Living in a stepfamily means eventually having step-grandchildren. When I first married my husband, he already had one grandson, so I instantly became a grandmother. When we finally had the chance to meet, his mother introduced me as his grandmother. As I attempted to take on a grandmother role, I realized that our grandson already had three grandmothers who were a part of his life. In addition, he had three grandfathers. Boy, I bet he was good and confused.
Children used to have two sets of grandparents, but now due to divorce and remarriage and children being born out of wedlock, children can have numerous grandparents. If you add in the next generation which would be our parents, the number goes up even more.
Last year two of my husband’s children got married and we added three additional grandchildren to our family. Next year, we gain a new granddaughter. Because our new grandchildren live out of state, we haven’t had the opportunity to get to know them. In fact they may not even recognize us as their grandparents because they only met us once at the wedding. We will have to make an extra effort to get to know them.
In the midst of helping children to adjust to stepfamily life, grandparents can play a positive role in helping children to transition. Grandparents are often great at building family unity can provide some stability to a complicated situation. Grandparents are vital in children’s lives. Since my parents lived out of state, my husband’s parents stood in the gap for us. Here are five ways to be great Step grandparents:
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?
Have you ever been accused of nagging too much?
Do you know anyone who nags all the time?
Dictionary.com defines nag as: to annoy or irritate (a person) with persistent fault finding or continuous urging.
Nagging according to the Urban Dictionary is: “A form of moaning: primarily used by women to complain about nearly anything and everything.” Sounds like a definition only a man could come up with.
Curiosity got the best of me and I decided to research what the Bible says about nagging. Believe it or not it mentions nagging or quarrelsome seven times. Four of the seven refer to a quarrelsome wife, so heads up ladies. Here are the four mentioned.
· Proverbs 21:9 and 25:24 (ESV) - It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife.
· Proverbs 21:19 (ESV) - It is better to live in a desert land than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman.
· Proverbs 27:15 (ESV) - A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike.;
Wow, nothing is mentioned about a quarrelsome or nagging husband, only the wife seems to be an issue. Either way, I’m sure I would be bothered by a nagging husband. These scriptures demonstrate that a man prefers peace even at the price of physical discomfort. It is suggested that a man would be better of living in the desert or on the corner of the roof rather than with a nagging woman. I had to laugh because my husband has a fear of heights and has gotten stuck on the roof twice trying to hang Christmas lights before I started bugging him about getting it done.
In expanding on these scriptures, Matthew Henry’s Bible Commentary states “what a great affliction it is to a man to have a brawling scolding woman as a wife, who upon every occasion, and often upon no occasion, breaks into a passion, and chides either him or those about her, is fretful to herself and furious to her children and servants, and, is both vexatious to her husband.
A nagging wife is even compared to an annoying drip. My husband has gotten out of the bed to stop a dripping faucet because it irritated him greatly. Early in our marriage as a stepfamily, I found myself asking him several times to tell his children something on my behalf. If I didn't think he was doing as I had asked, I would ask him again, with a little more high pitch in my voice. Even now he has mentioned that I don't ask one question, I rapidly fire them off. Uh oh, is he secretly accusing me of nagging? I better check that out.
So what’s the solution when we need to get information from our spouses or get some things done? You know, if they would just do what they are supposed to do, we wouldn’t have to complain right? The answer is as simple as communication 101 for couples. Learn to communicate in a positive, non-accusatory tone of voice and don’t forget your body language. Remember, it’s not necessarily what you say, it’s how you say it. If you
speak in a tone of voice that indicates quarreling or repeat the same question
over and over or ask questions in a condescending manner you may be accused of
nagging. Better go check the roof.
As a Christian counselor, when my husband provides premarital counseling, he will most always give the couple a temperament assessment and then expend much energy helping them to understand not only themselves, but their mates' dispositions. Part of helping them to understand their makeup involves open discussion of their views and beliefs about money, and encouraging them to have open, honest, conversations about how they plan to manage their finances.
Disagreements about money have been cited as one of the major reasons first time couples divorce. Living-in-step only complicates financial matters. If minor children are involved, most likely the husband is paying child support and perhaps alimony. The wife may be receiving money from the bio-dad. As a stepfamily, its best to discuss these matters before marriage and lay them all out on the table.
I cannot stress enough the importance of complete disclosure about finances before you marry. Not only should you disclose your current financial situation, but also discuss money management. Do not assume money matters will just work out. Do yourself a favor and take the guesswork out.
