Entries tagged with “Mother’s Day for stepmoms”.


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!

(poem originally published in the May 2012 edition of Stepmom Magazine)

Mother’s Day can be a very hard time for some stepmoms. You put in motherly work while caring for your stepkids but often don’t get acknowledged on the day. Your stepkids are with their mom as they should be but their absence leaves a hole…. a reminder of the complexities of blended family living.

I wrote the following poem to celebrate the blessing that a stepmom is to her family and to the world around her. May we all take a moment this month to celebrate ourselves and the mothers in our life. Happy Mother’s Day and never forget the blessing that you are!

A StepMom is a Blessing

a tender heart

a gentle spirit

unselfish acts of kindness

these are just some words that describe a stepmom

She joins a family by choice not chance

She embraces another woman’s children

pledging to love and nurture them

She seeks not to replace their mother

but be a positive role model in their lives

She celebrates her stepchildren’s successes and

her heart aches when they are hurting

She is her partner’s biggest cheerleader

supporting him through the easy and the difficult times

She is the heart of her home

even when her heart is breaking

She stands strong during the storms of life

holding onto the truths she knows

even when lies are raining down on her

She does much for her family

often without a thank you or acknowledgment

She is often overlooked for the love and care she gives

and the positive impact that she makes

She presses through those challenging times

knowing that doing what is right is often not the easy choice

She is stronger than she thinks

wiser than she knows

and more precious than she often realizes

She is sustained on a diet of faith and hope

She makes peace with her past,

embraces her present and plans for her future

She models a healthy relationship with her partner for the children

a gift more precious than gold and silver

She breathes light, love and peace into her home

even when dark forces from the outside fight to get in

She loves with abandon

She lives passionately and purposefully

some call her stepmom, bonus mom, smom

regardless of the title the world gives her

She is love

She is light

 She is precious

She is truth

She is beauty

She is compassion

She is selfless

She is self-control

She is committed to her partner and her family

She is a blessing!

- Heather

New stepmom Joelyn (Jody) brings us her story and shares with you her perspective on the gifts of stepmotherhood. Some of us are further along on the journey and some of us are just beginning. Regardless of where you are on the path you will be moved by her words. I think all of us can relate that stepmotherhood brings with it surprises. Joelyn has a beautiful perspective of her life changes.

Surprises For A New Stepmom- Joelyn

Here I am, the month of May, the month of the mother – boy has my life changed recently.  Looking back it isn’t really so recently, June 1st it will be a year that my life began a plethora of change.  Some good, some bad but all a learning experience and although I say I would love for things to have been different, in reality I look back and realize that I appreciate more of what I have right now because of the past experiences.

I am a mom to a fourteen year old girl and anyone who has a teenager knows what a challenge this can be.  On top of that, I am on disability due to a neurological disorder.  In August of 2011 I was able to finally move out on my own and not have to worry about anyone taking care of me and my daughter was able to start living her life to the fullest as a teenager and I was enjoying every moment of it.

Over the course of time a friend I had known since I was 14 years old began communicating with me again.  We shared our troubles, our joys and of course what was going on with our kids and families.  We both were in need of a friend who would listen and not judge and after knowing each other for 20+ years, it seemed to be the right fit.  It also helped we were hours away from each other and just had messaging to communicate.

When reality hit that his life at home was not going so well and there were problems regarding his girls we worked to create a contingency plan should he have to leave.  Needless to say the contingency plan has happened and our lives have changed drastically.

I am learning to co-parent a three and seven year old, who are majorly different than fourteen year olds, I am reverting back to laying out clothes, putting clothes away, making breakfast, packing lunches, doing homework, reading stories, drying tears, giving baths, going on field trips and picking up crayons and Barbie dolls.

This is so challenging for me, especially considering the pain I am in some days, the confusing and frustration of moving to a new city, along with what happens on a day to day basis due to the shared parenting of both his girls and mine.

I have learned to love the hugs of little ones, the ability to teach them new things like cooking and baking, the shouts from parts of the house because something is not right, the running up and down the stairs and of course the little voices when they say thank you or that they love you.

I find it funny when they are learning to read, write and spell – all things I have taken for granted with having a fourteen year old child.  It is so cool seeing them draw and then share with me what it is they drew.  The sound of them asking to help in the kitchen or the yard is like music to my ears and it is great when you see all three of the girls asleep in the back of the car after a fun day as a family and you realize that you are so blessed and grateful for what God has given you, even though sometimes it feels like more than you can handle on a day-to-day basis.

