Hello everyone!!! I am so excited to be starting this blog because anytime I find something that helps me or benefits my life, I want to share it with other people!!! ! So, I have created this page which will provide a hodge podge of information on anything from parenting to cooking, oils to blended families, children to psychology. If I experience something in my work, family, personal life, I will share it here in hopes that it benefits someone else. Sometimes I come up with the simplest ideas that I really don’t think someone else wouldn’t think of and then I share it with someone and they say, “oh wow, that’s clever, I never though of that” or “thanks, I am going to try that”. So, if I find a tip or a life hack or just a simple solution to make a busy, working mama’s day easier, then I will share it here. Thank you for tuning in and stay tuned for more!!

Since I have been away for so long I thought I should post at least two entries for today. Maybe more….we will see how the day goes and how long both kids sleep for 😉 One thing that I always knew I would include as a post when I eventually started this blog, was a comment that my step-daughter made to me probably about two years ago about my daughter. I have carried around this comment knowing that I would one day want to talk about it and get other people’s advice on how they have handled situations like this but the truth is I think I will always carry around this comment just because of how much it hurt me. I know, it was not intentional on her part, she had no idea what she was even saying. But before I get to the comment…a little background.
My step-daughter lives full-time with her mother, step-father and half-sister who is about 7 months older than my daughter. And then she has us, her father (my husband) and her half-sister and half-brother. Before I continue, I do want to say that she really is one of the most awesome big sisters that I know. My daughter looks up to her in so many ways and the way she helps take care of them and guide and nurture them when she spends time with us is so heart-warming. My step-daughter and daughter resemble my husband A LOT and therefore resemble each other, A LOT!!!! As a side note, isn’t it kind of annoying how we do all the work and they get all the glory when the kids come out and grow up to resemble them more than us?!?!?! Ok, anyway….the point is, my step-daughter and daughter look very much like they could be full, biological siblings and that is not just my opinion….I hear it every year when we send out our Christmas cards and people have a chance to see all of the kids side by side and how they are continuing to grow and look so much like each other. And I hear it just about every time I am out with all of them together, so I know it’s not just me that thinks this. In fact, my step-daughter also thinks that she and my daughter look A LOT alike which brings me to the comment she made a couple years ago that cut right through me and has never left me since. One day I was out with them and my step-daughter said to my that it is funny how much her and my daughter look alike to which I replied, well you are sisters and you both look like Daddy so of course you both look alike. To which she replied, “Yea, but my real sister doesn’t even look like me as much as she does”…..
My heart absolutely broke a little that day and that break will never fully be healed. I know she’s just a kid….she was about 7 when she made this comment but how could she think like that???? My first angry thought was…what BS are they feeding her at home that she would think that, that sister was anymore of her sister than my daughter was to her. Do they refer to her other sister as her “real” sister and is that where she got it from??? I mean, kids just don’t come out with that kind of stuff, right?? What were they telling her at home that was shaping her thinking???? These were the thoughts running through my mind and then I calmed down. I took a step back and decided to turn this into a teachable moment. I will admit that many times when something like this happen I do get angry…I do overreact…and I do need to place blame and the easiest person to place that blame on is my step-daughter’s mother. She is the easiest one to blame in situations like this because I will not take it out on my step-daughter by yelling at her but someone needs to be held accountable right??? WRONG…to some degree!!! I have learned that sometimes, it isn’t even worth placing blame and it is just easier to try turn the situation into a positive or a learning experience and grow from there. That is by no means a justification of her behavior if she does in fact, refer to her daughter as my step-daughter’s “real” sister when comparing her to my daughter, but I don’t know for sure and I am not going to ask, so instead I rely on prayer and I believe in karma 😉
So, the part about getting angry, overreacting, placing blame, etc. I am working on this and if anyone reading this has support or kind words or coping strategies to help assist me….I am open. Thank you, in advance. Ok, so after I got over my initial anger and cleared my head, I addressed my step-daughter and tried to offer words that I hope will stay with her as she and my daughter grow together in life. I basically just told her that my daughter was no less of a sister to her than her other sister was. I told her that just because she lives with her other sister and sees her more of the time doesn’t mean that she is more her sister than my daughter is. I went on to describe how her and her other sister have the same mother but different dads and how her and my daughter have the same father but different moms and they are both, in fact….half sisters to her. But I also went on to describe how we don’t really refer to each other as one’s half-sibling. I told her that both girls were her sisters and even though my daughter and her may look more alike than her and her other sister….they were still both her sisters.
So, how did I do??? I tried to put it in words that were on her level developmentally and not bring any of my own feelings into it. I think she got it that day. I never heard her refer to her other sister as her “real” sister again after that day and I could tell by the look on her face that she really didn’t understand at all that what she was saying could be hurtful. But it did hurt and I carry it with me to this day. Because of that comment, I worry that my daughter won’t grow up to have the sister relationship that she should have with her (currently and not yet sure if that will ever change) only sister. I grew up with a sister and I want nothing more than for my daughter to experience that sisterly bond. I always wonder if their relationship will be affected because they don’t get to spend as much time together as sisters should. I wonder if the quality of the time they spend together will be enough to cancel out the possible negative effect of all the time they don’t spend with each other. I can’t predict the future, all I can do is plan for it and right now that plan for this particular situation, is to focus on the quality of the time they do spend together. And…I pray.
Any thoughts, opinions, advice for situations like this would be much appreciated.
One hopeful step-mom, trying to deal with some “real” blended family issues. XOXO

