The Blended Tribe

Mother’s Day Countdown

Now that Easter is over….next up….MOTHER’S DAY! Oh, the joy of Mother’s Day as a Stepmom. I have two kids of my own, so Mother’s Day isn’t as difficult for me as it is for some Stepmama’s out there. I have faith that at some point on Mother’s Day my stepkids thought about me, and I’m good with that in itself.
I know that it’s hard for stepmoms out there that don’t have their own kids, and my heart goes out to you all ♥   You put your love, sweat, and tears into your stepkids and all you want is a little recognition. You’re expected to play mom, but not get any credit on a day that is all about mom because you didn’t give birth to them. Everything about that sucks!


I challenge you NOT to let Mother’s Day get you down this year!
Here are some ideas of how to avoid Mother’s Day gloom:

1) Focus on your Mom that day-Show your mama some love!

2) Plan a day of pampering yourself and show yourself a little love. Hey, you’re a stepmom, and you deserve to be pampered and treated special on Mother’s Day. Plan a spa day for yourself, go shopping for yourself, treat yourself. If nobody else is going to do it, then make it happen for yourself! You deserve it!

3) Do you have other stepmom friends? I think it would be fun to have a little stepmom gathering on this day and celebrate not being celebrated together:) Go to lunch together or drink a bottle (or two) of wine while supporting one another through this day. You’re not alone!

 

I think the most important thing is to plan it out. You know that this day is coming, and don’t expect anything. Plan for yourself and avoid any sadness or heartbreak that might be attached to this day for you. If you get down in the dumps, know that you are letting other people win and control your day. Don’t allow that to happen!

 

I would love to know some of your Mother’s Day traditions with your stepkids. Do you celebrate or not?

Goodbye 2018!

Two thousand eighteen was a good year. Am I happy to see it go…..yes! My husband told me a couple of weeks back that this was one of his best years to date. I don’t know if this was one of my best years, but it wasn’t horrible, and I ‘m glad we survived it together.

I must say that I’m excited for 2019 and what it has to offer. I do have some personal goals that I want to work on this year. My big goal is that I take the time now that I’m settled in this blended living, to make time for other people. It has been about five years since my divorce, and I feel like since that time I have become so consumed in myself, my kids, and then surviving this new life that I’ve created. I finally feel like I can breathe, and now it’s time to be there more for my friends and family outside of my little home. I need to be better about remembering Birthdays and special events; these were all things that I was good at one time in my life. It’s time to get that back! This particular thing has been on my heart for the past few months, so I’m determined to make it happen this year.

I’m excited for 2019, and I adore the tribe of people that I have around me. I’m busy, so I may take a little longer to respond to your questions and comments, but I will respond. I am so grateful for all the kind words, and encouragement I get on this journey. I also can’t tell you how much I appreciate you trusting my advice and asking for it. It’s a continual learning experience for all of us, and I’m grateful that we have one another to bounce ideas off of and to support one another.

 

CO-RAISING KIDS WHEN YOU DON’T AGREE

 

 

Trying to raise kids when you have different parenting styles, discipline styles, completely different backgrounds and more differences than similarities is ridiculously hard. I feel like a big part of the time when you have kids with a person you are a little on the same track as far as parenting goes. What happens when you’re not though? Or what happens when your parenting style has changed since having to raise kids on your own and now raising kids in a larger, blended family?? What happens when one parent wants their kids to be in certain activities or sports, and the other parent doesn’t? This problem isn’t as hard when you have your kids the majority of the time, but when you share 50/50, this can be a battle. Here are a few things that I’m learning as I go:

 

⇒ If you’re religious at all, make sure that you take the time to pray about the situation. Make sure that you’re checking your heart and doing things with the right motive or intent. Also, make sure that you are taking the time to pray beforehand about receiving news well from your ex, and pray that you handle it with grace.

⇒ Don’t take things personally as a parent. It’s not our business to know what all is going on with schedules, behaviors, family issues, health issues in the other parent’s home. Sometimes(hopefully always) a “no” isn’t meant to be mean to the other parent. Just because one thing works out for one house, doesn’t necessarily mean that same thing is going to work out for the other house. The bottom line is, not everything is about you so don’t make it about you.

⇒ If it’s going to have an impact on the other parent’s schedule, then you always need to consult the other parent first. I’ve made this mistake in the past, and now looking back on it, it wasn’t cool, and I’ve since apologized to my ex about it (which is NEVER fun). I think we get so caught up into wanting the best and more for our kids that we don’t think about the bigger picture. Especially if they aren’t missing out on a lot of things, the bottom line is that the kids aren’t going to be able to do every little thing they want to do, and I think that even if that’s not fair, it’s part of being raised in a split family.

