Monday, April 25, 2016

Should I Attend Sporting or Other Events?

blended sport events, attending stepchild sporting events, step family, stepmom, blended family, children's sport events, stepchildren's sporting events
There comes a time when the stepchildren get involved in Sports or other school events and you ask yourself should I be attending these for support? The answer is yes and most definitely encourage your husband to attend even when you can’t attend always make sure you make it possible for the biological parent to attend their child’s event.  As your schedule permits, attend as many events as you can.  Even if the biological mother is there, just because she’s there doesn’t mean you have to sit by her.  It’s important that you go with your husband for moral support and to show your stepchildren that you care about them and that they are also important to you too.  It’s really important to the stepchildren that you cheer them on and support them in the activities they do.  I know from previous experience growing up in a blended family myself, my Dad only attended one sporting event of mine, out of many that I had.  Even my own mother didn’t attend many of them either and it really hurt me as a child that no one was there to cheer me on.  I remember the feeling like it was yesterday, it felt like they didn’t care and it really hurt me especially when my friend’s parents were there and mine weren’t.  However, my friend’s parents would cheer me on which made me feel good, but it isn’t the same thing as when it’s your own parents there to cheer you on.  I played three sports growing up, girls’ softball, tennis and ran track.  It’s a great feeling when you have parents there to support and help cheer you on.  It makes you feel loved, valued, and important.  Try your best to attend every sporting event or special events like Home Coming Dance, Prom dances, Science Fair, Art Fair, Choir Concert, or Band Concerts.  What I mean by attending the dances, I mean by going over to their mother’s house and taking pictures of them before they head off to the dance.  I mean games, not practices, however if you want to attend practices to, that is up to you, but games are more important to attend than the practices.  Your children and stepchildren need that support.  If you have more than one child in sports and you run into a timing conflict, then split up and have one attend one and the other parent attends the other one.  I know it may be hard to attend every sporting or school event they have, but try your best to attend most of them.  When you can’t make it for whatever reason, make sure you tell your child that you cannot be there for it, so they know in advance.  
With our children, one of my daughters is in competitive cheer and my other daughter was in girls’ soccer and currently in the choir and then my stepson is in football and baseball.  Sometimes we have conflicts with the events, but we always to try have at least one of us there in attendance to show our support. Yes, it’s not easy to be there with the ex-spouses but try to look past that and be there for your child.  Just remember your doing this for them.  If you can’t be there for whatever reason it’s not the end of the world as long as you have attended most of the events.  If you tell your child you will come to their event and then don’t show up, it really hurts and disappoints that child. It shows the child that they can’t count on you to be there for them.  Commit to what you can commit to and when you can’t be there make sure you always tell them in advance.  We keep a family calendar that is on our phones, where both my husband and I can put events, appointments or other things on the calendar that way we know what’s going on at all times.  Try to find a calendar application that you can both share on each other’s phones that way you always know what’s coming up or you can buy a dry erase calendar that goes on your fridge, either way, it will help you stay organized and aware of things coming up so you don’t miss them.  Try to remember these events are all about the children and not about you, it's important to be there and show your support and cheer them on every chance you get.

When you were in sports or other activities did your parents attend most of them? If not, how did it make you feel when they couldn't be there for you?

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Mother's Day - Stepmothers Are Mothers Too!

