Category Archives: Mom Tips

Why I Hate Mother’s Day

Every year I think it’ll be different. It’s not. If you’ve read any of my story you know that I was a single mom for a few years. Although my parents always tried their best to make me feel better and have my boys do something, it just wasn’t the same. I guess deep down I want to be recognized by the two people who will never care. I wonder, do you see what amazing human beings I’ve made out of your DNA? Nope. Because they don’t even know their own kids. They certainly can’t begin to understand what it takes to raise them. Shoot, they don’t help to parent them in any way so why should I ever expect so much as a proverbial pat on the back? It just hurt. This day, for years, just hurt. It made me feel so much more alone than anything could.

Flash forward five years later. I am remarried. My husband is amazing. He is the best father I could ask for my boys. I now have two beautiful bonus children. Those children have a mother. Every single year, since we were engaged, I have done something for her. I go out, and get supplies, and spend time and money, and make a huge mess out of my kitchen to make gifts filled with love for a woman who hates me. Actually two because my mother-n-law is also filled with hate for me. I’m not sure what I ever did to her. She doesn’t even acknowledge that I exist on Mother’s Day. My husband goes to her house alone because I have yet to be invited into their home.

Last night, at eleven, I got a little emotional as I’m finishing up the gifts for biomom, mother-n-law, and biomom’s mom. I told my husband I don’t know why I do this every year to myself. All this time, mess, and money. I do it because I know how it feels to be alone on Mother’s Day. I don’t want anyone else to feel that way. When my husband and I were dating and then engaged, biomom wasn’t around much. The kids, for a few years, didn’t even want to make her anything. I had to force them. Through the years, I’ve taught them the importance of honoring their mother. Now, I think they like her better than me. I’m glad. I want them to adore their mother. I just hate that somehow it means they have to choose between us. I feel like the maid in the background that’s just hated for existing. I continue to love. Most days. Again, this year, I threw myself out there without so much as a thank you. I want to be that positive example. I want to exude love. I want to show all of my kids what walking in love looks like. I will continue to do the right thing. I will continue because it is honorable to walk in peace and avoid strife. Even if I don’t see the rewards of that until I’m facing Jesus.

Sometimes I think that being a step mom helps me relate a little to what Jesus felt like on Earth. Everyone hated Him. He was rejected and ridiculed. All He did was love others. I’m far from being like Jesus. All I can hope is that I’m enough like Him that the kids will see it. Hopefully, one day, if someone dislikes them they will still choose love and peace. Happy Mother’s Day ladies. Spread love today.

Are You Spending Enough Time with Your Kids?

I try to ask my kids probing questions on a regular basis. The other morning, waiting for the bus, I asked Malachi “What’s your favorite thing that you’ve ever done?” Keep in mind that I have taken my kids on plenty of amazing road trips and vacations and cool things all over the country. His reply though, “That time during game night when we played Monopoly and I won.” Yup. I was shocked too.

So how much time do we really spend with our kids? I’m not talking about you watching TV in different rooms. Or them being on video games while you work. Do you have family meals together? Studies show that parents are spending less and less time with their offspring. Yet, it is so very important to their well-being to get that from you. Something simple like implementing a family game night could change everything. Asking open-ended questions every chance you get. And really listen to their answers.

We have the kids pick a game. I usually make pop corn or some other snack and tea or hot chocolate are staples for us too. We set aside an hour  but it usually ends up lasting longer. Those couple of hours are filled with laughter. We’re making memories the kids will never forget and it doesn’t cost a cent! Moms, make it a goal to do something with your children in which you devote 100% of your attention to them tonight!

 

 

My Great Escape: Into the Bathtub

Anyone who knows me at all knows I love my baths! At least two nights a week you could catch me escaping into my personal oasis. I’m not just taking a bath. I’m detoxing. It’s super easy and I’d highly suggest it for any mom who experiences any stress. (Ahem, that’s all of us!) I am also a huge advocate for journaling. Check out Journaling Benefits Me: If You Don’t Like It Don’t Read It! Back to the ultimate bath that actually burns as many calories as a 30 minute walk. I feel a little guilty wasting so much water but other than that, it’s an amazing experience.

