Girl, Bye!! Mindset Makeover – Week 6 #VIPStepmom #GirlBye #NajaHall #BFHOE

img_6194Hey, Hey, Hey!!! It is Week 6. This week’s reading and journaling goal was pages 66-77.

Many parts of this section were SO FUNNY!!! I loved it. Have you ever heard of a “F@ck It Bucket”? Naja defines the F@ck It Bucket as a metaphorical place where you put things you really don’t care about or don’t want to deal with at the time.

Oh ya’ll…. YES!!! About 1-2 years ago I gave myself a challenge to allow myself to SCHEDULE (or reschedule) things that I just didn’t have the energy to deal with immediately (because I was driving, or working, or needed to talk to Hubs first). I called it “hitting pause” on something. But, when you hit pause, you’ve got to come back and hit PLAY eventually UNLESS you discard it in the F@ck It Bucket entirely!!!

Pages 76-77 are worth noting as well because she teaches you how to handle someone who has been triggered. And I’ve been on both sides of that coin. There have been times when I am the “ding, ding, ding, you better listen, you better listen, you better listen” end and times I’ve been on the “what is this crazy chic doing” end. Learning to self-calibrate your emotions once you’ve been triggered is in imperfect art. For some (raising my hand here) it is 2 steps forward 1 step back, 3 steps forward 1 step back, 4 steps forward 1 step back. Becoming #TeamUnbothered is a trial and error, work and homework, get knocked down but get back up process. But the goal is the same. The art of becoming UNBOTHERED by BS you cannot control.

Hugs hugs hugs ladies!!! Coffee cheers your way. And I’ll meet you back here next week.

P.S. It’s never too late to join in the book club. Grab a copy HERE and come back later to comment and participate.

 

 

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Girl, Bye! Mindset Makeover – Week 5 #BFHOE #GirlBye #NajaHall #VIPStepmom

img_6434It’s Week 5 of Girl, Bye!!! I had a targeted reading & journaling section of pages 56-65 but ended up going back a couple of pages to page 54 because I needed to see it one more time. I loved it because again, Naja reminds me that I’m a Queen. How many times will we hear it before we believe it? Keep it coming Naja. She writes, “Queen, choose to take your power back… You know what you need to do for your life… Peace is your Divine birthright. It is not an option for your life; it should be the standard…”.

Yaaaaaas!!! Take your power back. When we give in to other people’s demands, when we allow inappropriate behavior, when we fail to set proper boundaries, when we enable others, we give away our power. I’ve learned (however imperfectly) that I retain my power when I maintain my peace. I maintain my peace when I build and enforce boundaries. What was that on Page 19? Build a boundary wall so bullshit can’t get through. Indeed, indeed.

I love that she says “You know what you need to do for your life” because she is calling forth what you ALREADY KNOW you need to do. I firmly believe that each of us has a gut feeling, a deep knowing, a level of certainty about WHAT we need to do, but we aren’t 100% sure so we put our feelers out in social media groups (bahahahaha), we ask around, we seek advice, we buy the books, we attend therapy, we pray … then we fail to ACT. We fail to do what we know we need to do. That season must end if we want change.

The remainder of Week 5 (p 55-65) is pretty much journal sections for your own personal notes. If you do them, please share them in the comments or in the book club group. I particularly enjoyed Page 64 and want everyone to fill it out so they can look back on it later. It says, “I really love myself because” and I’m going to list some of mine here as a note to self to reflect back on especially on my ugly behavior days (come on, you know you have those days too). I really love myself because: I’m awesome; I am honest; I am a loyal friend; I am kind though I’m not a doormat (anymore); I am intelligent; I am a very hard worker and follow through on tasks; I am empathetic and supportive of others; I am frugal and can be trusted with finances…

Why do you love yourself? Take a few moments and jot some things down.

Coffee cheers your way y’all.