Being a step-parent or co-parent is amazing.  I never imagined my life with little ones in it again.  I am so happy that they are though, I wouldn’t change it for the world.  I went from a two bedroom apartment to a four bedroom house, increased from two cats to four, and added a bathroom, bigger kitchen, yard, garage and responsibilities.  It all sounds like a lot, but when I can tuck all three girls in at night and each one has their own special way they like it done and I sit down to do homework, write or work on my business I stop, listen to the silence and smile – the hugs and kisses I received just a little bit ago are all I need to sleep well and make it into the next day.

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Joelyn Morgan is an Independent Chocolatier for Dove Chocolate Discoveries, attending school to be a Certified Health Coach and advocate for those with mental health needs.  She resides in Galloway, OH with Kevin, Sammie, Juliette, Josephine and their cute cats.  Her interests are health, wellness, reading, writing, volunteering, crafts, cooking and baking.
Please visit her blog at http://nowtherearefive.com, follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest!
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Share how Joelyn’s story touched you. We all learn and grow from the sharing of each other’s hearts.

Sarah shares her journey into stepmotherhood and lessons learned. Her heart will bless you and her learnings are some that you can identify with. Most of us go into the land of stepmom thinking “I can do this!” only to find out that we had no clue what “this” really is. Here is Sarah’s heart:

Growing Into Stepmom by Sarah Kinbar

I fell in love with Todd before I knew his two daughters, and before he knew my son and daughter. It was (and is) an intense love, like first love. In this blissed-out frame of mind, my perspective was, shall we say, limited. I knew 100% of nothing about blended families, and in my sheer ignorance, I thought that once we were ready to introduce the kids into our relationship, if they clicked, so would everything else. If they didn’t, we’d have to have a serious conversation about whether or not we wanted to move forward with our relationship.

Our children did like each other right away. The companionship was sweet, and our get-togethers were like play dates warmed up with romance. When you love a guy, spending time with him is awesome. When you love a guy and his children, and all three are beloved by your own children, the only place to go is nowhere. You just want to be right where you are, forever.

Now that we’re living together, the friendliness between the six of us has created a fun and engaging atmosphere in our home and helps soften the edges when problems arise. Challenges unique to blended family life can appear at any time, and it was one of these that at once shattered my naivety and reminded me how much I need the loving bonds of our blended family. Giving to our family is always front of mind, but yes, I need our togetherness, our funniness and our tears. All of it.

I was almost done grocery shopping at Target on a Monday with my sleepy toddler when my cell phone rang. The voice on the other end was tight, accusatory and stern. At first I wondered if it was a wrong number. Where’s Todd? I haven’t been able to reach him. Do you know why he’s not answering his phone? Did you notice our daughter feeling unwell or having a fever over the weekend? Because she’s burning up! Why didn’t anyone call me or take her to the doctor? I would think that as a mother you would be more alert to things like this.

Well, hello! I was in the line of fire and had no idea why. No one was sick that I was aware of. What fever? Todd was on a long flight, so I couldn’t redirect the call to its proper recipient.

An angry phone call from his ex was in itself a small thing, until it became more calls, and then a sweeping, negative view of my mothering skills.

Looking back, I now think it’s slightly cute that I believed everything would click so long as our children did. Feeling strong and confident as a mother, I didn’t realize that the stepmom role isn’t as straightforward. Developing a relationship with Todd’s children opened me up to criticism I wasn’t familiar with or comfortable with. I’ve had to become much stronger, and much more willing to manage conflict for the sake of love.

Mother’s Day is coming up. On that day, I’ll be working at the flower shop that day, apart from my kids and step kids. As I’m making flower arrangements for moms all around town, I’ll be thinking about the strength and love that a blended family mom must embody, and thinking of ways I can grow more fully into this role.

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Sarah Kinbar and her partner Todd Ristorcelli live in Orlando, Florida, with their four children. They share custody with their exes. Sarah’s son is 10 and her daughter is 4 1/2. Todd’s older daughter is almost 9 and his younger daughter is 5. Keep up with the family at bigblendedfamily.com or on Twitter @bigblendedfam

Today’s post comes from Chrystal. She shares her heart for her blended family and the gifts that she has received from being a stepmother. Her story beautifully conveys the blessing her outlook and devotion brings to her husband and you’ll also read about the healthy relationship she has with the mother of her stepchildren. I love what she refers to as “invisible boundaries” in regards to that relationship…. it is a very insightful description. Your heart will be blessed when you read her story:

 Being A Stepmom……Rising Above A Little Bit More…

In my opinion, being a step-mother is the only role that you can never prepare yourself for, ever.    I have been a step-mom for almost 11 years to a set of boy/girl twins, who are now 15 years old.  From the moment I met my husband, I never blinked at the fact that he had children.  His children were a part of him and I loved him wholly and so that included his children.  He showed me a picture of his kids the very first night we met and I knew then he was a wonderful father.  We lived in two different states when we met and I did not have children.  When it was time for us to be in the same state, I never even considered asking him to move away from his children.  With that being said, I became a resident of Louisiana and no longer a resident of Indiana.  I know moving 12 hours away from my entire family may seem strange to some, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  The rest is our history and now we have one daughter together who is 6 years old.  We all love each other as a family, no “step” or “half” needed.  All of our children love each other as just brother and sister, regardless of the fact that my daughter is their “half” sister.  It melts my heart seeing them all together, talking, laughing and playing!

I believe my step-children have definitely been a blessing in my life.  When I first met them, I did not have children of my own and they taught me some very valuable lessons on motherhood that I would have other wised never been able to learn before having my own daughter.  Not everyone gets that kind of hand-on experience before their “first” child.  In almost 11 years I’ve only heard “you’re not my mom” one time, and keep in mind there are two kids, so I think I’m doing pretty good!  I have loved them for the entire 11 years I’ve known them and that will never change.  They have always respected me and welcomed me into their lives and for this I am forever grateful, because they didn’t have to do that!  The fact that they love my daughter unconditionally and don’t treat her different, is also a huge blessing.

I believe I am a blessing to my husband because I was more than willing to accept him and his children and whatever else came along with him, from the very beginning.  We all know that dating after divorce can be difficult, but add two children to that mix and it is extra difficult.  My wonderful husband works out of town a lot in the oilfield industry.  This means that I am usually the person who communicates with his ex-wife.  Hence, the fact that his ex-wife and I get along so well, is a huge blessing to him and the children.  And since my husband has an unpredictable work schedule, the children are free to come and go to either house whenever they want, there has never really been a set “schedule”.  I think this also makes them feel good, because they don’t have a schedule that is rigid or stressful.  My step-children have always been able to come to our house when my husband is off working and that means a lot to everyone.

If you are lucky enough to have a Mom of your step-children who is genuine, honest and open to having a relationship with you, consider yourself very blessed.  I have to give credit to my stepchildren’s Mom because she welcomed me as her children’s step-mom right away.  I also believe that we can get along so well because she is a step-mom herself, we are grown women and I am not the “reason” her marriage ended with my husband.   We are able to work together for the children’s sake and we all make it a point to be civil in front of the children.  She and I have had lunch together, clipped coupons together, attended the same church and my daughter has gone to her house before so that my step-son could babysit for me.  My step-daughter, her mother and I have attended my step-daughter’s cheerleading banquet together, for the second year in a row.  She has always let her children have a relationship with me and that is very important.  Because of this, the children know that it is okay to love me and have a relationship with me.  I believe she and I could be really, great friends, if the circumstances were different and there weren’t invisible boundaries and limits in place.

I’ve always tried to make sure that my step-children didn’t feel unwanted or feel tension between houses and when they see us all do something together for their behalf, it solidifies this fact.  I am not saying it is always easy because it isn’t.  My husband and his ex-wife don’t always agree on everything and sometimes I act as the “buffer” so-to-speak, but we all try to compromise.  Sure, there have been and there will be issues that arise, but that can happen to the everyday married couple with kids, regardless of the fact there are “step” people involved.  We all like having peace in our homes, and we know that doesn’t happen unless we get along!  I know that they will be exceptional adults one day and my heart swells just thinking that I will have helped them become that person!  I believe that they feel loved unconditionally at both houses and that is the ultimate goal!  They will be better people because we all got along and I honestly think our family is in the minority when it comes to this, unfortunately.

To my fellow step-moms, be the bigger person, be nice and love your step-children as your own.  It’s no fun being miserable, so I pray for peace in your home.

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Chrystal Adams is married to her wonderful husband Frank.  They have three children, ages 15, 15 & 6, they reside in Louisiana.  She is 34 years old and has a full-time career as a Registered Investment Advisor and her husband works in the oilfield industry.  Chrystal is passionate about health and fitness, and practices Pilates and Yoga daily.    You may connect with Chrystal at hadleysmama on Twitter.

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Can you relate to the gifts she brings to her family? To the gifts she receives from them (including the mom of her stepkids?) Pls share

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?

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 Mother's Day, celebrating stepmoms, stepmother's dayinspired 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 heather@cafesmom.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!

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

 It is my heart that this project is a gift to you. 

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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.

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