzle. When I was a teen, my biological mother came back into my life, causing much chaos. She herself was not stable, and even though she completed my puzzle, it was a puzzle full of hurt and confusion. Part of this confusion was caused because of my loyalty to both of my mothers. I felt drawn to my biological mother, and felt confused by the pain my relationship with my biological mother caused to the mother who had raised me. Even when my biological mother caused me pain, there was still this part of me that desperately wanted a relationship with her. This situation has given me a lot of insight into what being a step-child must feel like.
When I married my husband I was thrilled to gain his three children, two girls and one boy who were at the time 13, 12, and 9. He shares custody with their mother who remarried one month after our wedding. Even when the kids’ mother speaks badly of us, or tries to cause problems in our relationship with the children, I remind myself of the pain I saw in my adoptive mother, and try to be compassionate . I have a wonderful relationship with my step-kids and I know that must be hard for her. I go out of my way to not make the kids “choose” a side. Always encouraging them to love their mom, even when she has done hurtful things to me. I want the kids to have the best relationship possible with their mother. I personally know how hard it is to be in the middle, and it is my goal that the kids will be able to look back and see that I did my best to let them love all of us without guilt.
Being a stepmom has taught me more than I could ever imagine. I am learning to love a difficult person, who goes out of her way to make my life hard, but also gave my husband the incredible gift of his children. I am learning that kids change your life, and there is nothing in the world better than a hug from my step-kids, who are now 15, 14, and 11. Most importantly, I am learning that even though being a stepmom can be hard, at times lonely, and many days a battle, it is also very rewarding. I would not trade my blended family for anything.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. - Proverbs 4:23
Meghan joined the stepmom community in her mid-twenties when she married Fred in 2011. She was blessed with three stepchildren, two girls who are now 15 and 14, and one boy who is 11. Fred and Meghan share custody of the children with Fred’s ex-wife. They live in Maumelle, Arkansas. They are all very involved in church and school activities and enjoy anything that involves spending time as a family. You can connect with Meghan on Twitter at @lrning2BSmom
Meghan’s insights are profound? Do you find yourself taking the high road with your husband’s ex for the kids’ sake? Loyalty issues can run deep in a child. Share the gift Meghan’s words have brought to you. Thanks.
Tue 9 Apr 2013
Mother’s Day. A time to celebrate moms and the contributions they bring to their family. All moms, bio, adoptive, foster and step – should be celebrated on Mother’s Day yet sadly not all “moms” are recognized for the gifts they bring.
Two years ago, after seeing all the Mother’s Day displays in stores and having a wonderful lunch with two amazing stepmoms, I was inspired to create “The Gift of Stepmom,” a series where stepmoms share the blessings they bring to their families and I’m bringing it back this year!
The series was created to share stories from real stepmoms about the real gifts they bring to their stepfamilies.
For many stepmoms, Mother’s Day can be an emotionally difficult time. Often stepmoms pour themselves into their families yet see little appreciation. And even when stepmoms and their stepkids have a great relationship, kids typically spend Mother’s Day with their mom. And while most stepmoms support and understand kids want to be with their mom, not having their stepkids on Mother’s Day is another reminder of the complexities of stepfamily living.
I’ve said it once and I’ll keep saying it…. 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.
Over the past two years, stepmoms have shared stories that have made us all laugh, cry and feel less alone. These stories give hope and that is one thing we all need to cling to especially during the difficult times. Two stories shared were written by grown adult stepchildren who are not stepmoms themselves but shared the gift of their stepparent growing up. A heartfelt story by a bio mom who shared the gift of her daughter’s stepmom touched many, many hearts.
All the stories shared have had a profound and ripple effect on so many lives. As Mother’s Day draws near, I am calling for submissions for 2013 The Gift of Stepmom. YOU are a gift to your family and I want to hear from you. Would you please consider sharing the blessing you bring to your husband? The blessing you bring to your stepkids? Perhaps, you want to share the blessings that your stepkids bring to your life? Whatever your story, I guarentee it will touch another woman’s heart and make a profound impact.
I also want to hear from children who grew up with a stepmom and from any husband whose wife has really blessed him and his children. If you are interested in submitting your story, please email me at email@example.com. I want to connect you so I’m happy to post your story, links, and photos. Together we grow, share, learn, encourage, inspire and support.
