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Back by popular demand, Ava Parnass and I continue the discussion about practicing empathy within your stepfamily. We provide specific examples of how to do this for a happier, healthier blended family.
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I truly believe that if everyone was a bit more empathetic, family life, especially stepfamily life, would run a lot smoother. I brought in empathy expert, Ava Parnass, to help teach us how to be more empathetic in our relationships with our stepkids. Her advice is gold! I hope it helps you as much as it has helped me!
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I’m a scorpio, so I can’t help but have the jealous gene. I consider myself a confident girl, but when it comes to my partner, a little psycho creeps out whenever other women or exes come into the picture. He’s a good catch, what can I say? We’ve been married for almost 4 years now so luckily this type of jealousy has subsided as time has elapsed. However, I never expected for an entirely different type of jealousy to emerge within our relationship: Jealousy between his kids and I!
Being a stepmom comes with lots of challenges (and joys), but one obstacle I was totally unprepared to deal with was feelings of jealousy between my stepkids and I. Unfortunately, on holidays like Valentine’s Day, this jealous undercurrent tends to surge. Think about it, from a child’s perspective, a stepmother could be seen as a threatening presence. To them, she is competition for their father’s time, love and resources. Jealousy is an emotion that is born out of fear so a child scared of “losing” their beloved dad will often lash out in jealousy. I think about how I act when I’m jealous of other women eyeing my husband (think a kicking and screaming child), so you can imagine an actual child trying to untangle and express these complex jealous feelings. It can get ugly.
So on a day like Valentine’s Day when the pressure to be lovey dovey with your partner is at its zenith, the last thing you want to deal with is jealousy from children that feel like daddy is being taken from them. For me, anytime I have a romantic evening with my hubby, I experience pangs of guilt towards his children as if I am doing something wrong. Like we as parents are deserting them! The guilt is then often followed by anger because I become resentful that I can’t just simply enjoy time alone with husband like every other “normal” couple.
So what to do? As a professional nerd, I have scoured the internet and harassed my therapist for answers. So just in time for V-Day, here are the steps a stepmom (pun intended) can take to help deal with jealousy that exists between her and her stepkids:
1. Consider what the jealous feelings are really about. Are they hurt that they don’t get as much time with daddy? Or, if the kids are older, are they worried that you are competition in financial matters? The more information you have about the problem, the easier it will be to address it and fix it.
2. Remind yourself that just because your stepkids occasionally feel jealous doesn’t mean that you are necessarily doing anything wrong. Let’s not forget that you are dealing with children. This fact shouldn’t make you discount their feelings, but it’s important to remember that you may not be dealing with a totally mature mind. Therefore, remain open minded about how you judge the situation. Don’t jump to a dark, guilty place so fast.
3. Talk to your husband about this. If he isn’t aware of the situation, chances are he will want to be aware. And if appropriate, talk to the kids about it. Yes, it will be uncomfortable and awkward but more often than not, dealing with feelings head on is the way to go.
Most importantly, remember that your marriage is the foundation of the stepfamily. If that relationship isn’t solid, there is no chance that the rest of the family can live in harmony. So on that note, be sure to show your man how loved he is this Valentine’s Day, regardless of any negativity that comes your way!
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The holiday season is finally upon us! Yes, the holidays are supposed to be a warm, fuzzy time filled with joy, but in reality, the holidays can bring about lots of stress and frustration, especially for stepfamilies. Visitation becomes an extra touchy subject, gift buying can be confusing and stressful, and forced time with your entire family can drive you loco! Everyone’s family situation is so different so it’s tough to give specific advice that will help your individual grievances. Sure, I could give you some ideas about starting new holiday traditions with your stepkids or provide a gift guide, but those lists are old news by now. Instead, lets focus on some fun, flirty ideas for this holiday season that will undoubtedly lift our spirits. Let’s get bedazzled and shine from the outside, in! Because no matter what family issues you come across in the upcoming weeks, facing them with a fierce, confident-inducing outfit will only help.
OK, I know I sound like a grandma, but my tip to you this holiday is to go out and buy yourself some pins. Go to Amazon and order a bunch for only $5-$10. Add them to your t-shirts, sweaters, or even jeans. It will take a so-so outfit to couture levels. The trick is, make sure you add them in clusters. Don’t just add one pin. Add 2-3 in a bunch. That will avoid the granny look.
I’ve also started adding pins to my winter outerwear! Add a few to hats, scarves or your jacket. I love that you can pull out an old, boring hat that you haven’t worn for years and reinvent it and make it feel brand new. Plus, you’ll be wearing a one of a kind clothing item once you have bedazzled it!
My favorite trick is to rummage through old ribbons you have for gift wrapping and strapping a pin to that and wearing it as a choker! You can use ribbons of varying colors, textures and logos. You can add just one pin and then tie the ribbon at the back of your neck and cut off the excess. Chokers are very “in” right now and having a unique one that is hand made is pretty awesome. And it doesn’t get much cheaper than this for jewelry!
So shine on this holiday season stepmamma! Rest assured that you are not alone in the stepfamily struggles that come with the holidays. But whatever it is that you are overcoming, make sure to do it while looking fierce and feeling confident. I’m telling you, a few pins will go a long way!
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Fall doesn’t just mean back to school, it also means the start of fall sports which could be even more intense than school! When I became a stepmom, I had no idea what I was in for with two stepkids that were soccer nuts. Every single weekend there were (and still are) games, tournaments, practices and I seriously could not think of a more un-fun way to spend my free time. Yes, I want to be supportive of my stepkids, but I have always hated watching sports. It’s weird became I’m an athletic person but I have no patience or desire to watch people play sports of any kind. So when I became a stepmom and inadvertently took on this role as cheerleader, I was pissed. Not only did I not enjoy sitting in the cold watching kids run after each other but I also found that it caused so much conflict between my husband and I. Being their number one fan, my husband insisted on going to EVERY SINGLE GAME, no matter how far or inconvenient. We fought all the time and I usually lost. Yet another “game” I disliked.
Fast forward to present day where we I’ve adopted the attitude “If you can’t beat em’ join em’”. I go to most games, but I’m able to stand it because I focus my negative energy onto something positive that I actually enjoy: Food! I now bring delicious, interesting treats for the players (oranges are so last season). By focusing on creative ideas to contribute to the games in my own fun way I can divert my boredom and frustration into feelings of pleasure and entertainment.
Of course if having to show up to your stepkids’ sports games is the worst of your problems, you’re doing okay. But sometimes we all need to vent a bit and sometimes it’s the little aggravations that add up over time and lead to much larger conflicts. Better to get that anger out. Maybe I should join a sports team to release some anger on the field. I would but I don’t think anyone would come watch me!
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Many times, sexy is confused with sleazy. Yes, there is a very fine line between the two but with the right set of guidelines, a woman can be sexy in a classy way. As a mom, it is so easy to lose that sexy edge you once had. I think it is so important t maintain this quality as a woman because when you feel desired you feel empowered. And there is nothing that can stop an empowered woman.
With my three tips, you can regain and maintain your sexy self in a non-trashy way. I’m a mom/stepmom and don’t want to embarrass my kids (or myself!). I have always followed these guidelines and they have completely helped me feel my sexiest self:
My Three Non-Sleazy Sexy Rules:
1. Pick one body part to accentuate. If you wear a low cut top, make sure everything else is covered up. One body part per outfit. And remember ladies, chest and legs are not the only sexy body parts we have at our disposal. Your back, collarbone or even toned arms can be extremely titillating.
2. Wear heels! I don’t care if you are tall r have back problems. Heels not only make you physically more attractive by lifting the booty and elongating your leg, they make you FEEL sexier too. You walk more slowly and in a more feminine manner. Buy she inserts if you have to or flats for the commute but when it counts, always count on your heels!
3. Slooow down. In this day and age, everyone moves a million miles an hour. Not sexy. Being slow, focused and composed is sexy. Walk more slowly, talk more slowly, and just be more aware of your surroundings. It’s all about poise and control when it comes to being sexy.
So no matter what your family situation is, these three rules are easy and doable. Your stepkids/kids won’t be ashamed of their new sexy stepmamma but instead be proud!
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