Early in our marriage, discussing money appeared to be somewhat of a taboo. As my husband was paying child support, alimony, college expenses, three car payments and car insurance, he would have needed another job to cover the expenses in our household. Since he moved in with me and my children, I continued to cover most of the household expenses. I was okay with that for the most part but there were times when I became angry as I was paying the bills. I felt like too much money was going to the other household. When money was tight I was really frustrated. When his children needed additional expensive items, I felt taken advantage of. I often prayed that I would not say anything to make matters worse. Instead, I dreamed about the day when he would no longer have to pay out so much.
In stepfamilies, emotions will come and go with the monthly exchange of money. When the remarried, non-custodial, bio-dad takes on the responsibility of a new wife, he can feel pulled in different directions. His new wife may have desires and needs that may be neglected because there is little money left. The children may be angry because they have less, and it appears that Dad's new household has more. They may even compare and complain openly. It is possible that the bio-mom may decide to return to court to get additional money when she feels like she and he children are being slighted.
The good news is, the more time goes by, and as children grow up, the closer you get to your financial goals. In the meantime, trust God to provide for you and your family. Remember Philippians 4:29, "God will supply all your needs according to his riches in glory". Be blessed Living-in-step!
For Stepfamilies, Mother's Day can be a day of mixed emotions. As a biological Mother, I am always excited about whatever my children do for me. In fact, just hearing them say Happy Mother's Day and spending time with them makes me smile. When they were younger, they had to depend on their biological father to assist them with card or gift buying etc. As I mentioned in a previous blog, it wasn't about the gift, it was the thoughts and expressions of love that mattered. In biological families, the father will lead the effort to make sure Mom has a wonderful day. Dad will suggest to Mom to relax and he will work with the kids to make it a great day.
In stepfamilies, there may be some confusion about what to do for stepmoms and ex-wives on Mother's Day. The year I remarried, my husband wanted to make sure I had a fabulous day. He inquired of my children if he could assist them with anything and they assured him that they had it taken care of. They had sought help from their biological father because he had always assisted them, even after the divorce. My husband focused solely on assisting his children with purchasing a gift for me. His children struggled with selecting a gift for me because they had not yet gone shopping for their mother and didn't quite know how to ask for their father's assistance. I really didn't have a lot of expectations from his children, because I expected them celebrate with their own mother. I would have been pleased with a phone call.
Since they had been out shopping most of the day Saturday, I was surprised when they came in the door empty handed. Later that night, I asked my husband what his children had purchased for their mother, only to find out nothing had been done. He assumed the older children would have taken care of it. He was wrong. Feeling guilty, I got dressed and went to the store to purchase something for the bio-mom for her children to give to her. This was their first Mother's Day weekend away from their mom. When my stepchildren woke up on Mother's Day at our home and prepared to go to their Mom's house, they were in no mood to wish me a Happy Mother's Day before they saw their own mom.
So many lessons were learned that first year. As a result I have suggestions for stepfamilies: 1) Regardless of whose weekend it is, stepfamilies should follow the standard visitation rule with children being with their biological mother on Mother's Day weekend. 2) The biological father should assist with younger children in purchasing cards, gifts, etc. 3) In stepfamilies, husbands should suggest acknowledging the stepmother, but not force his children to do anything they don't want to do. 4) Stepmoms shouldn't have big expectations from their stepchildren. 5) Regardless of what is done for you as a stepmom, be appreciative.
With all that being said, I hope everyone has a wonderful day. "Happy Mother's Day".
I love hats and wear them whenever I have a chance. On Saturday, I had the opportunity to attend a "tea party" complete with hats and gloves. It was a wonderful occasion. There were hats of all kinds, in every color imagineable. I was running late so I didn't have an opportunity to run by the house and pick up my hat, however when I arrived the hostess (a hat lover) had an assortment of hats at the front door so that everyone could participate. What a fabulous time we had.
