Co-Parents Answered Prayers

Today is my daughter and my wasbands birthday. My daughter surprised us 27 years ago and decided to arrive two weeks early on August 9th…her father’s birthday. Happy birthday to both of you! This blog is dedicated to my daughter and my wasband. If any of you have read my book, RECONCILED: A Story of Divorce, Redemption, and a Blended Family United, you know about our blended family story and how God answered my prayers. He healed our hearts, reconciled us to each other, and united our blended family.

After I wrote my book, God put it upon my heart to start a ministry. I felt compelled to help other blended families heal, reconcile, and unite as our blended family had done. With much prayer and meditation, Blended Families United ministry became my answered prayer. Blended Families United became a Member Ministry of Ministry Alliance on April 19, 2018. In the five short months of becoming a ministry, God has answered prayers for some of the stepcouples, who area also co-parents, from the Smart Stepfamily classes and The Smart Stepfamily Marriage study groups by Ron Deal that I teach. I’m so excited and grateful for the miracles God has done in these blended families! I want to share with you a few stories of how God answered their prayers and performed miracles in their blended families.

Bill and Kim’s Story

Bill and Kim (names changed to protect their privacy) have been married for four years. It is Kim’s second marriage and Bill’s first marriage. Kim has two children from her first marriage and her and Bill have a child together. They attended the Smart Stepfamily Marriage study group. In the study group, they shared the challenges they were having with Kim’s co-parent not cooperating with them and how they were trying to avoid arguments with him. Bill and Kim were both exhausted and stressed. At the end of each class, we prayed for each couple that God would help them to apply what they had learned and to bless them as a couple and their blended family. Several months went by and I hadn’t talked to Bill or Kim at church. One day, I saw them talking outside of the sanctuary. They shared with me how they invited Kim’s wasband to come to church with them for Easter. “How wonderful!” I exclaimed. A few more months went by when I ran into them in the hallway at church. They proceeded to tell me that Kim’s co-parent was reading the book The Smart Stepfamily and that he wanted to attend a Smart Stepfamily class. Kim said to me, “See, Bobbi, the work you’re doing is making a difference.”   

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Do You Think Stepmoms Should Be Acknowledged on Mothers Day?

Are you a stepmom? Maybe your spouse is a stepmom to your children or you know someone who is a stepmom. Holidays are often challenging for blended families and Mother’s Day is one holiday that may trigger sadness for stepmoms. And, children and grandparents may find this day uncomfortable.

Although I’m not a stepmom, I appreciate and acknowledge stepmoms. My kids, who are adult now, had a stepmom growing up. Their stepmom didn’t have any children of her own. My kids were her children which really irked me. My son said to me one day, “Mom why do you hate “Name” so much? I thought about his question for a while. I realized that my personal feelings about his dad and the hurt from the past had gotten in the way of me being grateful for the woman that was helping to raise our children. I asked myself, “What am I grateful for about this woman that is helping to raise our children?” So, I made a list. I wrote down everything I could think of that I was grateful for about her.

I’m grateful that she takes the children to school and picks them up. I’m grateful she disciplines them when they need to be corrected. I’m grateful she makes them meals. I’m grateful she takes them shopping to buy school supplies and clothes (this one was difficult for me because I was jealous that she had the money to take our kids shopping and buy them things that I couldn’t afford to buy them). I’m grateful she helps them with their school work and supports them in their extracurricular activities; basketball, motorcycle races, singing, school plays, etc. I then decided to act on my gratitude. So, I bought her a candle (I knew she was into candles). I put it in a cute bag (moms/stepmoms, you know us woman like cute bags and tissue paper) and I bought a nice card. Inside the card, I simply wrote, “Thank you for being a “mom” to our kids.” That was it. I handed it to her during our exchange of kids. A week later, I received a Thank You card from her that said, “Thank you for the candle and card. It meant a lot to me. I know how difficult it must have been for you to do that.” Our relationship transformed after that. It wasn’t perfect but there seemed to be a shift in our attitudes towards one another and a mutual respect.

