Last week, I wrote about the challenges of being a stay-at-home mom. I’m going a step further to say that it’s more challenging being a step-mom and even trickier during the holidays. The dynamics vary drastically between families, thankfully I have an amazing relationship with my ex and his wife. Literally, I adore her and we’ve spent several holidays together. Before I get into the meat and potoatoes can I give one word of advice? Mom’s…. INTENTIONALLY & DELIBERATELY make it a point to develop a relationship with your childs step-mom. This woman is caring for your child when she isn’t with you! You don’t have to have coffee and gossip together but you do need to give her the utmost respect and appreciation.
I guarantee the way you treat her will directly reflect in how she treats your child.
This year, I have one of my husband’s daughters with us and here is where the trickiness comes in. First, it’s already a freaking puzzle learning the balance between caring, nurturing, and having fun and also setting boundaries and maintaining the rules and norms of your home. They have a whole different lifestyle: habits, comforts, foods, etc. Now, when these little souls come to your house, you do your best to incorporate them into your family. Add the holidays in and you must be careful that each child receives the same quality of gifts of equal value. That you snuggle them the same (age & gender appropriate obviously) and that you make them feel at home as much as possible.
Here are ways I’ve went wrong in the past:
- Over doing it on being nice and accommodating. ( They take that as you have no boundaries and it’s Disneyland in your house)
- Not discussing plans that I make with my husband . (This can cause conflict and unnecessary confusion)
- Worrying about all the details
- Trying to control everything.
- Letting the chaos stress me out before I can even enjoy the blessing of being together
Here are things I do differently now that i’ve learned some lessons:
- Treating them, as much as possible, like your own. This means, chores, rules, love, snuggles, bed times, and other family norms. They are all God’s children after all and this isn’t Disneyland.
- Discussing all my ideas of things to do while they’re here with my husband before suggesting to the kids
- Realizing that some details don’t matter and ultimately I care more about the details than they do.
- I am not their parent. However, boundaries are key to a healthy family and I say bring them on. And… let’s be honest- the mom does the planning and organizes most family event’s. Why should that change? I am such a believer in boundaries. A very special woman in my life bought me a book many Christmas’ ago called Boundaries, When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life . You can buy it here.
- Expecting chaos and disorder rather than be annoyed by it. Literally thanking God, for their health. That they have the ability to play hard and be loud. It is only for a short time and totally tolerable.
I pray you have a peaceful Christmas and that God fills you up with the real meaning.
-That you give each kid over to Jesus because he is a better overseer than we are any day.
-That if you’re a mom sending your babes to your ex’s house and they have a significant other, you go out of your way thanking them for the care they provide for the kids when they’re with them.
-That if you are having your spouse’s kids over from his previous marriage that you know, you are not a magician, chef, or Walt Disney. It’s okay to just be you and be normal and give as much love as you possibly can.
Merry Christmas to you and all of yours!