 

These are the few things I’ve learned so far. The kids always have to come first, but you also have to do what’s best for your family as a whole. Don’t feel bad about saying no if it doesn’t work for you, but make sure you’re doing what’s best for that child.

 

To read more about co-parenting from a different point of view, read this guest post by Lauren McKinley for more co-parenting insight.

 

♥ The Blended Tribe

 


 

CHANGES & LIFE EVENTS: BLENDED STYLE

 

 

We all know some of the significant stressors in life, you know, the events that cause some kind of stress on us either good or bad.
⋅Death
⋅Divorce
⋅Moving
⋅Loss of Job
⋅Marriage
⋅New Baby

So how would these events not have a significant impact on kids going through them? Right now in our house, we have all four kids dealing with huge life changes at the other parent’s house. How does this affect our kids and in turn us? It affects us by our kids having emotions, thoughts, feelings, attitudes that carry over to our house when they are with us.

Here is what I’m learning through the process….

1. As the parents, be a little more sensitive during this period with the kids. Once I was able to put two and two together, I was able to realize that the kids might need a little more love, attention, and understanding during this time. We’re not letting them get away with things, but we are trying to be a little more sensitive to their needs at this time.

2. Life goes on as usual in our house. We will be sensitive, but nothing changes in our household. We continue with our schedule, chores, and so on. Keep consistent with your normal activities and rules. Kids thrive on consistency and normalcy so keep that up when you have them.

3. Let the kids know you are available and will to talk about any feelings they might have about whats going on. Let them vent or let them express their feelings while not inputting yours. You are only a safe place for them to express what they are feeling and dealing with.

These are the few things I’ve noted so far going through this process with the kids. I will make sure to share if anything else comes up.
It’s all about learning in this crazy house, and it can be exhausting sometimes, but I think we will all turn out better for it.

 

 

♥ The Blended Tribe


 

BE GRATEFUL FOR THE CHALLENGE

Challenge

I listened to a great message yesterday. It hit me hard especially after having a very revealing week. We went to our counseling session on Tuesday, and it was a doozy for me. The counselor finally asked me a little about my past marriage, and after explaining it to her, it ended in her telling me some fascinating things about my previous relationship and what I’m suffering with now as a result of it. I’ll share more about this in another post. It hit me pretty hard though, and I’ve kept quiet for a little bit after finding out the information that I did.  Just need some time to reflect and wrap my head around it all.

Fast forward to church yesterday…….we had a guest speaker. He started talking about how the things that are crippling in our lives are in fact the things that we need to be most thankful about. He was basically saying that the people in our lives that have wronged us are the people that we are learning the most from. The most challenging people that we deal with are the people that are helping us grow and learn. My husband and I had to laugh out loud in church because right away we both know who challenges me the most right now and to start looking at this person as a blessing from God, isn’t the most natural thing to do right at the moment, I’m going to try though.

So, thinking about your past, you can probably quickly think about the people in your life that have wronged you, hurt you, challenged you. Instead of wishing you never would’ve come into contact with that person, be grateful that you did. For through that person you were taught something or are being taught something. It’s a complete shift in thinking. I challenge you to try it and see what happens in your life!

♥ The Blended Tribe


 

DON’T GET PLAYED BY YOUR KIDS!

When your step kid talks crap about the weekend with his other parent, we tell him to stop talking badly about his other parent, and he says “it’s ok because he does the same thing about us when he’s not with us.”
What’s the problem here?!?! We’ve known all along about the crap talking, but hearing him admit it is nice I guess.
DON’T GET PLAYED BY YOUR KIDS!! If they are talking crap to you about the other parent, chances are they are talking crap about you too. Kids are going to try to use any angle they can get. The best way to deal with this situation is to stop them! They have no business being disrespectful to the other parent. You need to let them know you’re not going to tolerate it. We try to turn whatever they are saying into a positive thing. That way we are letting them vent still, but trying to make the child see the positive in what the other parent was trying to do. Or you just stop them and tell them they have no business being disrespectful to another adult, especially their parent. You choose!! Whatever you do, don’t play into it and don’t get played by your kids!

The Reasons Why We See a Marriage Counselor

Do we see a Marriage Counselor? Hell YES, we do!
Why? Well, Why not?!?