What You Need:

  • 40 Minutes
  • 2 Cups Epsom Salt
  • 1 Box Baking Soda
  • Essential Oils of Choice
  • Something to Drink
  • A Good Book

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It’s super simple. Fill up your tub as hot as you can get it without burning yourself or passing out. (If you do it right, you will feel like you’re going to pass out at the end.) Dump in your epsom salt, baking soda, and oils. There are many variations to this. The magnesium sulfate in the Epsom Salt is so good for you so I always use that. You can switch up the other ingredients though. Try ginger (makes you sweat more), Apple Cider Vinegar (makes your skin soooooooo soft!), and if you’d like you can diffuse the oils instead of putting them in the water. I personally love lavender. I add a couple drops to my water and diffuse it. But if I have a cold or something, I switch that to oils such as Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, and Rosemary. Get your drink within reach (I usually go for ice water with lemon) and I always put a hand towel close to wipe my face because I sweat so much. I’ve read that the first 20 minutes pulls toxins out. You should be working up a great sweat. The second 20 minutes puts the good stuff in. A couple of things to remember are that you will feel light-headed when you stand up. Take it slow getting out! You may want to take your detox bath right before bed because it’s extremely relaxing. Oh, and absolutely NO CHEMICALS! Don’t use your shampoo unless you know it’s chemical free. You will defeat the purpose of detoxification if you’re putting more toxins in the water.

Benefits of a Detox Bath:

  • Facilitate’s Body’s natural detoxification system
  • Strengthens Immune System to Prevent Disease
  • Eases Stress
  • Improves Concentration
  • Makes Insulin More Effective
  • Improved Oxygen Use
  • Helps Prevent or Ease migraines
  • Reduces Inflammation From Muscle Cramps
  • Prevents Artery Hardening and Blood Clots
  • Essential Oils Will Add Additional Benefits

What are you waiting for? Grab a good book and get in there! Make it your own personal spa. It feels great knowing you’re doing something to love on yourself. Happy bathing!

 

Ready! Set! Disengage!

This is so unlike me. I’ve just reached that point. The point of no return. I thought I could just bounce back like I always have but this time it was different.

My step son attached to me immediately. We spent plenty of nights cuddling on the couch and talking, bedtime stories, and hugs. He even called me mom. Until his real mom made it clear that was unacceptable to her. That’s neither here nor there. I can’t imagine. I can not fathom how difficult it is to have to share your precious little ones with another woman. I’ll give her that. What I cannot understand, however, is why she wants to raise a person like this.

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Let me back up. He has always been our biggest handful. He cannot empathize with other people. He is always hurting others. He is extremely angry. He’s a handful. Every time there’s an issue I would always handle it delicately. Give him examples. Stories. Verses. Try to teach him why what he did was wrong. It’s draining. It’s time-consuming. But he’s worth it.

One day right before Christmas there was a routine issue, in which he again, hurt another child. As him and I were sitting on the couch talking about why hitting is wrong (again) he got hysterical. He always gets hysterical but usually he calms down. This time he didn’t. It escalated to the point where he said some very hurtful things to me. This isn’t the first time and usually I just take it but these words, this time, cut like a knife. Probably because it hit me from behind. I had no idea it was coming. Just the night before I tucked him in, hugged him, told him I love him like I always did. I guess the reason it bothers me so much is because a nine-year old couldn’t come up with the things he said. I know these words are directly out of mom and grandma’s mouth. He got so angry that he said he wished I never came into his life, things were way better before I showed up, he just wanted me and my boys to leave, I’ve never done anything for him ever, I just spend all dad’s money and I don’t make any of my own, all I do is take from them, I never buy him anything, I don’t like him because I don’t let him do what he wants, I started the fire, and that I am mean to him.

