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?

Happy Easter 2019!

I hope each one of you had a wonderful Easter weekend!

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

 


 

Blended Fam **Guest Post**

I truly believe that blended families are THE BEST KEPT SECRET. Yes, everyone knows about blended families and the blessings and horrors of step-parents and kids, right?! But the amount of work both physically and emotionally is astounding to me. And there’s really no way to describe it without living it. I’ve tried explaining it to my friends who are still “blissfully” in their first marriage. I try to describe being a newlywed, the pressures of having kids, jobs, dealing with ex’s and their families, and total strangers now family, not to mention someone is in a new home or everyone is in a new space along with which dishes to keep or get rid of and keeping emotional values for things in check and re-evaluated…. all bundled into one year and usually within 6 months. It’s really a hard concept to grasp.

How did you two meet and how long have you been married?

Our story begins in 1983…. for real…. 1983. My family had moved from northern Oklahoma to Southern Oklahoma my 7th-grade year of school. Andy and I were in the same church affiliation. In 1984 we ‘dated’ for about 2-3 weeks …and held hands once. Very scandalous, haha. I always knew he had a special place for me; I just didn’t know how much. Life went on after our ‘trist.’ We were always friends and just lived our lives.

Andy is 2 years older than me, and he just disappeared one day. I now know he had joined the Army. We went our separate ways living our very different lives. I remember about 10-12ish years ago when FB was becoming a thing, I found him there and asked how he was doing… he had just begun his divorce, but that was all the contact we had.

Fast forward, and I found myself divorced with four teenagers and zero help from my ex….like zero. I had been a stay at home mom and was working at providing for these kids and starting some sort of a career… I had no ‘warning shot’ from my ex…one day we were great, the next he was moving out. So it was a little like throwing a toddler into the deep end and saying “swim!”.

I had been single for about two years, and it had been my birthday and my son who is serving

a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-Day Saints had sent the cutest picture saying Happy Birthday Mom on a wipe board. I had posted it on Instagram and FB. I had been on a TERRIBLE date the weekend before and I remember just being tired. You know we’ve all been there. So what do tired mommies do?! They get pizza and sit and scroll Instagram of course! Haha… I noticed Dru had liked my picture….but I had no idea who Dru was…he has always been Andy to me. I clicked on his profile and figured out it was him.

I messaged him on a whim and suggested we meet for dinner sometime (ensuring he was still single), we made a date for that Friday (it was Tuesday). We ended up texting for about four days till our date. We played ’20 questions’ to get to know one another again. He picked me up for a movie that Friday and we joke that we’re still on our first date. It all went VERY fast. That was April 21st and we married June 30th. So yea…. FAST. But we knew our foundation backgrounds and we knew we wanted the same things out of this life and decided we each felt the other was worth the work.

Our issues with blending a family can, on paper, really seem like humble bragging. But looking at it deeper, they are our own personal struggles.

How old are each of the children that you brought into the marriage?

My husband has two children, and I have 4. His ‘bookend’ mine. He has a 24-year-old, and then I have a 20, 19, 18, and 15-year-olds, and then his daughter is our caboose at 13 years old. They are great kids that are happy we found each other again. My stepson may have given me one of the best compliments when he told me the life we created in the last year is what he’s always wanted and hoped.

My husband had been single for eight years and had vowed never to be married again, and had not even been dating in those eight years. So his mindset was VERY independent and VERY single. His older son was already out of the house, and he had a daughter whom he shared physical custody with…so he wasn’t used to actual bodies around him all the time. He’s also an introvert, so the instant amount of people around…ALL the time was monumental for him.

I have full physical and legal custody of my children. Their dad literally doesn’t even talk to them (their choice because of his choices)… so they are with me 24/7. My husband’s ex used to have his daughter every weekend but has since moved 3 hours away, so she is with us almost all the time as well. So you can imagine the struggles of just everyday life from being the only person in the house to now sleeping with someone else every night and ALWAYS having multiple people in the house. Adjusting is an understatement of the year.

We just had our 1st anniversary on June 30th, so it’s been interesting to look back and see how we’ve stretched and grown. There’s been a lot of faking it till you make it. I wouldn’t say we were an instant family, but we functioned like one, which honestly helped. When it comes to parenting, we tend to stay in our own lane with our own kids. We’ve started going into each other’s territories very carefully always respecting what we’ve created thus far with our kids in our own ways. I do not call out my bonus daughter like I do my kids. That doesn’t work for her personality and the way my husband and his ex treat her, so I use a different approach with her and always VERY aware that I’m the odd man out when it really comes down to any choices and decisions. My husband is very respectful as well and will go through me first. My hope is that we don’t have to be so “careful”…but for now it works and is a step in adjusting to being our own kind of family.

Respect is the name of the ‘game.’ Even when we think our way is ‘right’… we each lived our lives successfully for 40 plus years, and no houses burnt down, and everyone was still alive so respecting each other is THE KEY. I always step back and look at the situation and ask how important my point REALLY is and what it might create. What sort of respect am I giving to receive it as well?

We have amazing children that have really helped this process. I must give kudos to all of them. They’ve all been aware of the struggles we have and have really worked at changing and adjusting to help us adjust and make this family work. I feel like they all want this as much as we do, for different but real reasons. But we’ve also been raising them in such a way that they already had our trust, and we were already working as a family that looks out for one another.

