Sunday, December 14, 2008

Best Stepmom Gift Ever

This is a story I wrote a few days ago for another post and thought it would be appropriate here. It is written with the permission and approval of my stepdaughter.

My stepdaughter Julie and I often were at odds with each other when she was in her teens. I felt we were competing for a place in the house and in my husband's life. It was really frustrating because in my head, I knew that there could never be competition between my husband's daughter and me because we both belong and had our place within this family. But still it was hard. It was even harder when she left for college and told us that she was so glad to leave this place and wasn't planning on coming back any time real soon. It broke my husband's heart but I felt I had failed as a stepmother. I kept wondering what I could have done better, said differently or if it was a good idea for me to have stayed around.

A year and a half later, Julie came over and said she wanted to talk to me. I thought that I was going to get another "You're not my mother", "I'm not ever coming back again" something. Instead, this young lady that had left our house very bitter and angry, came back to thank me for having been there for her and not giving up. She said she didn't know how anyone could do the job I did and get no thanks for it. Needless to say, I was balling my eyes out (a thing my kids enjoy doing to me). Never in my wilddess dreams had I thought that I would hear Julie thank me for being her stepmom. From that day on, my life and perspective changed about posibilities. I saw first hand that not giving up and visualizing the posibilities does create what you want. Thank you Julie for this beautiful life lesson.

Stepmom Claudette

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Questions to ask yourself as you get ready for the Holidays

So this is your first Christmas together as a stepfamily and you're wondering what are you supposed to do about the holidays when you see your partner's children occasionally. It can be tough but not necessarily.

As women, we tend to be natural caregivers, wanting everything to be picture perfect: the perfect decorations, the perfect gifts, the perfect hostess. But one thing that I ask my clients is :
  1. Is this a realistic expectation?
  2. Does it reflect your core values?
  3. What purpose does it serve?

With these three questions, start to look at these answers as an observer, as if a friend was asking you what to do. Start to create a picture of what you can do to make this holiday season focused on what is really important. Here are a few tips:

  1. Focus on just enjoying the company of others and not on what this relationship might become.
  2. Use this time to get to know one another. One thing we do is play family games. There is a lot less tension is a room when games are played. No need to think of things to say or do.
  3. Create a little something special for the kids and other guests, nothing complicated, like an ornament to commemorate this occasion for which you might start a new tradition, or do a stocking and put useful and fun items in there.
  4. Find time to reenergize yourself throughout the visit. If you are use to being just the two of you, and then all of a sudden the house seems to expand with lots of kids, it's important to find a space for you to regroup yourself, take a breather and then come back.

This is a time that many find hard and stressful. Being aware that it is normal and that you can do something about it will give you a sense of control and possibilities for changes.

Wishing you and your family a safe and happy Holiday Season


Upcoming Holiday InfoSteps Newsletter

Happy Holidays to Everyone.

I just wanted to give you a sneak peak at my upcoming Info Steps Newsletter that will be coming out in the next few days. This Christmas Holiday, we are celebrating a major milestone in our stepfamily relationship. Come read what it is and how we got there.

I'll give you a few clues:
  1. It involves collaboratively working with my stepdaughters' mom
  2. Putting aside resentful feelings and past issues
  3. Creating the kind of family that we always envisioned
  4. Being positive role models for your kids.

I've also included a few suggestions of games you can play together that were really fun for us.

If you have not signed up yet to receive my newsletters, please go to and under my photo, look for Info Steps or click here for a direct link

Wishing you and your family a safe and happy Holiday Season