Entries tagged with “smom”.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I want to hear from you.

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

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

Thanks for sharing! Stay Strong. Press On.

Yes. We have all heard the comment “the calm after the storm” but I’m bracing myself for the storm that is brewing after a calm and peaceful birthday for by stepdaughter.

She and I had a great birthday this past Tuesday. I include myself because in my last post, I discussed giving up expectations on her big day. I did everything I normally do for birthdays but without any expectation attached and I felt a sense of peace all day and she seemed to have a great day.

I say seemed because while she appeared happy on the outside, her dad and I know her well enough to recognize guarded joy when we see it in her. And what breaks my heart and what drives home the message that kids need their parents to be emotionally healthy and involved in their lives is how my stepdaughter does on her birthday, and actually on all holidays, and how she fares afterwards in the absence of her mom.

As we do with all the kids, we set her gifts and cards on the kitchen table so she could see everything when she woke up in the morning and came down for breakfast. Cards came from both my brothers, from my parents, from my great aunt and from both sets of her grandparents (she received a card from her mom’s parents) but nothing from mom. After she opened everything, she gave us an uncharacteristic thank you with a guarded smile and said “can we check the mail today? Maybe mom sent something and its just late.”

I say uncharacteristic because typically gifts put my SD over the top. You give her something not on her birthday and she is over the moon. It’s the emotions attached to the day for her that weigh down her heart. The fact that there was nothing from mom far outweighs all the love that was showered on her from those in her life who are physically present.

As the day progressed, she became increasingly agitated and annoyed. We understood why. When she woke up the next day, she was in an angry and irritated mood. She eats the same cereal every morning but the day after her birthday she said “my cereal tastes old. I need a new box of cereal today.” She came home from school and announced how all the girls in the class hate her, how she is the only one with chores “in the world” and that she is not doing homework and “you can’t make me.”

She was getting out the bricks to put up her emotional wall.

This is where I start bracing for the storm. Because I could rewind and play this same scenario after each birthday and holiday. I think she has expectations in her head about her mom’s role on those special days and when those expectations aren’t met….she emotionally unravels. Also, while she appreciates that things are done for her, she wishes it was her mom doing these things and not me. I get that.

Her emotional state is fragile. She had a scheduled visit with her therapist on Thursday and my stepdaughter shared her struggles of the week. The joy on her birthday was a short blip on her screen. Her dad and I aren’t naive enough to think that a fun birthday can make it all go away nor do we ever want to “buy” out her pain. We know that real healing involves dealing with issues and forgiving and finding peace. We just wish that our ten year old didn’t carry around baggage the size of Texas.

We met with her teacher and the guidance counselor on Friday morning. They see the same ups and downs in her emotional state. We are all working together and are very blessed for the tender hearts at her school.

Somedays I don’t know where the day will take us but I know I may see the eye of the storm. Her sleep is fitful with occasional times of shouting. She starts disagreements with her classmates and then gets ostracized at lunch and recess. She complains that clothes don’t fit right, that her siblings don’t look at her right, that I don’t cook her food right….. Nothing is right. Right Now!

And while I was able to keep expectations out of the birthday, I know I am setting expectations of what this storm will be like. I am bracing for the storm, for the calls home from school, for the calls from other parents. To bear the brunt of the storm as I often become the target for shooting practice. I need to consciously let go of expectations that what happened after the last storm will happen this time. I recognize that while I didn’t have expectations for the birthday, I am setting them now. I need to let go of them. And yet I still brace.

Outsiders looking in see a young girl who cannot control herself. They see a girl who is acting out. Those of us on the inside admit she is acting out. But we know she is acting out from a place of pain. The hardest part as a parent and stepparent is working with her, explaining the pros and cons of different choices, etc… and seeing her repeat the same choices each and every time she has a painful episode relating to her mom.

I always say that I wish she had a healthy relationship with her mom. Many call me crazy for saying that but the reality is that her mom lives in her heart and right now there is an unhealthy relationship with mom who is hurting her residing within my stepdaughter’s heart. I want there to be a healthy, positive mom living in her heart.  I know that I can be a positive role model to my stepdaughter but no one can or should replace mom. I pray that my stepdaughter will have a peace in her heart about her mom and about herself.

I now focus on letting go of expectations and taking each day of the storm for what it is.

