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For anyone who knows me personally, you know that I love Chip & Joanna Gaines from HGTV‘s Fixer Upper. I love their playfulness, I love their talent, I love their love for one another, but above and beyond everything else, I love that they place such an emphasis on the importance of family and that it is 100% authentic, not just for cameras.
With all of that said, I was reading Joanna’s blog today, and her ode to all mother’s, particularly this weekend. I feel like she had a lot of genuinely wonderful things to say and I think it will speak to everyone in different ways. For me, there was one particular segment that hit me hard and sent me to tears… "when I started writing this post it was all about the joy of motherhood—but when I thought about all the strong moms around me, it didn’t take me long to realize the name “mom” isn’t easy to come by. These mothers have fought infertility, miscarriage or even the loss of a child. So whether you’re a mom right in the middle of raising your babies, or you find yourself in the throes of immense pain—this day is for all of us."
There are so many unsung heroes in this world, mother’s, stepmother’s, bonus moms, grandmothers, godmothers, soon to be moms, women trying to get pregnant, women who have lost children to a miscarriage(s) or a tragedy, etc. As women, we bear such emotional weight everyday (and usually not just our own) and we carry as if it is nothing. It is because of this strength that people often forget to stop and say “I appreciate you and all that you do” and we carry on anyway, because it is like an unsaid motto we share as women…we take care of our own no matter what.
So for all of those women who take care of you, no matter who they are, real mother or not, we challenge you this Mother’s Day weekend to a gratefulness challenge. Take 5 minutes out of your day to write down 10 (or more) things you appreciate about that woman/women. And then share it with them! Let them know that you notice all of the little things they do for you, not just the grandiose things. Let them know that you may not express it all the time, but that you love them as unconditionally as they love you. Thank them for being a pillar of strength in your life, a source of inspiration, a confidante, a voice of reason and so much more. Your words of appreciation will mean more than any gift you could ever give. And it’s so easy. So even if it makes you squirm, give the gift of gratefulness this Mother’s Day to those you love. Trust me...you will receive it back tenfold.
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How can you seamlessly balance work, private time, fitness, family, meals, dishes, laundry and everyone else’s activities day in and day out? Well, sometimes feeling like a great mom can seem like an impossible feat. And it can be really easy to compare yourself to other moms who seemingly manage everything with ease. Moms can be extremely critical of themselves, which is why days like Mother’s Day are so important to celebrate Moms around the world who selflessly give of themselves to make their children and their family feel special and supported. Whether you have chosen to buy Mom flowers, make her breakfast, buy or make her a card or pamper all day long, know that your minor or major sentiment will be carried in your Mother’s heart for years to come.
In celebration of Mother’s Day, we have put together some wonderful Pins to help your Mother feel like a Queen for the day…! If you would like to chime in, we are always open to hearing your thoughts and feedback.
OMS Pinterest Board: Mother's Day
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As Mother’s Day approaches and I scour the card aisle for a Mother’s Day card, I’m reminded of a few things. I not only need a card for my mother, but for my stepmother as well.
I get my stepmother a card (or ecard when life is so hectic I lose track of the time) every year. She has played an important role in my life since I was a teen and we still keep in touch after all this time, even after my father passed 13 years ago. I’ve always recognized her in my life and I wonder if everyone else does the same for their step parent?
I have recently taken on the role as a “pseudo step parent” to my boyfriend’s two lovely girls, when we started dating over a year and a half ago. And as we enter the second year of our relationship as a family, I wonder whether I will ever receive a Happy Step-Mother’s Day card. I don’t need one. And I certainly don’t expect one. But out of curiosity, and I’m sure many more years of becoming a family, I wonder if it will ever become a check on their grocery/to do list?
No we are not married, but we are still very much a blended family. And while there is so much beauty in the relationship I share with this man and his children, the joys of being a step parent can also be riddled with complicated questions and moments of self doubt that can send one reeling into a tailspin in the matter of seconds. As we continue to see the rate of divorce at an all time high, the notion of new, blended families from second marriages and the like becomes more prevalent and the complications begin to stack. This begs the question, how does one become a great step parent?
