The Stepmom with Confused Stepkids

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One of the saddest outcomes post-divorce can be that kids have a hard time discerning truth from untruth.  These kids can get different messages from mom and dad.  It’s hard for them to know what’s true.  They can grow up uncertain of what’s real, what they can really believe, and who they can really believe.  They can become young adults uncertain about many things and with trust issues.

As a stepmom I pray often for truth to be revealed.  Truth about the character of all involved, truth about what really occurred in various situations, ability for my stepkids to discern truth from intentional (or unintentional) falsehood, truth about healthy marriage, truth about healthy parenting. And of course for my stepkids to love and respect all involved parents (warts and all).

I believe stepmoms are called to do godly work in many ways.  First to model healthy marriages by respecting her husband (what a gift to demonstrate this for kids!).  Secondly to love the unloveable, not just the easy.  Thirdly to be selfless (if stepmotherhood isn’t a lesson in acting on everyone else’s best interest and not solely her own, I’m not sure what is!).  Additionally, stepmoms can help kids by being beacons of truth.

I Cor 13:6 says “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” (NIV)

I John 3:18 says “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” (NIV)

By walking in truth, sharing God’s truth, modeling truth about your character and your husband’s character, modeling truth about what your family stands for…and consistently doing so will help your stepkids see and recognize truth.  It may take awhile but God promises when we walk in His will, all things (not just some things) work together for good (Romand 8:28).  And stepmom – you are here to do some good!

Today I’m thankful that God tells us to love on others by actions and TRUTH.

What are you thankful for?

 

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The Stepmom Who Heard Voices

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It’s been said that we all hear a little voice in our head talking to us from time to time.  That little voice that tells us things.  Some say it’s like a tape we hear over and over.  (Tape as in tape cassette.  Yeah, that dates me, doesn’t it?)

Some tapes say things like:

“This will never get better.”

“This is not what I expected.”

“I can’t seem to do anything right.”

“I’m a failure.”

The good news is that sometimes we can change that “tape” that plays in our minds. Change it into something positive, inspirational.  Being a stepmom can be challenging for sure.  So, maybe, just maybe, we can make another “mix tape” to play in our minds.  (Back in the day…making mix tapes in the 80’s was super cool, even better when someone made one for you!  Maybe a little Prince, The Cure, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Journey, The Bangles….oh man, those were the days.  Anyway, I digress!).

Here are some ideas for my (and maybe your) new “mix tape” to play over & over:

“I am more precious than rubies.”  (Proverbs 3:15)

“I am strong and courageous.”  (Joshua 1:9)

“I am beautiful and wonderfully made.”  (Psalm 139:14)

“No matter what I go through, God is with me and protecting me.”  (Isaiah 43:2)

“All things work together for good for those that love the Lord” (Romans 8:28)

Today I am thankful that I can choose to listen to the “mix tape” of His truths and promises, not that little voice in my head or the messages the world gives!

What are you thankful for?

 

 

 

 

 

The Stepmom Who Shared

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Our son is four and he’s at the age when he’s learning to share.  He loves sharing his toys with his sister and teaching her about taking turns.

Tonight I came home and saw that my husband and son were snuggling in our giant bean bag chair.  They were having a great time watching a movie, eating popcorn and ice cream too!  When I tried to horn in on their boy time, my husband jokingly objected.

My husband:  “No, you can’t join us.  I’m snuggling with him, this is OUR time!”

My son:  “Daddy, share!”

Me:  “Daddy did share, honey.  He shared this movie with you, the ice cream and the popcorn.  You guys had a great time sharing all of this.”

My son:  “no Mommy, I mean Daddy should share ME with you.”

And of course we assured him that we would. He’s our “ours baby” and we definitely share him.  But part of me couldn’t help but wonder what this scenario is like for stepkids.  How often must they wish for their parents to share them more nicely?  How often do they feel they have to choose one parent over the other?  And how well can they really experience the joy of having their parents share in their lives when their parents are not in the same house or if they can’t get along for five minutes?

And so I stepped out of my Me-ness and remembered what their experience might be like, or should I say imagined what at least a sliver of what their experience might be like.

Today I’m thankful for the lessons I learn through being a stepmom, those of empathy and remaining tenderhearted in a fallen world.

Romans 12:15b (NIV)  “…mourn with those who mourn.”

Ephesians 4:32 (NKJV) “ And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

What are you thankful for today?

 

 

 

The Crazy Stepmom

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Stepmoms deal with a lot of stressful situations.  No one prepares us.  Maybe there should be marriage vows that account for this (“For better or worse, even if the ex-wife threatens to ruin your marriage, takes you to court umpteen times, makes up lies about you, and if you get blamed by the ex and stepkids for stuff you had absolutely nothing to do with…do you still take this man to be your husband?”).

Have you heard about High Conflict Divorce?  Parental Alienation?  High Conflict Ex-Wives?  Ever wonder if you’re dealing with some of that?  Here are some examples:

  • Your husband’s ex-wife has a melt down because one of your real-life friends won’t accept her friend request on fake-life social media. (Reality check:  sometimes people take sides in divorce, and sometimes there’s good reason.  Forgiveness is still possible, but we might not all be BFFs).
  • The ex-wife “forbids” her children from being social media friends with their dad or you.  This might sound silly, but it’s a way of cutting off contact between a parent and child – and that’s not a small thing.  (By the way, I thought only royalty had the power to “forbid”?)
  • The ex-wife does a little investigation, finds out what you are buying your stepson for his birthday…then buys the same exact thing and scoops you by giving it to him the day before you do.  (One more ruined holiday, thanks.)
  • The ex-wife keeps the kids up late and takes them to so many fun events on her days, that after the exchange they are too tired to do anything of quality in your house other than nap and do homework (which never seems to get done at her house).
  • The ex-wife has threatened your husband (e.g. “if you don’t abide by my rules, I will make sure that no woman ever stays with  you”…and what’s funnier is that she left him years ago, so why does she care about any woman in his life?).
  • She has confronted you or your husband in public and caused a scene (your front yard, a place of business, in front of the kids’ school, etc).
  • She goes ballistic when not invited to your husband’s extended family events. (Maybe she forgot that she is no longer in his family and is no longer the wife?).
  • She conveniently forgets to tell you about school events, recitals, sports events all together or until last minute…and you miss out on important things. (And then your husband’s kids think “dad doesn’t care about us, he never shows up”.)
  • The ex-wife subtly but consistently convinces the kids to dislike/hate you and their dad.  Instead she tells them she is all they need, she is the only real parent, and the only one who really cares about them (oh, nevermind how well you care for them, provide for them, or how kind you and dad are…she twists the truth).
  • When you’re on a date with your husband, ex-wife texts 10+ times (and he finally has to shut his phone off).

This is some stressful stuff that can be crazy-making for any stepmom and her husband.  Stepmom, don’t let the cray-cray stuff drive you crazy.  Set some boundaries.  Boundaries can be a great thing.  Talk with your husband and set the boundaries that are healthy for your family.

Remember you are strong and can get through this.  And maybe someday you can be a support to others because you got through tough times. God has good plans for you.

Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV) says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Today I’m thankful for the strength that comes from above.

What are you thankful for?

The Hateful Stepmom

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It’s no secret that stepfamily life can be stressful.  There can be  battles over whose day it is, whose holiday it is, who gets to pick vacation dates first, exactly what time pick up is, who has to pay for what.  Of course the fall out of these things is that you might not get to see your whole family on a holiday or vacation, or you might have chaos as you juggle your schedule trying to exchange the kids.  Your date night could get cancelled while you try to figure out logistics.  And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, right?

During stressful times, I have been tempted to go to a hateful place.  I hate to admit it (pun intended), but I have struggled with questions like:

* Do I hate my husband’s ex-wife?

* Do I hate my husband for getting me into this?

As a Christian this was concerning to me because the Bible is clear that “ Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen” (1 John 4:20 NIV).

We live in a society where we “love” lots of things and we “hate” lots of things. These words are tossed around a lot.  I love cookies!  I love ombre hair!  I love that new TV show.  Or I hate my hair.  I hate skinny jeans.  I hate working out.  You get the point.

In this blending process I have learned that there are things and situations I dislike, but not people I hate.  I am more careful now to dissect situations and realize that people may choose to engage in behaviors that I might not like or make choices that would not be my first choice, but that doesn’t mean that I hate the person.

I have asked God to give me a soft heart.  A heart that has compassion for my husband as he navigates tough situations.  And a heart that recognizes his ex-wife is a precious child of God, with many lovely qualities.  And God keeps his promises.

In Ezekiel 36:26 (NIV) it says:  “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”

Today I am thankful for the work He has done in my heart, that only He could do.

What are you thankful for?

The Stepmom Who Wrote a Love Note

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I think I have been blogging for one year now!  How time flies.

In my journey as a stepmom, I have found it helpful to focus on what I can be thankful for, rather than the stressors in blended family life.  And maybe by blogging about it, it’s sending some positivity into the universe.  God knows stepmoms need any little crumbs of positivity they can get!

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.  Each year at Valentine’s Day I take the opportunity to write a love note to each of my stepkids.  I suppose this originated because it was not well-received for me to express love to them, especially early on.  I was not the mom, not the dad…so what place did I have to express such things to them?  It was probably awkward for all of us.  Valentine’s Day seemed like the perfect excuse to squeeze this in.  After all, the whole world expresses love and gives treats on Valentine’s Day.

So each year I spend some time thinking about each kiddo as Valentine’s Day approaches.  I am thoughtful about what I admire about each one, what is special about each kid, and how wonderfully God has created each one.  I put this in a letter for each kiddo.  I hope that this sticks in a little corner of each kid’s heart & mind.  I hope it helps each one grow up healthy.  I hope it cements the idea that one more person in their life thinks they are amazing human beings and loves them (regardless of the stress and dynamics of blending families).  That independent of that whole messiness…they are wonderful, and that is the bottom line.

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.”

Today I am thankful that I can see that truth even in the messiness.

What are you thankful for?

The Bestie Stepmom

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I had the pleasure of meeting a lovely young lady recently. She was probably in her late 20’s or early 30’s. She told me about her four parents. Her mom and stepdad; her dad and stepmom. She went on to tell me about her biological siblings, her half siblings and her step-siblings. She’s got a lot of people in her blended family. And she loves them all.

Not all of us are so lucky. Not all families work that way. Some families are high conflict and less blended. Some have more parental alienation, less cooperation, more narcissism…you name it. She and her family are very fortunate.

But wait…there’s more. I hope you’re sitting down. While she loves all four parents, she is closest with her stepmom in many ways. Yes, you read that right: her stepmom! Her stepmom is her go-to person. Her number one confidante. Her number one advice giver.

As a stepmom, this story delighted me. You mean a stepmom can go from The Evil Stepmom to Bestie? (Are pigs flying?)

I don’t mean to imply that I hope my step kids love me more than they love their mom. I don’t mean that I hope someday they will choose me over her in certain matters. But this is a beautiful story of hope, love, and healing. And this stepmom loved hearing all about it.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV): Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Today I’m thankful for the encouraging story a stranger shared with me. Such a blessing.

What are you thankful for?