Entries tagged with “stepfamilies”.


Tuesday night I could have felt really sorry for myself. OK, correction; I did feel sorry for myself but I chose not to act on it.

I was a little blue but I knew I had a choice. And making the right choice while not always easy always brings a sense of peace and joy. You see Wednesday my son was having his tonsils removed and I wanted him to stay with me Tuesday night so I could keep an eye on him, make sure he didn’t eat or drink after midnight….. basically mother him to the ninths. But Tuesday is his dad’s night to have him and his siblings so I did the right thing….. didn’t fight it and sent him to dad’s house.

Earlier in the week, I had emailed my ex asking if our son could stay with me the night before surgery. At the time of the email, he was okay with it and said he’d like to bring him back to my house at bed time but he changed his mind and told me when he came to pick up the kids “I’ll just hang on to him tonight. I’ll meet you at the surgery center tomorrow.”While my heart did an ouchie, my head knew that the right thing to do was let the schedule be. And so I did.

Moms, Dad, Stepparents Give Good Care

I could have gone though that whole “but” thought process of “but I took him to the doctor for the consult. But I made all the arrangements for surgery. But I know what he has to do with pre-opp activity…” yet the common theme in all those thoughts always stops me: the word “I”.

Anytime, my discomfort is due to what I want and not what is best for the kids, I stop myself. Surely, my ex-husband is capable of caring for our son and going by the doctor’s guidelines. It would be selfish of me to operate on a different notion.

And those things I did for my son in preparation for the surgery, I did out of love not for a return on investment. I needed to respect the schedule and deal with my mom heart not having him Tuesday night. It was my issue not my ex-husband’s nor my son’s.

I was tweeting Tuesday night about it and was touched by how many wonderful women joined in on the conversation. I tweeted this: ….My check is to ask myself “why do I want to do this?” If it’s for me then I stop. Kids come first in co-parenting.

I’m often asked the key to working well with my ex. The answer is simple, I put the needs of my kids first.

Sadly, I think our society loves villianizing ex spouses and stepparents and they really love pitting them against one another. If all ex-spouses and stepparents were villians there wouldn’t be very many nice people walking this earth. Sure it’s true that my ex and I look at life somewhat differently and there are things he does I don’t understand and I’m sure he feels the same about me. However, I know kids need both of us. When I feel an instant tug of not liking something or wanting something different when it comes to co-parenting, I do the self-check and ask myself “why am I feeling this? Is it because I don’t like it or because it is truly not good for the kids?” I don’t quantify how often I have these feelings but I’m pretty sure when I have those heart tug mommy moments, it’s because of me and potential selfishness and not due to what is happening in the other home. Once I recongize it’s me… I know I have to do what’s right for the kids and let it go.

I challenge all co-parents to do the self-check whenever they start to feel a parenting tug that would pull the kids from the other parent or cause needless drama.

 Will you take the challenge? Will you share with others?

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Check out my book with Gayla Grace entitled Unwrapping the Gift of Stepfamily Peace (available at all major ebook retailers). The book gives solid advice you can use at the holidays and everyday of the year.

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Are you the stepmom of a tween or teen? If so, you may notice that navigating these waters can be a bit tricky. One day your stepchild  shares tales of their day, the next morning they serve you a grunt and a side of eye roll for breakfast.

Yes. We expect tweens and teens to be moody and challenging. But we also want to stay connected. Often we can feel like we are doing the right things but getting the wrong vibes. It’s as if we and our stepkids are not speaking the same language anymore.

And the reality is, we aren’t speaking the same verbal and non-verbal language. Our stepkids are talking teenage and we need to learn their language if we want to stay connected as we parent them through this confusing time in their lives.

Thankfully, there is a new book to learn how to speak, understand and converse in their teenage language.

Teenage as a Second Language: A Parent’s Guide to Becoming Bilingual by Dr. Barbara A. Greenberg, PhD and Jennifer A. Powell-Lunder, PsyD has the answers that we stepmoms are desperately seeking to understand and keep connected to our teen stepkids.

And my favorite thing about the book is:

A Section for StepFamilies. YES! They recognize that blended families have different challenges. Chapter 6 is devoted to The Evolving Identities of Mothers and Fathers.

Personally, I love the section titled Stepparents: Shaking the Cinderella Complex. “There is no doubt that stepparents play an increasingly important role in the lives of teenagers,” note the authors. Yes, we do and these authors not only acknowledge that but give us tips on how to grow our relationship with our teens.

I can’t tell you how important this is when choosing a book to help with issues regarding stepfamilies.  There are a ton of parenting books out there but they are written for the parents – the ones who have that unconditional love from their kids. Stepparents have a different relationship with their stepkids and need advice that recognizes that relationship.

Advice for parents on how to parent their children is going to be different than advice for stepparents on how to parent their stepchildren.

Things I love about this book:

  • Informal style and set-up of the book. The book is based on solid experience and real-life research and interactions with teens and their parents yet it doesn’t read like an academic journal. It’s real advice for real parents and stepparents.
  • It decodes their non-verbals. Find out how to translate their non-verbals.  The book decodes nonverbals as they pertain to certain situations. Door slamming, arms crossed, hanging around you quietly don’t always signal negativity. Truly these sections of the book are worth their weight in gold.
  • Try this, Rather than this sections. The authors provide comparisons of how to handle different and difficult situations with teens.
  • What They See vs. What You See sections offers valuable insight. The authors explain the same situation as seen through your teens’ eyes and as seen through the parents’ lens.
  • Positive and encouraging. Love that this book is positive in nature. When reading it you feel empowered, hopeful and you’ll have many AhHa moments! Reading this book will make you recognize all the things that you are doing right.
  • How to ask questions and get answers. The authors explain how asking questions the “right” way makes all the difference. They teach you how to have conversations with your teen where you are both sharing and your kid doesn’t feel like they are playing “20 questions.”
  • Self-standing chapters. Easy to read cover to cover and also great for a handy resource.

As I read the book, I kept saying Yes! Yes! and underlining like crazy. This book is the kind you want to dip in highlighter because you want to remember everything. If I thought it would work, I would sleep with this book under my pillow so that the authors’ wisdom and tips would become cemented in my brain.

Teenage As A Second Language is the Rosetta Stone for the language of Teenager.

This book gets it and you should get this book. Seriously. In my commitment to bring you the best resources, I would be remiss if I didn’t share this tool with you. You won’t find it in the StepParenting Section of the Book Store but it includes wise wisdom for parenting and stepparenting your tweens and teens.

The book has taken the parenting section of publishing by storm. TSL went on the parenting Best Seller List in the UK after only 2 weeks and was #8 in Parenting Teens in Canada. You can buy it at any major bookseller or order it online

Teenage as a Second Language retails for $14.95. The online price is below $10.00. A small investment that yields a big pay-off.

Also, make sure to check out the author’s website: TalkingTeenage

Last not but not least, I am giving away a signed copy of this book to one of my lucky readers. Leave a comment or question about stepmothering teens for your chance to win. This giveaway ends at 5PM EST on Thursday, February 10th.

Groundhog Day! Okay, I know it’s not a real holiday but I have always loved it. Mostly because it is my grandfather’s birthday. And also because even as a young child I loved the suspense of wondering if there would be six more weeks of winter.

And yes, I was one of those strange children who secretly loved six more weeks of winter. Making snow angels, drinking hot cocoa, the possibility of snow days were all things I embraced. But I also knew that even if winter was brutal, I could take anything when I knew there was a finite end to it. Winter will end. Spring, then summer will come. This is an absolute truth.

With stepfamily life, an end to some of the frustration and challenges we face isn’t so evident. Some days it feels that things will never get better. We can feel this way because the reality of being a stepmom is that so many things are simply out of our control. Just like the character Phil, played by Bill Murray, in this clip from the movie Groundhog Day, we can become jaded with the circumstances around us. If we are not careful, we can come to believe the lie that things will never get better.

But just like Phil learns some things about himself and about life through the course of the movie, we can too. Once he accepts that he is “stuck” in Groundhog Day, he starts to work on himself. He realizes that smashing the alarm clock every morning and being rude and grumpy isn’t going to change that fact that it is continually February 2nd every morning he wakes us.

So he starts to work on himself. He loosens up and gains a great sense of humor. He looses his fear of sharing how he feels with this woman he is falling for. He works on himself and how he deals with the situation of the day that never changes.

That is a wonderful lesson for stepmoms. The reality is we often can’t change our stepchildren and turn them into the people we want them to be. Nor can we control what the ex says about us.

But we can work on how it affects us. I know I may sound like a broken record but I want you to know that You define You. If you are struggling in a particular area of your stepfamily life, take a step back. Look at what you are currently doing and decide whether or not it is working for you. Then make necessary changes if need be.

Even if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow and we have six more weeks of winter, we will survive. We will perservere and press on. And even if you feel as if you see your shadow every day, and the promise of a bleak winter looms over you, please do not give up hope. Time is on your side and remember the sun will shine again. It always does.

I have a dream…..

that one day (soon), mothers and fathers, stepmothers and stepfathers will focus on the one thing they all have in common….the kids.

I have a dream that every adult involved with a stepfamily realizes that every word they speak regarding a parent and/or stepparent and every action they take impacts the children. The impact will either be positive or negative.

Kids are wired to love their mother and their father. Period. The end. When a child is made to choose between homes, between rules, between a parent or a stepparent, between anything dividing their parents -  they never win.

When a parent remarries, their new spouse is an extention of that parent. Therefore, a child needs the blessing of both their parents to accept and respect their new stepparent. Unless the stepparent is physically or verbally abusive (or engaged in an type of illegal or illicit behavior), both parents need to convey their support of this new stepfamily to the children.

Note, I did not say the children should be told they have to love their new stepparent. But the children need to know that they need to respect their new stepparent. A child will always love and be loyal to their mom and dad. Therefore, if they feel that their mom does not want them to like their new stepmom, the child will be torn between being loyal to their mom and being accepting and respectful of their father’s new wife. That choice can tear a child apart inside regardless of their age.

Children are wonderful beings. They will always love mom and dad beyond all but they have the capacity to care for others around them and should be given the permission to do so. Caring for a stepparent never lessens the love they feel for their own parents.

Children should never be forced to choose. For when they are, they will always loose.

I believe in my heart that this dream isn’t just a dream but a reality that can come true for every family/stepfamily when all parents leave their egos at the door and join together to put the emotional well-being of the children at the forefront.

__________

Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his infamous “I have a dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial onWashington, DC, on August 28, 1963. In high school, I studied King and was in awe of his ability to mobilize a movement in a peaceful and non-violent way. King has been one of my inspirations in my passion to serve others. My heart is to help the stepmom find peace within herself and define a positive path on her stepfamily journey. My heart is also, and always will be, with the children of divorce and remarriage.

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.

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

I watched the premiere of HUGE and I’m hooked. And note that I am not one to watch TV. The premise of the storyline intrigued me and also the fact that @JessWeiner was so excited about it as I truly respect the work she does for young women. (great follow on twitter).

I had planned to watch the show with my oldest daughter and oldest stepdaughter and my babysitter and her friends but just like the “best laid plans of mice and men”, the viewing party did not come to fruition. So I watched it alone and was completely enthralled.

What struck me immediately was the gritty reality of the show. I have to admit, I winced a bit when Wil took off her clothes to reveal her swimsuit. At first, I thought wow what a gutsy character but then it hit me she is so hiding behind her weight and her humor.  What a great job the writers did in creating her character and other characters on the show.

In my humble opinion, ALL people struggle with insecurities and it begins in the tween years.  For this group of kids, many hide behind their weight. They also hide behind their tough exterior and their abrasive personalities.  But all kids and many adults hide behind something. We are all so terrified that we will be found out. That others will discover we’re not perfect and therefore not worthy of love.  So sad but so true.

True love is unconditional yet our society constantly bombards us with conditions that make us lovable; pretty + thin + smart + wealthy = love

As adults many of us know that is simply not true, but many tweens and teens don’t.

I know I’ve only seen one episode but I think this series can really make a difference and open up dialogue between kids and parents and kids to kids to discuss some serious matters.

What saddened me the most during the show was when Wil’s character would reference how her parents are embarrassed of her and other campers made comments how their parents’ approval is linked to their weight. The message was clear to these kids –  my parents don’t approve of me because they think I’m fat. Therefore, my parents don’t love me.  And lets face it if kids feel they aren’t worthy of their parents’ love then who will ever love them. I know this to be true as a stepmom. My stepdaughters have even said “if my own mom doesn’t love me, why would anyone else ever love me.”

I hope parents are watching HUGE.