Only when my stepdaughter has peace in her heart and I can recognize and let go of all expectations, will we have calm after the calm. And that is what I strive for.

__________________________
  • I do have to mention that a card did arrive from her mom after her birthday. My stepdaughter was disappointed with it. I’m sure her mom meant well with what she sent but it didn’t set well with my stepdaughter. In her mind, it was another disappointment. This has only fueled her anger. Her mom also called and my stepdaughter refused to pick up the phone. She shared her reasons with her therapist.


Hold the sappy Valentine cards, flowers and the chocolates (okay, fork over the truffles) and give me some Validation. Please.

StepMoms, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Yes, the flowers, the chocolates, the cards are all nice but its the validation of my feelings and experiences as a stepmom that really make me feel loved.

Chocolate tastes good in the moment but knowing your partner sees and values your efforts in the home speaks volumes to your heart and enables you to press on during difficult times.

We know our mate loves us. We know it in our heads yet we yearn to feel it in our bones each and every day and having them validate our feelings goes a long way in communicating love.

They don’t have to agree with how we feel but they also don’t have to (and usually can’t) solve it for us. Listening to us, being interested in what we have to say and expressing that they understand our struggles and our joys goes so far in uplifting our hearts.

Imagine, you are feeling unappreciated by your stepson. You bend over backwards for school projects, sporting events, homework, etc…. without ever a smile or thank you. Consider the two different responses that your spouse could give you when you express hurt over not feeling appreciated:

A.) Oh sweetie, you are overreacting. He’s a kid. He appreciates you. Don’t get so worked up about it. You are the adult. Try not to take things so personally. Just forget about it. Love you. Now, what did you say is for dinner tonight?

Or

B.) Oh sweetie, I see how hard you work for “Johnny” and I feel bad that he never shows appreciation. That must be really hard on you. Please know that I see what you do and I appreciate what you do for this family. I love you. (Big Hug).

Chances are that your mate could be feeling the same way about what you are going through and love you unconditionally when they utter either of those two responses but the later comment communicates to you that he loves and appreciates what you do and what you are going through. He acknowledges that you are in pain and he offers his understanding and validation.

Words of validation gives a stepmom the sense and security that her partner is on her side.

Validation is the fuel that keeps us staying strong and pressing on as a stepmom.

Does a gift of Validation sound good to you? Would you trade a pink and red card for words of affirmation? How do you feel when your partner validates your feelings and experiences as a stepmom? Please share.

When Brenda, the editor of StepMom Magazine, sent me a note that she was looking for real-life StepMom covergirls I knew I had to put the word out. You ladies are beautiful on the inside and outside and I invite you to submit your photo to grace the cover of this great magazine.

Be a StepMom Magazine

Cover Girl!

Stepmoms are beautiful people! We’re looking for real women to grace the covers of our monthly publication. Check out the details below and submit your photo today! You might just be the next StepMom Magazine Cover Girl!

SEND AN EMAIL TO: publisher@StepMomMag.com and include:

-A studio-quality photo of yourself -Your name, address & phone number – Marital status / length of time with partner – Number of children and stepchildren – A few sentences about yourself and the reasons you love StepMom Magazine!

PHOTO INFO:

Photos must be studio quality and should be submitted electronically (high resolution, jpg file format). Have your photo taken by a professional photographer or a local portrait studio like Olin Mills, JCPenney or Clix! Photos that do not meet this criteria will not be considered.

Have your portrait taken against a stark white background (silhouette style). You can be sitting or standing. Both full body or 3/4 upper torso shots are acceptable. Wear casual clothing that reflects your personal style!

THE FINE PRINT:

Selected cover girls will be notified by email and asked to complete a standard release form prior to publication. By submitting your photo and information to stepmom Magazine you consent to all StepMom Magazine terms and conditions. Submission does not guarantee placement. Cover images may be used for StepMom Magazine promotional purposes including but not limited to: internet, print and Facebook advertising.

~~~

I am honored to be a Contributing Writer for StepMom Magazine and to be part of a publication that addresses and celebrates the lives of StepMoms. Go for it and make sure to leave feedback on what you think of the idea and whether you are submitting. I would love the world to see your beauty shine from the cover of this great publication.

Happy day one of 2011. It’s that time of year when we are bombarded with messages of making New Year Resolutions everywhere we look. Personally, I don’t like blanket resolutions. Yes, it’s a great time to think of things that we want to change but without a specific plan, our resolutions will go no where.

Resolutions without strategies are just wishful thinking.

How many times do people resolve to lose weight, get organized, be on time, etc only to run out of steam and give up within the first month. Why? Because resolutions are useless without a plan of action, measurable goals and setting goals that are within our control.

For instance, it’s great to say I’m going to exercise more this year but without applying those three conditions it is doomed to fail. You’ve got to have a specific plan of action (I will start out walking 20 minutes two days a week and list the days); measurable goals (check off those days on the calendar and feel good doing it); set goals within your control (if you are someone who hasn’t worked out in years, starting with one or two days a week is realistic. If you live in cold weather, committing to walking outdoors isn’t a smart choice).

I use the weight lose/exercise as an example as I’m sure it is one that most everyone can relate too.

Now think of this in the context of being a stepmom. Have you ever resolved to ‘I’m not going to let the ex get to me?’ Or have you said ‘I’m not going to let my stepchild’s drama filled life suck me in?’  Those are wonderful resolutions to make and are achievable but unless you outline strategies of how you will accomplish these goals, they are likely to burn out quickly.

We are all good at putting up with things for a short time but if we truly don’t develop strategies to deal with toxic words and actions that are aimed right at us, we are likely to  bottle it up inside until our emotional vessel can no longer contain the anger we’ve ignored and then we can blow. And that is not pretty. For anyone.

I’ll be sharing strategies in the coming weeks for dealing with different stepmom issues. If you’ve got a resolution but need a strategy, please leave me a note below.  In the mean time, take a look at the questions I’ve listed below. Use them as you develop your list of New Year’s Resolutions. Working through and answering these questions will help you create a concrete action plan to attack and achieve the goals you wish to set for yourself in 2011.

____________________________________________

1. Specific goal:

2. Steps to achieve the goal:

3. Tools to measure success:

4. Is this goal within my control/reach or does it depend on others?

5. Roadblocks to achieving this goal and how I will deal with these potential roadblocks:

6. How will I reward myself on a frequent basis for achieving my goal?

It’s also very important to think in advance about how you will forgive yourself when you fall off your plan. When you fail at achieving one of your measurable goals, don’t disband your plan of action but rather use it as an opportunity to re-evaluate your plan to see what is and what is not working for you. Then make changes as necessary.

Consider a failed day a learning lesson and get back on track. We ALL make mistakes. We are human. Don’t let one road bump throw you off course. We are evolving as people everyday and therefore our plan of action must also be flexible and evolve with us.

If you set your mind to something you can do it! Wishing you all a year full of personal peace, joy and low drama.

As I sat thinking about some different holiday celebrations, “The Strike” episode from Seinfeld popped in my head. You may recall, that was the episode where George and his family celebrate the holiday Festivus.

Festivus is celebrated on December 23rd and includes the Airing of Grievances. It’s when everyone around the table gets to tell each other how they’ve disappointed them throughout the year.

Wow! Can you imagine giving all your stepkids a license to tell you and your husband everything they’ve disliked about the past 365 days? You might as well invite the ex-wife and make it a real “festive” time.

But think of the flip side…a day where you would have the podium as the stepmom and free range to tell everyone around you how they’ve disappointed and hurt you over the year. And they had to respectfully listen.

Yes. Just stop and think about the premise of Festivus for a moment. You too would have the opportunity to go around the table and tell each person sitting there how you feel.

What would you say? And to who? Would you keep quiet or let it all out? Interesting points to ponder this holiday season.

