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 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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Fathers are NOT Second Class Citizens #BFAMHOE

DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a lawyer and do not pretend to be one. I do NOT play a lawyer on TV. That said, I’ve seen at least 100 family law cases play out at one of the law firms I worked at for 15 years. And in doing so, this is what I observed. These are my personal opinions only based on those observations.

A friend of mine in Frisco, Texas contacted me last week to see if I knew any attorneys in her area that would be good for her best friends brother. Before I had ANY facts I said: Men often get the brunt end during divorce and custody even if they’re the better parent. They’re often treated like second class citizens, sperm donors and paychecks. I’ve seen them required to pay up to half their paychecks to ex-wives who don’t even use it for the kids, pay for all health insurance, pay half of out of pocket medical bills, be required to do all of the driving for drop offs and pick ups of the kids, and baby mama often doesn’t even have to notify dad about the kids events or doctor appointments and usually doesn’t even get a slap on the wrist if she engages in serious parental alienation. I really do feel bad for the men during divorces.

Unfortunately, I’ve seen it over and over and over. I have seen 5-10 occasions where dads really did stand their ground and worked hard through litigation to get things made “right” or at least balanced. But I also saw their legal bills, credit card debts and 401k loans to do it. It’s just not right y’all. Moms and Dads are EQUALS. Both are so important to a child’s overall makeup. Yet, Texas seems to be a VERY mom friendly arena.

On a personal note, I’m divorced with 3 kids and never, ever, ever made my ex follow anything “Texas Standard”. I agreed to a much lower child support amount than required and paid for all of the kids out of pocket medical expenses as long as he carried their health insurance. I also agreed that the kids could go to his house everyday after school since he was home from work by 2 pm and then I picked them up from him when I got off work at 5 pm. We even continued to attend events with the kids together even after I remarried. The 3 of us adults loaded up in my SUV and away we went. Moms don’t HAVE to be high conflict. Some just are.

I wanted to jot this down in my online journal really quick because I think it’s good food for thought and makes valid points (in my opinion). Fathers, you are NOT second class citizens even if the courts make you feel that way 🙂

P.S. I am not talking about deadbeat dads, dads that don’t visit their kids, dads that don’t care, dads that don’t work, dads that don’t help, etc. The end.

 

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Street Credit #BFHOE

Repeat after me. I promise (I promise), to not get offended (to not get offended) by this post (by this post). This is one of those “here’s the facts” type of posts that will require you to put on some big boy pants.

Street credit is everything y’all. Soooooo many people – especially women – have advice to give based on head knowledge, college training, seminary school, or what they “believe” to be the correct answer to certain scenarios. Even regarding situations that they’ve never been involved in. It’s true.

Have you ever noticed that on the show Beat Bobby Flay they always have 3 judges to test the final meal. Why? Because most of the time, people don’t agree unanimously about ANYTHING. The same goes for the Courts of Appeals and even the U.S. Supreme Court. They work in odd numbers so that if there is a disagreement (which there usually is), there can still be a majority rules decision.

Yet, I have talked with so many women who like to give advice about toddlers who have never had children, advice about teenagers when they’ve never raised teenagers, and advice about blended families when they’ve never been in a blended family. Nah. I’m good.

Once upon a time, I used to say that when I had a toddler they’d “never act like THAT out in public”. And, guess what? Oh, yes they did. And one was REALLY bad in public. In fact, I wouldn’t even take that toddler to the grocery store with me. For YEARS. Now that I have street credit about toddlers, what I’ve learned to say is: when my toddler acts that way, I will address it and do something about it. Same with teens. Same with blended families.

If you have never been in a blended family, you simply CANNOT give advice about it. I mean you can have an opinion of how you “think” you’d handle something, but I assure you that once you reach that stage or situation, once all of your emotions and the people you love the most are involved, you will end up having a completely new perspective. And it will only be through your STREET CREDIT, actual life experience, that you will then have the wisdom and understanding to truly give advice.

I say that to say this, find YOUR PEOPLE. They ARE out there. It took me YEARS to find “my people”, but I’ve found them. I have connections with those who have gone before me, that have lived those experiences, and can now truly mentor others with kindness, compassion and an open mind.

This journey is too much to endure alone. Find your STREET CREDIT people and hold onto them. Oh and … it is OKAY to disregard all of the opinions of the well-meaning people who like to give guidance and input but don’t have any street credit 😉

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The Narcissist Child

This…. All. Day. Long. For a decade now we have hoped that once our kids became adults they would mature, be respectful of both parents’ homes, and accept parental guidance, correction and input from both sides of their family. However, in the arena of strong loyalty binds, sometimes that is just not possible.

I have watched my spouse go above and beyond to parent his children post divorce. In fact, he’s been relatively fair and balanced to all of our kids whether the kids belonged to him only, me only, lived with us, or lived with their other parent (though sometimes he has been partial to his bios which is also to be expected but that’s another blog entirely). Meanwhile, when it came to his own bio child, he has only been used for what he could give and what the child had to gain. Never once have I ever seen the child do anything for my husband. Never. Not even for his birthday or for Christmas though she would do that for the family she lived with full time. On Red Table Talk recently, TI gave an interview where he said that sometimes it feels like fathers are really just used as sperm donors and a paycheck and are expected to be otherwise “hands off” when it comes to raising their kids especially their daughters. When I heard that I literally wanted to stand up and give a standing ovation, hi five, preach boy, and Madea hallelujer. Because I feel every bit of that statement.

It’s always a little disappointing when things – relationships – don’t work out like you’d hoped. But, it’s also VERY good to have clarity and revelation because from there you can move forward as an enlightened and awakened participant.

NOTE of ENCOURAGEMENT: when you begin to set boundaries with a narcissist, they will begin to hate you even more. Their loss of control and manipulation over you will make them crazy and angry. That’s ok. Once you cut those puppet strings you will begin to experience a freedom of your soul. Keep moving forward.

Coffee cheers your way guys.

 

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Boundaries 101 – A Note to Self

I saw this on social media and completely agree 100%. For the first time in a very long time, Hubs and I have been working on releasing toxic and negative people from our inner circle. Not as a form of punishment or payback but because you can only allow so much control and abuse before it takes a heavy toll on everything that is within your realm of responsibility. We have a responsibility to our employers, marriage and the minor children that reside with us to work to be the best versions of ourselves that we can be. When other people & their ongoing dramatic situations continually run over into our circle of responsibility, it causes too much strain and takes a toll on everything else. It makes life exhausting.

The other day I saw the statement “Be able to discern your Judas from your Peter. Peter had a bad day – Judas had a bad heart. Peter you restore – Judas you release”. I have discovered that releasing the Judas’ from my inner circle has brought me so much peace, joy and excitement about life that I haven’t felt in years. It is amazing how good life is when you’re free from the baggage and weight and burdens placed on you by others. That’s simply no way to live.

Having boundaries and exercising self care is not selfish. It’s wisdom. And it’s ok.

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