Marriage counselor

We started seeing one because we felt it would be beneficial for us to have a non-bias person mediating some of our concerns especially when it comes to the kiddos. We got a referral from somebody we trust and low and behold; she’s a step-mama too!! There are so many positive reasons to go to counseling with your spouse. It will improve relationship satisfaction, and you gain a better understanding of how your spouse feels, it promotes positive ways to resolve conflict, and much more.
With this being both of our second marriage, we have a lot going against us statistically. Neither of us wants to be another statistic when it comes to our marriage and our family. We’re doing everything possible to avoid it from happening again. Hopefully, our determination and love will prevent that from happening a second time, but God only knows that people can drastically change and you have no control over another person thoughts or feelings.
We’re going as a preventative, and so far I think we both are amazed at how much we’ve benefited from it. It’s important to find the right counselor for you and your spouse, so keep looking until you find the right fit. Be selective about who you take advice from; you’re not going to receive marriage advice from somebody who’s been divorced a couple of times and not married, right?!?  Be selective.
If you need a recommendation for counselors in the Five Cities, then hit me up @ brilee4@gmail.com.              ♥ The Blended Tribe

 


 

Why We Should Teach Our Kids Manners

Manners
Money can’t buy you these things

From the day my kids started talking I made sure always to have them say please, thank you, eat with their mouth closed, use table manners, these are all the basics that get you through life….right?!? Yeah, not everybody teaches their kids these things.  Basic manners are not something that’s just going to come to your kids, you have to instill it in them and the younger, the better. Honestly, I started teaching them this in the beginning just because that’s the way my parents raised me, and now more and more I hear from people how polite my children are, and I’m so proud when I hear this. I don’t care about having a straight-A kid. A’s do nothing for me, don’t get me wrong, I do expect my kids to get decent grades, but I don’t need honor roll students. I’m proud of my kids when they’ve done something kind for somebody else, or get a good report about something reflecting their character.
It’s never too late to start teaching your kids manners!! If this is something that’s fallen at the waist side for whatever reason, that’s ok, but start TODAY!!

Teach your kid’s table manners: Eating with their mouth closed, not talking when foods in their mouth, not passing gas at the table. I mean this is not crazy stuff right?!?

Teach your kids to say hello when they are out and see somebody they know along with looking people in the eyes when they are talking to them.

Teach your kids ALWAYS to say please, thank you and excuse me.

Teach your little girls to be ladies and your little guy how to be a gentleman.  Chivalry is dead these days.  Teach your sons to be courteous to others.

please and thank you

These are fundamental tools that I believe we should be instilling in our kids from the beginning. It’s not too early, and it’s never too late to start! So start today! It’s sad, but at this time in age teaching your kids these skills will make them stand out from the rest. And if you’re already showing your kids these things, then THANK YOU!! We all appreciate it!

Three Simple Ways To Put Your Spouse First

 

remarried
Jon & I

Who comes first in a blended family? Your spouse always comes first right?! Spouse before kids can get a little tricky after getting remarried. Parents have a lot of guilt when it comes to their kids and having gone through a divorce. For some period after your divorce, it’s just you and your kids; your kids move to your top priority.  You then bring another person into the mix, and sometimes they bring kids with them…..things can get complicated, and the kids that were once number one are supposed to be number two.  Doesn’t seem like an uncomplicated task right? HA!  Children are a temporary assignment, but your spouse is supposed to be with you a lifetime.

spouse first
Spouse is number one

Spouse is number one!
Marriage first has taken some getting used to for us. The first year was a learning period where we were trying to help the kids adjust the best way possible along with us getting used to this new family we created. Going into year two we slowly figured out that to make this entire thing work, Jon and I need to be number one in each other’s lives. Forget the guilt, forget the kids thinking it’s unfair, forget the negative comments from the kids. This thought was a little foreign to both of us, so we started off slowly, and it seems to get better and better each day.

Here’s what we started doing to put our marriage first:

1. Check in with each other before making big decisions when it comes to the kids. Whether it’s my kids or his, we connect first to make sure we’re on the same page or to discuss why we aren’t on the same page.
2. We try to take a walk each evening just the two of us and connect on our day and what’s going on without the nosey kids listening in or interrupting. The kids will ask to go, and we tell them NO!! If we have to do a separate walk with them we will, but they are coming to terms with this is our daily time to connect, and we need that time. Our walk time has been one of the most beneficial things we started doing. Getting the fresh air and getting away for a brief moment, does a world of good for us.
3. Pray together!! If you’re religious, take the time to pray with your spouse. It takes you to a deeper level with your partner and with God, it’s called spiritual intimacy. I can’t stress this enough. We pray every night together and just started praying in the morning as well. It’s awkward at first, but fight through it, it’s so worth it!

Doing little things in your marriage like these will be a good start in putting your spouse first. These tips apply to all married couples, not just remarried couples in a blended family. The best example you can give your kids is showing them a loving, caring, union between you and your spouse. It gives them security, and it shows them the way that they are supposed to treat their partner when they are older and what they should expect in return.
Also, you don’t have to be perfect in front of your kids. You can argue and disagree in front of them, but make sure you are showing them the proper way to handle the situation and that it’s ok to disagree and still love one another, it’s a good thing for them to witness this as well.

♥ The Blended Tribe


**photo credit: www.weddedfilms.com

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