The next day we sat down and I calmly asked him truthfully if he really thought his life would be better without me. He responded with a resounding yes. Dad cried. Hailey cried. My boys and I were crying as we packed our things to leave. My step son smirked. He got his way.

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I only stayed gone a day. I came back. I said vows with my husband and I cannot leave him or hurt the other kids like that. But nothing has been the same since. I have chosen to disengage. He feels that I never did anything for him ever then I won’t. I love him but I do not like him. I can no longer try to get hurt over and over again. I’m fighting a losing battle. Mom and I have different opinions on how to raise children and that child is not mine so I can no longer try to raise him. I don’t know what else to do aside from let him tear our family apart. He’s in trouble constantly at school to which biomom usually laughs. He’s threatened to kill my children and I. He’s just mean. Every time he gets in trouble someone always makes excuses for him or blames another person. There’s never any accountability. I am just tired. Everyone else wants me gone so, to him, I am gone. I hate it though. I’m just sitting here watching him ruin his life. I hope I’m wrong.

A few months ago, biomom posted a blog post on Facebook entitled If My Kid is Being an Asshole, Tell Me. I wanted so badly to tell her. I know that she can’t hear it from me though.  I’m the last person she could hear it from. Here’s the truth: your kid is mean. He’s spoiled. He’s angry. He’s naughty. He’s weird. He’s also stinky because apparently showering and hygiene products don’t matter to her either. He needs help or he will end up in jail or worse. I will continue to pray for him. Even though you don’t want my prayers. But from now on, I am no longer co parenting for him for my own well being. I am also equally disappointed about this because, after the fire, we were getting along so well. I actually thought we were friends. I thought we were on a positive path to healing and co parenting finally. Now, that’s all out the window again. The whole situation sucks. I can understand so clearly why second marriages don’t make it. Even if the marriage is healthy, you are going to marry the ex and the kids too. Life’s not all rainbows and butterflies. If you want a real character builder, become a step mom. You’ll learn really fast how far you can bend before you break. Life is full of ups and downs. Today, I’m down.  Sorry for the pessimistic post. Sometimes I think keeping the peace means stepping away and knowing where the boudaries are.

Making My Home Mine

*Since this post, our home actually burned down. God has now blessed us with an amazing, new home that is all ours. Check out http://www.keepingthepeacemom.com/five-things-i-learned-from-my-house-fire/

I was pondering on what to write about tonight. I guess something that really bothers me, being in a blended family, is that my home just does not fully feel like mine. I’m not sure it ever will because I will always know that I wasn’t the first wife to inhabit it. There are some things though that can make it feel more like mine. I decided then to do more of a picture blog tonight.

I quit using all chemicals (slowly but surely) officially two years ago I’d estimate. That means I make my own laundry detergent, deodorant, shampoo, lotions, cleaning products, etc. Therefore, chemicals do not touch my kids and do not reside in my air. I am also big on plants. I love houseplants! They make me happy but they also clean our air. We live in Michigan so most of the year, our windows have to be closed. So I bring the outside in. I use essential oils for air fresheners.

I’m super artistic so I love my own artwork as well as my children’s artwork posted around the home.

I love quotes and inspirational Bible verses. I feel like they’re a great reminder of things I want to remember anyway. So I put them all over my house.

I love taking photos and looking at photos of good times. I also think that it’s a positive thing for the kids to constantly be reminded that they belong in this family and that we have had so many great times as well.

I am a big fan of bright, bold colors! (Although I HATE yellow- that was not my doing.)

That’s it. short and sweet. I hope you enjoyed the mini tour of my home. Please comment on ideas you have for making a house a home. Have a blessed day!

House Plants to Clean your Air

http://freshome.com/room-color-and-how-it-affects-your-mood/

Sleeping is a Dream, Waking a Nightmare

I haven’t been sleeping good. I stare at the ceiling wondering where I went wrong. It seems like a series of bad decisions that make up my life. When I sleep at least I can dream because waking feels more like a nightmare. I can dream when I’m asleep about the desires God’s placed into my heart. I want to learn to fly airplanes. I want to do mission work in Africa. I wan tot help people. I want to travel everywhere. I want to love deeply. The kind you feel and are so passionate about that it consumes every part of my being.