I think we all need to keep in mind that there is no such thing as being the perfect anything…real parent, daughter, business woman, lover, friend, mentor, stepmom…and the list goes on. But we should certainly wake up each day realizing that if this is one of the many faces we wear in life, then our intent should be to put our best foot forward when we are in this role.
Do I think I should be their best friend? No. But I do think that earning a level of trust, loyalty, love and respect is important with my step kids. They are the foundation for my relationship with them throughout life.
Do I think I am their mother? No. I am not their real mother. Plain and simple. But I can serve as a guiding force in their lives where it is appropriate. I always defer certain questions to their Dad and to their Mom when I know it is the right thing to do, or if I’ve got that feeling it is a grey area. But I can also provide them a perspective that is new and different, and sometimes may take on a different meaning for them, precisely because I am not their parent.
Can I have a voice? Yes. Remember to follow your intuition, keep your filter in place whenever you can, never air dirty laundry (especially when it is not yours) and tread lightly. Sometimes your voice will be a whisper. Sometimes it will be a roar. Just keep in mind, it will always be changing and adjusting to the needs and moods of those around you, because being a step parent is an ever changing, always evolving relationship.
Do I think being a stepmom is like being in the center of a dynamic spider web of relationships? Yes. I not only have a relationship with their father, but I have a relationship with each of them individually, them as a unit, their mother, their stepfather, their grandparents, their step grandparents and the list goes on.
Do I fear this dynamic web will come crashing down at any time? Yes. In fact, I often have anxiety if I think about it. For example, if I don’t see eye to eye with someone, or a comment made in passing is mistaken for something completely different in intent, or their father and I are facing a challenge in our relationship, etc. it can compromise or weaken any part of the web in a variety of ways.
And so as a step parent we sit on a precipice of sorts. Sometimes we find balance. Sometimes we tip to one side or the other. We just need to remember that every decision we make, every word we speak, every action we take has consequences. But those consequences don’t have to be bad. They can be great! They can be what results in a beautiful relationship with two lovely girls that are not your own, but you will treat like your own with a show of love, courage and loyalty that cannot be broken.
You will teach them lessons from the chapter of your own life because you remember what it was like to be them. You will cry with them, because sometimes that is all they want or need in that moment (hello puberty…I remember what a crazy world you were ). Or, you will go find a quiet place to cry when you are overly emotional and you get your feelings hurt. You will be ok with not being #1 because it doesn’t matter what priority you are, as long as you are a priority. You will remember how to share, because you share their father every day. You will steal moments with him where you can make the time and space to be selfish, because they will be all the more precious. You will wonder if the kids will ever resent you, but you will keep in mind that even if there are challenges in your relationship, it will always work out and make you stronger people. You will be there for every milestone, even if you feel like you are in the background, and someday they will thank you for it (just probably not when they are 8). You will balance the line of mentor vs disciplinarian with grace and patience as you feel out their parents about it. Heck sometimes parents crave it because they get so tired playing the role day in and day out. Sometimes they don’t. You will focus on maintaining a healthy and positive relationship with their father (making you a better partner) because you want to set the right example for them in their relationships. And the examples go on.
And so, when I think back to a comment someone made to me once about being a step parent: “Shut up, show up, wear beige” I say: choose your words wisely, always show up, wear a red dress with red nail polish, red lipstick and 5” red heels to match if you want, but always remember you have a complicated role to play and you will never be perfect at it, but it should never stop you from trying to be GREAT. The road to greatness will be shrouded in mystery and wonderfully messy challenges, but it will always be worth the journey. Never look back, keep looking forward with your chin held high. Life is too short not to share the love and gratitude inside you, and the more people you have to share it with, the more it will come back to you in spades.
So with all of those pieces of advice/clichés in place…Happy Mother’s Day to all Mothers! You all matter, you all count and you are all appreciated even when it feels like no one is looking or paying attention. We at Outdoormountainspirit.com salute you!
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