The Empowered Stepmom

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We stepmoms have a lot to navigate.  We have a lot of uncertainty and questions.

Am I supposed to feel love for my stepkids?  How much love and when does this happen?  Is it a different love than I have for other people?  Is that ok?  And if they don’t even like me, am I still supposed to love them?

Am I supposed to be nice/forgiving/tolerant to my husband’s ex wife even though she has wronged us (and maybe continues to do so)?

Is it normal to feel jealous when my husband spends time with his kids?

Or maybe:  The fur is still flying, the battle lines are drawn, it’s cat-and-dog around here…and as a stepmom you’re not sure of your role.

In Philippians 2:13 (NLT), we learn:  “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”

This is huge!  This means I don’t have to do this on my own.  I have a big God who is bigger than any problem, who actually helps me and empowers me to be the kind of wife, mom, and stepmom I am meant to be. He is working in me.

Today I am thankful that God is growing me.

What are you thankful for?

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The Big Stepmom

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When blended family stresses arise, and I am tempted to give nastiness back, or give drama back, to whoever gave it to me.  In these times, my husband provides support with his wise words.  “You are bigger than that.”  And my world stops, I take a breath, I regroup, and realize he is right.  This stepmom is bigger than the ugliness that can be sent my way.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NKJV):  “Two are better than one… For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.  But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up.”

We did a lot of work, I mean a LOT of work, forming our house rules and boundaries when we first got married.  We had many “closed door meetings,” just me and my husband.  This went on for most of our first year of marriage.  It took dedication and a lot of discussion.  We discussed the vision we had for our family and how we would deal with stress.

Today I am thankful for this foundation and the support of my husband!

What are you thankful for today?

The Fed Up Stepmom

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As a stepmom does it ever seem like you have trouble heaped upon you?  (Are you laughing and saying to yourself, “yeah, all the time!”).  Stepmoms can be the target of anger from ex-wives, step kids and even their husbands.  There are a lot of emotions and different perspectives from each family member, and the ex, in the midst of the blending process.  There are great times in a blended family, then there are also difficult times.  A stepmom can get tired of the drama, the conflict, and the chaos.  What’s a fed up stepmom to do? When my husband and I are weighed down by negative things thrown our way, we turn to scripture.  Here are some Bible verses where we find rest.

We try to keep perspective.  It’s not really that any individual person is trying to harm us, we know the truth because the Bible says “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12 NIV).  This helps us focus our prayer where it needs to be, and avoid negative thoughts about any one person.

And we remember how the Bible tells us to treat those who hurt us.  Romans 12:20 (MSG) says “Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.”

Today I am thankful that I can get a heavenly perspective in a difficult situation.

What are you thankful for today?

The Mama Bear Stepmom

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We’ve all had our tough times with our stepkids, haven’t we, ladies?  I remember some really tough patches with my eldest especially.  She was at that textbook-rough adolescent time in life when her parents divorced, then her dad met me, her world was upside down, and the last thing she needed was some stepmom she never asked for.  And let me tell you…she let me know.  Often.  Life is rough enough with one’s own biological teenagers.  Try it with a step-teenager!  One of my favorite memories was going to NYC with her.  I had the privilege of taking her to her first ever Broadway play (and she is a drama nut, so this was a big deal).  I will treasure that evening.  But, during the rest of the trip we had our difficult moments (e.g. “Do we have to keep walking through this darn park?”  yes, um, it’s Central Park…most people would die for this experience).  Well, one day we were in a drug store buying whatever we had forgotten to pack.  I stepped away for a moment, leaving her in the checkout line.  And a big city New Yorker cut in line, practically pushed my stepkid aside, and butted in line in front of her.  I remember the look on her face.  She wasn’t sure what to do, she looked hurt and confused.  I didn’t have my own biological kids at the time…but inside me, something surged!  I needed to protect that child.  I promptly ran over and told that person that my kid was next.  And we stepped in front of him in line.  Look, she might be difficult at times (aren’t we all), she might be negative toward me, she might reject me, she might dismiss me…but she is MY negative, rejecting, dismissive, tough kid.  Not that New Yorkers’ kid.  So, watch out…even a stepmom without kids of her own can have a Mama Bear inside her.  This is when I realized my bond with my kids. I didn’t know I had a Mama Bear! I realized that my bond with my stepkids was not contingent on them reciprocating.  This Step-Mama Bear was going to love them, protect them and care for them.

I Corinthians 13:7-8 (NIV) talks about love:   “It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.”

Today I am thankful that God showed me how to love and protect people that are not my own, and how to trust in Him in this stepmom journey.

What are you thankful for today?

p.s. I have lots of amazing “big city New Yorker” friends, so no slam intended there!

p.p.s. I am happy to report the toughness of adolescent stepkids can morph into a beautiful relationship with time, maturity, consistency and God’s hand in the mix.