Are you still working through the makeover journal (available HERE)? What sections did you cover this week? What stood out the most for you?
Personally, I covered pages 208-219. And once again, there were many pages for private journaling that I will NOT be sharing here because I’ve learned to be VERY CAREFUL about what I write publicly that could come back to bite me. I’ll save those nuggets for the closed, small groups (at least until all the kids are legal adults).
Some things that I really needed to be reminded about were that it’s a delicate balance, sad and unnatural to have to detach from your spouse’s kids between visits, but that is often how it works. Recoupling and remarriage often forces a bond between us and children we didn’t bear and as mothers & nurturers it can feel uncomfortable to have that cut off after weeks or months of making memories and investing time with them. Naja says that despite that, if we are blessed a genuine love bond will develop between us and our stepkids and until then, fill their minds with beautiful experiences and memories and overwhelm them with love and positive vibes (as a teen mom I will say this was MUCH easier to do when they were little and cute with ice cream on their noses. The teen years are still memorable but it’s not nearly as cute and sweet). She also reminds us that if the children grow up to be good people, they will be free and open to loving us back. That part reminds me of my sweetest grown son who is so kind, helpful and thoughtful and treats my husband so well, too (NOW. They used to clash, clash, clash). We’ve seen this first hand and know it can happen so let us be HOPE to you as well.
Page 210 lists some Stepmom affirmations that are GREAT to look over. I love the reminder that “I will give love away every chance I get” yet “I will set firm boundaries when I am disrespected”. I wasted so many years being a doormat because I considered it being the bigger person and loving freely without conditions. Boy, was I wrong!! Boundaries are an amazing thing. Keep those reminders coming.
She also reminds us that “in general, kids are assholes”… Bahahaha. Yes, girl!! Yes. We know this. We’ve seen this. Yet I still find myself a little twisted when they’re an asshole to ME (and so does Hubs… he doesn’t take it well at ALL haha). Parenting is tough when we aren’t certain of the kids’ motives. But, kids (especially teens) often have very self-centered motives. Regardless, she encourages us to give the kids the benefit of the doubt and don’t take it too personally because … you guessed it! Kids can be jerks.
This section is wrapped up with some reminders, challenges, food for thought and questions to give you some time to think through things and journal. For example, I love page 217 where she says that there will be moments when your stepkids will show you love and it’s okay to allow yourself to have HOPE about your relationship with them. Then she challenges you to journal “I feel most hopeful when…”. In our situation, 4 of our 6 kids are grown and Hubs is custodial of the 2 high schoolers. For many, that is not the case and I know many of you have much more limited time in which to build relationship and make memories and that can make you lose hope. But DON’T lose hope. Hang onto that!! It’s ok. Yes, it’s possible that it could end in disappointment. But it’s also possible that it can turn out great. As for me, I am going to try to hang onto hope with these youngest two.
Coffee cheers your way and I’ll see you next week.
~Jennifer with BFHOE