I have felt this love before. It’s the kind that is a connection on such a deeper level than day to day living. I’m talking about spiritual, mental, physical… a bond felt over miles and a feeling like something is missing when you’re apart. You can feel each others thoughts by looking into their eyes. You enjoy the same games and movies and pass times. The conversation can go on for hours and it’s so invigorating that it energizes you like caffeine. The passion runs deep. It consumes you and fulfills you. Something untouchable to anyone but the two of you. His touch awakens your soul. Leaves you wanting more no matter how many times you feel it. Together, you make one another stronger. You can defeat this war in life. Just the two of you. You get their jokes even if no one else is laughing. You are genuinely interested in their hopes, dreams, and desires. But this love- this love ended. And life went on and without this love I feel dead inside. I have God but God can’t touch me. God can’t hold me. God can’t audibly speak back.

A waking nightmare is when I look back and wonder where I went wrong because there’s no passion. There’s no hope. My dreams have been crushed. This love I’m living is real. It’s there every day. But this love doesn’t know me. I am screaming inside to be understood and respected and encouraged to strive for greatness. I am not. I am pulled down. I cannot be me. I am stupid for wanting these desires so deep within. To him, I am a failure. I am worthless. I am supposed to be a mom and that’s it.

So I pray. I want more from this life. I know Christ didn’t pace any of these longings inside of me to watch me squirm because I can never reach them. He placed them inside of me because when I walk in them I am in my element. I am me. I am refreshed and alive and I can’t stop smiling because I am living my dreams. I am walking toward my visions. I am a better me so I can help others be better too. God uses us. He turns our pain into power. Gives us beauty for ashes. The struggles that we face we can use to help others who face those same struggles and maybe help them to make better decisions in the midst of them so that the outcome isn’t their nightmare. I want to use mine. I want to reach out. I want to get my story out there so that I can touch someone with what I’ve been through. But I am dead. Where I am right now I cannot help anyone because I’m not allowed to grow. I’m not allowed to even be me. Is this what He wants for me? God, I mean. Or did I make a decision that wasn’t in alignment with His will?

I just don’t know. What I know is I feel like a caged bird. I know he’ll use me where I’m at if I honor him. Today, for example, I was teaching 5th grade. A boy passed me a note saying that he didn’t want to live and no one liked him and he was different so he just wanted to die. He also would not talk to anyone but me. I know prayer isn’t allowed in public school but I prayed over him. As I did, his tears slowly stopped streaming down his face and he began to smile. I know that was my job. I know I was there for a reason. I knew how to handle that because I have been there. I told him that. I also told him to not be afraid of being different. I said everyone is made for a purpose and he is going to do something great with his life. I said if you were a goldfish but you lived in the forest and everyone expected you to fly like an eagle could you? He said no. I said that’s because if ur a fish  you’re meant to swim in the sea. That eagle couldn’t swim either. But you, you could swim so fast! I’m thankful that I was there today. But I guess it’s got me wondering why I am in the sea? I am meant to fly. I am meant to soar so all of the things and people that can’t see why it’s because they’re not me. They’re different. They’re content in their niche. I am not. If I don’t do something I am no good to anyone. I can be a great Betty Homemaker but it’s not my niche. I need to find where I belong.

Woes of a Lonely Step Mom

I guess I never really knew much about step parenting except for what I saw on Cinderella and The Step Mom. I never thought I’d be a step mom. But then I guess there’s not a soul who does. You see, I had plans. My ex husband and I were going to have our kids and then I always had it on my heart to adopt a little girl. There’s so many beautiful children in the foster care system that really need a loving home. But then life happened. Noah was only a year old when my divorce was finalized. My ex had abused him and cheated on me repeatedly. He even had another child …with someone else. So I struggled with everything eery Christian going through divorce does. Can God forgive me for this? Am I allowed to be with someone else? I know it’s acceptable because of infidelity but only because of “hardness of heart” so what if I could get over it. Then my situation was slightly different because with him having hurt Noah the courts were involved. CPS said that I must divorce him or lose my kids and I thought that my kids don’t have anyone else. My ex is a grown up and he will survive. And it wasn’t a decision that was hard because in this broken world we live in I had no choice. Despite how much I loved my ex and the fact that I’m still to this day uncertain if it was an accident or not, our lives together had to stop there. Our family was torn apart.