Part of me thinks Festivus, while not originally created exclusively for stepfamilies, is a holiday for us and the other part thinks that holding everything in and letting it out, all out, and being brutally honest just once a year is a recipe for disaster.

Regardless of how you view this fictious yet real holiday, the episode is still hilarious and worth a viewing especially if you need an extra dose of humor this holiday season.

Visit http://www.sidereel.com/Seinfeld , and click on “The Strike” episode, 10.

Since the holidays can bring out the best and the worst in all of us and those around us, I would like you to air your grievances here if you need to. Throughout the Christmas season, if you feel something really brewing up inside you and you need to get it out, share it with your stepmom sisters who truly understand you. You can leave a comment here and/ or visit my Smom blogfrog community and share. There are always stepmoms ready to lend you an empathetic ear and positive encouragement.

~

According to Wikipedia (a trusted source), Festivus  is a secular holiday celebrated on December 23. It was created by writer Dan O’Keefe and introduced into popular culture by his son Daniel, a screenwriter for the TV show Seinfeld, as part of a comical storyline on the show. The holiday’s celebration, as shown on Seinfeld, includes an unadorned aluminum ”Festivus pole,” practices such as the “Airing of Grievances” and “Feats of Strength,” and the labelling of easily explainable events as “Festivus miracles”.

Slow and steady wins the race. I couldn’t get that Aesop’s fable out of my head as I drove up to my stepdaughter’s school Monday afternoon to have lunch with her. With tears streaming down my face I thought, why did she call me? Why does she want me to comfort her?

OMG, is it possible that it finally clicked with her that I care about her. All those times she pushed me away, all those times she screamed at me and spit on me, did she also notice that I stood my ground? That I didn’t leave her like her mom did. That my word was good even if it regarded discipline and consequences she didn’t like.

You see, Sunday night my nine year old stepdaughter got a call from her mom. In case you are new to my blog, my SD hasn’t seen her mom in over 5 years by her mom’s choice. Her mom calls every so often and each time it wreaks havoc on my stepdaughter’s delicate emotional state and hence over our whole home.

So Sunday night the phone rings and the caller ID shows its dear ol’ mom. My stepdaughter picks up the phone and without even hesitating says “Mom, if what I’m about to say offends you I am sorry. But I’ve been holding this in for over five years and I have to ask you something. Why did you leave me?”

That was my cue to exit the room. A long time ago, I recognized that her conversations with her mom would cause my blood to boil. I had to bite my tongue each time my stepdaughter would replay the lies and excuses her mom told her as to why she couldn’t visit or didn’t call on Christmas, her birthday, etc.. I’ve trained myself to stay of it and be on a need to know basis. I get that my stepdaughter needs to believe her mom. That she hungers to have a mom who loves her and wants to be with her so she buys all the lies and excuses.

At least I thought that is what she’d been doing.

After nearly 30 minutes on the phone with her mom, my stepdaughter hangs up and runs upstairs crying hysterically. My husband rushes up with her and I lay low with the other kids.

Soon, I head upstairs to put the kids to bed and my stepdaughter tells me what her mom said. I’m not going to go into details because I don’t want any poor choices that her mom made in the past to ever get used against my stepdaughter at school, etc… Needless to say, her mom blamed my husband and “circumstances outside her control” as to why she walked out on the family.  Not true but classic.

While my blood was getting ready to boil, it went to instant simmer when my stepdaughter said to me “I just don’t think I can trust what my mom says. She has lied to me in the past and I think she is lying again. Thanks for not lying to me. A good parent wouldn’t tell their kid those types of problems would they?”

After I picked my jaw up off the ground, I replied “I can’t speak for your mom and I’m not here to judge her. I can say that I don’t think its wise to share that type of stuff with your children. But that’s my opinion. Kids shouldn’t be burdened with adult problems.” (In my mind, I am thinking what the h*%$ is her mom thinking. Telling her daughter who has high anxiety and ADHD things like that. What a moron!!!! Always putting the blame on someone else. I remained calm and kept my opinions to myself).

It took a while for my stepdaughter to be able to fall asleep that night. The next morning she came downstairs and walked over to me and wrapped her arms around my waist. (This is not typical) Looking up with her teary eyes she said:

“I think my tears could make a lake. A small lake but still my tears could make a lake. I’m so sad about what my mom told me.”

I hugged her back and tried to validate yet encourage her. “I know it must be really hard but I want you to try and have a good day at school. Okay.”

