While growing up cooking was not my favorite sport and to be honest with you, I really only enjoy cooking every once in a while. I think I was born to have a private cook, however I just haven't gotten the money to hire one. Thank God my husband likes to cook. By the way, that's not a picture of my kitchen. Maybe if I had a kitchen like that I would cook more. Whatever my husband says. Anyway, this blog is not really about cooking and the kitchen it's about getting involved in stuff that we may not be able to handle.
Being a stepmom is one of those things. I have heard on numerous occasions that being a stepmom was the hardest job/role some women have ever had to handle in their lives. Having been a stepmom for over 12 years I must concur. Yes I am pretty much over the hump and am doing quite well in the role now, but it wasn't always that way.
While doing a webcast interview with Jim and Teresa Adams (Twitter @FamMatters1st) on my book "One Plus One Equals Ten", Jim commented that reading my book would scare people out of becoming a stepfamily. Because data says that 2 out of 3 remarriages involving children from a previous relationship are destined to fail, there are some people who may not be able to handle the pressures of being in a stepfamily. I am not being harsh, but the last thing you want to do is end up back in divorce court.
I wish I could count the number of times I have heard women say, "Where were you ten years ago before my marriage failed? " Others have commented, "Being a stepmom was not for me because there were too many issues." Still others have said, "If I had it to do over again, I would have waited until his children were grown or I would have not married a man with children."
A while back Jada Pinkett Smith posted a letter on Facebook she had written to a friend who was complaining about being a stepmom. Basically, Jada responded with.... Girlfriend, you knew he had kids when you married him so put on your big girl pants and figure out how to make it work. If you have watched Jada's posts, you see that she is making it work. I don't agree with everything she does but she is rocking the stepmom role.
The question is... Are some women not cut out to be stepmoms? Should you hold off until the children are grown? What do you think?
Meet my new friend and guest blogger for this month Holly Birdwell. As a Mediator, Holly offers great advice on helping parents to co-parent…
Three Advantages of Mediation for Co-Parenting
Maintaining healthy relationships after divorce or separation can be challenging for parents and if not done thoughtfully and free of conflict it can cause more harm for the children than the divorce or separation itself. Mediation can help parents transition to a cooperative child-centered co-parenting relationship.
One: Neutral and confidential environment
Mediation provides a neutral and confidential environment for parents to build a positive co-parenting relationship. A mediator will guide the discussion about co-parenting issues, but does not make decisions or take sides. This allows both parents to discuss their positions and interests for their children and find a middle-ground that works for both parties.
Two: Helps co-parents create effective and positive co-parenting plans
Mediation allows co-parents to remain in control and make decisions about custody, scheduling and planning. Maintaining control over these important issues allows co-parents to create plans that fit the needs of all parties involved. When parents maintain control over these important issues it reduces stress for the parties involved and increases the likelihood that both parents will remain focused on the best interest of the children instead of their own personal interests. Mediation also increases the likelihood that both parents will be satisfied with the outcome because they have both contributed equally to developing a parenting plan that is best for their children and accommodates both families’ unique needs. Co-parenting relationships tend to be more successful when both parents make decisions regarding the important issues about their children instead of leaving such matters for a court to decide.
Three: Decreases conflict and increases children’s sense of security
Mediation helps parents learn effective conflict resolution skills to handle parenting issues that may arise. When parents are working together and modeling positive, effective conflict resolution it increases the children’s sense of security, thereby reducing their stress. The divorce process can be a stressful time for children as they tend to blame themselves, it’s important for the parents to work hard to manage conflict in a positive and effective manner, and prevent children from being exposed to conflict. When parents model positive conflict resolution skills it teaches children to be able to handle conflict in a positive manner as well.
How Does Mediation Work?
Co-parenting mediation is focused on helping parents create a child-centered parenting plan that meets the individual needs of each family and promotes a positive, emotionally safe environment in both homes for the children. The mediator guides the parents to focus on the best interest of the children, the mediator also aims to create a healthy co-parenting relationship between the parents, one in which they will learn to manage conflict effectively, find solutions to co-parenting issues and protect the children from exposure to conflict.
Contact Holly Birdwell, CPM at Eagle River Mediation - www.EagleRiverMediation.com
Guest Blog by friend and fellow author, Richard Crooks.
Or if that’s not enough of a challenge for you, try STEP-parenting! There are all those guides out there to parenting, each with a specific perspective and favorite techniques. And some of them have some really good ideas! I especially like the materials put out by Jim Faye and by Stephen Glenn…but there are plenty of other good ones, too. However, I’ve always thought it would be the most helpful if you could get your kids to read the books, too, so they would know how they are supposed to respond when you implement the strategies!!
In the movie, Saving Mr. Banks, we are presented with individuals who turned out in different ways after tough childhoods; amazingly different responses, in fact. And if you look up the life story of the woman depicted, you discover some parenting issues that arose out of an adoption she did. Truth is, raising kids is just pretty messy, isn’t it? While most parents don’t want to admit it, the truth is, none of us really know exactly what we are doing, and spend plenty of time wondering if we made the right choices. We have this child (or children) we love more than anything in the world, but the child did NOT come with a set of specific instructions. And since we know that God created each of us to be unique beings, even if there were such guidebooks, they would always have to be tweaked and adapted to the unique child who is yours (which of course is why the Bible has such a wide variety of individuals and examples for us to consider). We do the best we know, and we pray a lot, maybe even attend some seminars and read some books, but there are not easy answers in a one size fits all format. I know great parents whose kids have made very poor choices, and lousy parents who ended up with kids who are some of the greatest people I know. And I know a LOT of adoptive parents and step parents who deal with some very difficult issues.