That is when I grew closer to God than I had ever been. I was alone. Again. Suddenly a single mom. Again. I just felt like my world was ripped apart. I didn’t even really get to say goodbye to my husband. There I was. Just me, two beautiful baby boys, God, and a lot of healing to do. I did heal. I forgave. My kids were totally fine. My faith got stronger than ever. I didn’t really have an interest in dating. I met my husband at church. Turned out, he went to my high school and grew up one street over from where I grew up. We dated 3 years. He has two beautiful children as well. We got married last year. We are now a blended family of six: Nick, myself, Hailey (10), Malachi (9), Brayden (8), and Noah (6).

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I had visions of being a “real” family when we got married. He would be dad to my kids, I would love his kids and be the best extra mom I could be, our families would do holidays together… everything would be complete. Yeah, well, lets just say that a blended family is definitely not how God intended for things to be. Ours has a bit of extra drama than your “normal” blended family for a couple of reasons. One being that my boys are mixed and his family is racist. They won’t even step foot into our house because of my black boys. They never even gave me a chance. I made peace with that. Their loss right? But it hurts. Like hell. Another is what I will call the “ex factor”. I don’t want to judge anyone. I especially can empathize with how difficult it must be to have another woman in the picture spending time with your kids. But to put it politely, it’s a nightmare.

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As much as I’d love to get into specifics so that all my readers can completely understand what I’m dealing with, that would defeat everything I’m striving for with peace in my daily life. What I do want to do is say what I wish she’d understand from my point of view.

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I love my kids. All of them. I truly want what’s best for them. I believe I have given them a lot of opportunities they otherwise would not have been given. I will fight for what is their in their best interest because that’s what good parents do. I have spent hours dealing with issues I’d prefer to not touch. I read with them, bathe them, feed them, teach them many things. I am raising them. For about 3 years I was the primary parent in the picture even though I’m not the biological parent. I tuck them into bed every night I have them. I tell them I love them every morning that I get them on the bus. I have spent endless hours investing into their well being. I have spent money and time on them. I was the one home with them cleaning up their puke when they’re sick. Me. The evil step mother. I distinctly remember the first time Brayden called me mom. I actually cried tears of joy. That meant the world to me. I remember 2 years in a row that I got stuff to make with them for their mom and grandmas for Mother’s Day. Both of my step kids decided (with no persuasion from me whatsoever) that they did not want to make anything for their mom because, and I quote, “she doesn’t do anything with me anyway”. When that special day rolled around they both surprised me with amazing cards and homemade gifts that still hang in my room to this day.

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This past year mom has come a long way in personal growth. She is involved. She actually has them 50% of the time like she’s supposed to. She volunteers at school. She is what a mom is supposed to be and I am so proud of her for that. We started to talking and I actually considered her a friend. I had sent so many prayers up for her and I am convinced that God is working in her life. I thought it was an answered prayer. And then it fell apart. I feel like we have taken 5 steps back. But I will keep praying and hoping that we will get past this too.