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! (Here’s the archived series if you want to check it out)
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!
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?
It is my heart that this project is a gift to you.
Mark your calendar for The StepMom Retreat. Join the sisterhood of stepmoms in Dallas Texas September 27th – 29th for help, healing and hope. A full weekend to connect with other stepmoms, learn tips on how to thrive and feel connected. You’ll leave feeling refreshed. To register, click here The Stepmom Retreat.
Wed 9 May 2012
This is one amazing woman with one amazing heart. One of the greatest joys of being a stepmom is connecting with wonderful women like Adrienne. She shares how hard Mother’s Day has been for her and what she has learned through it. Her words will touch you in a way that will leave you wiser and feeling comforted that you are not alone. Grab the Kleenex and get ready to be touched by Adrienne’s story.
When asked the question, “Is Mother’s Day a challenge for stepmoms?” I would say yes, Mother’s Day has been a huge challenge for me from time to time. In the 16 years that I have been married to my husband, I have more often than not focused on what I didn’t have instead of what I did have – causing my own unnecessary grief and anguish. Before I explore that premise more, allow me to share a little background.
I was the custodial stepmother to (3) girls, ages 6, 10 and 14. The girls are now age’s 22, 26 and 30 – adult stepchildren. Their mother was not in the picture in any significant way (i.e. no weekly visits, special outings, financial or emotional support). My husband worked evenings and weekends which left the lion’s share of the parenting to me, which I gladly accepted because nurturing and loving and edifying is my God-given nature.
Well, fast-forward after providing this care for many years, I grew to “expect” (gigantic mistake) that I earned the privilege of being reciprocated and honored for my service on Mother’s Day. After all, I did all of the heavy lifting during their formative years; so I was willing to share this honor with their biological mother – fair is fair right? Wrong!
My “expectation” of being honored on Mother’s Day by the (2) oldest girls after they left the home began something like this:
- One year, they sent a card with my youngest stepdaughter to give to me at 10pm at night. I was so offended that I wanted to hurl that thing out of the window. Of course I didn’t and instead graciously said thank you to save face.
- Another year, when my youngest stepdaughter became a teenager she received a call from the oldest stepdaughter (who is a young adult by now) outlining the full day of events that she had planned for their mother and that she expected my youngest stepdaughter to attend – from beginning to end. Celebrating their mother is not a problem, but disregarding the fact that I exist, that the “family” traditionally honors me on Mother’s Day and not attempting to ascertain the timing of our festivities was a total slap in my face.
- Yet another year, after being reminded that I am celebrated on Mother’s Day as well, so some accommodations need to be made; and then agreeing to have my youngest stepdaughter back in time for our festivities and then reneging on their agreement which requires us to change our plans (once again) to factor in time to pick up the youngest stepdaughter so that she can celebrate with us. I was not a happy camper that day…and I was supposed to be celebrating at my favorite seafood establishment!
- Finally, I remember just leaving my home and driving around crying my eyes out on one Mother’s Day because…I don’t remember why…I just remember the overwhelming feelings of rejection.
Well, silly me, I didn’t have to endure all of this pain, offense and anger. I was too focused on the circumstances and not the root of the problem. I was too focused on my emotions and let them get the best of me. I’ve heard it said this way: “You can have emotions, just don’t let your emotions have you!” Mine had me right where they wanted me feeling less than, feeling unappreciated, feeling as if something was wrong with me because I just couldn’t get these girls to love me!
I now have a new perspective on Mother’s Day, past and present. The girl’s were unable to acknowledge my many positive contributions to our stepfamily because they were in a severe loyalty bind and needed it to be very clear to everyone that their Mom was, is, and will always be numero uno. I was unable to see the forest for the trees because I didn’t and hadn’t realized that they were grieving the loss of their family of origin. Every time they saw my husband (their dad) with our son (their little brother) and my daughter (their little sister) they saw a family unit that they weren’t included in and the grieving starts all over again. I wish I knew 16 years ago what I know now about stepfamily dynamics. It still would have been complicated but I am convinced that it would not have hurt so much.
