Lucky Seven Family

Tag Archives: Stepmom

Christmas Plans – Part 2

In my last post I shared how my ex- and I manage Christmas holidays…

Now, for Russell and his kids:

Russell and his ex-wife have a very set schedule that we rarely sway from.  They alternate Christmas Eve and Christmas Day every year with the following schedule:

Christmas Eve 5pm to noon on Christmas day (Parent #1)

Christmas Day noon to 8am the following day (Parent #2)

The week b/w Christmas and New Year’s (Parent #1)

Santa visits each home separately and there is very little, if any, coordination of gift planning.  Even with that, there are usually not too many duplicate gifts to deal with so that is helpful!  Russell plans a decadent Christmas meal each year and either has that for Christmas Eve dinner or for Christmas Day dinner.  One year dinner was lobster and steak – talk about yummy!  His brussel sprouts are to die for too!

Dedicated Dad:

His children participate in a church nativity scene each year on Christmas Eve and being the dedicated dad that he is, he always attends their play whether he has them for Christmas Eve or not.

Couple’s Christmas:

So, when do Russell and I exchange gifts and celebrate our Christmas together?  Based upon the different schedules we usually either have a little quiet time together on Christmas Eve or late on Christmas night.  Our first focus is on our children and families; whether that means we are separate with them or we are all together as LUCKY SEVEN FAMILY.  Regardless, we always find time to enjoy an hour or two of quiet time and celebrate together.

Lessons Learned:

Over the years, I’ve realized that putting pressure on ourselves to make our crazy lives “perfect” is NOT the goal.  Happiness and contentment is the goal; for us and for our children.  Thus, no matter when it is that we can bake cookies, open gifts, share a Christmas meal, we always make sure that everyone in LUCKY SEVEN FAMILY knows that our Christmas is about fun, love and gratitude.  It may take some extra planning but in the end we are building a strong family with ties that will last for many, many years.

It’s late, but Happy Holidays to all of you!! Hoping our experiences help you in making your experience positive ones!

 

 

Step-Momming — please remember you are the adult!

When my mother was diagnosed with stomach cancer, my family was told she had six months to live .  She came home from the hospital and chemotherapy ensued.  Given my parent’s expectations, they identified a home health aid to be available for my mother.  Given her strength, fortitude, and the loving care of her friends and family, Momma defied the odds; she managed the chemotherapy like a champ. Given how well Momma was fighting, after about six months, the home health aid was helping more with household items like laundry and groceries than taking care of Momma’s health needs (so lucky we had some healthy times with her!).  I was 18 years old at the time; a freshman in college.  I took my second semester of my freshman year off to be at home given the prognosis we initially received.  During this time, I was a complete brat (or substitute some other word here) to Lillie Mae, the home health aid.  In all honesty, I was just plain MEAN.  She didn’t do the laundry like my mom did.  She didn’t buy the same brands at the grocery store that my mom did.  So, what did I do – gave her the cold shoulder and talked ugly about her to anyone that would listen, including my mom.

Why I am telling you this?  To get your attention! And…

Because I think this relationship is analogous to the step-mom/step-child relationship in many ways…

Lillie Mae was the target of my anger and frustration.  Any sane person can quickly see though, that Lillie Mae was not whom I was really angry or frustrated with, right? I was angry and frustrated that my mom had cancer! And, that I had no control over what was happening.  Lillie Mae was the easiest target… she was new to our family and I didn’t have a personal relationship with her.

Think about it!  What does a child go through when their parents split up? when someone new shows up in their home?  They are angry, frustrated, and realize they don’t have control over what is happening.  A new person  in the home is the perfect target.  That new person is often the new partner of either parent.  This does not make bad behavior excusable; it still has to be dealt with.  However, I hope this analogy will help you think about HOW you deal with it.  Perhaps your first step will be considering where the child is coming from; their life has been significantly impacted.  Also, I’ll make the point that I was not a five year old when I was so difficult with Lillie Mae; I was 18 years old!  So, this pertains to teenagers as well, maybe even more so.

As the adult in the relationship, we have to put the child’s feelings first. It isn’t easy.  When you aren’t being treated with respect, you get an eye roll, or the cold shoulder, just put yourself in the child’s (or teen’s) shoes and remember that as the new person, you are their easiest target.  Take a deep breath, count to 10, and don’t take it personally.

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