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Girl, Bye! Mindset Makeover – Week 3 #BFHOE #girlbye #NajaHall #VIPStepmom

Week 3’s personal goal was pages 28-45. And OH SNAP!!! Page 28 is entitled CoMama Drama. Enough said, right? I know that there are many biological mothers and stepmothers who do communicate and can have the children remain in their respective homes with little to no conflict or judgement. They can share photos of events and send each other birthday and Christmas gifts from the kids to each other. And then there are the rest of us. The other MILLION of us with CoMama Drama.

img_5984-1On Pages 29-32, Naja breaks down four key factors that are at the root of CoMama conflict including (1) fear, (2) the unwillingness to accept a new role, (3) the inability to align expectations with reality, and (4) the man in the middle. I participated in a Bible Study several years ago that devoted much of its book to Item 3 all by itself. In ANY situation where we have expectations that are not in line with reality, we leave lots of room for hurt and disappointment. And nothing is more difficult than deep disappointment within our own family, amen? It cuts the deepest. You have these hopes and dreams for your “new” family and then BAM. Reality punches you in the face like a professional boxer. Anyone else? And Item 4 …. WHOA buddy. I’ve been listening to Naja’s past podcasts and there have been several times where she has said “you don’t have a kid problem, you have a MAN problem”. This blended family situation can absolutely be difficult for the man especially in the beginning when he tends to attempt to keep both women content. Like she says “there’s a certain finesse that comes along with ensuring that an ex-wife and a new wife are both actively engaged and fully understand their roles… [and] the man in the middle will have hell to pay.”

Here I would add that another reason this blended family gig can be so challenging is because there is no “one size fits all” and there are always a million moving parts. In one blended family, the new wife may not have any biological children of her own yet may immediately decide “she’s a mom too” simply because she married a man with kids. In another blended family, there may be stepchildren but also children they have together (commonly referred to as “our” children) which can really make a stepchild that doesn’t live in the home experience extreme jealousy and take it out on the “ours” child. But regardless of the way your personal blended family looks, there ARE tools and resources available to help us navigate the journey.

If you’d like to join BFHOE on this book study journey, grab a copy of the journal HERE and come back and post comments on your own time.

Coffee cheers your way 🙂

 

 

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Podcast Love: I Know I’m Crazy with Naja Hall #NajaHall #VIPStepmom

Confession. When blended family & master stepparent coach Naja Hall suggested that I listen to her podcast, I almost fainted (on the inside). Church friends of mine and even my own son have sent me podcast links in the past and I’d never, ever done it. I tend to zone out with audio and am the type of person that must SEE something in order for it to gain or retain my attention. That’s why I love to read books (paperback only – I can’t stand ebooks) and live videos so much. Because I can SEE them while I read them or listen to them. But – for family life coach training – for you Naja – I said I would listen. (Insert deep sigh here). Soooooo ……

Reluctantly, I started listening to Naja Hall’s: I Know I’m Crazy podcast and guess what happened, y’all? I got addicted. Just like I got addicted to Prison Break and stayed up until 7 am binge watching every episode. Day after day. For many many seasons. I got addicted to this podcast. Initially I planned to listen to the first 10-15 minutes of each session of Season 1 to get “a feel” for it, but instead, I ended up listening to hour after hour after hour, episode after episode. I even emailed myself notes and reminders and sent the podcast to my husband to listen to during his daily commute back and forth to work. After all, he’s a talk radio junkie so this format is perfect for him.

Season 1 covers so many in depth topics that I do plan to listen to again and blog individually. But for now, I’ll just give you a general outline of a few that really spoke to my SOUL: How to Deal with a High Conflict Ex; Addicted to Drama; Stressed Out Stepmom Affirmations; A Chat with Brenda Ockun (the publisher of Stepmom Magazine); Toxic Motherhood (y’all…. this one stopped me dead in my tracks); When Your Child is Turned Against You; How to Deal with His Crazy Ass Ex …. and it goes on and on for another 26-27 episodes. And that’s just Season ONE.