Now when I think of Mother’s Day, I have my expectations aligned in reality and at a different gauge for each person in my family:
- No expectation at all for my (2) older stepdaughters, so any acknowledgement I receive is a wonderful surprise.
- I expect to receive a lovely poem/card from my daughter sharing her appreciation and fond memories of our life together…always special.
- I expect to be loved, honored and cherished by my husband and my son because I am the only wife and mother either of them have and they both like to spoil me on special occasions.
- I expect to make the day joyful and loving and fun by focusing on all the wonderful gifts that the Lord has given me:
- Stepchildren that don’t hate me and actually like me most of the time.
- A son that loves me.
- A husband that adores me.
- My annual trip to Seattle to celebrate Mother’s Day with my mom, grandma, sisters and nieces.
If only I had known and accepted the simple truths of stepfamily dynamics years ago. I wouldn’t have wasted so many years sad and frustrated on Mother’s Day when I had so much to be thankful for in my life. One of the many foundational beliefs’s that I live my life by these days is this:
“The manner in which one endures what must be endured is more important than the thing that must be endured.”
For me and my family and stepfamily, that means simply to “lay some grace on the friction in your relationships and watch those rough edges smooth out”.
Make it a Happy Mother’s Day!
Adrienne Wilson is a
- Committed Christian;
- Wife to my loving husband as we seek to strengthen our Stepcouple;
- Mother of 1 son;
- Smom of 1 daughter;
- Stepmother of 2 stepdaughters;
- Step-grandmother to 2 step-grandchildren (ages 9 and 6months)
Adrienne shares that she finally has her priorities straight for this season of her life and is learning to thrive in this jumbled world by keeping it simple and grounded in her faith.
She plans to join the forces of stepmoms helping stepmoms in some form or fashion. She knows that just hearing someone else’s story has made her feel validated and successful when before she often thought that she was simply wicked and quite the failure. You can connect with Adrienne on Facebook or on Twitter.
Tue 8 May 2012
Get the Kleenex out. Marissa shares her heart, her struggles and her joys as a wife and stepmom. Many will relate and be uplifted by her honest words and heart for her family. StepMoms truly make a positive difference. Meet Marissa:
“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, I used everything you gave me.” -Erma Bombeck
When I was 24, I became a wife and a stepmom in the space of an “I do.” Coming from being a college student still living at home with parents, this was an enormous change for me, and it was difficult. Stepmoms as a whole get told “you knew what you were getting into” a lot. I’m not sure I did. I’m not sure anyone really knows. You can’t really appreciate the depth of the situation until you are in it, and no one really tells you exactly how difficult it is. That said, I wouldn’t have chosen any differently even if I had known at the time how hard it would be for me to adjust to this new life, to find my place in this new family, and to find peace with it all.
The beginning was rough. My husband and I had only known each other for ten months before we were married. I had known my stepson even less time and his mother I’d met only a few times, and I’d stayed in the background – generally in the car – while we picked him up or dropped him off. So, I didn’t really have a firm relationship foundation with either my stepson or his mother. I entered the world of step-motherhood completely inexperienced and without a clue as to where I stood in the grand scheme of things. At the same time I was learning how to be a wife, which no one ever teaches you how to do either. All together, I was completely overwhelmed.
But I wanted to make a difference. Being my husband’s first wife, I wanted to be the best. Being my stepson’s “second mom”, I wanted to be accepted. I took an active role in everything I possibly could. I went to karate practices, baseball games, etc. whenever my work/school schedule allowed. I literally stepped into the roles of wife and stepmom and began looking for work to do.
The problem was, things had been functioning a certain way without me for over six years, and the way things had been functioning was not the way I felt they needed to function. So, in my eagerness to fill my new roles, I began trying to modify those things wherever I saw a “better” way to do something. This was easy at home, where as my husband’s wife I had complete domain over rearranging furniture, picking out new curtains, and planning meals. It was not so easy outside the walls of our home, where as stepmom I had no say over the days and times we got to spend with my stepson. I had no say over most decisions regarding him. In the very beginning, I was lucky to even be informed of schedule changes, since at the time my husband managed those with his ex and he was not used to having to inform anyone else of those decisions.