What we say and how we say things to our kids is so important. I know personally some great people who have children that are overweight. They are at a loss to help them so they’ve started teasing which they think will prompt them to eat healthy. No. Stop. Kids need to feel loved unconditionally by their parents. When parents tease about weight, the child doesn’t hear “we want you to loose wait to be healthy” the kid hears “you are a total failure and I’m embarrassed of you.” I hope this show makes the scales fall of the eyes of many parents on how they talk to their kids about weight and other issues.

Parents; you may not think it is so but your kids listen to what you say and how you say it. You are a HUGE influence in their life.

I’ll be tuning in Monday, July 5th for the next episode. I hope you will too. If you missed the first show, you can watch it on ABCFamily http://abcfamily.go.com/

Proud to be working with the Actionist Network® a community of professionals committed to creating a nation of confident women

It started innocently enough. I tweeted about taking a day to myself last week and how I felt guilty doing so. My twitter friend @StepMoms_Rock put me in my place and told me to ban the guilt. She was so right. Why do I feel guilty taking time to take care of myself?

We both started thinking “why do we as stepmoms feel so guilty about everything?” Before we knew it, we had decided to do a #BanGuilt blitz. We are on a mission to get stepmoms to stop feeling unnecessary guilt.

Guilt is an important emotion but it is one that is used to keep us from committing moral and legal offenses.

Last time I checked, reading a book, working out, sleeping in, sending store bought cookies to school with your kids instead of baking homemade doesn’t qualify for a federal offense. Not loving your stepkids like your own kids doesn’t make you guilty of being a bad person either. Wanting time to yourself, feeling like no matter how hard you try that your husband’s ex-wife hates you, having your efforts to connect with your stepkids repeatedly rejected isn’t anything to feel guilty over and surely doesn’t make you a criminal.

Don’t allow guilt to control your life. If you feel you have truly done something wrong, make amends and be done!

Peggy Nolan, of thestepmomstoolbox, is such a wonderful proponent of self-care and a real inspiration to me. She has encouraged me to embrace the time I take to recharge. While I feel completely refreshed when I do partake in self-care activities, I still struggle with guilt.  I know part of it stems from being raised on a healthy diet of guilt. Buy why do I still allow myself to feel guilty when I know better?

Is it because between my husband and I we have six kids and its quite busy at our home? Is it because I think our house will fall apart if I’m not there to keep the walls standing up? I know I’m not a control freak although I will admit I have a very clear picture in my mind of right and wrong and don’t like to veer off course.

My parents taught me to put the needs of others ahead of myself. It is noble and I am thankful for the lessons learned and the mercy that I have for others.

I need to remember that I can put others first but not at the expense of myself!

One important reason to keep guilt in check is to model for our children, and especially for our daughters, the type of life we want them to lead. I do want them to make the right choices in life but I don’t want it to be out of guilt. Taking time to take care of myself sets a great example for them as they grow into young adults.

Please join me and Laura from Step Moms Rock to #Ban Guilt.

I make this pledge: next time guilt comes a knocking, I’m gonna try my best not to answer  the door.

Please share the one thing you are going to stop feeling guilty about! Thanks.

Okay, she let it rip today. Or should I say she ripped into me.  She started the morning with “I want to destroy my cereal” while staring at me and just pounding her bowl with her spoon.  I choose to stay out of her way with that introduction to the day.

She blows off the bus with a “you are …… (this is a family show. Just think itch)!  Okay then, I’ll go back downstairs and finish cleaning out the basement. Note, I am not engaging.  About an hour later I hear her screaming at my youngest. Yes, a little of my Mamma Bear comes out when she goes at one of my bio kids.  I go upstairs to find her rummaging through her little sister’s underwear drawer threatening to expose her my pretty pony undies to the world. I asked her why. She replied, “It’s funny and I wanted revenge.” “Why would you want to take revenge on someone”, I ask.  “It’s easy,” she replied.  She started yelling at me and I calmly told her to stay in her room and I would take her little sister downstairs. Felt it was best to separate the two monkeys.

That’s when she let one of my favs rip “You love her more because she’s your real daughter!”  I should have just closed the door and walked out but I felt the need to reply.  Oh, I didn’t say what I was really thinking. About all that I’ve gone through for her and all that I will continue to go through for her to help her. I said “Think what you will but I know the truth.”

I was proud of myself. But she must not have liked it because she tore open the door and said “Why don’t you just send me to an adoption center.”  I said nothing and continued walking. Well, that put her into a rage. She started pulling at her hair and screaming at me and said “So it WOULD be easy for you to give me away. Wouldn’t it?  You could just drop me off and forget about me.”  I knew in that moment, she wasn’t talking to ME. She was talking to her mom through me. She continued throughout the evening to berate her bio sister and be combative to everyone in the home.

