Blended Family Events – Quinceanera Edition

This blended family gig is different for everyone and there is absolutely no “one size fits all” when it comes to it. It’s trial and error for most. Recently, an acquaintance friend of mine planned her daughter’s quinceanera. I’d never been to one before and let me tell you, it’s a very very big deal. Huge. Events such as quinceanera’s, weddings and graduations are once in a lifetime events for a child and within the blended family realm, they can be overwhelming for parents and their families post divorce.

My sweet friend handled the event this way. The father and his family were invited. The bio father had the first father/daughter dance followed by the daughter’s dance with her stepfather (she is very close to her stepfather, has lived with him for over 5 years, and her bio father only sees her a few times a year). My friend honored her ex husband’s position in the child’s life despite whatever differences the two of them have had post divorce and her daughter had an amazing and beautiful event. I loved the way they showed respect and honor to the child’s bio father in such a kind, thoughtful and selfless way despite their difficulties and differences.

Their way would not work for everyone. It certainly would not work for my family. Hell would have to freeze over first haha. But it was beautiful, respectable and I just wanted to take a moment to make this journal entry to remind myself of how they handled the situation so that I won’t forget how I admired them in the moment.

Coffee cheers your way 🙂

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Post Divorce Moms … Celebrity Edition

During Wendy Williams’ Hot Topic segments, she’s been talking about the Jennifer Garner/Ben Affleck and Angelina Jolie/Brad Pitt divorces and child custody situations. Well, that’s right up our alley isn’t it?

It appears (because you never really know what is going on behind closed doors unless you see it for yourself) that Jennifer Garner is an amazing mother and ex wife. Despite Ben Affleck’s public struggles with addiction, gambling, girlfriend who is half his age at best, and wondering eye, Jennifer Garner is doing what she can to promote a healthy and loving relationship with all of the parties involved right down to personally transporting him to rehab and voluntarily sharing joint child custody with him. They still participate in activities with the kids together and she continues to support him despite their failed personal relationship. Based on his struggles and issues, I’m sure that Garner could attack him from all angles, demand sole custody, keep the children from him and make his life a living hell if that’s what she wanted to do. But she’s so classy, glowing, charming, sweet, such a good mom, loves her kids so much, and that just isn’t her way. Good for Ben!

Now, look at the attitude and behavior of Angelina Jolie. OMG y’all. She appears very dark, depressed, and weathered. Controlling, bitter, angry. I’m sure that Brad Pitt was not some angel, but had he truly been a horribly terrible and unloving father, why in the world did she keep having child after child after child with him. It’s pretty obvious that she had to see something good in him as a man and a father though you’d never know it by the way she’s behaving publicly. It’s alleged that Brad Pitt “made contact” with his 15 year old son. Throw stones at me if you want, but there are PLENTY of 15 year old boys that need their fathers to jack them up just a little bit to let them know who is in charge when they hit that nice testosterone infused, attitude age group. The child wasn’t hurt, it wasn’t the end of the world, get over it Angelina. Rather than support your husband as the kids’ father, you’re using that incident to attempt to keep all of the children from him? But you sure don’t mind him providing finances for them. That is a key aspect of a “high conflict, controlling ex wife”. They want the benefits they can receive on behalf of the kids while attempting to alienate and damage the children’s relationship with their father.

If you are a divorced female with custody of your children, which type of ex wife are you? Which would you like to be? Forget for one moment everything your ex did wrong and what you don’t like about him. Look at you, your character, your behavior. Did you handle yourself like a Jennifer Garner or like an Angelina Jolie?

I was hands down, without a doubt, Jennifer Garner to my ex spouse during and following our divorce. But at the law firm I worked at, I had the opportunity to meet many Angelina Jolie types too. This road is not an easy one and everyone makes mistakes. It’s going to happen. No one is perfect. Divorce and child custody and blended family issues are DIFFICULT.