My kids (and myself) had been in therapy for a year after their dad left, this, in my opinion, should be a requirement for ALL children of divorce. They need someplace to figure things out WITHOUT our influence and junk. This helps them to work out their frustrations with the whole situation and not to let our stuff transfer to them. This includes the stuff that rises after re-marriage. I was shocked when things came up that I thought were a non-issue, therapy people… therapy! It can only help the blending process. If a therapist isn’t working for you… change them. You are not (or shouldn’t be) obligated to stay with them. I’ve met a terrible therapist and some that were great but just didn’t ‘speak’ to me. Do what works.

The kids each have their own struggles, but they are regular everyday struggles of growing up, nothing in the realm of some kids of divorce that I hear that rebel and are terrible to the incoming parent or their own parent. My children especially struggle with abandonment issues. They are older too, so Dru is more of a friend figure, except for my youngest… I believe she looks at him like a father, there was no need to parent them and Dru already had an older son, so he knew a little about letting go and letting them live.

We took a strengthening stepfamilies class after we had been married for about five months and it was great because we’d walk away with a better perspective to deal better…. AND realizing how good we had it. We also walked away with tools and realization of things like it’s ok to not like the bonus children all the time… I mean we don’t even like our own kids all the time, so it makes sense. Ha! The more education and direction you can get the better. There are professionals and people who have already done this ready to share and teach…thank goodness!!!

I will say this about parenting and blending a family. Multi-tasking emotions is a MUST. Deciding what sort of family I wanted was essential. So when things aren’t going necessarily the way I want or I would do or would ever think about…. I ask myself if my initial reaction is going to help my “dream” or hurt it. It has helped keep my tongue MANY MANY times. Because that’s what we’re all working towards, right? The ‘dream’ of having a healthy and happy family… I just had to decide what that could look like and just keep walking towards that hope.

Time is a beautiful enemy…that’s how I describe it. I’m not the most patient person in life. So this has been a huge stretch in letting time do what it does best… heal and create. It’s helped to heal a lot of wounds (is still helping) and is allowing us to create memories and bond little by little. Being thrown into what is meant to take decades is intense and confusing. But allowing time to be a friend and take a deep breath… priceless.

I want to note that I realize our story has minimal ex-involvement. Not like some of you that are in a constant battle of not only having to deal with the said ex but help these kids navigate two households and two ways of living and all the emotions that are involved with that dynamic. I tell my husband all the time that as angry as I get at my ex for choosing to not be in my kids’ lives, at least he’s inadvertently keeping his “junk” to himself and not making it harder for them. And my bonus daughter was VERY young when they divorced so she’s really not known life differently other than now having to share time, space, and money with us. She recognizes the benefit of having us here, so she’s been very good about the sharing…still hard but still doing it swimmingly.

Thank you for allowing me to share our story. I’m feeling even more grateful seeing our story on paper and seeing that we are getting it done.
I credit my husband and kids for sticking it out and looking for our ‘dream’ beside me. I credit my faith in a Heavenly Father that I know is watching over ALL of us and wants to see us succeed.

We still have a road ahead of us for sure… as I mentioned earlier, my oldest is serving a full-time mission for our church and hasn’t even met Dru yet! So we have that little nugget to experience coming soon (6 months!)… so we clearly have things to still figure out. I do believe though that we have the tools, love, and the desire to get it done.

Kudos to all those blended tribes out there… you’re doing better than you think you are…I’m SURE of it!!!

To read other guest blended family stories click HERE

Thanks for sharing Kim!! You have a beautiful family and an encouraging story! Keep up the good work and let me know when you start your blog!!

♥ The Blended Tribe

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LOVE IS CRAZY

♥ There is a special someone out there for every single person.  I truly believe this now ♥


 

Nacho Kids

nacho kids

I stumbled upon the stepfamily FB group page call nachokids a couple of days ago. It’s a step parenting style of not parenting your stepkids; you’re more of a friend than a parent to them.
I went and checked out their website after joining the Facebook group, and I think it’s worth checking out. I’m not sure this style of stepparenting would work for us, but it’s fascinating to see how well it works for everybody on there.

Here’s the link to the website:

http://www.nachokids.org

I’m curious as to your thoughts about this blended family style?? Would/Does it work for you?


 

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


 

Blended & Blessed 2018

→This is such a cool event!!  You can host a small group or order it for your personal viewing.  This event is live-streamed.  Check with your church to see if they are hosting this event.  

Blended and blessed event


2018 Blended & Blessed Livestream: Keys to Stepfamily Success

· Hosted by FamilyLife Blended
The link below will take you to the registration page to find out more information ↓

Details:

Blended& Blessed® is a one-day live event and livestream for stepfamily couples, single parents, dating couples with kids, and those who care about blended families.

Join thousands of sites around the globe as we unpack key successes that are crucial to healthy stepfamily marriages. With some of today’s most trusted and respected experts, Blended &
Blessed will challenge, inspire, and encourage you. Over 13,000 people from 22 countries experienced the 2017 event, and we’re coming back with new speakers and more crucial help for 2018.

You can sign up today to host the Blended & Blessed livestream in your church or your community or find a location near you to attend. You can even host an event in your home with your small group or friends, bringing together couples for one incredible day of teaching, music, and humor!
Special guests include:


Ron Deal
Dr. Rick Rigsby
Michele Cushatt
Bill Butterworth
Steve & Misty Arterburn
Andy & Heather Hetchler

If you are part of a stepfamily, or know someone who is, this is a can’t-miss opportunity!
Get more information: http://bit.ly/2FIR8sR


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