Just like I cannot wait for my favorite seasons to drop on Netflix and Hulu, I look forward to being an avid listener of this Podcast and highly recommend it to you also.

Coffee cheers your way guys. It CAN be blended family hell some days, but there is support available!!! You’ve just got to be diligent to set some time aside to do the work.

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Girl, Bye! Mindset Makeover Journal – Week 2 #BFHOE #girlbye #najahall #VIPStepmom

Week Two’s goal was Pages 18-27, and can I say that they were straight FIRE!!! Pages 19-20 just may be my 2 favorite pages in this entire workbook. I have highlights, stars, hearts and folded pages within this content.

Naja devotes some time to help you re-humanize the ex wife, to help you see things from her point of view and offers tips to help you employ empathy when possible. She says that regarding his ex-wife… “She’s NOT the big bad wolf…. she is just looking for a place to transfer her bad energy… If a woman would try her damnedest to destroy your man, his happiness, and her kid’s emotional well-being, this isn’t about YOU.” For “shits and giggles” she shares a laundry list of venomous statements that many ex-wives have been known to throw out to new wives (p. 20) and I seriously nearly laughed coffee out of my nostrils. I shared the list with my small group and I kid you not, there were ladies in there who had been told those things such as “enjoy my sloppy seconds”. Bahahahaha. I mean, unless he was a virgin when he married you, you were sloppy seconds yourself darling, but yeah… ok. Like, I can’t even (face palm here). If you have the journal, go enjoy the fabulous artwork on Pages 21-25 while you’re at it. I folded Pages 23-25 for those days in the future when I’ll need it. And I know that I will.

And again, I LOVE that Naja still reminds me that I’m a bad bitch (p. 24). It’s so easy to forget that during routine daily activities like cleaning the toilet, picking up dog poop, folding the 3rd load of laundry. I feel more like a maid whose most mentally challenging task is what to make for dinner again for the 2,765 day in a row. But, indeed, I am still a bad bitch even when I really only look like a domesticated diva.

I hope you all enjoyed Week 2.

If you haven’t ordered the journal yet, it’s not too late. Order a copy HERE and read it on your own time. Feel free to add your comments later or share some of your favorite lessons and reminders.

Coffee cheers your way.

 

 

 

 

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Girl, Bye! Mindset Makeover – Week 4 #BFHOE #girlbye #NajaHall #VIPStepmom

Week 4’s goal was pages 46-55. This section was TOUGH for me because it did require so much personal reflection within the journal project portions. I can talk & take notes like a pro, but true self reflection – then putting a response into words – can be challenging for me. Well, this one was anyway. “I feel seen when…” (p 52).

The reality is that I feel seen when I’m understood. Hearing, listening and understanding are very different things. I often feel HEARD (like a barking dog) but I don’t feel UNDERSTOOD (knowing why the dog is barking). In fact, I often times feel MISUNDERSTOOD.

Though it’s been 8-9 years since my husband’s children moved in with us, I occasionally feel like an outsider living among “all of them”. At times it feels like I live in his home with his kids sitting in the passenger seat of his life and I simply sleep there, have some clothes in his closet and a makeup section in the bathroom. [I am aware that is ridiculous and not true, but it still feels that way some times].

Some of that is just how I am. If I’m not doing my own thing, I’m extremely bored. Some of that is because my biological children are grown so my personal child rearing responsibilities feel complete. Some of that is because I’m the only female in our home living among all these guys and our interests could not be more different. They have no desire to go shopping with me and I have no desire to watch a football game with them. But, some of my feelings are because it is partly true. Our personal stages of life are at odds. My kids have been graduated for 4 years. My oldest child is 28 while Hub’s youngest is only 14. My oldest was graduating high school the year his youngest started kindergarten. I watch Hubs life working his job and molding teenage boys day after day after day. And we pretty much repeat the same day every single day over and over and over day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year (though you’d think the kids have never done it before because unless they get a verbal parental reminder they seem to have that “dear in the headlights” look almost 24/7). Doesn’t that sound exciting y’all. Are you all ready to get married, move to suburbia and have a bunch of kids… wahahaha 🙂

Of mention, I think that’s why I’ve connected so strongly with the blogging and blended family community. Because I finally feel UNDERSTOOD. I finally feel really SEEN. Y’all are MY PEOPLE!!!