I was visiting with some dear, dear friends in recent days who have just lost a young adult son in an automobile accident. (Say a prayer for them….God knows their names.) Life is so unpredictable, isn’t it? We talked about choices our children make, and we talked about lessons we try to instill, then afterwards, visited with another family who have their own issues with adult children and concerns for grandchildren. I also know lots of people who try to step parent effectively, and wrestle with exes who are at odds with them or have different values and priorities, and seek to undermine everything they do.
All of these things led me to the few simple points I’d like to make. First, if you are divorced and having issues with your children, it isn’t legitimate to assume that all the problems are due to the divorce, the step-parent or interference of the ex. Even “perfect” families can have great difficulties in child rearing. Second, again, primarily for those are divorced, it is already difficult enough as it is, don’t complicate it more by dragging children into some kind of war with your ex. Put the kids first, and do you best to leave you personal issues aside. Third, God bless you if you are seeking to be a godly parent raising your children in the best traditions and teachings of the Christian faith. God will honor your choices, even if your children don’t always do so. Fourth, realize life is precious, life is short and life is unpredictable. We only have our children for a season, and it is important that we appreciate and love them with the opportunities we have, for we do not know when those opportunities will cease. Last, and most important of all, as I say so often in my books, pray for your children, knowing that God knows them better than you, loves them more than you, and He doesn’t need any kind of guidebook to tell HIM what is best for your children. Trust Him with these precious gifts he had given that we call sons, daughters, step-sons, step-daughters and adopted children. Never underestimate what He can and will do in their hearts and lives.
Find Richard Crooks at www.findinggoddevotionals.com or on Facebook under Finding God in the Seasons of Divorce, or his blog: firstname.lastname@example.org
It's almost May which means Mother's Day is coming soon. For most moms, Mother's day can be fun. When you have younger children, school teachers often assist students with making gifts that don't cost anything. Some of my favorite "school made" gifts include drawings, paper flowers, a ceramic ring holder, picture frame and the lovely plaque pictured on the left. This Mother's Day gift was made by my daughter Addy at school when she could barely etch her name on the back to distinguish hers from all the other ones made by her classmates. I have learned over the years that its not the gift that matters, is the love that the giver is trying to express. I tried to encourage my children to be thoughtful rather than trying to spend the little bit of money they had. Now that they are older and can afford store-bought gifts, it's still the choice of the card that warms my heart, not how much they spend on the gift. Since I know they will ask what I want for Mother's Day, I always keep some ideas in mind to suggest, because they want to make sure they get something l want.
Don't get me wrong, nice gifts are wonderful, because the older I get the more I try to do as much as I can for my own Mother, since she sacrificed so much for me and my siblings when we were growing up. She often went without buying something for herself because she had to buy clothing and other things that we needed. I am grateful to her for what she did for us, so I now want to be a blessing to her.
So as Mother's day is approaching, think about some of keepsake gifts you have collected over the years from your children. What has been some of your memorable gifts or activities? Please leave a comment.
Are you living your dream? Do you remember what your dream is? My husband and I were sitting in a restaurant in Oklahoma the other night trying to find something on the menu that worked for our fast, when we were approached by a nice lady. The restaurant was featuring a local jazz singer and our table visitor wanted to hear the singer from our side of the room. We engaged in a conversation with her and shared that we live in the Kansas City area, but I was borned a raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
She was excited to hear that I had graduated from "world famous" Booker T. Washington High School and informed me that the singer had attended the same high school, but was about five years younger than me. She left our table and mentioned to the performer our commonalities. She waved and we waved back. Later on during a break, the singer came over to introduce herself indicating her brother grraduated in my class. I immediately knew the family and inquired how the brother was doing. Then I remembered that their mother had been my favorite literary/english teacher.
My mind went back to high school where Mrs. Ungerman had read my first short story entitled "My Fishing Trip", later retitled "Falling in the Water," and strongly encouraged me to think about writing someday. Now I remember, she was the first one to plant the seed in me to become a writer someday. This dream has remained tucked deep in my heart since she first inspired me. I then wanted to share the news with Mrs. Ungerman that I had published my first book, only to learn that she passed away several years ago. I was saddened that I could not thank her personally for inspiring me.
Who has planted the seeds for your dream? Whether or not you have achieved your dream, take the time to thank those who have encouraged and inspired you to be the best you can be. It may be a parent, a sibling, a teacher, a minister, church member, a classmate, a friend or a step-parent. Whatever you do, don't miss the opportunity to share with your dream planters how they have made a difference in your life. Do it today!
Now that most of our children are grown, I can count on all of my fingers and toes the number of times I have heard the statement "I'm grown now". This is the statement that so easily comes out of the mouths of used to be children once they turn eighteen. The term is fequently stated when they are ready to do something you may not have agreed with when they were seventeen, like getting a tatoo or a piercing God knows where. Or when they want to stay out all night or go somewhere they couldn't before.
What is the real definition of grown up? I used to think it was when a child turned eighteen. Truth is, they may be an adult now, but they are still part of your budget. The next time I hear the term "I'm grown now", I think I'm going to redefine what grown up is. Meaning... grown ups pay their own cell phone bills, buy their own clothes and cook their own meals.
Oh for the days when our children only played dress up. Now dress up is for keeps. Have you ever thought you misplaced an article of clothing or shoes only later to see them walking out the door on your "grown up" child?
As I handle all of the grown ups we have, all I can do is pray. I try to remember that I did my best to "train up a child in the way he should go." Now I am waiting for the promise "and when he is old he will not depart from it". I better get back to praying.
Janice R Love, Author
First Lady, Mom, Stepmom and Divorce Ministry Coach