5 Questions Stepmoms Face:
- When is the honeymoon phase?
- What is my role exactly?
- Who do I always feel unwanted in my own home?
- When do we start to bond as a real family?
- Will my stepchildren learn to love me?
5 Questions Stepmoms Face:
Mary Hunt, the author of Raising Financially Confident Kids, walks you through how to kick entitlement and irresponsibility to the curb this year and teach your kids that just because they have $3 doesn’t mean they need to spend it on bubble gum and Pokemon cards.
Listen in and find out how you can start the year off with a huge dose of financial responsibility and a heaping dose of gratitude.
We’d set up the step ladder, and she’d climb up and happily measure ingredients and mix pancake batter.
It was a great arrangement. She was fully engaged in meal preparation, and we felt like such great parents, teaching our little girl life skills at an early age!
Then Annemarie became fascinated by the electric skillet.
We warned her that it was “HOT!” That only peeked her curiosity.
We moved it as far out of reach as possible, but if we turned away for a split second, she’d start to climb the counter, one hand outstretched toward the skillet.
We tried everything we could think of to distract her, forbid her, instill a sense of respect in her.
Annemarie’s obsession became an all-out determination to touch the electric skillet.
After many near-misses, we came to the unthinkable conclusion:
Our little girl was going to experience the natural consequences of her curiosity.
The only question was when.
Daniel and I discussed, prayed, and ultimately made one of the hardest choices we’ve ever made as parents: we decided to let her touch it when we were present.
The next morning, we wiped the skillet clean of oil and turned it to the lowest setting. Daniel stood on one side of the ladder; I stood on the other. At a pre-arranged signal, we both acted distracted.
Sure enough, Annemarie’s tiny hands shot toward the electric skillet. Eagerly, she grabbed its sides.
Her triumphant face registered shock quickly followed by pain. She stumbled and, as Daniel caught her, began to cry.
“Hot!” she wailed, pointing to the skillet with reddening fingers. “Hot!”
I dabbed soothing medication on Annemarie’s hands, and we took turns holding and rocking her until she calmed down. After tucking her in bed for a nap, Daniel and I let down our stoic guards and held each other as we cried.
After that experience, whenever we told her that something was “hot” she repeated “hot!” in a voice of respect and gave it wide berth. And her budding fascination with electric outlets completely vanished.
Letting Annemarie touch the electric skillet worked. But two decades later, I still tear up as I tell this story.
I still feel torn between my desire to protect my child from harm and my responsibility to teach her about consequences.
I also better understand God’s heart toward me: always wanting to protect me but also letting me experience the consequences of my disobedience:
“So, what a blessing when God steps in and corrects you!
Mind you, don’t despise the discipline of Almighty God!
True, he wounds, but he also dresses the wound;
the same hand that hurts you, heals you.”
What’s a necessary “shocking” parental choice you’ve made or experienced? What was the motivation behind the choice? What were the results?
My bad mom friend and author of today’s Bad Mom Monday challenge is Cheri Gregory. Cheri has been married to her college sweetheart for over a quarter-of-a-century and has two college-aged kids; she blogs about expectations, “baditude,” and hope at www.CheriGregory.com.
So we had my son’s birthday party last week on June 30th. The date is only significant because as I was texting people about the party one mom sent a message back with the following question: “Didn’t he turn 7 back in December?”.
Yes, yes he did. (That was for all you Phineas and Ferb fans out there)
I guess I’m “that” mom. The one who had a TERRIBLE year at work. The one who barely had energy to do laundry and cook, much less plan a party.
The one who loves her children more than her job but found her job taking too much of her time, energy and thoughts.
It’s one of those things that I NEVER thought would happen to me, but it did.
It sounds silly to become so upset about being late with a party but it matters to me – or should I say, to my expectations! I’ve always been the mom who plans parties everyone enjoys and (being honest here) raves about! It’s my little “rocked it baby!” moment and I love seeing my kids have such a good time.
Not giving my son a birthday party with his friends brought a weight of guilt and disappointment that was new and very uncomfortable for me, I felt like such a bad mom!
In order to deal with this awful feeling I decided to just stop and remember what matters most.
I decided my son would not be scarred for life and I was NOT a terrible mom. Instead, I was a mom who was human and just trying my best. I stayed focused on the essentials – what I needed to really make it through.
First I had to be HONEST. I had dropped the ball and for that I apologized to my son. I also explained the situation to him and his response was so sweet and understanding. I think it’s okay for my boys to see me goof and claim responsibility while also promising to make things right!
Next I needed the essential of PERSEPCTIVE. Failing to give him a party felt like a BIG deal but when I stepped back and looked at the big picture I realized that I hadn’t totally failed him. I’d been working hard to make sure I was home to tuck him into bed and able to be at all his games and most importantly, turn off my “work brain” and truly listen to him.
When my perspective is focused on the big picture and I’m able to be honest with myself and accept my blunders I think I become a better woman and a better mom. On those “bad mom” days, I have an opportunity to allow God to come in and fill in the missing pieces of my identity with HIS truth. I want to live my life focused on the essentials and not the extras – I want people to come first, not projects and parties.