mother's Day, stepmothers are mothers too, stepmoms, stepmothers, blended family, mothers day, step family
Mother’s Day is just right around the corner. It can be a very hard day for us Stepmoms because we are then reminded that we aren’t really our stepchildren’s mother, so we often don’t get recognized or appreciated.  When really we should get recognized, even though we are not their biological mother, we are still a mother; we are special mothers who have chosen to love, accept and take care of our stepchildren.  We take care of them as we would our own children. We also deserve to be honored on Mother’s Day. We would love to get recognized by our stepchildren after all we have taken good care of them and always look out for their best interests. Even some of us Stepmoms have even taken care of our stepchildren even better than their biological mothers have in yet we seldom get any credit or recognition for it on Mother’s Day. To me, Mother’s Day is a day of appreciation to ALL types of mothers and being a Stepmother is still a mother.  Sometimes our husbands don’t realize that they need to be the one to help their children recognize that their Stepmother also needs to be appreciated and recognized on Mother’s Day too.  Sometimes us Stepmoms need to have a talk with our husband’s about Mother’s Day so they know whether or not you want to be recognized or not.  Because sometimes our husbands can be clueless about it and don’t realize how it could hurt our feelings if we don’t get appreciated and recognized on Mother’s Day.  If you are in a new blended marriage, it’s good to talk to your husband about it and share with him your thoughts about Mother’s Day and whether or not it’s a big deal to you.
All it takes is our husbands talking to their children about it and taking them to the store to buy a card and a small gift. The children could even make their own homemade card.  They do sell Stepmother cards for Mother’s Day and even “like a mom” Mother’s Day cards.
I think why it is a hard day for us Stepmoms is because we feel like we are reminded that we are not their real mother, and yet we have all of the same feelings, go through frustration, all of the pain, emotions, financial strain and the difficulty of being a Mother and yet get none of the joys, recognition or appreciation of doing it all. We are Mother’s to regardless if it’s a Stepmother; we are still a Mother after all Stepmother has the word “mother” in it.
My first and second year of being a Stepmother, I got recognized by my stepchildren and it felt so wonderful to get a card that they both picked out for me and a gift.  But then after those two years it all stopped which made me sad and hurt, but I also understood that my stepchildren are going through loyalty conflicts and PAS (Parental Alienation Syndrome) with their mother which makes it very hard to be nice to me and accept me as a mother too. We always made sure we took our stepchildren out to get something for their mother for Mother’s Day. One year I even took my stepdaughter out to the Hallmark store to make sure she got her mother a card. I feel it is very important that their mother gets something on Mother's Day too regardless of how I felt about her.
We also want to be recognized and treated special on Mother’s Day since we are a mother too regardless if we didn’t give birth to our stepchildren we still love and take care of all of their needs just like a biological mother would do.  This Mother’s Day make sure you honor ALL Mothers not just the one that gave birth to you. Stepmothers are Mothers too.

Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day

  • Pedicure & Manicure gift certificate
  • Massage gift certificate
  • Jewelry is always nice
  • Candles
  • Flowers
  • Perfume
  • Bath & Body Lotion gift set
  • Gift Card to their favorite store
  • Create an Anytime Coupon Book that says stuff like: we do the dishes, laundry, vacuum whole house, clean the house, dust, cook a meal, mom’s day off from all chores. You give it to them so that they can use the coupons any time they like
  • Make a stepping stone for the garden with handprints or footprints
  • Get them a personalized coffee mug with either handprint or picture of the kids
  • Have child make their own card and paint a picture for them
  • Have the kids get their picture taken and get it framed for her work
  • Homemade handprint craft of any kind
  • Handprint flower pot with a plant inside of it
  • Get them something they been wanting for a long time
  • Stitch fix gift certificate
  • Take them out to eat at their favorite restaurant
  • Create some pottery for them from a Pottery store
  • Have the kids bake a cake for her
  • Have the kids cook breakfast and serve it in bed for her
  • Buy her, her favorite bottle of wine
  • Make up a gift bag of all of her favorite candies or sweets
Another Great Idea:
Ladies if you want great gifts, make up a Sizes Card that has a few important things on it:
Clothing Size, Pant Size, Jean Size, Dress Size, Shoe Sizes, Favorite Colors, Ring Size, Bra Size, Underwear Size, Lingerie Size
This size card can go in your husband’s wallet so any time he is at the store and wants to buy you something he knows all of your sizes for everything. Make it a business card size so it's small enough to fit in his wallet. You can even get it laminated so it doesn't get ruined.


Stepmoms - Was there a Mother's Day that you didn't get recognized and how did it make you feel?

Monday, April 11, 2016

Did I make a Mistake?

