I’ve been struggling with all the drama in and around my stepfamily for the last couple of weeks. The recent emotional pain and rejection of my dearest mother-in-law has had its moments of wreaking havoc in our household. It has also left me and my husband feeling both a little wounded. Wounded from things said, things done, and from things not said and done. These wounds and hurts have, at least for me, left me with the inability to get a good night’s sleep, one full cheesecake heavier, and dancing images of slapping the next person that ruins my chi. Yes, unfortunately, our less than endearing qualities have reared their ugly heads.
I mean, can you blame us? We have a new baby (as precious as she wants to be), two overactive older kids with sports and music schedule that is extensive enough to make a grown man cry, and what seems like 9 billion responsibilities that sometimes keep Read more
Well, I recently took some time to just relax. I tuned the world out – turned off the t.v., dimmed the lights, and just listened to the nothingness. Then after I resisted the temptation to just go to sleep right there on the spot, I continued to just relax my mind. In that state, I realized that I had completely turned my back on something that I’ve harped on for years. Something that I have been recommending to other women with great success. I guess I just got busy with life and with the new baby and running around, that I forgot my common sense with the laundry that I have yet to fold.
So what is it this magical thing that I forgot? It’s my self-care plan. I’ve talked about self-care plans before, and while I don’t want to get too detailed right now, I will say that it is quite simply a way of you planning how you will take care of yourself when things get rough. It is a way of you working to make sure that you never allow yourself to “be in over your head” without a life vest. I have one – a very good one – that I developed quite some time ago. And there are two key components that every stepfamily needs to have if they are going to survive the sleepless nights, talking back, meddling ex-wives, and troublesome in-laws. The first component is time alone as a couple where it is safe to bond, love, and focus on your partner. The second is time alone as a person where you are able to reflect, release, and tap in to your inner strength.
Last night, I did one of the two, tonight I will do the other. Last night I went for my first run in a long time. In fact, it was the first run since I found out that I was pregnant and got disgustingly overwhelming nausea. It was not impressive – neither in distance nor in speed. In fact, I probably looked more like an asthmatic rhino that the typical galloping gazelle associated with runners. But as I was out there (in 50 degree weather in May), I realized just how much I missed it – the feeling of being free, wind across my face, the sense of accomplishment as I finished my goal, the clarity of my mind… I even feel so at peace just recalling it.
And tonight, with no pick ups or drop offs to worry about, we will go in the backyard and have a date in the pool room. Yes, with the girls safely asleep in their beds/crib, we will make it a date night in our own backyard. We will remember, even with so many crazy things going on in our lives, why it is that we fell in love, and we will put our relationship first. After all, we might be parents, step parents, daughter-in-laws, sons, etc., but we deserve to still be in love with our spouse after all this time.
- When facing a challenging time in your stepfamily, take some time to ask and answer the question, “why did I fall in love with this person?” The answer to that question should help you get some perspective that will allow you to think from a better frame of mind.
- Create a rough self-care plan (we’ll get into more details around what specifically it should entail next week) that outlines some things you can do when you are feeling down about situations.
- Take some time, at least once per week, to put your relationship with your partner/spouse first. Whether you are able to go out on a date, or just head to the backyard, take one night to reconnect, rebuild the friendship, re-establish the bond that you may have lost.
- Take some time for yourself at least once per week, as well. Do something that centers you and re-energizes you. Whether you are like me and can go out for a quick run (even if it is shamefully slow), or want to escape to a quiet place outside of the house so that you can just read a book, take some time to do something that you enjoy and in which you find peace and happiness.
- Do not let the tasks of life be your life, and be sure to repeat that to yourself as often as you need.
May 16, 2014 231 Comments
May 13, 2014 2,425 Comments
Ariana had cholic – which means that from 7:00 – 10:00pm she cries and cries until she literally passes out. It is a fun time for the entire stepfamily. The kids place bets to see who can predict what time this falling out will happen? While I didn’t mind at first, it is really developing into quite the gambling habit.
I recently realized that the same trick I used to use with my daughter Marissa, works wonders on her, too. I do this one simple thing, and the baby becomes putty in my hands. Read more
Yes, squats. Forget what all the experts recommend; I’ve tried it all. And in the end, the only thing that calms her down, is the same trick that used to work on Marissa. Squats, and lots of them - tens of them, maybe hundreds or perhaps one day thousands of them. She does not like to sway, or move back and forth, it makes her scream even louder. But something about the motion of me squatting, deeply, repeatedly, painfully - squatting over and over, brings a lull to her entire body. She goes limp as my legs quiver and the beads of sweat begin to drip down my face. And just when my thighs are beginning to cramp up, she begins to drift into a deep sleep.
I should thank her; I will be back in shape before I know it. But as I limp to her room to lay her down for the night, after 40 straight minutes of squats, gratitude is not exactly the thought dancing in my head.
Yet, I think I am looking at this in completely the wrong way. In forty minutes of squatting, I managed to solve cholic, get in a work of out, put a baby to sleep, and rid my children of their gambling habit. What else could I do with squats? Could I resolve the issues with my mother in law, resolve stepsibling rivalry, figure out our stepfamily scheduling woes around the holidays, cure hunger, save the world? Perhaps I’m getting carried away. So for now, I’ll stick with being satisfied with the possibility of just having a great ass.
May 8, 2014 191 Comments