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Friday, September 23, 2016

My Children Have Stepmother

Cate Blanchett as Lady Tremaine
Copyright 2015, Disney Cinderella
My former spouse, who is the father of my children, was remarried this summer and I haven't mentioned it because it isn't really part of my story...except, it is, because my children now have a permanent woman in their life...who isn't me!  She is "the mom" at the other house.

I don't know this woman well, though she has been present in the life of my children for quite a while. She is at the children's activities, performances and celebrations. Sometimes, we even sit next to each other.

From what I do know, she treats them with respect and they all like her.  My outside observation is that she provides a sense of stability and care for them while they spend time with their dad.  Because they spend time with her weekly, I know she will have an influence in their lives and shape part of their experience while they are apart from me.  I don't relish the idea of a woman I didn't select having a priority position in the lives of my children.  But this experience is a common aspect of life after divorce and simply part of our reality.  I can live in denial and rail against what is, but that is futile and leads to anxiety, depression and despair.  Instead, I choose to work with the factors that play in the lives of my children and find the positive (more on that another day).

As a stepmom myself, I know the challenge it is to accommodate and serve children who may or may not recognize your role in their lives.  I understand that it can be difficult to find your place.  I have to respect that a unrelated woman is choosing to share her life with my children.

Stepmom life isn't for the weak, so I know she makes sacrifices on behalf of children that aren't her own.  I am grateful that during the times we are together for the sake of the children, we have avoided awkward least so far.  I appreciate that she defers to me as their mom and doesn't attempt to usurp my role.  Ultimately, I do think we both desire to operate in a way that minimizes their confusion.  I can live with that.

Five Essential Stepmom Skills

Stepmother Influence Family Identity

Monday, September 19, 2016

Life Lately in Photos - Lots of Family Time!

We don't live in a town near any of our extended family, but we manage to stay close through concentrated effort and making time to be together.  This month has been so fun!  We went to Missouri for a long Labor Day weekend.

Our trip was followed by a visit to US from our Atlanta clan and we had a relaxing weekend enjoying the company of my in-laws.  I'm so grateful for them and the way they accept me and my children right into their family.  It is a rare gift. 

Now, we are once again visiting with my parents, who made the trek east to visit.  We're enjoying a few days, filled with our normal routines and soaking up some Nana & Papa time.  Finally, Mr. Wonderful will head out to Asia soon to visit our daughter with wanderlust. 

Family doesn't always get to be nearby, but we make the effort in time and money to keep the ties close!  How do you keep in touch with those you love who live far away?

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Change in the Kitchen

I didn't choose the home in which I live, but I've spent the past three years making this my home.  It has been home to my husband and his girls for more than ten years, and their roots are deep here.  It's not a simple thing to walk into a place that already represents others and put my own mark on it without upsetting the balance that makes it feel comfortable to them.

I'm so excited that I was able to paint the kitchen, with plans to continue into the great room area.  Mr. Wonderful simply loves overcast days, so my inspiration was a cloudy sky.  I also took note of the stone in our fireplace and hope that the color brings out their natural beauty even more.  Green is a wonderful color.  We are surrounded by the green of the woods in which our home is found.  But the green in our home absorbed light and was very dark.  Our walls were covered with spills and splatters.  It was time for a new coat of paint and so it was the time for the change of color.  

Change doesn't come easy, and Mr. Wonderful isn't too keen on the new color yet.  I'm hoping it feels more homey with time and all our stuff spread over the counters.  I really appreciate him for encouraging my DIY endeavors!

Can you see the spatters and spills on the green paint?  The new paint with primer covered these stains in one coat.  I was thrilled!

Most things in our home become a family project, and these two were truly helpful.  Faith helped with the details (she's really good at details) and Jake filled in the space between trim.

Oh my, he looks so tall!

The room sat likes this for a while.  It was hard to find a large chunk of time to complete the task, so it was a work in progress for several days.  I tried to overlook the clutter, but I'm glad it's done!

I'm happier than expected with the way the gray looks against our counters!

The dark green is currently in our entry, living room and the rest of our kitchen.  You can see the contrast here.  What do you think?  What is the best way you can take ownership of your space?