-Join a Support group – it may be silly but joining a support group and hearing other people’s cray cray stories will help you and maybe make you realize that your situation isn’t as bad as you thought. I didn’t have one in my community, but there are numerous ones online that you can participate in. Sometimes an anonymous posting to a forum with a bunch of women that understand is all you need.
-A Magazine for you - Step Mom Magazine is an awesome magazine dedicated to step moms like you! I subscribed to a year of it last year, and it helped me find inspiration to stay positive. It’s strictly an online magazine, so a tip I can share with you of what I did was I printed out my favorite articles, put it in a three ring binder and whenever I needed a pick me upper, I read through my book. There is also a support group forum that you can join and get email notifications. It’s $45 a year, which is why I could only afford the one year.
-Allow your partner to actively take care of his children - If you want to have a good relationship with your stepchildren and your partner, don’t automatically become the primary housekeeper. Of course, you may do some tasks for your stepchildren, just as you would for other family members, but you'll become resentful if you feel you must fulfill all maternal duties for them -- especially if you don’t feel appreciated for what you do. You aren’t shirking stepmother duties if you don’t cook, clean, and do their laundry. Those are your partner’s jobs, even if you're staying home to care for your own biological children. In most cases, stepmothers should operate more as a babysitters or aunts than as parents. This will leave you more time for activities that provide you with the most meaning and pleasure.
-Make your Marriage a Priority - Did you know that second marriages have a higher risk of divorce than first marriages? 70% to be exact... 70 FREAKING PERCENT!! Your marriage is a delicate flower, no matter if this is your first or second. It takes work to nurture it, to grow it, to make sure the hypothetical petals don’t fall off. To be content as a stepmother and survive the stresses of stepfamily life, your relationship with your partner must be the most important priority in your life and his (right after your own well-being, which should always come first). Having fun together and making sure you have your date nights alone strengthens your relationship and makes it easier to get over the crises when they occur.
-It’s a Business Relationship with the Ex - If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say, Don’t Say it at All or Don’t Even be Around to Risk Saying it. I do not like the ex. She is very rude, cray cray, irrational, and difficult to deal with. Because of my tendency to protect the ones I love, I have made the decision not be around her as much as possible. You may find this odd. I just do not want to risk getting into verbal blows with her, especially when my stepchild is around. When I am around her, I keep conversations short, sweet and business like. Remember, there is a reason why your husband divorced her.
-Accept that your feelings for your stepchildren and the feelings that your stepchildren have for you are “good enough”- Oftentimes, stepmothers feel pressured that they must love their stepchildren and expect their stepchildren to reciprocate that love in return. Love is an emotion that can’t be forced. If you love your stepchildren, that are wonderful, but if you don’t, that’s also acceptable, as long as you provide kindness, compassion, and respect to them. No more and no less should be expected of you. When you remove expectations that you must love your stepchildren, it'll be easier just to be nice to them -- and in a genuine way. This can lead, eventually, to love.
-Don’t take it personally-This is something I need to personally work on myself. Most of us as stepmothers try our hardest to be kind, considerate, and loving to our stepchildren. If our efforts are rebuffed, we naturally feel extremely hurt. Stepchildren may reject your attention and warmth for various reasons. Perhaps they feel that since they already have two parents, they don’t want a third one in their lives. They may be afraid their mothers will be hurt if they become close to you. They may not trust that your relationship with their father will last and don't want to experience loss again. Or they simply may not share your interests or temperament, and find it hard to relate to you. Any of these obstacles can take a long time to overcome, and the situation might not change at all despite your best efforts. Whatever the case, you need to accept things as they are for your own emotional welfare and not take stepchildren’s rejection of you as a personal attack.
-Not all step moms are created equal – Don’t compare yourself to those other step moms because you’re not them. Everyone’s situation is different. You’re going to meet moms who are best friends with the husband’s ex (yeah I know, I could never), you’re going to meet moms that have amazing relationships with their step kids, you’re going to have step moms that absolutely hate having step children, and you’re going to meet step moms that have cray cray ex’s they have to deal with (I’m in this category. Sigh.). In this crazy blended world, each situation is different and comparing your relationship to someone else will only drive you nuts.
-Knowledge is Power – Read this book. It’ll give you some insight on step motherhood and justifying the feelings you feel as a step mother. I promise you won’t regret it.
This Daniel Goes to the Potty book is a perfect addition to your child's potty collection. Just released this month and with my Little One being a big fan of Daniel the Tiger. It was a must have in our home. LO loves to press the flush button that comes with the book. Find it here.
For other potty book recommendations, visit my recommendations on potty books here.
