We Are Family, Stepmom

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In the blending process one can wonder:

“what’s mine?”

“what’s his?”

“what part of this family is ‘ours’?”

As a stepmom, you can hear things from your stepkids like:

“you’re NOT my mom!”

“you’re not my friend”

“you’re not part of my family”

A stepmom can be left wondering, who’s in, who’s out, who’s family, who’s not.

In the turbulence of the blending, I take heart in the Bible.  Christ gives clear direction on what our family consists of.

Matthew 12:50 (NIV)  “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

So this earth can continue debating who’s in, who’s out, who’s family, who doesn’t “count” as family.  But as for me, I choose to focus on the fact that God says we are family because we are sisters and brothers in Christ.  And His opinion matters most to me.

Today I’m thankful for His guidance in the storm.

What are you thankful for today?

 

 

 

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The Black and White Stepmom

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Black and white thinking.  Sometimes it’s called “all or nothing thinking.”  What is it you ask? It’s rigid thinking where one sees things as all good or all bad. That kind of thinking can be damaging to relationships. We’re all susceptible to this though. As a stepmom, I think it’s important for the well-being of my family, as well as my own sanity, to keep myself in check. Here are some examples of black and white thoughts a stepmom like me (or you) might have. Just guessing here (ha).

B&W: “My husband’s ex is a horrible person.” (It’s probably more realistic to admit that while she (and each of us) has done bad things, sinful things, she’s got lots of positive qualities too. Maybe not directed to you, but those positives are probably there.)

B&W: “My step kids hate me.” (It’s probably more realistic to acknowledge that stepmoms are easy scape goats. We get blamed unfairly for a lot. Recognize that in loyalty conflicts, kids are in an emotional bind and cannot easily express positive emotion for their stepmom. Even more so if Parental Alienation is occurring. The longer one is a stepmom you realize that when you are getting sassed or challenged, often times the bio parents are too! Try not to take it so personally, mama.).

B&W: “My husband can’t stand up to his ex (or his kids).” (Give him the benefit of the doubt. It’s a complex situation he has to constantly weigh. He has to think about the ramifications of his words and actions on everyone. How it will affect his relationship with you, his kids, his ex. What are the consequences to the whole system if he takes one action or another, or chooses to not intervene. And of course there’s not only the short term view but the long term impact. Whew! He has a lot to juggle.)

Today I’m thankful for the ability to choose happiness, to choose a positive frame.

Philippians 4:8 (NIV) “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

What are you thankful for?

Not That Kind of Stepmom

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So there might be some truth to the Wicked Stepmother fairy tales after all:

*I once met a man whose memory of his stepmom was that she was very harsh and unkind.  As an adult he could still remember how difficult his relationship was with her.  Choked up, blinking back tears he would recall how she made him sit at the table and eat food he disliked, until one time he even threw up. He would recall how she was very loving to her own children but very hateful toward him.  As a grown man, this recollection still brought much hurt to him.

*I once met a child who was beside herself with sadness because she didn’t understand why her stepmom didn’t love her or at least like her. “What is wrong with me?  What’s so unlovable?”

*I met a grown woman who said she would have given anything to have had her stepmom say some positive things to her when she was a child.  As an adult, you could tell her heart still ached.

*I met a grown man who wondered why his stepmom tried to keep his dad away from him.  As an adult this was still confusing and upsetting to him.  Why would she have tried to keep them apart all of these years?

Stepfamily life can be rough for everyone, a stepmom included.  We stepmoms can deal with drama, custody battles, loyalty conflicts, outsider status, blending, and parental alienation.  Don’t forget, Rule Number One in the Stepmom Club – no judging of other stepmoms!  So, no judgment here, but in regards to my choices about the kind of stepmom I choose to be, the vision I have for my family, for the welfare of all of my kids….my vow is that I will not be that kind of stepmom.  My stepkids will know they had a place in my home and that they were loved (even if they choose not to love back or love in their own way).  I will not be the kind of stepmom who grows up kids to bear that kind of rejection and grief.  I will not be that kind of stepmom.

Today I am grateful for the stepmoms I know who are making AMAZING impacts in their stepkids’ lives.  Loving them, including them, making a place for them in their homes and in their hearts.

Proverbs 17:17 (NIV): “A friend loves at all times…”

What are you thankful for today?

 

 

 

The Outside Stepmom

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If you’re a stepmom, you know what “outsider status” means.  You know that you can often be lonely and not completely included in your own family, in your own house.  Sometimes even outright ignored when you’re standing right there in the room.  I’m not gonna lie:  after many years of being in a blended family…it still hurts my feelings every time.  Thankfully, with the blending process it happens less often now.

And maybe in the growing toward becoming a seasoned stepmom, one realizes that as much as it smarts, it’s just how stepfamilies are.  It’s an adjustment that stepmoms make as they learn that there are lots of people in the family with different relationships, perspectives, experiences, and emotions.  As a non-biological parent you just won’t be included as much (in most cases).  It’s just a reality.

Take this for example.  Stepkid says to stepmom:  “You can’t be in this conversation because it doesn’t involve you.”  Ouch.  My biological kids would never speak to me that way.  But (gulp), my stepkid is right!  Not every conversation should include a stepmom.  Sometimes the whole family should be included, sometimes just the biological parent(s), and sometimes there are conversations just between the stepkiddo and stepparent as the relationship grows.  But as a stepparent, I’m not entitled to enter into each part of my stepkids’ lives.  I’m to be given respect (and my husband makes sure that is known), but I’m not entitled to be in all parts of my stepkids lives. And that kinda sucks for me to be excluded.  And at the same time, my kids all deserve a special intimate relationship with their parents.  That should be preserved. And I don’t need to horn in on it, even when it smarts.

Today I’m thankful for my stepmom friends.  They get it.  They go through the same things.  And I’m so encouraged to see stepmom groups forming all over the country.  Power to the stepmoms for supporting each other!

Galations 6:2 (NIV):  “Carry each other’s burdens…”

What are you thankful for today?