Day 14: 31 Days of Life in the StepMom Trenches (Vlogtober)
Today, I want to take a moment to tell you how special you are. My vlog speaks for itself and it’s my heart’s desire that you will embrace the beauty of you and share this message with another stepmom and/or woman who is in need of being reminded how very special she is. This is my message. This is my takeway. Enjoy! And thanks for being YOU.
Day 11: 31 Days of Life in the StepMom Trenches. (Vlogtober)
Stepmoms, have you ever felt like you are trapped in a Verizon commercial when talking to your husband about his child? Does “Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now?” play in your head as you relay information to your spouse with a slow raising volume? Do you ramp things up to get your husband’s attention when it comes to relaying information about your stepchild(ren) when you feel like he isn’t listening to you?
If you said yes, you are not alone. But the louder you get the more your husband may be tuning out. Watch to find out how to get better “reception” with your husband when it comes to talking stepkids.
In today’s video, I’m talking about how our husband feels when we turn up the volume on concerns regarding their child and slight changes we can make that can make a real difference.
Takeaway: You have a great heart. And you go to your husband with valid concerns. Often it’s the way we go to our husband with concerns that can make or break the conversation. Recognize that often our frustration stems from our husband not responding the way we want them to. Talk to your husband about how they would best like to discuss topics regarding the kids and try some tips in the video. Hope this helps. If your spouse watches this with you, I’d love to hear their thoughts. Thanks.
It’s that time of year again. Time for our annual family photo. Time for me to think of a theme. Time for my kids to cry and think of a million excuses. Oh, how I love family picture day.
I’ve tried different venues for the photos and different “outfits”. I’ve gone through the studio at SEARS with “formal” attire, to black shirts and blue jeans (which my kids lovingly refer to now as Black and Blue day, to tie dying (Feel the Love. See the Love) and packing on vacation for a little photo surprise to back to the studio. Regardless of when it is taken, where it is taken, what we wear…. I’m determined to get the photo.
I don’t have many photos of my whole family growing up and my parents are still married. I wish I did and so when I had my first child, it was something I started doing and something I still enjoy doing.
In today’s vlog, I share with you the “humorous” side of family photos and also the importance to sticking to something you value even if the kids fight you on it.
Takeaway: It’s important to be flexible and it’s also important to recognize what you value and if something like a family photo or sharing a tradition once a year is important to you then go for it. Be flexible in the details but hold true to your desire for family time.
I would love to know if you take a (step)family photo each year and what your kids think of it?
Day 9: 31 Days of Life in the StepMom Trenches (Vlogtober)
Why do you have to go and make things so complicated? – Avril Lavigne
Complicated. A word that I commonly use to describe stepfamily living. There is no positive or negative stuff attached to the word just that decision making in stepfamilies has a few more layers to it.
In today’s video, I’m actually sharing a decision I had to make recently in regards to my own daugther. The fact that I am remarried and have a different last name made me pause and think about a few things when she made a request to me.
Takeaway: Life is a stepfamily is great but it doesn’t come without it’s set of challenges. One of those being have to consider many people’s feelings when making a decision. Next time you want to pull your hair out because of all the factors you have to consider in doing something stop and understand that this goes with stepfamily and co-parenting territory and start to focus on a blessing that you get from your life. Replacing a frustration with a blessing is a sure way to lift your mood and get your focus where it can be positive and productive.
Would you agree that stepfamily life brings with it some “complications”? What brings you the most complications as a stepmom?
Day 5 of 31 Days of Life in the StepMom Trenches (Vlogtober)
Today is Friday and I want you to take a moment to celebrate YOU! We can often become focused on what we are not or what our family is lacking that we completely overlook the amazing things we DO bring to our stepfamily.
Today, I share a few things I bring into my stepdaughter’s lives and things that my kids benefit from in regards to their dad’s home.
The mom, stepmom relationship is not a competition. We can compliment one another when both are committed to working together for the sake of the children. When a mom values what a stepmom brings to her childrens’ lives, it allows the stepchild to embrace the new world the stepmom brings.
A mom should not feel threatened if her child’s stepmom has a talent or passion for something that she doesn’t have. That talent or passion is something that the child would never have been exposed to if it weren’t for their stepmom. Whether you are or are not embraced by your stepchildren’s mom, YOU ARE blessing your family with your love, commitment, time, talent and passions. Celebrate those things today!
Hope you’ll watch the video below and take time to celebrate the amazing things you bring to your family.
Takeaway: Get out that piece of paper I mentioned in the vlog and jot down five things you bring to your family. Celebrate those items. When you are feeling down, take those items out and look at them. Then add five more. Before you know it you will have a long list of wonderful blessings you bring to your stepkids and to your family.
Day 4: 31 Days of Life in the StepMom Trenches (Vlogtober)
Today, I treated myself to Starbucks. A special treat I don’t do very often. I was so excited to sip my Venti Pike’s Place the rest of the day. I opened the car door and ignored the napkin smashed in my cup holder and just placed the cup of steaming java in it. Needless to say, the corner that I took shortly thereafter reminded me of the importance of being mindful of where I set that steamy mug.
Not being mindful of where I put my cup caused me some trouble and it was nobody’s fault but my own. In today’s vlog, we are talking about the importance of being mindful of our words and actions as a stepmom.
Click on the video below please.
I love how life gives you reminders of the importance of being mindful. If I looked back over the last few disagrements I’ve had with my husband or with any of my kids, most likely it was because one of us approached the other not being mindful.