As I looked at all of the lovely hats in the room, it reminded me of all of the hats we have to wear as women. We are moms, stepmoms, wives, daughters, grandaughters, aunts, sisters, church members and co-workers. How do we manage to do it all? For myself, it requires getting up early in the morning and praying for the strength and the wisdom to make it through the day. I start out with my wife and stepmom hat on and then switch to my work hats. During the day, I had to switch to my mom hat when my son sent me a text asking me how to make fish tacos and my daughter asked me how she was going to get all of her clothes home for the summer break. As I shared with a co-worker, I modeled my friend hat. End of the work day and back home to change hats again and you get the picture. Hopefully as I try to model all of these hats I can achieve the gifts of the Proverbs 31 woman, "Her clothes are well made and elegant, and she always faces tomorrow with a smile." (Proverbs 31: 25 The Message).
Well it's time to take off my blogging hat and put the wife one back on. Happy Hat Wearing!
One of the challenges of living-in-step is being labeled a "STEPFAMILY". Once married, you are either a "Stepmom" like myself, a "Stepdad", or if you are a child, you become a "Stepchild". Let's face it. No one has ever celebrated becoming a stepchild, because of all of the negative connotations associated with the word step.
How often have you heard someone say ..."They treat me like a stepchild!? In other words, meaning you are treated badly. Or, have you ever heard of the "wicked Stepmom?" Since fairytale days, Stepmoms have been portrayed as Cruella Deville, who rode in on her magic broom to sweep the man off of his feet. Once she puts the spell on the man, she then convinces him to send his children off to boarding school, never to be seen again.
Okay world, I'm tired of step-people taking a bad rap. It's time for all stepfamilies to take a stand. It's time to take STEP to a new level. Let's not call ourselves "stepfamilies or blended families anymore. I recommend we call ourselves Step+families. Why the plus sign? The plus sign repesents positive. Plus means: with the addition of; a surplus, or gain. Plus is synonymous with the words: Advantage, Bonus, Benefit, Good things. Not to mention the + sign is the symbol of the cross.
Are you starting to get the picture?. Stop thinking of your family as being less than, and begin to celebrate living-in-step. Let's start a campaign to change our titles. I am no longer just a Stepmom, I am now a Step+mom. I'm beginning to like the sound and sign of it. Let me know what you think, but I'm feeling better already!
Throughout our lives, we can manage to make many mistakes. Some of them are minor such as wearing mix matched socks, which no one may notice, while some can be devastating and in plain view of everyone. The life changing ones may live in the forefront of our minds causing us to have regret and sorrow about our past. We then beat up on ourselves and wish we could go back and fix things.
In my own life as I am learning more about what it takes to have a strong marriage, the more I realize the mistakes I made in my first marriage. I did not keep my vow of 'for better or worse." When worse came, I wanted out.
Romans 8:28 (my favorite scripture) reminds us that "all things towk together for our good." God has taken my past mistakes and even the things I did right and weaved them into something beautiful and wonderful that is now a blessing to others. Step with Love Ministries was born out of pain and suffering as we attempted to manage our stepfamily on our own. Once we turned it over to God, He turned our sorrow into joy and triumph. My past failures are now a source of blessing to others who have made mistakes that ended in divorce and remarriage.
John 9:34 - "The leaders told the man, "You have been a sinner since the day you were born. Do you think you can teach us anything?" Then they said, "you can never come back into any of our synagogues.
Failure is an excellent teacher and can equip you to minister to others who may be going down the same road. I love the life God has given me and I am thankful, he turned my mess into a message!
On last monday while watching the presidential inauguration, I heard the announcer refer to Dr. Jill Biden as the "Second Lady." In all my life even as the First Lady of a church, I have never heard anyone officially named the "Second Lady." I did some research and found that it is an informal title given to the wife of the Vice President of the United States. Okay, I learned something new today.
Not long after my husband and I married, the church assigned me a wonderful parking space right next to his assigned space. They placed a lovely parking sign in front of it which read "First Lady". Just like my husband Pastor, I had my very own parking space at the church. The funniest thing happened when my stepdaughter read the sign for the first time. She immediately asked her dad why it read "First Lady" instead of "Second Lady". She kindly informed him that her biological mom was the first lady and I was the second. I laughed when I realized that the question was innocent and not intended to harm.
Truth is, our children and stepchildren will use whatever words and descriptions to try and explain what is going on in their lives when families are living-in-step. Yes, there are times when some words are intended to harm, but don't automatically assume you are being attacked. Don't take offense at every slightly uncomfortable statement. Look at the heart and pick your battles.
By the way, did you know that our Second Lady is the first second lady to hold a paying job while her husband is Vice-President of the United States?
Janice R Love, Author
First Lady, Mom, Stepmom and Divorce Ministry Coach