did I make a mistake, Am I making a mistake, blended family, blended family problems, down times in blended family, step family, stepmom problems, stepmom
Sometimes when things get hard in our marriage and with our blended family.  We can often ask  ourselves: “Did I make a Mistake?”  Is this marriage worth fighting for? Is this blended family ever going to work? Will we ever become a happy blended family? Is it all worth it?  I know I have asked these questions a few times myself.  My husband and I have been going to therapy for a year now, because of some things that we would like to resolve within our relationship. It has not been easy to open up and share our struggles with one another yet alone a therapist, but in doing so it has helped us tremendously.
When we start to feel like we just can’t do it anymore, pray and seek God.  When we face challenges in our marriage that really overwhelm us, God will give us the strength to persevere, trust in him for a break through. God will never let you down. Then talk to someone you trust with your feelings and emotions. It's good to be able to get those feelings and emotions out with a trusted friend or a therapist.  Then think back about when you first met your husband, what were the qualities that you found in him that made you feel like you couldn’t live without him?  Write these down and make a list of them.  What were your first thoughts about when you met his kids? Write those down.  How was the first time your kids and his kids met? Write that down.
Will we ever become a happy blended family
I know we never set out of this life to be a Stepmom and could have never imagined our life to be where it is at right now.  Kathy Lipp & Carol Boley state that we need to do these 5 things when it comes to feeling like we made a mistake.

5 Things to help us get through our down times:

1. Accept Reality. Your stepfamily has been born of a loss of either a death or divorce. Everyone has suffered at one point. We all should know that.

2. Prepare for Action. Get organized and make a plan. A plan of how to make it work. What changes can you make to make things better? Share that plan with your spouse if he is struggling too.

3. Know that you’re not Alone.  God and all of his resources are available to you, therefore, you can succeed. It’s important to believe this. There are support groups available such as “Stepmoms are us” on facebook that will be there for you. You can also get therapy to help get you through the hard times.

4. Stand Firm. Be strong and courageous.  It will be tough but stay faithful to your task. Do the right thing even when you don’t feel like it. God will supply what you need to accomplish this.

5. Know God’s Heart.  Study God’s word making it the basis for your thoughts, words, attitudes, and actions. God will help you when you seek him daily. God is greater than your problems, he will help you get through them and resolve them.

There’s a great book that I recommend that will help you with your daily devotional time with God. It’s called: "Daily Bread for the Starving Stepmom" by Laurabeth Hoisington and Melanie Anthony. There are 31 days of devotions along with a scripture and a prayer for every day to help you grow more as a successful Stepmom.  When you are done with that book, I recommend another great devotional book which is: "The Power of a Praying Wife” by Stormie Omartian. There are life and marriage changing devotions. If you want your marriage to change, it will once you read this book and for the better.
There is another great book that will help encourage you with being a happy Stepmom and help encourage your marriage. It is called: "The Happy Stepmother” by Rachelle Katz. This book gives you 10 Steps on how to be a Happy Stepmother. One of which is making your marriage or relationship second priority which means taking care of yourself is the first priority.  Rachelle Katz states that a strong effective partnership is an absolute necessity if you are to survive the stresses of stepfamily life with your dignity and self-respect intact.  A Strong relationship will help you cope with any problems you face with the stepchildren and the ex-spouse(s).  When you’re in a committed relationship with your spouse you are willing to work at whatever means necessary to help maintain it.  A happy couple knows that there’s going to be ups and downs throughout the marriage and believes that they can work together to get through it.
Back to the lists you made, they are great and every time you feel down always refer back to the lists and it will remind you of the reasons why you fell in love with your husband and the reasons why you should do whatever it takes to make it work. Every one of us has down times even in first marriages. We just have to pick ourselves up and not stay in that state of mind for long. That’s why it’s great to have a great support system in place.  A place where you can go and vent away without any judgement, just love, support and prayer that’s really all we need to help lift us out.
Don’t forget to try speaking positive and know whatever we speak out of our mouths, we give life too.  You will get through this and become stronger than you were before. Hang in there and know you’re not alone in this; there are other Stepmoms who have had these same thoughts and go through struggles too.
Here’s a prayer that will help you through this hard time:

Lord, I can’t do this life alone,
Help me to see all of the positives
in this marriage and in my Blended Family.
Give me the strength to keep pressing forward.
Help me to be the best Wife and Stepmom I can be.
Show me what I can do to make things better.
Please give me patience, love, compassion, understanding,
flexibility, and commitment to making it work.
Please help to me be more positive and speak positively.
Thank you for all you are doing to help me, my marriage,
and my blended family.
I love you and trust in you to get me through it.
Amen


Have you ever felt this way in your marriage? If so, how did you overcome it?