Keeping this balance is tough, but it’s so worth the effort. And by the way, my little December baby was able to have a pool party. Complete with leis, sunshine and lots of laughter.
Kasey Johnson is learning daily how to ignore the extras in life and focus on the essentials. As an educator, author, speaker, blogger, wife and mother, Kasey understands the balancing act we sustain as mothers. Her new book and Bible study, Mom Essentials is all about this challenge that every mom is facing.
Visit her blog, www.smarter-moms.com, to learn more about Mom Essentials.
Summer is almost here and I know that you want to avoid “couch zombie” syndrome! Sure it’s quiet when your kid’s face is in a screen, but I’m pretty sure that the glazed look in his eyes is not a good sign.
Why not have an unplugged, memory-making kind of summer?
I have just the thing to help you have fun with your kids without pulling out your hair. My friend Kimberlee at ThePeacefulMom.com is offering her e-book Summer Sanity: A Mom’s Guide to a Great Summer FREE when you subscribe to her free weekly eNotes filled with ideas to help you save money, get organized and love your life.
Click here to get your FREE copy!
Please Note: If you would rather not subscribe, you can get the book for just $3.50 (40% off) with code SUMMERFUN – that’s hours of summer fun for about the cost of a box of frozen fruit pops!
Click here to purchase.
For more summer sanity, check out the Summer Survival Kit!
Make this your best summer yet!
photocredit: Ambro; FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.Philippians 2:3-4
When Annemarie was laid in my arms as a newborn, I felt the fierce “Mama Bear” instinct rise up in me for the very first time.
I was certain that I would defend this precious child against anyone who tried to attack her.
I’d forgotten what sixth grade can do to a girl.
And I had no clue what sixth grade can do to a mom.
Eleven years later, I rip into Annemarie the moment she shuts the car door behind her.
“Mrs. Smith told me how you’ve been manipulating the other girls on the playground.”
My daughter’s eyes widen and brim with tears. But I am a mom on a mission, unmoved by her emotions.
“She’s seen you interrupt two girls playing together, convince one to come with you, and leave the other all alone,” I continue, my voice trembling with shame.
Annemarie’s shoulders slump, and she looks down.
“Mrs. Smith has watched you steal her daughter’s friends over and over, leaving her nobody to play with.”
Hot tears spill down my cheeks as I shout, “I can’t believe that my own daughter is the ‘Mean Girl’ of sixth grade!”
Annemarie turns away from me.
I stew in silence. She’d better be planning how she’s going to apologize to Mrs. Smith’s daughter. We were just starting to get to know each other, and I know we’d be great friends. She’d better not blow my chance to finally develop a new BFF friendship of my own.
At bedtime, I’m still so upset that I refuse to hug and kiss Annemarie goodnight. I spend a sleepless night wondering Where did I go wrong as a mother?
The next day, I head to school to gather data for spin control with Mrs. Smith. If I act fast enough, perhaps this will be just a blip on the radar and our friendship will keep growing.
But as I talk with Annemarie’s teacher, the principal, and other staff members, I discover that I’ve sided far too quickly with my BFF-to-be.
Turns out, she’s practically been stalking my daughter for weeks, spending her volunteer hours watching Annemarie like a hawk. And she’s been pulling my daughter aside for long lectures without talking to the teacher or me.
My Mama Bear instinct finally kicks in, and I tell Mrs. Smith to leave my daughter alone, to bring her concerns directly to me. Her disdainful response makes it clear that all my hopes for friendship have been nothing but wishful fantasies.
Now guilt-ridden, I apologize to Annemarie for siding against her before even hearing her side of the story. We begin the journey of re-building the trust I’ve broken.
The answer to my late-night question – Where did I go wrong as a mother? – is obvious now.
I went wrong at the point where “looking to my own interests” became a higher priority than mothering my daughter.
I’d been so confident in my Mama Bear instincts that I was blind-sided by my own “selfish ambition.”
With humility newly born from failure, I discover an unexpected parenting truth: the Mean Girl my child most needs a Mama Bear’s protection from is me.
And from this Bad Mom Moment I learn the importance of investigating carefully–rather than blindly believing–another parent’s perspective.
Prayer: Lord, open the eyes of my heart when I am blind to the pain my selfishness is causing my child. Help me follow your leadership as I learn and grow as a parent.
Has there ever been a time in your mothering journey that you chose your interest over your child’s? Is there a situation right now that you need to apologize to your child for mishandling in order to rebuild the relationship? If so, make that positive step with your child today. Admitting we are wrong will go a long way in building trust with our kids. Sometimes it’s not appropriate to apologize to your child but taking it to your Heavenly Father is always appropriate.
If you’re a blogger and have written about one (or more) of your own “Bad Mom Moments” — or any post(s) that offer authentic encouragement to moms — we’d love to have you link on up! It’s as easy as 1-2-3:
(And if you can spare one more minute, stop by and say “Hi!” to the blogger who linked up just before you.)