Almost a year to the day that I first created this blog (with only one entry) I have finally logged back on to start it back up again and really do it, this time….I promise!!! When I logged on, I couldn’t believe the date of my first, and last, entry which was almost a year ago. Is it really possible that almost a whole year has gone by since I written anything?!?!? I had such high hopes when I finally sat down and wrote my first entry last August but life just got away from me 😦 If I had not already mentioned, I am full-time working mother of two (sometimes three) when my step-daughter is with us. The only reason that I do not included her in the “permanent” count is because I don’t feel it would be fair to present myself as something I am not. Truthfully, she is not with us full time and lives a few hours (by car) away from us so to call myself a full-time mother of three just doesn’t seem fair to those moms out there who are balancing three children either three of their own or any combination of a blended family. While, my blended family situation comes with it’s own challenges because she; a.) doesn’t live with us full-time, b.) lives three hours (6 hours round trip in the car) away from us, c.) we have to share her with her mother and her other family who wants time with her just as much as we do, d.) etc., etc., etc. I could go on with this list, so the bottom line is this….no matter what your situation is…1 kid, 2 kids, 10 kids…blended family or not….WE ALL WORK HARD AT THIS MOM THING!!!!
So where was I??? Oh yes, life getting in the way of this blog. So, I had my second child in April before I started this blog. I had the rest of the school year off for maternity leave and had to return to work full-time in late August for the school year. I knew balancing two children and full-time work was not going to be easy but I had no idea just how hard it was really going to be. I literally felt like I was failing….as a Mom, a psychologist to the children I see, a wife and just about any other hat I was wearing at that time. The school year was off to a crazy start partly because I had not been there in six months and partly because my job just really is crazy but this year was shaping up to be a different kind of crazy. My job just seemed like it was getting harder and harder, some of the parents of the children I see seemed like they were getting angrier and angrier and taking it out on myself and my co-workers, my son was not shaping up to be as good a sleeper as my daughter was so the sleep deprivation was really taking it’s toll and my daughter started preschool that September and was having a rough transition which seemed like it was causing me more anxiety than it was her. I was really not in a good place at all. I don’t mind sharing personal information, especially if any challenge or obstacle I have faced in my life will help someone else, so I don’t mind saying that I have dealt with anxiety for a lot of my life. I made a personal decision to go off of my medication prior to conceiving my daughter because I felt at that time that I could handle life without it and I did for about four years and two pregnancies. After going back to work, I made it until late November and then realized I needed to be back on medication and in therapy for my anxiety. During this time, I had a good friend from work tell me one day that this time in your life when your little ones are at their littlest, that is really about survival. You do what you have to do to survive and be happy, so your kids are happy and that is when I knew what I had to do. Medication and therapy were once again going to have to be packed back into my survival kit if I was going to be able to function and continue to keep all those hats I was wearing, securely on my head.
So by the holidays last year I was really starting to feel like my old self again. Now please don’t ask me what took me so long between the holidays and now to get back on here and “re-start” this blog because I actually have no idea. You would actually think with all the snow I had where I live last winter I should have been able to find the time to sit inside at my computer and write but you know how cabin fever can affect children and adults. I guess after too many snow days life became about survival again and this time from the winter and trying to keep my kids from going crazy when we couldn’t go outside and play!!! That must have been what kept me from my computer. I guess I also wasn’t making it enough of a priority….until now. I need to make this a priority because it is good for me and my hope is….that it helps other people out there.
Although this post has very little to do with being a step-mom, I thought an explanation of where I have been and why I abandoned this blog was in order before I wrote anything else. So, now I promise to be back and keep up this blog much more frequently.