References:
Laurebeth Hoisington & Melanie Anthony (2015). Daily Break for the Starving Stepmom. Tate Publishing and Enterprises, LLC
Rachelle Katz (2010). The Happy Stepmother. Stay Sane, Empower Yourself, Thrive in Your New Family. Harlequin publishing company.
Stormie Omartian (1997). The Power of a Praying Wife. Harvest House Publishers.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Affirming Words

affirming words, affirmation, stepmom, stepmom support, blended family, step family
It is very important to always look for ways to compliment our children and stepchildren.  Affirming words go a long way with children.  Can you think back of when you were a child, do you remember any affirming words or compliments you received? Did that help encourage you to be the person you are today? Unfortunately, I only remember bad names that I was called from my mother.  I don’t remember any encouraging, complimenting or affirming words growing up.  Do you want your child or stepchild saying the same thing or do you want them to remember affirming words you used to speak good into their life? We need to speak positive words over them it will help shape them into the person they will become when they are adults.  Kathi Lipp and Carol Boley state that we should use affirming words to express your understanding, support and belief in your stepkids.  Speak words of life into your children.  Find ways to say something encouraging and positive at the right moments. Some examples of affirming words are below:

Affirming Statement Examples:
Your making wise decisions, I’m proud of you.
Every time you smile, it lights up a room.
You’re such a caring person, I love how you care for people.
You are a great cleaner.
You are always so organized.
You’re a great decorator.
You’re always thinking of others, you are so thoughtful.



You can speak life of future into their lives by saying these statements to them:
You are going to make a great parent someday.
You’re going to become a great inventor.
You inspire others to be a good person.
You are great at figuring things out.
You are going to do such great things for God, when you get older.

Affirming words also can encourage your child to try new things. As Amy Baker & Paul Fine state parents who engage in mindful and positive parenting believe in their children and convey to them an attitude of encouragement and faith in their ability to solve their own problems, identify good solutions, and achieve their goals.  When you see the best in a child it helps to encourage them to try new things.  Trying new things helps them grow up to be independent adults.  When you encourage your child, you show them that they are valued, respected, loved and trusted.  All children need to feel that way from their parents. When your child shares their hopes and dreams with you, show enthusiasm towards it.

Affirmations for Yourself
Using affirmations for yourself can help release negative energy and turn it into positive energy. When dealing with something negative say to yourself “I will release these negative feelings and not let them have any more control and focus my attention only on the positive energy today. I chose to live today at the fullest.”
It’s also helpful to make a list of positive attributes.

Positive Attributes
I am a caring person.
I am a loving person.
I am a good person.
I am a generous person.
I am a creative person.
I am a smart person.
I am a positive person.


Rachelle Katz states that affirmations can also bolster your belief in your ability to grow, change, and improve your life.  You can do this by writing a list of “I can” statements such as:

I can succeed
I can achieve
I can overcome anything


And try to use “I will” statements that will help you move to achieving any success in anything you want to accomplish.

Examples of “I will” statements are:
I will take on only what I can handle today.
I will control my emotions & feelings today.
I will control my temper & attitude today.
I will feel less guilt today.
I will be the best stepmom I can be today.


All of these will help you turn your negative affirmations about yourself over to positive affirmations. In order to give affirming words to our children, we also have to have our own positive affirmation about ourselves.  Whatever we speak out of our mouths will come to pass, so speak positive affirming words not just to our children but to ourselves and our circumstances.  We give life to whatever we speak. As Proverbs 18:21 says “Life and death are in the power of our tongue”.  If we speak negative thoughts or words about ourselves or our children they will come to pass. Proverbs 6:2 says “We are snared by the words of our mouth”.  Choose today to start speaking positively to our children and to ourselves.  Try saying positive affirmations every day like: “I’m excited about today and about my future. Something good is about to happen to me today.” Or say this “I’m blessed. I’m healthy, I’m strong, I’m valuable, I’m talented, I have a bright future.”  Try this and see if your days are better than before. See if your children’s attitude and behavior changes when you use affirming words on their lives. Remember that whatever you speak out loud, you give life too.
References:
Amy L. Baker & Paul R. Fine (2014). Co-parenting with a Toxic Ex. What to do when your ex-spouse tries to turn the kids against you.  New Harbinger Publications, Inc.
Rachelle Katz (2010). The Happy Stepmother. Stay Sane, Empower yourself, Thrive in your new family. Harlequin publishing company.
Kathy Lipp & Carol Boley (2015). But I’m not a Wicked Stepmother! Secrets of Successful Blended Families. Focus on the Family. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.