I like buying the baby wipes in bulk, right now you can get them $0.02 a sheet on Amazon. With them being so cheap you can’t always get them travel friendly. You can make your own travel baby wipes container by upcycling the stuff you already have in your house
What you will need:
An old Baby wipes holder top
An old make up bag or cooler. The makeup bags that you sometimes get from Target Samples would be great to use. I just used an old cooler today.
Hot Glue Gun
First remove your top from your old baby wipes holder. They should be easy to peel off, they are just held together with a cheap adhesive.
As you can see in the photo, I first attempted by using fabric glue since I thought it might stick to a canvas type of material, the material was too slick I ended up hot gluing it. If you have a more appropriate fabric then fabric glue would be perfect.
Wait until the glue is dry before cutting your hole.
With potty training around the corner for my little one, I have stocked up on potty training books to get him used to and interested in the idea. Here are my most recommended books to get your child interested (and excited!) to try out the potty
Potty by Leslie Patricelli
This board book is my son’s favorite, it’s the perfect size for his little hands, it’s a board book so it’s perfect for him to turn on his own, and the story is short and sweet, to the point. If you don’t go in your diaper you can go in your potty, sit and pee in your potty and you get undies. This is a great potty starter book. Leslie does a great job at targeting the 18 month old audience.
Potty Book for Girls and Potty book for boys by Alyssa Satin Capucili
This is a cute story, it’s not instructional and it doesn’t give the basics of potty training, but it does show that the potty and toilet are not scary things. It rhyme and it’s a catchy story.
P is for Potty! By Random House
This is a lift the flap board book and it actually has the perfect mixture of fun and learning. If you have fan of sesame street, this is the way to go.
Sesame Street: Potty Time with Elmo by Editors of Publications International
This isn’t my favorite book in the world, the story isn’t all that great, however, if you have a toddler that likes pushing buttons, he will definitely find this book entertaining
Where’s the poop? By Julie Markes
This is another flip the flap book that my son finds interesting, if you are looking for something different from the usual pee books. This would be it, the story is ok. You go and find each of the animal’s poop throughout the story. It’s not very instructional but if you want to overcome the fear of pooping in the potty, this book will help with that.
Do you have any potty books that you want to recommend to the readers? Email me and I will add your suggestion to my post!
Looking for new toddler activities? Edible Paint is a big hit at our house, and it’s a fast and inexpensive indoor activity that you can whip up in minutes. If I let him, my son would play for hours and hours with this.
What you will need:
Cool Whip or Yogurt
Something to stir with – I used these bamboo skewers because I had them in my pantry
Place a dollop of cool whip or yogurt in your muffin pan. Add a few drops of food coloring to each pan, I added a few more drops to the red to get the significant difference between the red and pink.
Stir, stir, stir until the color is mixed and the cool whip has softened.
Enjoy hours of play! We did this in our bathroom, but you can also lay butcher paper down and get some awesome art work.
This foldable baby tub is the perfect tub for small spaces. I love that I can fold it up and put it away in a closet with minimal amount of space. A must have on your amazon registry!
Want to bring something different to your next baby shower. Your friend will love thispersonalized magnetic stroller baby blanket.
Looking for a diaper bag that your other half can carry? This Dude Bag is the perfect bag for your registry and also comes with a pacifier holder. Half the price of some of the dude bags out there. this is the bag to go for.
A fun DIY homemade toy that you and your kids can make together involves materials you can use around your house and is relatively easy to make. My toddler loves the sounds his rain stick makes and we made it in his favorite color red.
What you will need:
An empty paper towel roll
Bamboo skewers and/or toothpicks (I used both)
An assortment of beans and rice
Colorful duct tape
Take your empty paper towel and start spearing it with bamboo spears and/or toothpicks. I did all sorts of crazy angels and what not. Go crazy. Once you get that done, go ahead and cut off the ends.
Secure them with your glue gun. You don’t want them to go loose in your tube.
Saran wrap one end of the tube and add your assorted beans and rice.
Saran wrap the other end and start taping it off. My son’s favorite color is red so I used this fun sparkly duct tape that I found to wrap it.
We bought this recently for our walks during the day. The summers get hot and humid where we are at and with our stroller in that black canvas material I was worried LO was getting baked alive. So we bought this pad on a whim on the great reviews and tried it out. When it first came in the mail, I opened my package and felt it, Just like it was advertise if was already cool to the touch. I was immediately amazed! We went on our first walk the next day and when we were done, I lifted LO out of his seat and his back wasn't drenched in sweat. Well that convinced me! Check it out yourself
The only downfall that I have, is that if you leave this pad in your car in the hot sun it isn't as effective. So those of you thinking about using it for the car seat I wouldn't recommend it. We normally use it on our walks around the block and to the park so we always have our stroller indoors in room temperature.