#StepMomMagazine #January Review

2014 January cover

In New Year’s Resolutions: Goals for the Not So Perfect Stepmom, it actually admits “a perfect stepmom doesn’t exist” so Gayla Grace offers some resolutions of how to keep going on days when you want to quit:

  1. let go of the stepmom guilt
  2. forgive yourself when you fall
  3. seek out support from other stepmoms on hard days (this was especially hard for me in the beginning as I was the first to become a stepmom in my friend circle…now, there’s the Facebook…)
  4. recognize the significance of loyalty conflict and how it affects your stepchildren
  5. listen to your heart on how to parent your stepchild instead of others’ opinions (I think this runs true as any type of parent)
  6. take time (for yourself) to regroup when the step-parenting strain takes over
  7. realize that time is on your side

The article Eyes Wide Open: How to Marry a Man With Kids asks important questions regarding telling exes or not about the wedding, considering a prenup, etc. As excited as you are about the wedding of your dreams, there are certain realities of marrying a man with children:

  1. keep your eyes wide open to the realities and potential complications of stepfamily life
  2. remember that a wedding is only one day but a marriage is the rest of your life
  3. take a weekend retreat with your partner before the wedding
  4. don’t take anything personally
  5. go on a honeymoon without the kids

High Conflict People: A Guide to Understanding & Managing Difficult Personalities spoke to me. One thing that I truly believe and agree with in this article is to always remember that the High Conflict Person believes “they are being reasonable and their actions, even if violent, are completely justified so it is fruitless to get angry…”. Been there. Lived that.

There was also an interview about an interesting film called SPLIT: A film for kids of divorce (and the parents). I have not seen the film but I’m very intrigued now. It’s a documentary about divorce, from a child’s perspective, interviewing 12 kids, ranging in ages from six to twelve.

I’m very blunt whenever I hear anyone is getting married…doesn’t matter who you are, how much either of you make, or how much you love the person, get a prenup! The prenup my father insisted my (then) fiancé and I sign before we got married, definitely came in handy when we divorced. Everything was laid out very clearly, so there was little fighting over assets and liabilities we both brought into the marriage. In Do we really need a prenup: How spelling things out create stronger stepcouples, the steps are laid out very clearly:

  • Determine whether it is wise for you to have a prenup
  • Realize you already have a prenup (ie: laws in your jurisdiction)
  • Discuss and determine what to include in your prenup (dos and don’ts)

In YOLO: You only live once – piercings, tattoos and a stepmother’s love are forever, the stepmom describes why she went ahead and got matching tattoos with her stepdaughter. I love this quote from the article: “In 2014, at the age of 42, it is likely that I will get my first tattoo and it will match a tattoo on my stepdaughter. Why? Because she asked me, and if I don’t do it, she may never ask again. I know it will be there forever and will never change, juts like my love for her.”

To top it all off, the editor Brenda Ockun is the featured Stepmom for the issue. I’ve never met her in person, but have corresponded with her for almost a year. A beautiful woman, inside and out!

The March Issue of StepMom Magazine will be out next week. To purchase a subscription, click here: http://www.stepmommag.com/shop/

Meghan was given a year subscription for her review of the StepMom Magazine.

#StepMom Magazine – July Review

July cover bigger

The “Steppin’ Together: Why Stepmoms Need Eachother” article in the July issue of StepMom Magazine surprised me a bit. It discusses the isolation step-moms feel, and the thought that went through my head is: How is that possible with the divorce rate so high?”. So, after some reflection, I remembered that when I first got married and became a step-mom, I felt very isolated. Very few of my friends were married, let alone in a step-parent situation and honestly, Facebook and other social media platforms were just starting or hadn’t even been thought of yet (insert an “I’m feeling old” moment here). I remember going to the library to try to find books to help guide me in my new role as step-mom and there weren’t any! There were a few about being a stepfather, but none for stepmothers. I was shocked. I looked for a local support group of some kind, and again, they were for stepfathers. Thankfully, social media helps connect whoever wants to connect to others, you just have to use the right search term. If you are an extrovert like me, this article also takes you through how to launch an in-person group because, at the end of the day, sometimes all you need is a hug from someone who has been there, done that, and doesn’t want to “fix” everything for you like so many of your family members want to do.

In “Love Them Like Your Own: What Stepmoms Should Know About This Well-Intentioned but Misguided Advice“, all the “shoulds” that people who aren’t step-parents tell a step-mother. You “should:

  • just be nice and they’ll warm up to you
  • have his ex over for the holidays
  • be friends with her
  • be able to ‘blend’ your ‘family together with good intentions alone
  • love them just like they’re your own”

In my opinion, the author sums it up perfectly: “When you hear ‘should’ regarding anything stepmotherhood-related, resolve to ignore the ‘advice’ until you get some information based on the research and facts about step-life and step-dynamics”. I’m a firm believer that the word “should” is full of guilt and no one needs the extra pressure of what we “should” and “shouldn’t” do in our step-parent role. Being a new step-parent is hard enough. Let’s not add the guilt of should.