With a renewed promise to be here for you more,
A more relaxed, much calmer and not quite thriving but definitely surviving, Step-mom. XOXO

So, I have been meaning to start this blog for some time now but the daily tasks of life just seem to have interfered. It was always something I put off and said…. “I will do it tomorrow or this weekend, or next month or when I am on maternity leave after my next child arrives”….whaaaat?!?!?! Yea right….I obviously had no idea (or was in complete denial) of truly how much less time I would have for me once my second child was here. So, here I am my second child is here and is 4 months old and now I am finally beginning this blog.

I really needed to force myself to sit down and do this because it crosses my mind so often but as I said…other things always got in the way. I had to really think back to my original motivation for this blog and the moment that finally put me over the edge a few months ago and seemed like a sign to me….to finally start blogging. I work as a school psychologist for a public school district and part of my assignment covers pre-school classes. As it goes with preschoolers, they say whatever is on their mind and sometimes it is the slap in the face that you need to get yourself moving on something you have been procrastinating for some time.

So, I was in one my preschool classrooms quite a few months ago now, playing a letter game with some students and the picture representing letter Q was that of an older aged, not very attractive and sort of mean looking, queen. So when the letter Q came up and I directed one of the little girls to take the letter as she had the picture on her card, she replied “that isn’t a queen, it is an evil step-mom”. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?!?!?!?! I couldn’t believe it, how did she come up with this frame of reference for a step-mom, I know the little girl doesn’t come from a family with an “evil” step-mother so how did she come to form this schema for a step-mom. So I took a deep breath, put my bruised ego aside and really began thinking about why she would see an image like that and automatically think….”evil step-mom”.

All of my thoughts pointed to the Disney movies that innocent children are exposed to which form a lot of their early thoughts about various things in life. Now, my own daughter is beginning to get into the princesses and many of the Disney movies and having to sit through these movies again being older and wiser and now, a step-mom I am more aware of why this little girl in my class was thinking as she was. Have you ever noticed that Disney movies never, ever portray the step-mothers in a positive light, historically. The current hit show, “Sophia The First” definitely does a better job of showing Sophia’s mother as a positive, loving step-mother to Sophia’s step brother and sister so at least we are evolving. But I am talking about the earlier hits….Cinderella, Snow White, etc., etc. I will stop and say that Mothers as a whole, step or otherwise or not really represented in a positive manner in most Disney movies. They are either absent or deceased and when they are deceased….enter, the evil step-mother. She is always evil…..is she ever nice, loving, kind, supportive of her step-children??? The answer is no, the step-mothers lock them away forcing them to isolate, try to poison them, show preferential treatment for their own children…etc, etc. The whole thing is so sad to me and it was even more disheartening to hear that these movies have affected the thoughts of these impressionable children allowing them to form this horrible opinion of a step-mother. It makes me wonder what negative images and thoughts my step-daughter’s friends might have about me whenever she shares stories about me. It really makes me upset and that is why I have started this blog (finally!!!!!). I am here to break down those horrible representations that children may have of a step-mother. I am here to help other step-moms know that this is not an easy job and it’s ok if you struggle with it monthly, weekly or even daily. I am here to say that the choice to marry a man with children from previous relationship really adds a different dynamic to your relationship and your marriage and all the feelings that, that brings on are normal and ok. It is really how you handle the feelings that are most important. But most importantly, I am here to say that “NOT ALL STEP-MOMS ARE CREATED EVIL” and I want you to remember that so much that I am making it the title of this blog. I am willing to share my life as a step-mom with you, on this blog because as I said…..it is not an easy job and when we are struggling sometimes we just need a friend we can relate to, to help us through and I can be that friend to you.
Here for you always, 
Just an average, loving, kind, supportive, step-mom.

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