Three hours later, the phone rang. It was the school where the tree amigos attend (my stepdaughter and my two sons). It was my stepdaughter on the line and she wanted to talk to me. She explained that she was crying in class because she was so sad so the teacher let her go to the counselors office. The counselor later told me that the first thing she asked to do when she got to his office was call her stepmom. Speechless.

She asked me if I would come have lunch with her. I grabbed my purse and keys and headed for the door.

And during that 5 minute car drive between our home and school, a world of emotions flooded both my heart and my brain. Why me? She hates me. She tells me she hates me. And while I’ve known it wasn’t me that she actually hated but rather the fact that her mom wasn’t there, it was hard to hear. Especially because I felt like I bent over backwards for her.

And then it hit me. Hard. All those times she was pushing me away, all those times she was screaming she hated me, all those times she accused me of secretly wanting to leave she was also watching me. Watching how I responded, watching my character, watching how I treated her and deciding. Deciding whether she could trust me. Deciding whether she thought I would walk out the door, deciding what type of mom and stepmom I was.

I had resolved myself to stay strong through our sometimes turbulent relationship. To not take things personally.  Don’t get me wrong, it was a struggle and I stumbled many times. I got grumpy, angry, hurt, upset and a few times I had words with my stepdaughter. I’m not proud of it but I will admit to it. Not mean, nasty words but words of engagement. Words where I would defend myself and the fact that I cared about her when she accused me of feeling differently.

I believe that her mom’s words of hate, lies and anger have actually pushed my stepdaughter closer to me. She may not always like what I do but she knows that I stand strong in who I am, that I keep my word and that I am always there. And actually I am sad for both my stepdaughter and her mom. Her mother is missing out on two terrific kiddos and both my stepdaughters long to have a positive relationship with their mom. I’d be fooling myself if I thought otherwise and for their own emotional well-being, I truly wish that were the case. But sadly it is not at this point in time.

I share this story with all of you to offer you hope. As stepmoms, we need to see that there is light at the end of a sometimes very dark, lonely and scary tunnel.

Actually, I want to change that thought. As a stepmom, I don’t know if its realistic to say there is an end of the tunnel. For stepmoms, we are in a continual state of flux because our whole life is impacted by others; our husband, our stepkids, our stepkids’ mom and often by our own children and an ex-husband. With that many relationships in the balance, I think the fair thing to say is that I hope this story gives you hope to see light through your tunnel. To help you navigate and to affirm that you are making good choices and that your stepkids notice you and who you truly are.

Stay strong. Be true to yourself. Nurture your marriage and practice daily self-care.

And remember that while your stepkids may be hurtful towards you, they are watching you. And whether their mother is saying toxic things about you and/or their father or they are hurting so bad that they push you away, they are still watching you. And the truth doesn’t hide. It lives and breathes and your stepkids will recognize that you are a person they can respect and trust.

I know this event doesn’t promise me rosy skies from now on, put it does give me a glimpse that my stepdaughter is turning a corner when it comes to the relationship between her and I. It gives me hope and that is something I am happy to hang my hat on.

I’ve been hearing from lots of you ladies about forming a book club to get connected and read books from all genres that can educate and support one another in our role as stepmoms.

I listened and am happy to announce that I’m kicking off our new book club with Stepmonster by Wednesday Martin, Ph.D. which is THE Stepmom Manual.

I love her book. It made me feel normal. Truly. Martin rips the veil off of what we think stepmotherhood should be like and serves us a plate of reality. I love her writing style and the authentic findings that she shares with us from interviewing real life stepmoms.

Please hop on over to my BlogFrog Community and sign up for the book club. It’s easy and free and we’ll be doing the book discussions via BlogFrog because it allows us to all communicate with one another and get notified whenever anyone posts.

Click here for to go to my Where Stepmoms Connect Blog Frog Community http://bit.ly/cSJCbq

We’ll also be doing a tweetchat #stepmonster in October where we can talk in real time about the book.

Whether you’ve read Stepmonster before or haven’t even heard of it (which I doubt), please consider joining our book club. I call it ours because it belongs to all of us stepmoms who participate. Through BlogFrog you can start discussions, lead conversations and best of all share and connect.

I’m really looking forward to connecting with all of you and sharing our experiences and how the book spoke to each of us and our situation. Some of the best learnings come from sharing our experiences with one another. Stepmonster is a wonderful book to get us all talking.

Please feel free to comment with books you like us to read in the future. Happy Reading!

xoxo Heather

Here is a link to purchase Stepmonster if you don’t already have the book.http://www.cafesmom.com/Links.aspx