I think the article “School’s Out: Sanity Saving Tips for the Summer” is good for any parent, not just a step-parent. The author reminds you to take some “Me Time” throughout the summer because you’re a better parent if you do. It also gives you “permission” to just spend a day at home, doing nothing. I don’t like to overschedule my kids…my son especially has A LOT on his plate with his 25 hours per week of IBI therapy. Sometimes, it’s nice to spend an hour outside in our garden, using chalk on the sidewalk, or just going for a walk around our cul-de-sac.

StepMom Chat Rooms: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly” reminds us how chat rooms can be a great resource, but can also spiral out of control quickly. The “ugly” part is when step-moms can be extremely critical of the ex-wives, and say things they would not necessarily say in person – the “benefits” of anonymity. When I was married, I’ll admit, I jumped on the bandwagon too. I believed my then husband’s side of the story of their relationship, but the reality is that I became part of his life story after all the nastiness had dissipated (for the most part). Now, being able to talk with my stepdaughter and her mother, I see many commonalities between our relationships with him, and how my marriage to him ended as well. So, my advice (from having been there), is to remember that all “truths” about relationships is purely one person’s interpretation of the relationship.

You are also reminded to remember to be safe online by using a pseudonym, and non-identifying information when discussing anything in the chat rooms.

In a refreshing twist, the article “Dancing With Myself: Rejected, Alienated and Balancing on the Edge of Motherhood” was a letter from a 2nd wife to the 1st wife, never wanting/expecting the letter to be written. She recognizes why she is shut out and pushed away, as she herself is a child of divorce. She respects her stepchild for keeping her at a distance at all the family celebrations, and saying all the hurtful things like “you and I will NEVER have a relationship. You and I will NEVER be friends”, while recognizing her own part in the game of sticks and stones. At the end of the letter though, 2nd wife tells 1st wife: “You are the mother of the children I have loved for all these years. You have brought a joy to my life that I will never be able to reciprocate. You will always have a place in my heart, just as your children do…”.

I agree!

Meghan was given a year subscription for her review of the StepMom Magazine.

The new August StepMom Magazine is now available online here: http://www.stepmommag.com/shop/

#StepMom Magazine Review – June

June cover

I got a little behind in reviewing StepMom Magazine, not because of the content, purely because of life being busy, with end of school, summer break and camp starting, and my first vacation in 5 years (woohoo!).

 

The June issue honestly initially didn’t speak much to me as its focus was on fathers for Father’s Day. Not being a father, nor being remarried, I didn’t think I would be interested…but there were some fantastic articles.  I also thought it was a cute twist to have the Editor’s husband write for “Brenda’s Corner“.

 

In “Take Two: Becoming a Dad For the Second Time“, the author questions how her husband is going to manage seeing their soon-to-be-born child every day while seeing his first born every other weekend. I had never even thought of this as a “problem” until my then-husband mentioned once that he found it challenging initially to call me “mommy” in front of our twin babies, and “Meghan” when referring to me in front of my stepdaughter. He slipped a few times, but it all worked out.

 

The article entitled “Repeat After Me: 5 Important Mantras for Repartnered Men” is a great list for ALL men (to be stereotypical) and frankly, for any parent, male or female:

  1. I don’t always have to “fix” something
  2. I don’t have to retreat
  3. It’s not all about me – I have a partner
  4. My divorce and remarriage haven’t ruined my kids forever
  5. I deserve a happy marriage and my kids deserve to have parents who love eachother

 

In “The Secrets We Keep: 10 Things Stepmothers Really Want You To Know“, I didn’t have all of the secrets when I was married to my stepdaughter’s father except for #8…”sometimes I feel invisible“. Many times, my then-husband would have conversations, make decisions and/or plans with his daughter for our family of three without telling me, and then be shocked when I wasn’t ready to go to wherever they had decided to go and/or that I had no clue what he was talking about. Because I wasn’t ready to leave when they were, I would be left standing behind the closed door, feeling left out, unloved, cheated from an experience my stepdaughter would enjoy, and almost worse, I was not part of his family.

 

After it happened a few times, I pointed it out to him and didn’t really see it again until after our kids were born. Then, he would leave with my stepdaughter without giving me any warning, or even inviting me and the babies. Even if it was a quick outing, or one that the babies were too young for, I told him I would have appreciated knowing about it more than 5 minutes before they were leaving. It was the simple courtesy of giving me time to determine if we had enough diapers in the house (twins…lots of diapers needed!) to get me through the day and if we didn’t, for me to go get some before he left with my stepdaughter for the entire day, for me to run to the basement to flip laundry over before he leaves, or more importantly, for me to have a quick shower. I could deal with all the diaper-changing, crying, or throw up the twins could throw at me…as long as I had a shower.

 

The June Issue even included directions for a handmade (leather-covered!) journal for dad, and a bunch of pictures of stepmoms with their partner in the section “Celebrating the Men We Love“. Cute pictures!

 

Meghan was given a one-year subscription to StepMom Magazine in exchange for reviews.