You’re Not My Mom (or Dad)

You’re not my Mom! How many times have you heard that “insult” hurled at you? If it’s more often that you’d like, it’s time to reassess your role (and attitude) in this new family relationship. Yes, from time to time your step-child will remind you that you are not their mother but then that’s what kids do. Kids have limited problem solving abilities and lashing out is one that works for them. Don’t take the bait!

If you are acting as the person who dishes out the punishment, it’s time to stop.  I hear you saying, “But, it’s my house and what I say goes in my house.”  Yes, it’s your house but it’s their house too and it’s their father’s house. The rules of behavior, and the norms of how all of you will share the house, must be developed and enforced by you and your husband. When those rules and norms are broken, it’s his job to be the enforcer; it’s not your job.

“But it’s my house,” and you’re right. When a child does something to harm you or your children – it’s your house; when a child insults you – it’s your house; when a child is destroying you house (dirty dishes on the table is not destroying your house)—then it’s your house and you have every right to act to restore order. If the child’s actions are less than just described above then think of how you would speak to, or correct, a friend’s child who was visiting you. How would you correct your sister’s children?

Managing the step-parent relationship is a key to staying married. Your parenting style may be very different from that of your husband which can lead to friction but even if you each have the exact parenting style, it’s his job to parent his child. Once you learn to manage your expectations and create an in-house parenting plan with your husband, then yes it is your peaceful house.

I hate my EX

So the person you once loved with all of your heart is now your sworn enemy. Surprisingly some couples divorce as friends and stay friends. But if that’s not you take this advice.

Remember that while your former sweetie is no longer your “soul mate” (don’t you hate that term!) you don’t have to go into debt to stick it to him or her. Remain  calm and  remember this is just business (Yikes, a quote from The Godfather!). Do you really love that wedding present enough to pay $300 an hour to have it sit in your garage and then to the trash? Push your case forward on the important matters, alimony, retirement, a car, the family home and the custody of your children just to name a few. Need some inspiration? Watch the War of the Roses – that could be you but not if your savvy and smart!

Summer Vacation

Summer vacation is here and you have your kids. Do you realize how lucky you are and how lucky your children are?!! Depending on their age, it may be next to impossible to get them away from their computer. Don’t argue, just work with them to set reasonable rules for computer time. Next, plan what you will be doing with them. If you can afford going to the beach, wonderful! Wait, why can’t you afford going to the beach for a few hours rather than staying at a hotel? Plan what you can afford and what your children will enjoy. Need to use public transportation, look for a community pool.

Dinner out- a picnic works but so does 5 Guys or McDonalds depending on your budget and your taste. How about an ice cream cone and a walk (or a race if you’re not afraid to lose)? Look online for coupons and search every restaurant that has “kids eat free.”.

For young children, go to the library and local museums-all free. Indoor restaurant playgrounds are always a big treat. Go see the 4th fireworks!

They want to spend time with you so make a plan. Vacation goes by way too fast.