As you can imagine, I struggled. I felt helpless and excluded when I wanted to feel important and included. And I hated that. I got upset easily, whenever the schedule changed, or whenever I wasn’t informed of some new decision. I stormed around the house, venting frustrations that I’m sure neighbors three houses down could hear. I admit I was a very unpleasant person to be around at times, and I am thankful for my husband who patiently listened and stuck by me through those times.
At some point, I mentally and emotionally broke. I became tired of fighting everything all the time. I gave up trying to muscle my way through and change everything. I refocused my energies inward instead of outward and looked to myself for change instead of everyone around me. I didn’t want to be the person who brought dysfunction into the home. I didn’t like the person I was becoming- angry, bitter, and frustrated.
I asked myself what was important. What was I most concerned with?
Mostly, I just wanted it to be fair. My husband is a wonderful father. Although the relationship between my stepson’s mother and my husband did not work out, he stayed by his son. I have to admit, it was a quality I admired in him when we first began dating. Rather than being scared off by the fact that he had a child, I adored him for being a responsible parent and being present in his child’s life. I still adore him for that. When I look back, I realize I was trying to find my role yes, but I was also fighting for fairness. I wanted my husband to have the time with his son I thought he deserved.
I began keeping track of the schedule on paper. I wrote down every day we had Ethan in my school planner. I asked instead of waiting to be told. It took some time, but my husband started volunteering the information without me asking. Eventually that morphed into a calendar we could both see online.
During all of this, my relationship with my stepson’s mother grew as well. I lowered my guards a bit. I relaxed and didn’t take everything so personally. I lived each day trying to turn the other cheek, catch bees with honey, or whatever cliché you think of when you make a concerted effort to be nice to someone, even when they may not be nice back. The great thing is, she responded to my efforts in a way I didn’t expect – by being nice back. The transformation that took place in my life was palpable.
Eventually, scheduling became my “thing” and I took over the responsibility for my husband. I communicated with his ex to arrange the schedule for the summer – seeking my husband’s approval as well obviously – and then began to keep a yearly calendar and plan for months in advance. For example, since we are fairly flexible with parenting time, we routinely switch weekends around special events that each family may have….like Mother’s Day. We make sure our son is with his mother the entire weekend, regardless of whose weekend it is “supposed” to be or what the parenting time guidelines say. Keeping a calendar months in advance allows me to see and plan for the best way to work the schedule to make that happen and keep the parenting time fair.
Through all of this, I began to see that the parenting time is fair, which allowed me to relax even more knowing that my husband is getting a fair amount of time with his son. It also gave me a job within my role as stepmom, something I was so desperately looking for when we first got married.
I don’t know that I would say that keeping the schedule is the greatest thing I bring to the table as a stepmom. I hope that I bring so much more than that. I hope that I bring love, togetherness, unity, and completeness as well. I just think that finding my niche in the family helped me get to a place where I could begin to provide those things too, and at the end of each day, I know I gave it my all. And as Erma Bombeck said, “when I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, I used everything you gave me.”
I picture the role of stepmom as the last piece of a puzzle – we may not have been there first, but we are the piece that makes the picture whole.
Marissa describes herself as an incredibly blessed wife to the love of her life, stepmom to a 9 year old boy, and student studying medical laboratory technology. Between all the chaos that entails, she loves to blog and craft, and is very involved in her church as a singer, Sunday school teacher, and Volunteer Coordinator. She runs a craft circle out of her home every month and she co-writes “Revolutionary Moms: a co-parenting blog” with her stepson’s mom. She is still learning new things everyday on her journey through wifedom and stepmotherhood, and hopes to be able to share what she has learned with others who may begin their journey after her.
You can read her blog at www.RevolutionaryMoms
Follow on Twitter at @RevolutionaryMoms
Like on Facebook at RevolutionaryMoms
Mon 7 May 2012
The love that Tiffany has for her husband, two stepsons and son will melt your heart. She beautifully articulates the love that a stepmother brings to her home and into the hearts of her stepchildren. She has lovingly filled a void in their lives. Read her beautiful story:
When becoming a stepmom we volunteer to take the responsibility to be a mother of someone. The role of motherhood alone is a very rewarding yet scary task to take on. Then you add ‘step’ in front of that. Stepmothers exercise the act of giving beautifully. We give out of our hearts. Like most biological mothers, we give with the same motivations considering the children’s best interest.