But, where possible, let’s be a Jennifer Garner 🙂

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Titles, Names, Co Parenting, Mom v First Name

I keep seeing this topic over and over and over. Do you let your stepkids call you Mom? Were you flattered when they asked, etc?

Every blended family is different so my opinion is that only. My own opinion from the view of our own blended family.

Hubs’ youngest child asked me if he could call me Mom when he was in first grade. My response was “you would need to ask your mom if that’s ok with her because that might hurt her feelings. You already have a Mom”. He asked her over the phone. She said no. He cried and cried and was so upset. Then he was fine the next day and got over it completely.

My personal belief is that maybe he was a little jealous of my bio kids at the time. They called me mom. Half of their friends called me mom. I think he felt excluded. But once we talked about it, he did understand WHY I didn’t let him call me mom and that helped.

When I was growing up, I called my stepdad Dad. But I lived with him full time starting at the age of 2 or 3 and I rarely if ever saw my bio Dad. In my mind, my stepdad was my Dad and I really did not know otherwise until I was in school and discovered that I was the only person in my house with a different last name. Oops.

In our situation, my last name is the same as my husband and my stepkids so it’s really my bio kids that feel a bit out of place on occasion (not anymore but when they were young). I had the last name initial of Hubs and I on a wreath on our front door but my bio kids didn’t have that last name initial. That doesn’t make them any less my kids or any less a member of our home. It’s just a name.

Titles are only titles y’all. They do NOT define you. It’s ok to just be you. You don’t HAVE to be called mom. And frankly it shouldn’t hurt your feelings if they don’t. We are individuals. Not the roles (stepparent, wife, employee) that we play.

Also, I don’t see many men struggle with this. I don’t think my husband has ever lost a nights sleep because my kids have always called him by his first name rather than call him Dad. Women tend to be more sensitive, and more easily hurt, but it kills me to see so many women’s feelings hurt over something so minor.

So, have your coffee, go for your workout, enjoy your life and don’t worry about the titles kids assign you. It’s all going to be ok.

Iced coffee cheers your way ☕️

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Unapologetic Stepmom Mantra

I created a stepparent blog and Stepmom small group about 2 years ago after getting so much positive feedback about my stepmom blogs from 5-6 years ago. Firmly believing that I needed to stay a student and be a part of bigger groups, I joined fellow Texan, Emili Wadkins group, The Unapologetic Stepmom. A few months ago she shared her “Unapologetic Mantra” and I shared it with my small group. Y’all, it had feedback for days. So many women found it so helpful and so freeing. So, I’m going to share it here and save it for future reference as needed. Emili said:

“When I started this group, I chose the name for very specific reasons and often get asked about it. I have learned in the last year that where I stand as a stepmom is either met with very strong aversion or very strong agreement. I think I often say what so many stepmoms feel but dare not mutter out loud because of ridiculous societal expectations.

*I unapologetically do not let my family revolve around my stepkids. My husband and I make decisions based on what is best for our whole family.

*I unapologetically do not stop my girls’ lives simply because my stepkids are at their other home. We go on about life as usual and do fun things with or without them. I do not plan 100% of my girls’ lives for 50% of the time.

*I unapologetically do not love my stepkids like I love my daughters and they are my first priority. God gave them to me to be their mother and I take that very seriously.

*I unapologetically do not force my family to have a personal relationship with my stepkids. I do not adhere to the philosophy of “You take them all or take none.” I chose to marry a man with children, my family did not. I would never tolerate rudeness or disrespect, but I do not expect my family to do for my stepkids what they do for my girls.

*I unapologetically do not put myself on the back burner. I am not a stepmom martyr.

*I unapologetically disengage when I need to. I will not sacrifice my sanity trying to fix anything I didn’t break.

This is mine and my daughters’ journey and story just as much as it’s my stepkids, and I unapologetically don’t let anyone tell me what my role should be within my family or how my family should operate. Every stepfamily and their situation is unique and there is hardly ever a one size fits all rule.”