“When your soul sings, it lifts the whole house up.”

These are the words my husband wrote to me today. The note he left me with as he went to work.

Yes, it lit up my heart and it made me realize something that he’s been gently trying to tell me for a long time:

My mood determines the mood of the household.

Yikes! I didn’t want to hear that when he was giving me gentle verbal hints. I didn’t want to believe it. Maybe I didn’t want the responsibility of this truth.

I felt that I’m entitled to have a bad day once in a while. I’m a mom and a stepmom. I’m a wife and an ex-wife. I’ve got a lot going on. And while I approach each day with a grateful heart, I am human. I do get my feelings hurt and I wear my heart on my sleeve. I can’t pretend to be happy when I’m not. And I value that genuine and authentic quality about myself. What you see is what get when it comes to me and my emotions. No hiding behind a happy mask.

As you may know from reading my blog, my relationship with my nine year old stepdaughter is one of peaks and valleys. And I will admit that somedays I can let it get to me even though I know not to take things personally. Many days I felt as if I were wearing a bullseye on my back and she had really good aim. And when I was feeling worn down, it not only showed on my face but was reflected in the mood of our home.

I know that she carries a lot of anxiety and worry given her past with her mom and I also know that one hour she can hate me and the next hour love me dearly.  With her I need to expect that I can’t predict anything. Her love/hate for me will be a continual cycle and it has nothing to do with me and everything to do with her and her unresolved issues with her mom.

Each day I get a little older and with it a little wiser and I’ve been able to not take things so personally. I’m finding that the more I’m able to let go of, the more joyful my demeanor and ultimately the demeanor of my family. Looking back, I know that on days when I wasn’t feeling my best that my four children were sensing my hurt feelings at the hands of their stepsister. Seeing their mom sad (even if I didn’t say anything) put up a wall for them and that didn’t do much for their desire to “draw closer to her.”

I am so thankful for a husband who instead of pointing out my faults, highlights my successes. And I think that’s what I need to do more of in regards to my stepdaughter… not focus on the hard stuff but rejoice in the “boring” moments we share together.

My goal is for my soul to sing so that my household can sing along. If my mood does set the tone for the house, I want to set a positive tone.

I am not looking at it as if I have the responsibility to make my family happy and chipper all the time. I am looking at it as I have the responsibility as the wife, the mom, the smom to look at the day with a “don’t take it personal” filter and to approach each day with a positive attitude regardless of what life throws at me.

Do you notice the same patterns in your home? Do you feel like your mood sets the tone in your home? How do you feel about that? Please share?

Tomorrow, September 16th, is National Stepfamily Day!  Thanks to the tireless efforts of Christy Borgeld, we have a day that celebrates the stepfamily. This is the fourteenth year that this day has been celebrated.

You can visit her site at www.nationalstepfamilydayfoundation.org and when you do, make sure to watch the slideshow she produced in honor of National Stepfamily Day. The song “My Special Family Tree” is a beautiful expression of how the love of a stepfamily continues to grow. (Get the tissues out)

This Silly Photo Makes Me Smile

What will your family do to celebrate?

Here’s a few suggestions on how you and your family can celebrate:

  • plan a picnic (go to the park, have it in your own backyard or even indoors if the weather doesn’t cooperate)
  • put notes in your husband’s lunch and all the kids’ lunch boxes telling them one thing you appreciate about them
  • start a new family tradition on this day
  • have each family member share their best memory as a stepfamily
  • take a family photo(s); one traditional and one super silly
  • do something at night just with your spouse. Give each other a massage, play a board game, watch a movie, etc… Connect with one another
  • make a special dinner with a cake, balloons, party hats
  • do something your family loves doing together

Our family will have a special dinner on Thursday and then we’re having a picnic and hike over the weekend. For dessert,  I’ll be baking our special “blended family brownies” that I invented shortly after we were married. My kids’ favorite treat is chocolate chip cookies and my stepdaughters scream for brownies so I combined the two to satisfy both and it actually worked!

So thankful that states are recognizing the importance of supporting and celebrating the stepfamily. We are strong people who are committed to weather the storms of family life and care for all of our children. The children we gave birth to and/or adopted and the children we welcomed into our heart through marriage.

May you have a blessed National Stepfamily Day. Would love to hear what your family is doing to celebrate. Please share!

xoxo Heather

Here’s the link to the Blended Family Brownie Recipe I posted a while back. Enjoy! wordpress.cafesmom.com/?p=23

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