For me, I took on the full-time stepmother role when my two stepsons were almost 2 and 4 years old. Their dad did an amazing job raising them as a single parent from when his youngest son was just 5 months old. The boys were so kind hearted and so well behaved for what they had been through at such a young age.
My stepson’s biological mother choose a path in life that led her far away from her young innocent children. When meeting my stepsons they latched on and quickly created a motherly bond with me. They didn’t truly understand at that age what the word ‘Mom’ meant due to her absence. To show them unconditional love has been a gift. It has not been easy dealing with the hurt she has caused and continues to cause but it’s all worth putting up with for my stepchildren. Their biological mother is in their life limited to what the court allows.
My main goal in becoming a stepmom was not to replace their biological mother but to give the innocent children a stable family environment and deep motherly love. I feel that’s mainly what children need. They need to feel important, wanted and loved. I was given the blessings of potty training the youngest, bottle breaking, going thru teething, enrolling in preK, kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade, taking them to school and all doctor visits, etc. The list can go on and on.
The love and trust I receive in return from them is the most rewarding feeling. My stepchildren know they can always count on me. I have had them full-time for years other than her visitation of three weekends a month. They can see I choose to be there for them out of care and not just there because it’s on a court order. Each Mother’s Day I have received the same amount of sincere attention from them.
To add to our happiness, my husband and I gave my stepsons a little brother in March 2010. My stepsons adore their little brother and call him ‘their baby’. Having him has added strength to our blended family environment. I feel honored to be raising three sons. Regardless if ‘step’ or ‘biological’ I have the same amount of love for each son. I hope everyone can have respect for all that has a motherly role because it is not easy work. Like the saying goes ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ I couldn’t agree more.
We all need to lean on one another! To all the stepmothers out there, your hard work does not go unnoticed! Every day is Mother’s/Smother’s Day!
My name is Tiffany Helkenberg and I live in Southern California. I’m a wife to a loving and hard working husband. Helping others and being a caregiver is my passion. I spent years working in the medical field prior to becoming a stay at home mother. I spend all my time devoted to raising my step sons Mason age 7, Konner age 5 and my biological son Logan age 2. You can connect with me via Twitter at @Smom4Life
Sat 5 May 2012
Meet Kristen. You will be moved by her amazing insight and her journey into and through stepmotherhood. She believes that Warmheartedness, Love & Compassion are the answers regardless of the question. You’ll want to take a few notes, she has an amazing story to share.
I have always wanted to be a Mom. When I thought about my future I always saw children in the picture. I was looking forward to driving carpools, attending sporting events and recitals, helping with homework, making lunches for school, and chaperoning field trips. However, life had other plans for me. An early marriage in my mid 20s ended in divorce after two short years and no kids. I spent the next decade wondering if I would ever meet the right man and have the family that I dreamed about.
And then I fell hard for my husband Nick in my mid 30s – a single father with a 9 year old daughter and a 4 year old son from his first marriage. I was hesitant to meet the kids until I knew that Nick and I were going to make it as a couple. I’d learned the hard way that I can easily get attached to a man’s children and end up confused about whether the relationship is really working or if I just can’t bear to leave the kids. Just hearing of them from their Dad’s stories, I loved Sadie & James long before I even met them.
I remember meeting them for the first time. Sadie was almost 11 years old, James 5 1/2. We met for breakfast at the IHOP. I was nervous and afraid they wouldn’t like me. Nick had never introduced them to a ‘friend’ before and they knew something was up. They were kind yet clearly a bit wary of me. Driving away from the restaurant that morning it dawned on me what I was actually getting into with this relationship. If all went according to the plans that Nick and I had made, I would become these kids’ Stepmother. I’ve read all of the stories and I knew that I needed this version to be different than the faerie tales.
I had no doubt in my mind or heart that I could love these children as my own. But knowing kids as I do, I also knew that they had a choice in whether they loved me. And in a way, whether they loved me back or not could have absolutely nothing to do with me. Nobody wants a new Stepmother. Most kids of divorce want their parents to get back together and for things to go back to they way they were when they had one house where everybody lived together and they had all of their stuff in one place.