Take Away: Focus on being mindful when you need to speak about tough topics with your husband. Check in with him to say “is this a good time to chat?” or “I wanted to talk with you about something regarding the kids. I know you’ve had a long day and I respect your need to relax when you get home from work. Can you check back with me when it’s a good time to talk?”
Is there an area in your role as stepmom that has improved with being mindful? What are your thoughts on addressing life in a mindful way?
1. To release from something that holds fast, connects, or entangles.
2. To release (oneself) from an engagement, pledge, or obligation.
To free or detach oneself; withdraw.
“Disengage from the situation!” “Just disengage from your stepchild if they are causing you pain!” “I would just disengage from my husband if he was acting like that.”
These are common tid bits of advice that stepmoms receive. But the bigger question is:
“How do you disengage and still stay connected?”
While disengaging from someone or something does lessen the pain it doesn’t solve the problem that is causing you to want to disengage. As the definition states above, disengage involves withdrawing and how can you have a healthy and fulfilling marriage if you are disengaging from your husband and/or the child he brought into your marriage.
Do you stop asking about their day? Do you stop talking to your husband about their child and the struggle that brings you pain? Do you stop going to soccer games or parent teacher conferences to avoid confrontation from their mom? Just how do you disengage? Walking away from the pain may make the daily ride “easier” but it doesn’t address the struggles causing the pain and it isn’t drawing you closer to your husband nor his children.
When we disengage a few things can happen. The biggest drawback in my opinion is the hardening of your heart. When you disengage from a person or situation that is causing you pain, you often start to slowly put up a wall. You withdraw emotionally even if you are physically present and that can present it’s own issues. Sure you are still loving that person but you are loving them from a distance. You are lessening your vulnerability to be hurt. That may sound great… no pain… but when you want to give and receive unconditional love you have to be vulnerable. When you are married… you are vulnerable. When you are a parent…. you are vulnerable.
In my journey as a stepmom, disengaging from negative comments (not the person) is the best disengagement! And I speak from experience. Years back, I tried disengaging from my youngest stepdaughter and it didn’t work. Her struggles continued, her roller coaster of emotions continued. My disengagement did not erase the impact her choices were having on the family and on me and her father. Me not asking her about what was going on at school might have helped me not physically feel sick when I would hear the answer but it was like walking around my family room in the dark: the toys were still strewn everywhere, there was dust on the TV but I just couldn’t see it in the dark.
For me, disengagement made me feel worse. I disbanded that approach and did some soul searching. I want to be there and help and if it hurts to do that then I have to work through that. The best thing was for me is to put distance between hurtful things said and done and how I choose to process it.
Here are some truths about being a stepmom that remind me to not take things personally and help me disengage from the hurtful words not the person hurting:
My success as a stepmom is not tied to my stepchild’s choices and behavior. Measure your success as a stepmother by the love you give not by the response you get back. Because divorce and/or death of a parent is loss for a child, they are often operating from a place of pain. While remarriage is a second chance at love for you and your husband, it’s a reminder to a child that mom and dad will never be together again. We know that hurting people hurt others and often kids are operating from a place of pain. It doesn’t give them a license to say or do hurtful things but it can help you understand that their choices and behavior are not tied to your role as stepmom.
Hurting people hurt others. Disengage from the hurt not the hurting person. As mentioned above, separate the hurt from the hurting person. Have boundaries and consequences for poor choices. We can choose to withdraw from the person causing the pain but if we are committed to staying in our marriage than withdrawing and hardening our hearts will not build into a marriage that we want to grow and flourish.
While someone’s choices may impact me, they are just that – SOMEONE ELSE’s choices and I am not responsible for their choices. Do not take on another’s choices as your own. We may hear “you ruined my life,” “you took my dad away,” “my life would be perfect if you weren’t in it,”“if you cared about me, you’d leave me alone,” and more from our stepkids and we may hear even worse from their mother. Remember: these are their words not your doing. Do not take in these words as truth of who you are.
My value is not tied to another person’s opinion of me. While we should be open to honest feedback about ourselves, feedback and bashing are two different things. Do not measure your value by others. At Church this past Sunday, our pastor shared these words “your value is not tied to your valuables.” So true. Our value comes from the one who created us and God loves us all. He sees us as the beautiful creations He made us to be.
“You don’t always get back what you give!” (this is a little gem of a phrase I just learned from my friend Lisa on Twitter). Lisa said it so well. And this may be one of the hardest stepmom truths to swallow and accept. We give and we give and as stepmoms (and I would say parents in general) we may not get back all that we give but we are called to give anyway. When we give to give and not expect anything in return, it helps.
Hope these truths I’ve come to know help. While disengaging would numb the pain we feel it would also serve to numb our relationships and wouldn’t solve the problem bringing the pain. If anything we could have more issues as our withdrawing would impact our marriage and relationships.
“An engaged woman is always more agreeable than a disengaged. She is satisfied with herself. Her cares are over, and she feels that she may exert all her powers of pleasing without suspicion. All is safe with a lady engaged; no harm can be done.” Jane Austen
Would love to hear your thoughts on disengaging? Have you found yourself disengaging from a situation or person in your stepfamily? What tips would you share? What did you think of the stepmom truths shared? Are they helpful to you? As we share with one another and have open and honest dialogue as stepmoms we continue to grow, support and encourage one another.
Look forward to hearing your take on disengaging! Let’s talk….