So, do you think stepmoms should be acknowledged on Mothers Day? (You can reply below) I do. I learned that no matter how much I thought my kid’s stepmom was evil and vindictive, I found several things to be grateful for about her, and it changed our relationship for the better just a little.

If your kids have a stepmom or your wife is a stepmom or you’re a grandparent whose grandchildren have a stepmom, or maybe you are the stepmom and you can’t stand the biological child/ children’s mother, I invite you to find things to be grateful for that they do for the children you both love and are raising together.

Blessings to you Mothers and Stepmoms on Mothers Day.

Bobbi

 

Other Articles You Might Find Helpful

Stepmothers Day

The Phantom Mom

4 Reminders for the Weary Mom On Mothers Day

 

5 Tips for Dealing with a Difficult Ex-Spouse

Have you ever experienced working with a difficult ex-spouse? Do you find it challenging to set boundaries and detach yourself from him or her emotionally? A friend of mine divorced about five years ago. She and her wasband have a son. She found it challenging to detach herself emotionally from her wasband whenever they discussed parenting issues. The conversation always seemed to end up in an argument and fighting often occurred between them. The hurt from old wounds of the past continued to have a grip on her whenever they’d talked. Even though she told herself she wasn’t going to allow him to get to her, he did. My friend often comes to me and ask for advice. Here are 10 tips I share with co-parents who are struggling with a difficult ex-spouse.

TIP 1: Redefine Your Relationship with Your Ex-Spouse.

  • Redefine your relationship with your ex-spouse. When you divorce, your relationship with your spouse changes. Establish new ground rules and boundaries and determine your expectations of your ex-spouse.
  • Decide what kind of relationship you want with your ex-spouse. For example: do you want to remain friends and be interested in what happens in each other’s lives or do you want very little contact except as it relates to the children? You don’t have to be friends and like each other in order to cooperate and work together.

 

TIP 2: Limit Contact with Your Ex-spouse to Reduce Stress.

  • Ask yourself how much contact with your ex-spouse can you handle? The less contact you have with your ex, the less conflict you’ll encounter which limits your stress. For instance, you may want to limit contact to email and or texting instead of cell phone.
  • Ask yourself do you need to reschedule talking about specific issues with your ex-spouse until you feel you are ready to deal with them? Maybe you need to allow yourself more time to process an issue or to pray about it. It’s okay to postpone a conversation with your ex-spouse if you’re not in a place to talk about it.
  • Listen within and honor yourself and your needs. Be reasonable.

 

Tip 3:  Set Boundaries with Your Ex-Spouse

  • Keep between-home conversations focused on just parenting issues.
  • Schedule regular co-parenting meetings. This helps anticipate parenting matters and communicate expectations (When parenting concerns come up, they should be discussed during co-parenting meeting, unless there is an emergency).
  • Try not to engage in personal topics. Redirect the conversation, “I hear you”, “I appreciate your concern. Let’s focus on what’s happening with the kids right now.”
  • Ask ex-spouse to text you first to see if it is okay to come by instead of showing up on your doorstep. If not, give them another option.

 

TIP 4: Be Nurturing and Be Rational.

  • Nurture your emotional side, and try to make decisions with your rational (mental) side. While it’s good to make sure you nurture your emotional side, remember to remain rational when it comes to making decisions concerning your children and what‘s in their best interest and well-being.
  • Separate how you feel about the past with your ex-spouse from how you act. Don’t allow your buttons to be pushed or give in to anger or guilt. Practice remaining calm and grounded and think before you act.

 

TIP 5: Be Constructive.

  • Make a commitment or agreement with yourself to practice self-discipline and to behave in a nondestructive manner, regardless if your co-parent is able to do so or not.
  • Be responsible for your actions, choices, and words.
  • Refrain from striking back.
  • Remain rational when you are upset.
  • Make decisions that are based on what is right, even when you feel you’ve been treated unfairly.
  • Overcome evil with good.
  • Be willing to listen to and negotiate about your co-parents concerns.

 

You Might Also Find These Articles Helpful:

Coping With a Difficult Ex-Spouse

Setting Boundaries for a Meddling Ex-Spouse