I love this y’all. As did my small group. And I hope it will give you the same peace and comfort that it has given so many others who have read it.

Hugs and support your way ☕️

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

General Reflections – Scheduling Edition #BFHOE

Have you ever heard the story about the man who used to complain about having no shoes until he met the man who had no feet? I try to remember this when I go to vent or complain. But this summer has really helped me live it.

Watching Hubs and his ex navigate their kids’ schedules (well, fail to navigate their kids schedules – unless it’s during his time it doesn’t get handled) has made me so unbelievably thankful and grateful that I never once had any scheduling conflicts with my bio kids after my divorce ever. Not once. Our kids were so very active and very busy. The oldest and youngest children had youth group events, marching band and part time jobs. The middle child was over the top busy and had competitive dance, competitive cheer, high school cheer and a part time job. I think she was only free maybe 1 day a week, if that. Competition season would take up the whole weekend. Yet, my bio kids never had to miss anything and both my ex and I tagged teamed the kids activities to be sure that every child was able to participate in their own events. If two kids had an event on the same day, we would divide and concur. He would usually transport the boy to band and I would transport the girl to cheer. I just thought that was normal. I mean, if we were still married we would have to work together to raise the kids and get them where they needed to be, right?

I’m in a very large social media group and apparently MANY MANY MANY people have these scheduling problems during the other parent’s visitation time. Who knew? I mean, I guess I could see that when the parents live out of state but not when the parents are only 15-20 miles from each other.

So, this is my little note to self and reminder about how thankful I am for the way my ex and I were able to co-parent and manage our bio kids following divorce. It does NOT have to be difficult. It does NOT have to be drama. It CAN work when you both make it a point to put the kids and their lives first.

Iced coffee cheers your way peeps 🙂

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Summer Vacations. What Do You Think?

macro photography of black sunglasses on sand

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

I’m in 2-3 Blended Family and Stepparent groups on social media and SO MANY PEOPLE are posting about summer vacations and questions relating to them. Such as, do you prefer to travel alone with your spouse? Travel with ALL of the blended family kids? Travel only with some of the kids one year and then the others the next year? Travel based on age?

The feedback has been fun to watch. Especially since there is no “one size fits all” model for any blended family.

For us personally, we really prefer to divide our “staycations” and day outings based on age. We have found that we are far more engaged personally with each kid when they are in smaller groups than when we have all of the kids at the same time like we do over Christmas or Thanksgiving break. And maybe that’s just because of the kids’ current ages. My bio kids’ grandparents like to take a large family trip over the holidays (such as at a ski resort) rather than buying each adult child and grandchild individual gifts. That’s definitely something we would like to consider one day, but our kids won’t really be old enough for those types of trips for another 10 years (hopefully haha).

So, how do you handle your blended family vacation planning?

Iced tea cheers your way 🙂

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Yes!!! This is Good! #BFHOE

When Hubs and I first married (back in dream land world where your pretend future is happily ever after), we so desperately wanted to treat our kids equally and try to be sure there wasn’t jealousy between my bio kids and his bio kids. But in practical reality, I only knew the traditional mother role and he only knew the traditional father role.

If I tried to mother my stepkids, it created jealousy with my bio kids and if Hubs tried to father my bio kids it created animosity and conflict like “you’re not my dad”.

There were just “too many chefs in the kitchen” as the leader of the Stepmom group stated. So Hubs and I decided to change tactics. We agreed to simply be adult role models to each other’s kids. Like a teacher or youth group leader or any other adult in their life would. And it’s worked!! Of course there’s still a million different dynamics with unforeseen turns BUT as far as our individual relationships go with our stepkids, it’s been fantastic! Yes, it is ok to embrace being a stepparent. An adult role model. A friend. A listening ear. Some days it’s even more fun that way 🙂

Iced coffee cheers your way and keep rocking the stepparent life ☕️

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment