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I know I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I have battled Obsessive Compulsive Disorder since I was a young girl.  One issues that has arisen with my OCD is the need to be or feel in control.  When you are married to a man with a child and set custody arrangement, you realize you have no control.  Because of this, I have often found myself feeling extremely anxious and upset over sometimes small, details.  Over time, I have found ways to cope with this need to be in control and therefore I would like to share them with all you other Control Freaks out there!

Create a Written Calendar

In this day and age, everything is digital, including our calendars.  While I’m not saying you shouldn’t keep all of the important events in your phone/computer as well, what I have found is writing out a physical calendar has helped me feel more in control.  Although I may not be able to change or modify the custody schedule, by physically writing down which weeks our Son is home, I feel as though I’m somehow in control of these weeks.  On top of this, I make sure to record school events and anything else that may be calendar worthy, so I can plan accordingly based on where my Son is that week.  This way, we never miss an important event, and I’m not constantly having to check the internet for important school dates.  Luckily for me, Bio Mom has begun to rely on my knowledge of these things and I have even created her a similar calendar for her weeks!  I’m officially the go-to person when it comes to scheduling and I absolutely love it.  The calendar is also extremely beneficial when the custody schedule changes due to the Holidays.  It allows you to keep track of which days your child will be home and therefore helps reduces the disappointment of the Holiday’s by giving you a heads up.  If you haven’t, be sure to check out my Coping with the Holidays Blog post for more information about that!

Keep a Journal

If you read my post about How Gossip Almost Ruined My Relationship with Bio Mom, you’ve realized that I often need to vent.  I believe part of this stems from my need for control because I find myself angry over extremely insignificant details when something is done differently than I would do it.  For my Husband’s sanity and my friends, I have found that journaling provides an AMAZING outlet for these occasional “vent” session.  Plus, your journal is much less likely to run to Bio Mom with your insignificant rants.  For me, physically writing something down helps me to acknowledge the problem, share it (even if it’s just on paper), and move on.  It has also helped me to reconsider blowing up over small things and made me realize that everything is not going to be done exactly the way I would do it.  If, after I’ve written the issue down, I still feel like it’s a problem, I address it with my Husband and then potentially Bio Mom.  Writing is a huge stress reliever for me as well, and therefore journaling and starting this blog has been a huge help in easing my anxiety.  It could be for you too!

Plan out YOUR weeks (Or days)

This one goes hand in hand with the Calendar, but I think it’s important to mention.  Inevitably, when you are creating your hand-written Calendar, there will be events that pop-up on your off weeks.  Regardless of whether you wish to attend, you will probably get bummed out about missing these things.  I know I do.  Whenever I start feeling like this though, I begin to focus on OUR weeks (this is another reason the hand-written Calendar is so important).  I completely tune out the weeks my Son isn’t with us and begin to identify all of the events we WILL get to attend.  Plus, it gives me a visual of the time we have with our Son and allows me to plan special things on the weeks he is home.  I have found this extremely helpful when planning for vacations, scheduling doctor appointments, arranging babysitters, and planning social events.  By giving Bio Mom the exact same calendar, it has also helped reduce the amount of confusion that can be caused by sports, school holidays and breaks, and much more!

Get Involved

For me, this one is HUGE.  I know I have mentioned before that I firmly believe Step Parents should be included in decision making.  I also believe they should be included in things such as conferences or sports team meetings.  In my opinion, if you are helping to raise a child, it is important to  aware of everything going on in their lives.  Because of this, I go out of my way to establish a relationship with my Son’s teachers and coaches.  My top priority is his well-being and success, and therefore I feel it is essential to open communication with other adult mentors.  Now, this one can often times get tricky because a High Conflict Bio Mom is really not going to like this and will claim you’re crossing a line.  In these cases, I would suggest scheduling conferences and meetings separately from Bio Mom, if possible.  We have separate conferences from Bio Mom (due to schedule and location differences), and all of our son’s teachers have not had a problem with this!  At the end of the day, if you are fully engaged in your Step Child’s life, it is important that you are aware of what goes on in his day to day.  While you could also just send your husband to these meetings, I have found that the information I receive is much more thorough when I am present!  Plus, I have found that all of my Son’s teachers and coaches have been very receptive to my involvement, which has really helped a lot.  I used to worry that the teachers would feel odd communicating with me because I’m just a “Step Mom” but I have been pleasantly surprised at how welcoming my Son’s teachers and coaches have been.  At the end of the day, these people don’t see you as a Step Parent, they see you as someone who loves and cares about the well-being of a child.

Communicate with Bio Mom (Or Bio Dad)

I know this one is going to be difficult for many people, especially with a High Conflict Bio Mom, but I figured I would touch on it in case it’s an option for your family.  I have been fortunate enough to be able to reconcile my differences with Bio Mom and have created an extremely beneficial relationship with her.  Bio Mom knows I’m a control freak, and luckily for me, she isn’t!  Because of this, Bio Mom lets me take the wheel on things such as scheduling sitters for school holidays, registering our son for sports, and scheduling dental visits.  She’s even told me before that she may need me more than my husband because I keep track of EVERYTHING.  For a control freak, that’s a huge compliment and I pride myself in being the go-to person when it comes to scheduling.  While I know my situation is very unique, hopefully there will come a time when Bio Mom will let you share the responsibility of these things as well.  I might also add that I’m extremely fortunate that my husband is on-board with me scheduling everything (even our social life).  It really helps take the stress off of him and myself!  Plus, I’m not constantly nagging, and he knows it will be taken care of.  Therefore, even if Bio-Mom isn’t conducive to you taking over all the scheduling, talk to your husband about being in charge of scheduling on your weeks, even if it’s just an event here or there.

Try to Focus on the Present, and not the Future (or the Past) 

One of my New Year’s Resolutions in 2018 was to focus on living in the present and trying not to stress about the future.  I catch myself all the time developing different scenarios in my head about what could happen in the future.  For example, I recently became very stressed about future Halloweens because I knew that one day my daughter would want to trick or treat in our neighborhood when my Bonus Son was at hiMom’s and I couldn’t figure out how we were going to make things fair.  These scenarios will eat you alive, trust me.  In reality, it’s never going to be fair, but you have to make the best of things WHEN THEY HAPPEN.  Who knows, I could be worrying for nothing because one day Bio Mom may live in the same neighborhood as us, completely eliminating this concern.  That’s years away and it’s not worth stressing myself out over at this moment.  Like my husband always says, we’ve managed to get through everything this far, we will get through the rest as it comes.  The same goes with the past, if you spend your time focusing all your energy on things Bio Mom said or a wrong call on your part, you’re doing yourself and your Step Child a disservice.  We’ve all said and done things in the past that we regret, and we all hope these things can be forgiven.  Why not do the same for Bio Mom, or yourself?  At the end of the day, harboring negative feelings won’t hurt anyone but yourself.  Sure, things in the past may still make you angry, but don’t let it consume you.  Try to live each day as though it’s your last and make your Step Kids know you will always have their best interests at heart, even when you make mistakes.

No parent is perfect.  You will have good days, and you will have bad days.  One thing I’ve found, is that when I have a bad day, I tend to obsess over it (and tend to relive it over and over).  The thing we must remember is that everyone has bad days!  No one is perfect, but it doesn’t mean you’re a bad Parent!  Learn from your mistakes and move on.  If things start getting too overwhelming, give yourself a break!  Take a yoga class, read a book, get coffee with a friend, or just cry if you need to.  We all have our ways of releasing stress, I urge you to find yours!  Trying to be in control in an uncontrollable situation is exhausting.  I live it every day. Fortunately, I’ve found ways to make myself feel more in control, while benefiting my family.  I hope that some of these things will help you and yours as well!

The post How to Handle Being a Step Parent When You’re a Control Freak appeared first on The Momish Blog.

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Hi everyone! I just wanted to let you all know that The Momish Blog has been selected as one of the Top 75 Blended Family Blogs by Feedspot! The blog is #48 and I am so excited! Go check it out at: https://blog.feedspot.com/blended_family_blogs/

And check out that Badge!

Thank you to everyone that has shown their support by reading and following my blog, I couldn’t have done it without you guys!

The post The MomIsh Blog selected as one of Feedspot’s Top 75 Blended Family Blogs! appeared first on The Momish Blog.

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If you haven’t noticed already, I really enjoy sharing my life story with people.  I am an open book and will talk (or write) to anyone that is willing to listen.  While this never really got me into trouble in the past, other than my Mother telling me to be a touch more private when it came to personal issues, this all changed when I became a Bonus Mom.  Now, a wise person would tell you that they learned their lesson after their first mistake but alas, I am clearly not a wise person.  Instead, I repeated these mistakes over and over until finally, it blew up in my face and almost ruined my relationship with Bio Mom.

If you’re not familiar with the backstory behind Bio Mom and me, check out my last blog post here.  The post explains the process of building a relationship with Bio Mom and promises a further explanation of how gossip and social media got me into some hot water!  Well, this is that further explanation.

Picking up from my last post, I mentioned that I would talk about Bio Mom to anyone that would listen.  And I’m not kidding.  If a stranger on the street asked me how I was, I would straight up unload on them.  I became obsessed with tarnishing her name.  Plus, I knew she was doing the same to me so she clearly deserved it, right?

Well, at this time, my husband lived way out in the middle of nowhere.  I only got to see him on weekends and once or twice a week because I worked on the other side of the city.  Bio Mom also lived about 45 minutes from him and no longer had contacts out towards my future husband.  Plus, I mentioned she was working really crazy hours and at times, working two jobs.  Because of this, she couldn’t make it out to every little thing and my husband kept their Son during the week because she would literally have to drive 45 minutes out and back just to drop him off at school.  Therefore, she only got to see him every other weekend.  But to me, this was unacceptable (even though I had no idea what it was like to work two jobs and have a child, but this was clearly all about me).

Looking back now, I realize that not many people could manage to make that work very well.  I know I would have done everything in my power to be there, but she needed to have a life to support herself and her child as well.  Plus, I never took into account the fact that she would be showing up (usually alone), to these events where my Future Husband and I were not overly welcoming.  Dedicating that much time to people that hate you is going to take a toll on anyone.  But back to the point of the story. Every time she failed to show or I heard about something she said or did, I got angry.  I text my friends, I called my Mom, I vented to Future Hubby and I lashed out on social media.

Now, as you may recall, Bio Mom was dating one of my former friends, which meant we had A LOT of mutual friends.  So of course, all of this venting and whining got back to her, which just led to more drama between her and my future husband.  I didn’t care though, I saw it as karma for being a “bad mom” (Again, clearly still in the mindset that everything was about me).

Fast forward a couple years to when Future Husband and I got engaged.  We decided that the commute to work from the middle of nowhere was just too much (I also hated having to drive 25 minutes to get to the grocery store or anywhere for that matter).  Plus, the school district wasn’t the greatest and we had already talked about having another baby at some point.  Because Bonus Son was still in kindergarten, we figured this would be a great time to move so that he wouldn’t be ripped away from close friends when he got older.  As luck would have it, we ended up finding an amazing house in an even more amazing school district.  There was just one problem now, deciding where Bonus Son would attend school.

The dissolution originally stated that he would attend school in the middle of nowhere because Future Husband was the residential parent and both parents had lived there at the time of the split.  At this time, Bio Mom was living with her boyfriend in a nearby area that also had a decent school district.  We were advised to draft an agreement between the two parties stating that Bonus Son would attend school in whichever area we agreed upon.  Now we just had to agree on where he would go.

Once our house was solidified, Future Husband arranged a meeting with her.  We printed information on our school district, as well as comparisons between the two district’s ratings.  I remember my now husband telling me that I wasn’t to come to the meeting and being FURIOUS.  Here we were, engaged, and I was being excluded from this extremely important conversation that would affect me as well.  Still, I obliged and let him attend the meeting solo.  They met at Starbucks and I headed over to a local target to wait.  My stomach was in knots the entire time.  I constantly checked my phone and rushed to pick him up as soon as I received the call.  What happened next is something I will never forget.

As soon as my now husband got into the car, he told me that I HAD to stop talking to so many people about Bio Mom.  I was taken aback.  The conversation was supposed to have been about school districts, not about my gossiping.  I asked him what he was talking about and he informed me that Bio Mom had brought up some of the negative things I had been saying about her.  He had heard me say these things as well and stated that somehow Bio Mom was able to quote some of the EXACT things I had said.  We ultimately suspected a friend, but never really followed through on the theory because at this point the truth was out.  My then fiancé told me that because of this, Bio Mom was going to have to think about signing an agreement stating that her Son would attend school in our district.  I was devastated.  My careless actions could potentially prevent Bonus Son from attending the best school district, just because I couldn’t keep my mouth shut.  What my Now Husband said next though, surprised me.  He told me that Bio Mom was still willing to try and pursue a relationship with me.  After all these horrible things she had heard, she told him that she was still willing to try.

Fast forward another couple months, things were better with Bio Mom but still not ideal.  She had agreed that our Son would attend school in our district but there was still a lack of communication between the two of us.  Now, enter the problem child.  I’m not talking about our son, I’m talking about an ex-friend of Bio Mom, whose husband was friends with my Now husband.  We started hanging out together more and eventually she-who-shall-not-be-named and myself became friends.  Now, let me just tell you, this girl had the low down.  She knew all of Bio Mom’s dirty secrets and told me all the terrible things Bio Mom had said about me.  I ate it up.  I felt that I had finally found someone who I could talk to and would actually understand because they knew her on a personal level.  At this point, I was working on my relationship with Bio Mom but any time she did anything, I would text this girl.  She was my outlet.  It should have been a red flag that she was sharing deep, dark secrets about Bio Mom when they had been Best Friends at one point, but I overlooked it because she was MY friend now.  Plus, it didn’t help that any time I had anything to say about Bio Mom this friend would egg me on by telling me an even worse story about her.  Besides, I had stopped venting to anyone that would listen and had started just talking to this new friend.  Friends are allowed to vent, right?

Well yes, it’s perfectly normal and healthy to vent to your friends when you are upset SO LONG AS THEY ARE REALLY YOUR FRIENDS.  But this “friend” turned out to be a fraud.  A fraud that not only played me, but played Bio Mom as well.

So, one day I’m looking at my Snapchat and by this time, Bio Mom and I had become friends on Snapchat.  I’m looking through my stories and I come to Bio Mom’s Story.  As I realize who is in the photo, I became sick to my stomach.  There sits Bio Mom and her ex-best friend.  The caption reads something like “pool day with the best friend”.  I immediately show my husband and start panicking.  How are they friends again when just a few months ago she talked about how much she LOATHED Bio Mom?  Well, I end up texting said friend to make sure that her and I were alright.  She responds that everything was fine but that she doesn’t want to be in the middle of the drama between Bio Mom and me.  I tell her that’s perfectly fine and that I just wanted to check to make sure we were good because I valued her relationship as well as the developing relationship I had started with Bio Mom.  Fast forward a week or so and my husband goes to pick up our Son.  Bio Mom was at her Doctor’s office so my husband went to meet her.  Bio Mom ends up coming out of the doctor’s office, screaming threats at my husband, and refusing to give over our Son until 6 PM like the dissolution states.  When he tells me this, I knew immediately what had happened.  I considered texting Bio Mom to try and work things out, but I figured that would do more damage than good.  So, I waited it out.  A few days later Bio Mom apologized to my Husband and stated that she had heard some things and that she had overreacted.  What the heck had this girl told her??

Anyway, the situation ended up resolving itself quite nicely.  Neither Bio Mom nor I am friends with this person anymore after we found out that she was not only lying to both of us, but others as well.  We eventually compared notes on what this friend had told us and it turned out that she had been talking trash about both of us.  Though it really sucked at the time, it actually made mine and Bio Mom’s relationship stronger.  We both apologized for things we had said in the past and we were able to talk about things that we had pent up aggression about.  We both decided that a friend who tried to mess with someone’s family, wasn’t a friend we wanted to have.  (I wanted to add that I understand there is a slight amount of bashing in this post and I apologize, but I tried to keep it as minimum as possible to convey the story!)

Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have outlets in the form of friends, but I would HIGHLY recommend finding a neutral friend to talk to.  Or if it is possible, stick to the motto that if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.  Had I taken that advice, all of this would have been avoided and Bio Mom and I could have developed a relationship sooner.  Fortunately, things worked themselves out and Bio Mom and I are stronger than we have ever been!  I’ve come to learn many ways to deal with my frustration that DON’T involve bad mouthing Bio Mom, so make sure to keep your eyes out for that post!

What are some ways your gossiping has gotten you in trouble with Bio Mom or Bio Dad?  I would love to hear your stories and how you worked through them!  Also, don’t forget to subscribe if you haven’t already!

The post How Gossip Almost Ruined my Relationship with Bio Mom appeared first on The Momish Blog.

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In previous posts, I’ve stated that Bio Mom and I have a very good relationship.  You may be wondering how this came to be considering several years ago we could barely be in the same room together.  So, I’ve decided to tell our backstory.  To begin, there is A LOT of history here and I doubt I’ll be able to touch on everything in just one post.

Now, I want to reiterate that this is in the past, but Bio Mom and I have both agreed that in order for people to truly understand our relationship, the dirty details must be shared.  So, let’s go back to the beginning.

I knew my now husband in high school.  We had lots of mutual friends and met up occasionally.  We stayed in contact through my first year of college, but nothing really came of our interactions.  Fast forward four or so years to when I moved home.  I was just about done with the entire dating scene and was focusing on finishing school and having fun.  So, when I saw my now husband on the “people you may know” section of Facebook, I casually browsed his page, not looking for anything.  His relationship status was set to single and this peaked my curiosity because I had remembered seeing pictures of his son and his wedding a few years back.  He also looked good.  Really good.  Handle-bar mustache and all!  But, like l said, I wasn’t looking for anything.  (Yet I still added him just in case LOL).

So, to sum it up, that casual add ended up being one of the best things I’ve ever done.  We started talking, met up at a concert, and the rest was pretty much history!  There was just one problem, he had a kid.  And with a kid came a…Bio Mom. *shudders* Just kidding, kind of.  To say that dealing with a Baby Mama was the only issue would be a lie, but I’ll touch on the difficulties of building a relationship with a child that isn’t yours later!

Well, before Husband-to-be and I even started dating, I got the privilege of meeting Bio Mom.  Now let me just tell you, THIS B****…

JUST KIDDING, I told her I was going to start our story that way.

Anyway, I show up to this concert where I’m meeting up with some friends, and I see a guy I’ve known for a while.  I go over and start chatting with him as this girl stands behind him and glares at me.  I finally ask him to introduce his girlfriend and she comes up to me and goes “I’m not his girlfriend, but I know who you are.”  OH, OKAY.  I was extremely taken aback but managed to ask her exactly how she knew me.  Her response was “I’m *future hubby’s* ex-wife.”  Rather than fumble and start to cry, I quickly respond with “Oh, you’re *future Bonus Son’s* Mom, he’s adorable!”  Well, that seemed to soften her.  After awhile we started chatting more, and the daggers shooting from her eyes eventually dissipated.  Of course, it was one of the most awkward experiences I’ve ever been in and it was not pleasant for my future husband either because he received a call that night as soon as she left the concert.  Looking back though, I 100% understand why she reacted the way she did.  Here I am, pursuing her relatively new ex-husband which means I will be potentially interacting with her son.  Let me just say, I would have been MUCH worse if I were in her situation.  At the time though, I was completely baffled by the hostility.  Plus, here she was practically dating MY friend and I was the bad guy?  Like I said though, future husband and I weren’t even dating at this time though, so I really wasn’t too worried about it.

Fast forward a couple months, I was head over heels IN LOVE with Baby Daddy.  And that’s when the fun REALLY started…

Side note: Although most of my readers at this point know me personally, one day I hope this Blog will reach every single Bonus Parent out there.  Ambitious, I know.  But, in order for those future readers to truly understand my personality, I figured I should share a few details about myself.  At a young age I was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  Not just worry about leaving the straightener on OCD, but washing my hands until they would bleed because I worried about the germs everywhere.  Because of this, I am a very organized and intense person.  I don’t like change, I like being in control, and when I do something, I give it 150%.  After years of therapy and medication, I have finally figured out how to live a normal life with my OCD and it has ultimately made me a more productive human being.  End side note.

Going into the relationship with my future husband, I was fully aware that he and his son were a packaged deal.  From the start he had told me that I had to treat Future Bonus Son as if he were my own child.  My husband had unfortunately been raised in a situation in which his Step Mother went out of her way to make my husband feel like an outsider.  She would purposely make food he disliked on the nights he was with them and bought his Step Brothers and Sisters things he wanted without purchasing them for him as well.  The stories made me sick and I was determined that Future Bonus Son would NEVER feel like he wasn’t part of the family.  Because of this, I went full blown Mom Mode.  I attended sports practices and games, parent-teacher conferences, anything that involved this kid.  At the time, my husband lived about 45 minutes away from me AND Bio Mom.  Because of this, Bio Mom wasn’t able to attend all of these things because she worked some crazy hours.  So, all of a sudden, this other woman starts attend her kid’s activities that she’s unable to make.  Pretty sure that would upset anyone.  At this point though, I didn’t care about her feelings, I just wanted to make sure that Future Bonus Son knew that he was one day going to be my kid and make sure he never felt like he was anything less than a Son to me.

Due to my intensity though, the hostility between Bio Mom and me only grew.  Facebook statuses started appearing and my now husband started receiving angry phone calls on the regular.  I wish I could say that I handled this with maturity and grace, but that was not the case.  My own passive-aggressive Facebook statuses appeared, and I would complain to ANYONE that would listen.  (I’ll touch on how this got me into some SERIOUS trouble in a later post!)  Of course, in person we were civil, but I DREADED seeing her.  Every time the phone rang, and her number showed up, I got sick to my stomach.  It was one of the most stressful times in my life.  We tried several times to get along, but it wasn’t until about a year and a half ago that things really started getting better.  Now, that’s not to say that we haven’t had our bumps in the road since, but we’ve both recognized just how important our relationship is for OUR Son.  Before, it was a competition to see who could Out-Mom the other one.

While our story has had a happy ending so far, I don’t know if this is possible for everyone.  I like to think it is, but it’s not easy.  In fact, it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.  Before I met my Husband and Son, everything was about me.  If someone talked poorly of me, I called them out, regardless of the consequences.  This all changed when I met the boys.  I couldn’t continue acting like a drama queen when the relationship with my Now Husband and Son were at stake.  They became more important than my vendetta against this girl, and I truly saw how detrimental it would be for my Son if things didn’t improve.  So, we slowly began working on things.  A few texts here and there, sitting together at events, a friendly word at an exchange.  The stress melted away, and I no longer got that sinking feeling in my stomach whenever I saw her.  A few baby steps turned into a relationship that allows my Son to hang out with both of his Mom’s at Mother-Son Bowling and to see both of his families cheering him on, together, on the sidelines of his soccer games.  Though we don’t always see eye-to-eye, I’ve noticed a tremendous change in our Son.  Before, he was scared to hug me around his Mom because he was worried it would upset her.  Now, he’s getting annoyed at the number of photos of him I’m sending to his Mom!

Here Bio Mom and I are with our Son at Mother/Son Bowling!  (I’m on the left and Bio Mom and Son are on the right)

So, that’s the short version.  Remember, this was YEARS in the making and I will touch on specific ways to improve your relationship with Bio Mom/Dad in a later post.  Until then, I hope you all had a wonderful blended Thanksgiving!

Miranda

The post Building a Relationship with Bio Mom appeared first on The Momish Blog.

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First of all, I wanted to thank all of you for your kind comments and words of encouragement! This blog has been a dream of mine for awhile now and receiving such positive feedback just supports my dream to start it! I am still getting acquainted with the user interface and therefore you should expect the layout and minor details such as the “about me” section to change over the next few weeks as I format everything to my liking! With that being said, I wanted to post a follow-up post regarding “Holidays with Blended Families”. I received some feedback from my beloved boss and she suggested a post focused on coping with the Holidays when you have a blended family. Therefore, my second post was created!

Coping with the Holidays

To summarize, my last post was basically an entire essay written on why the Holidays suck for blended families. Because I hope to give advice and spread positivity, I decided to compile a list of things you can do this Holiday season to help make things a little bit easier and more enjoyable!

1. Elf on the Shelf

My Bonus Son LOVES his elf. Like, to the point where he is sad on Christmas morning because the elf is no longer at our house.

Some of you may be freaking out because he’s touching the elf, but this was Christmas Eve and Santa had “lifted” Olaf’s magic so that my Son could hold him and say goodbye to him.  I would definitely recommend doing this if your kids love the elf as much as mine!  He was so excited!

I received a comment on my first post that a Bonus Mom use to swap elves with Bio Mom to have the elves travel from house to house. I thought this was a great idea! It definitely would be magical for a child to think that the elf literally follows them wherever they go (or maybe creepy depending on your child…mine loves his elf but doesn’t want him in his room because it’s “creepy” if he’s sitting there watching him LOL). So, this is definitely a great option if you are in a position where you can count on the other parent to move the elf consistently and have a way to get it to the other parent’s house without said child noticing! In our situation, this would be a bit difficult because generally the only time we see Bio Mom is when we are picking up or dropping off our Son. We also started our elf tradition before Bio Mom did and therefore our Son would have been suspicious if Olaf (Our elf’s name) just started showing up at his Mom’s house. But, Bio Mom has since adopted the elf tradition as well which at first raised questions with our son. He told us that most kids at school only had one elf per child and he wondered why he had more than one. Our simple solution was to tell him that it was too much work for Olaf to fly to the North Pole to make toys AND to switch houses every week. This made complete sense to him! Other options to combat this dilemma would be to inform the child that there are an abundance of elves right now and therefore they get an elf per house to prevent excessive traveling from one elf or inform them that some older children no longer need their elves and therefore their other set of parents were able to adopt them! Get creative! One word of advice though, make sure both sets of parents know the story of how the elves at each household came about. This will prevent confusion and potential elf failure on both sides!

While the elf is really good about moving while Bonus Son is home, there have been a few times where the elf hasn’t moved and we ended up having our Son for the night. We generally combat this by stating that Olaf was up late and is therefore sleeping. Then, when Bonus Son is busy the elf “wakes up” and moves to a new spot. That in itself is really magical for him because the elf moved while he was awake and he didn’t even realize it! This year, with a new baby, our household has adopted a second elf. Adopting a second elf will no doubt make them more mischievous and active. Bonus Son also has a cell phone now (Yes he’s 8, but we use it to communicate on off weeks) and therefore I plan on sending him daily pictures while he is at his Mom’s house. It’s a good way to keep the tradition going and it gives us a conversation starter…Win Win! If your child doesn’t have their own cell phone, consider sending pictures to their other set of parents. This could ultimately help open up communication between the two families and shows your Bonus Child that you’re willing to go out of your comfort zone to help make their Holiday season magical!

2. Buying Gifts for Both Sets of Parents

I don’t know about you, but I will definitely soften up to someone if they give me a gift! Everyone loves presents and the Holidays, especially Christmas, are known for their ability to spread love and Peace! Nothing says you’re trying to keep the Peace like helping your child pick out a gift for both sets of parents. Recently, Bio Mom and I have started celebrating birthdays as well because we BOTH really enjoy gifts. Plus, it’s been a great way to find out what things she’s interested in. Amazingly enough, we both share common interests. Who knew?

I think it’s especially important at Christmas though, because it helps ease tension and makes the child switch a little bit easier. While you are sad to see your child go, it’s nice to see them get excited about giving their other set of parents a gift they helped pick out! Also, regardless of whether you have a good relationship with your child’s other parents, I do believe any sensible person will be softened if they see you making an effort towards their child’s relationship with them. Christmas is also a time for giving and I believe it is important to teach that to our children. For those that may need it, here’s a public service announcement. JUST BECAUSE YOU DON’T LIKE YOUR CHILD’S OTHER SET OF PARENTS DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOUR CHILD DOESN’T LOVE THEM. It is important to teach our kids to be kind and thoughtful to ALL the people they love, even if you yourself do not love the same people. You don’t have to spend buckets of money either. Things like a handmade card show bio parents that you cared enough about their child to help them recognize everyone in their family this Holiday season. Plus, it shows a little extra effort on your part.

3. Throw out the set calendar day and make the Holiday a different day!

As I mentioned in my first post, I grew up going to Illinois for Christmas. Because of this, Santa would come early to our house and then we would pack up and leave for Illinois a couple days before Christmas. I don’t ever remember my Christmas’s being anything less than magical even though Santa didn’t visit on December 25th! We were always told that my parents communicated with Santa and he dropped our things off early. If anything, there were more than a few envious kids at school that were jealous we got our gifts early! So, there’s no reason why you can’t make a modified Holiday schedule for your family! As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to learn that it’s not about the actual date of a holiday but who you spend it with. While this may pose a challenge for seeing out of town relatives, why can’t Christmas happen a week before the 25th? The 25th is merely a date picked out to represent Christmas, just like the second to last Thursday in November represents Thanksgiving. Find a day that your entire family is home and turn that into your own little Holiday! I promise the kids will still find it just as magical and this is another great use for the elf at Christmas! Your elf can be the messenger that tells Santa about the adjusted date. For thanksgiving, prepare your own little feast at home and celebrate with your Bonus Child on off years. If you have flexible extended family, it may even be a possibility to throw two Thanksgivings or move the date for everyone! While these things are often difficult to carry out with everyone’s busy schedule, our family does our best to make sure our Son never feels as if he is missing out. Next year we will not have our Son on Thanksgiving and therefore we plan on having a little celebration the day before! Not that anyone really needs the extra calories, but I’m always down for more than one day of pumpkin pie!

4. Attend different Trick-or-Treat Events

In my last post, I slightly touched on our new Halloween tradition of Trick-or-Treating together with Bio Mom. For the past couple years we have alternated neighborhoods and walked around together.  Here we are dressed as elves because our Son was Santa!  Pretty sure we won Halloween that year.

Because not everyone has a relationship like Bio Mom and I do, Trick-or-Treating together may not be something you even want to attempt. Or, say you have other children and wish to spend Halloween with them in their own neighborhood. If it’s not your year, you may be torn about what to do. You may not wish to force your Bio Kid to Trick-or-Treat in a foreign neighborhood, but you also don’t want to miss going around with Bonus Kid. I’m not sure about other states, but in Ohio, Trick-or-Treat is based on what county you live in. The county where my husband is originally from always has Trick-or-Treat the Friday before Halloween, regardless of what day the 31st falls on. Our current location usually does it on the actual day though. The dissolution my Husband and Bio Mom have states that each parent is entitled to take the child Trick-Or-Treating if it falls on different days in their neighborhood. If not, the Holiday alternates from between Dad and Mom. Though we live in a different county than Bio Mom, the Trick-or-Treating for both counties has fallen on the same night. BUT, because our extended family still lives in the county that has Trick-or-Treating on the Friday before Halloween, we could always take our Son out there! We also have tons of Trunk-or-Treats, zoo festivals, and many other festivities in which our Son could partake in Trick-or-Treating. So, when our daughter reaches the age where she wants to Trick-or-Treat with her friends in our neighborhood, we can just take our Son a different time or to one of the multiple Trick-or-Treating events that our area puts on. Like I said above, it’s not about the actual date but who you spend it with! Because there is an 8 year age difference in my kids, I don’t suspect that Halloween will be much of an issue though. Once my daughter is really old enough to understand Halloween, Bonus Son will either be “too cool” to walk around with us or be too old to go altogether! For years in which your Bonus Kids aren’t with you, I would highly recommend researching the activities available in your area. I don’t think any kid would mind going Trick-Or-Treating more than once each year!

While these are clearly not all of the Holidays in a year (I guarantee there will be a book of a post on Mother’s Day), these are the three (well two, Halloween isn’t a huge deal unless you’re a horror fan like me) Holidays that are relevant at this time. I realize I did not touch on New Year’s Eve but I look at that holiday as a potential date night for my husband and me. When Bonus Son is home, I make bags for him to open every hour, all the way up to midnight and then we run around the house banging on pots and pans. When Bonus Son isn’t home, the hubby and I get together with some of our non-parent friends or plan a romantic night either out or at home. This year Bonus Son will not be with us but we now have our daughter that we luckily have full time! Needless to say, I’m guessing it will be a relatively low key New Year’s Eve this year!

Now I want to hear from you! What kind of Holiday schedule does your blended family follow and what ways have you learned to adapt to this schedule? Leave me a comment or send me a message at themomishblog@gmail.com. Also, be sure to like The MomIsh Blog on Facebook and share it with your Bonus Mom friends! I’m hoping to get an Instagram and Twitter account started as well and will keep you posted when those launch. Thanks for reading!

Xoxo
Miranda

The post Coping with the Holidays! appeared first on The Momish Blog.

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