I had one game plan to try and make this work – Love & Compassion and low expectations. While Nick and I were still dating I made a point to think of things from the kids’ point of view. I was infringing on their time with their Dad when I’d tag along to soccer games and cookouts in the back yard. They only saw him every other weekend and they cherished that time with him. I never stayed for the whole day and I left before they went to bed. And here is the thing that they’ve told me made a big difference… I always thanked them for including me in their fun and told them I looked forward to seeing them the next time. I fondly look back on this period as when I was dating them all.
After Nick & I got engaged, we built a house 10 minutes from the kids’ Mom with hopes of increasing our time with the kids from every other weekend to something closer to 50%. The kids helped us pick the floor plan, including which rooms would be theirs. James, now 7 years old, was curious which one of the rooms was going to be mine since Dad was getting the big room with the big bathroom. This comment, while cute and funny, was an indication of just how far we still had to go to become a family.
Once we moved into the house, I again went with the only plan I had – Love, Compassion and low expectations. I am a firm believer that few humans can resist an unrelenting campaign of unconditional love. I would show them how much I loved them with my actions rather than say it. I’d been waiting for this job my whole life! I made breakfast, lunches and dinners. I helped with homework and drove the car pools. On weekends they were with us, Nick & I focused our attention on them. We had plenty of time for couple things on the days they were with their Mom. These kids were not losing their Dad, they were gaining a Faery Stepmother that looked after them and made it possible for them to live with their father 50% of the time.
The best thing I did in the first year living with the kids is I paid attention and I listened. I treated them both, particularly my thirteen year old Sadie, as if they were the main characters in my favorite TV show. Each time I saw them, particularly after a few days away, I would get caught up on everything I missed since my last update. I would ask about things that I knew had occurred while they were at Mom’s – a sleepover, a dance class, a math test – and about each of their friends so I could keep up with who was in and who was on the outs and why.
I can still remember the first time each of the kids told that me they loved me. James was a little bit ahead of his sister but I heard it from them both during the first year in the new house. Truth is I knew they both did long before they said it. And as different as they are from each other the conversation was exactly the same. Them: “I love you, Pokey”. Me, with tears in my eyes I don’t even try to hide: ‘I love you too’. Them: ‘I know….’
Kristin has been happily married to her husband, Nick, for just over 3 years and she is the ridiculously proud Stepmother to Sadie (16) and James (11). They make their happy home in Castle Rock, Colorado. Kristin has a day job as a Software Engineer and moonlights as an artist for @KMRArtandDesign (http://www.etsy.com/shop/KMRArtandDesign
). She won the Blended Family lottery with the kids’ Mom (aka BM) and considers her to be one of her dearest friends and her SisterMom. You can connect with Kristin on Twitter at (aka @FaeryStepmother
Fri 4 May 2012
Are you ready to read another inspiring story about the love of a stepmother? Then meet Kaycee. She articulates the highs and lows of loving a man with a child and speaks to the complexities and insecurities that come with it. You can feel her heart for her family as you read her words. May you be encouraged by the relationship she now has with her stepson and his mother. Read on….
I began dating Jeff in June of 2009. When he told me he had a 3 year old son from a previous relationship, I didn’t really give it a second thought. I had plenty of experience with kids from teaching preschool and being a private nanny. I guess you could say I have a love and passion for children, which really helped me create a good relationship from the start with Jaxson.
We quickly connected and became good friends. I tried to be more of a buddy to Jaxson than a mother figure in the beginning, considering this was my first time dating anyone with a child; I was unsure how to navigate the situation, but I felt like I was doing the best that I could.
I was the first woman Jeff dated since splitting up with Jaxson’s biological mother. I didn’t know too much about his biological mom in the beginning of our relationship, I just knew her and Jeff had a nasty break up a little over a year before he and I met. There were always insecurities in my mind when it came to her; she was Jaxson’s REAL mother. She and Jeff had a history together, that in itself was a tad bit intimidating, but throw a child into the mix, and WOW. I struggled with my place A LOT. Especially when Jeff didn’t feel comfortable allowing me to go to hockey practices when she would be there or go with him to do the Sunday evening drop off’s at the end of “dad’s weekend”.