So, what makes YOU feel seen?

If you’re stumbling upon this book study, here is the link to the journal we are working through. Even if it’s already over with BFHOE, it’s never to late too work through it for yourself. Grab your copy of the journal HERE and feel free to comment your favorite parts when you get there.

Coffee cheers your way peeps.

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Girl, Bye! Mindset Makeover – Week 1 #BFHOE #girlbye #NajaHall #VIPStepmom

Hiya Ladies!!! Welcome to Week ONE of Girl, Bye! A Mindset Makeover for Stepmoms (Pages 5-17). Have you gotten your book yet? Did you make it through our first targeted section? Personally, I don’t even know where to begin and could easily pen 10 journal entries over the quality of the content in these first few pages (and I might LOL).

Personally, I’ve been a biological mother for 28 years, a stepmom for 10 years, and the primary caregiver to my stepsons for about 8 years. But, that’s if you look at my life through the lens of parenting. I’ve been a strong, opinionated, vocal, outgoing female since birth and there is a lot more to me than the offspring I’ve produced or helped raise. I have a degree in paralegal studies with over 20 years of civil litigation paralegal experience, maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout, was accepted into both Texas A&M and SMU law schools about 6-7 years ago (but chose not to go), am a blended family small group creator that’s 3 years strong, am drafting a blended family book, am a Poshmark ambassador, a sexual health & wellness coach (a Pure Romance consultant), have a husband of 10 years, 3 active blogs, 2 dogs & a cute Mercedes Benz convertible. My life is FULL.  And amazing. Being a stepmom is only a blip in my overall life. Yet, it has been the most difficult & challenging “thing” I’ve ever done. And like Naja said, “the kids are the easy part”.

When I became exhausted in blended family life, I couldn’t find the support I needed (sorry pastor friends) so I created my own. And thankfully, over the past few years I’ve found others along the way who have done the same thing. I joined “The Unapologetic Stepmom” group a year or two ago and really identified 100% with Emili’s Stepmom Mantra – Posted Here. I found it so freeing and helpful. So did my small group. Then one day, Emili had a video chat with Master Family Coach Naja Hall, and I LOVED it. There was so much truth to that chat. So, I added Naja to my watch list, discovered she had a Stepmom mindset makeover journal, and here we are now having BFHOE’s first Book Study together as a group.

Week One: First and foremost, I LOVE the reminder that I’m a badass, a Queen, and that simply taking the time to work through this journal – taking steps toward reflection and healing – is badassery all on it’s own. On page 7 she said, “There was a time in my life when this role was responsible for 100% of my anxiety, but literally took up only about 20% of my time. That means even when I wasn’t actively stepmothering, I still allowed it to seep into the forefront of my psyche and cause me grief”. This reminds me so much of all of those sermons about controlling your thoughts, the battlefield of the mind, as a man thinks so he goes. Oh y’all. I, too, am so guilty of this and it stops NOW!!!

The overall goal: to take my feelings of detachment, resentment and anxiety and the trauma produced in blended family life (she explains this in detail), and exchange it for peace, health and happiness. How? By learning to “delightfully detach from bullshit, discard bullshit, build a boundary wall so bullshit can’t get through, and be the most #TeamUnbothered gal in the land (no bullshit)”. Yes, please.

I’m very thankful that I’ve met you other “no bullshit” ladies to go through this book with me because Team Work Makes the Dream Work and none of us are alone in this. There are thousands of women in the same boat. The difference is that we are going to do MORE than just vent. We are going to do the work to grow, heal and succeed as individuals & women regardless of our blended family status.

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