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One thing about being a step parent is that my feelings never seem to matter. I know I don’t have any legal rights. I know I will never replace mom and I’m not trying to. But am I allowed to say what is hurting me? Why do my kids and I constantly have to be referred to as the “fake family”? Why is it that the color of my kid’s skin is even a factor? They’re kids. Why can’t anyone ever see that I am genuinely good? I just want what’s best for everyone involved. We don’t have to be friends, mom, but your beautiful kids love us both. How is it fair for them to feel like they have to hate someone to make you happy? Why do you despise the fact that they get a bonus mom that wants the world for them? Why do I have to work 20 times harder to prove that my intentions are good? I am not perfect. I am human. I am doing my best in a not-so-ideal situation. I have a lot on my plate. I don’t get to be a parent 50% of the time because I am mom and dad to my boys. I don’t get child support. And no, Please remember that when it’s our weekend I don’t just have 2 kids I have 4. My workload as a mommy doubles. I do it all without complaint. I wash the peed on bedding, clean up the toilets, make the meals, make the extra lunches. I do it all and I wouldn’t trade it for the world because, in my heart, those are my kids too. I just wish someone could see that.

A Letter to The Teenage Me


Dear Young Girl,

I understand. I know how badly it hurts. How it feels to scream inside but no one can hear you. I know the confusion, the anger, the worthless feelings. I know what it’s like to hurt so bad that you cut yourself because you could never imagine hurting someone else. I know how it feels to hate who you are so much that you don’t want to live. You don’t see the point. You think you have nothing to offer this world and everyone would be better off without you. You lie and say you’re fine because no one really cares – or so you think. I want to tell you that you’re wrong. I want to tell you because no one ever told me.


I wish someone had told me I was beautiful. You are beautiful. You think you’re fat. You think you’re ugly. You think you could never be good enough, but the truth is that you are amazing! You are so pretty and probably in the best shape of your life right now. When you smile and exude confidence it makes you look even hotter! You are different and that’s ok. God created you to be you and no one else. High school just puts all this pressure on you to be like everyone else. The truth is that everyone in high school is struggling. Those girls that make fun of you, they’re just jealous! You make them feel inferior.


I wish someone had told me there was a purpose for my life. There is a purpose for your life! God has a plan for you that only you can fulfill. Plans to prosper you and not harm you to give you a hope and a future. That emptiness you feel inside can only be filled by your creator. All you have to do is ask! Ask Jesus to come into your heart and mean it and He will. The hole will be filled and He will heal you. There is hope. Stop cutting. Stop starving. Stop hating yourself because if you end up in a mental institute you will regret that for the rest of your life. That “crazy” stigma will follow you. You can overcome this! Get on your knees and ask the only one who can help you to help you now! He says we are of a sound mind. That means crazy has no place in you. You can be healed.

I wish someone had told me to stop pushing people away. Stop pushing people away! Your parents aren’t perfect. They’re human. They probably don’t know how to handle this. It’s hurting them so much more than you know. They love you. They would be absolutely devastated if they lost you. Let them help. They don’t know that you’re pushing them away and acting like a complete terror because you’re in so much pain. They probably just think you’re acting out and being an irrational teenager.


I wish someone had told me that my boyfriend wouldn’t fix it. He won’t! He cannot love you enough to help you. And he shouldn’t have to. You need to be whole and healthy before you can ever have a relationship that will fulfill you. I wish someone had told me to not even date until after high school. I wish I would’ve understood that there are reasons for God’s “rules” like not having sex before marriage. I know you want that and you want to feel desired and loved but I promise you that, even if you’re in love, that boy will not be able to fix your pain. He will make it worse. He won’t mean to. But he will hurt you. Sex belongs in marriage because two souls become one. You will never forget that boy or fully get over him once you are one with him. If he really loves you he will wait! If he doesn’t, he is not worth your time.  God doesn’t punish us for our actions but we live in a broken world and there are always consequences for our actions. We reap what we sow. If you sow into premarital sex you could reap a baby or a STD. Honey, love yourself enough to sow into your future. I wish someone had told me that.

I want to tell you to follow your heart. Do what makes you smile. Go on as many trips as possible. Meet new people. Learn a lot. Not what school is teaching you but learn about what interests you. Love yourself, laugh, have hope, find a youth group or a church that you can belong to. Walk in love. When I am really sad I do something nice for someone else. What I never realized was that being suicidal is selfish. Get yourself off your mind! This world needs you. There’s a purpose for your life. Go find it!