Thursday, April 29, 2010

This Step Mo is Working Hard

Yesterday I was interviewed by Joan Sarin from  She is doing amazing work for step families.  She has put together a training program so happy couples that are jumping into the blended family blender can do so with realistic expectations and tools for success.  I wish I knew about her a few years ago.  As we jumped into the blender, I often commented “I wish there was a support group for blended families”  I have to admit, I think that and say that less and less but am always happy to learn about or connect with another family that is living large in a big happy blended life. 

As hard as I try to hold it all together and manage our life (and yes, biological families do this too!) blended family dynamics continue to intrigue me.  While Joan and I spoke, one thing struck me in a weird sort of way.  She spoke of the sacrifice we are making and talked about appreciation.  Hmmm, I guess it is a good thing that I never view my long hard days and constant mommy work for my kids, or the World’s Greatest Husbands kids, as a sacrifice.  (Wow, it is even a struggle to say my kids, his kids…. I always say OUR KIDS – because that is the life we are trying to build, maintain etc…) Well anyway,  I think if I took on that perspective of “sacrifice” it would become a burden.  I am a mom and I am doing what I need to do to make for a happy, healthy kids.  I came to terms with sacrifice years ago while spread eagle on the delivery table.  But I do appreciate the notion that not every step mom or woman has the capacity or desire to do what I am doing.  I’ve read many books, essays and websites that talk about a basic level of step family living “you don’t have to love them but you do have to live in an environment of respect etc”…. well lucky me, I love em!  Honestly, I couldn’t be a good wife or good mom or good step mo if I didn’t have that basic love and respect for them and family.  After a divorce and a bit of therapy, I couldn’t be with a man that didn’t love me and them!  But while evaluating that thought… it made me feel so darn lucky… think about it… I met the World’s Greatest Husband, his kids, his family and we have embraced a new life, new love, new everything and we are pretty darn happy.  That is probably where the appreciation comes into play.  My husband and I don’t take much for granted.  We thank each other.  I speak from serious experience… on the days when I want to SCREAM his appreciation seeps into my being and disarms me of the anger, frustration or issue.  I’ve seen him empathize with our kids, with me, I’ve seen him thank us for sometimes what I would term as ridiculous or expected tasks…. But the guy is smart…. The thanking stuff works.  It lets the love in and life is better.  I’ve learned to do this and our kids are learning too.  It goes along with my girl Oprah’s thoughts on gratitude… It lifts you.

I sometimes worry that these posts paint a perfect little picture.  That is so not the case!  Remember these posts are my personal little therapy session….a daily reflection forcing me to be in the positive present…. There are days when I cry, when they cry, when we all cry, days when one more trip to “moms house” for something pushes me over the edge!  Days where the blended family financial commitment of 5 kids makes me feel like I will never buy myself a new pair of shoes and matching handbag again!   I’ve stated before… our life is based upon small victories and an amazing dose of flexibility.  I guess it is a sacrifice, but not feeling this empowering love, not letting our family negotiate the positives and negatives of a big family where their parents make out would be a sacrifice too…. I guess I am not willing to miss out on the kissing….  Paper peeps, you guys are the best.  Thanks for reading.  Now comment….

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