It was hard trying to figure out what I was even doing trying to make an effort to be a friend or role model to this little guy, when I couldn’t even be present when his mom was around. I felt like I was being kept secret or something. The first year of our relationship was NOT an easy one. There was a brief break up for about a month about 5 months into it, but it made our relationship a million times stronger. I will never forget seeing Jaxson again for the first time after our break up was over. I was getting out of the car and he just ran as fast as he could to me and yelled “KAYCEE!!!” and gave me the tightest hug. It was in that moment that I knew I had made an impact in Jaxson’s life. I can’t even describe how good that hug made me feel….
Fast forward 10 months, and the custody battle began. Over those 10 months, I discovered a lot about Jaxson’s mom. Let’s just say she was kind of a lost soul for a while and that had an impact on Jaxson. Jeff decided to take her to court to try and get joint custody. I remember getting some paperwork from Jeff’s lawyer in the mail, stating that Jaxson’s mom was trying to modify their arrangement and let Jeff have him every other weekend ONLY. We had the joy of having him 2 nights a week AND every other weekend per the terms of their custody arrangement at that time. Thinking about only seeing Jaxson 4 days a month broke my heart. How could she think that only allowing Jaxson to see his dad 4 days a month would somehow be beneficial to him? (Jaxson is a total daddy’s boy by the way…) Thankfully, we ended up settling out of court and now we have Jaxson every other week! I will be forever grateful to his mom for realizing what was best for him and agreeing to joint custody.
Standing by Jeff’s side during that whole ordeal, the arguments, the court depositions, etc. was just one of many bumps I know we will have to face in our lives together, but the bumps are what strengthen you in life.
After the custody issue was resolved, things quieted down and everything was smooth sailing. Jaxson’s mom and I were on better terms, which helped things tremendously. I coached Jaxson’s first soccer team, which was such a fun experience. Soccer was my favorite sport growing up; I played until I was in high school, so it was really awesome sharing my love of the sport with him by being his coach the first season he played. Jaxson also started kindergarten shortly after that. I am very involved in his school work, his teachers know me well, we all go to parent teacher conferences together, I am the one that gets him up and ready each morning during our weeks with him. It’s nice to have more involvement in his life now that he gets to spend more time with his dad and I.
This past December, Jeff and I had our own child together, another son, we named him James (Jimmy for short). I was worried about how Jaxson would react to having to share his dad with his little brother, but silly me for worrying in the first place. Jaxson has embraced the big brother role so well. He’s such a huge help and loves making Jimmy laugh. I couldn’t have picked a better big brother for my own first child. Seeing them interact and bond is by far one of the most rewarding things in my life.
Bottom line, being in a relationship with a man that has a child is no easy task. I never would have dreamed before Jeff that I would be a stepmom to another man’s child. It has been a blessing in disguise that these two came into my life. There have been a lot of highs and lows in the past 3 years we have been together, but the biggest high of them all will be our wedding taking place this June on the beach! I will officially have the stepmom title in less than 8 weeks, even though I’ve been playing the role for 3 years now.
I am head over heels in love with my future husband, I cannot wait to be his wife and continue growing together in our relationship and in our family. I use my love for Jeff to be the best step mom I can be to Jaxson. Jaxson is a part of his father, and when I made the decision to be with Jeff, that meant accepting and loving everything about him, Jaxson included. Jaxson may not be “mine”, but I will always love and care for him like he is. Our family situation hasn’t always been easy, but to me, it will always be worth it.
Kaycee and Jeff have been together since June 2009. They were engaged last summer and will be tying the knot in a beach wedding this June. Jeff has a son, Jaxson (Kaycee’s step son) who is 6 years old, getting ready to finish up his kindergarten year in school. They also recently had a son of their own in December of 2011, named James (aka Jimmy). Jaxson is involved in Hockey, T-ball, soccer and dirt bike riding. We enjoy bike riding as a family, going to the park, anything outdoors really. Kaycee and her family live in Indianapolis, IN. You can connect with Kaycee on Twitter.