She went up to take a shower after dinner and I heard all this jumping and pounding in the bathroom. I went upstairs and yelled her name through the door. No answer. I was genuinely concerned. As I was going to get the key to unlock the door and check on her she yells it’s open. You don’t even want to know what she turned the bathroom into. I asked her why she did what she did and she said “my guidance counselor said I don’t have to give a reason if I don’t want to.” Well, she is in a social skills group and is taught she doesn’t have to tell other kids why she is doing things because she has some peculiar habits. Still, calm. She started yelling and I told her she was done for the night.

I made it through the day w/out taking things personally and getting upset. But I am super concerned about her. Her father and I have been taking her to counseling for over 2 years. She is on medication for her anxiety. Ever since her mom started calling more frequently, her behavior is very upsetting and sad.

This challenge has shifted my focus on my own feelings to hers. While I will admit, it’s very hard to want to be close to her when she treats me so poorly, I will not give up on her. Baby steps. If I can continue to not take things personally, that’s a huge step.

My husband was so amazed at how I withstood everything and had a peace about myself at the end of the day. His smiles and words of support are priceless rewards in this challenge.

What will tomorrow bring…. the weather man says a snow day…… I’m ready

… than to ask her a question I already knew the answer to. Haven’t I learned something over the past three days? Well, I was feeling good and I asked her something this morning and she looked into my eyes and lied. Lied to my face. I know I mentioned previously that manners are important to me.  I also don’t like to be lied to. And it was over something so little. In the past, this would have really hurt my feelings for many reasons. (It actually makes me feel sad for my SD that she can look at me and lie.) But as soon as she lied and I felt myself tense up, I realized that I was beginning to internalize it and I stopped. I said “I know what you just told me was a lie and I don’t appreciate being lied to” and I gently walked away not to say another word about it.

The kids left for school. My youngest and I were busy getting ready for my sons’ birthdays (they are twins but the only thing they really have in common is their date of birth. They are very different. Both have their own set of strengths. I am so grateful for their individuality). We had a good day. My one son went to a friend’s house to play after school and my youngest daughter had a neighbor friend over to play.  My SD asked if she could join in. This typically ends in disaster (you know three girls just don’t play well together as someone is usually left out).  I said sure. And sure enough, things started to go south about 1 hour into the play date. But I was grateful it took an hour, because typically the time span for lift off is about 20 minutes.

Sent my friend’s daughter home and tried to redirect my SD. But she was in a mood. You know what I mean. My SD regresses in behavior when she wants attention. It is as if she goes back to being 3, when her mom left. She rolls around on the floor, says things that don’t make sense, and pokes her siblings, all in the hopes of getting attention. Then she gets so upset when her siblings get upset with her. So I just made sure that everyone else’s time was occupied and I started cooking.  And I cranked up a mix CD that my husband recently made for me. It’s got some 80’s tunes. I skipped to The Warrior by Scandal and pushed the repeat button. Enough said.

Made homemade pizza and pepperoni rolls for dinner. Made a giant cookie for dessert in honor of my one son’s basketball tournament tomorrow. It was very yummy and I ate way too much of it. After my  kids went to their dads, I went in to the office and wrote. My oldest SD had a friend sleepover. My heart goes out to my oldest SD. She and I get along great and she is often overshadowed by the antics of her younger sister. She is always getting dragged to counseling appointments, school meetings, etc.. I wanted to do something nice for her. I know she is enjoying having a friend over.

Regarding my youngest SD, I know what I’m up against and I know what she is going through. Hurting people hurt others. My brain knows it’s not me personally but the message is still slow getting to my heart. My SD is hurting so badly inside. Out of the blue, she thanked me for not leaving her like her mom did. I assured her that I will never leave. It has never even entered my thoughts. I love my husband and my entire family and I know there are always bumps on the stepfamily road but I am here for the entire ride.I know in my heart that she loves me. But that her heart is aching from rejection. I assure her that her mom loves her and I truly believe that she does. I just don’t think her mom knows how to show it right now.

Thinking about her heartbreak and all the anxiety that it causes her helps me to understand why she behaves the way she does. It’s not personal. I’m learning my lesson.

Day 5… here we go

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