Thursday, October 18, 2012

Paying The Attorney Bills

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In the past few weeks we have paid a massive amount in legal bills with another gigantic bill still to start working on. This is pretty discouraging. On one hand I feel amazingly blessed that we are even able to finance all this. On another hand I feel really angry at a bio mom who has disregarded all the courts instructions for years...who is the main reason for these repeated trips to court and mounting costs.

We have forfeited our financial future. We will be in financial duress for some years to come. What was once a happy, contented financial future is not very scary to look at. I try to stay hopeful. I try to remember that we are doing this for a little child who can't help herself. I try to remember to follow the message on our currency - In God We Trust. At some deep level I really do have faith that we can overcome this, that all our suffering will be returned to us in rich blessings. Last week I told her dad that his actions are truly godlike. Sacrificing all for her benefit with no promise of repayment, appreciation or benefit. Action taken bravely with only the hope of protecting and helping another.

I must ask all you other stepmoms, how do you deal with the stress of mounting legal bills. Have you had to take on an unexpected job to help chisel down the bills, forego vacations, future dreams and plans? How have you made peace with this financial stress? Please share, we can all benefit from your experience and wisdom gained. Thank you in advance for sharing! 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Teaching Children Good Principles

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While it's a very slippery slope and usually very inappropriate to talk badly to a child about his/her parent, in the face of blatantly bad or even illegal behavior, there is something you can do. Teach young children good principles and teach them to recognize what that means. Teach then to understand the damage that is done by lying, breaking promises, and other bad, dangerous and even illegal behavior. Teach them how to live a happy life and do good things - help them to recognize the rewards of such a life. This can easily be done in many small, daily conversations about every day things and through experiences you have during the day.

Then let them learn the power of discernment. If young children learn that telling a lie is wrong and then see their troubled parent do it, a bell goes off in their heads. Even very young children can tell the difference between good behavior and bad behavior, especially if they are taught well at home. If they understand why something is wrong and the ill effects of such behavior they will quickly learn to recognize it and stand up for themselves and what is right with more convictions.

It may also help them to separate how they feel about themselves from the bad behavior of their parent. When children realize that it is their parent who is making bad choices, they can feel more secure about themselves. They can learn that the behavior is their parent's choice. They will learn that it happens in other relationships other than than just the parent-child relationship. Hopefully that helps them not take bad treatment they may receive as a reflection of their own self worth. If you know a person lies, and lies to everyone, you don't take it so personally. It seems very important to help children separate their parents' decisions from the child's feelings of self worth.

While you might sometimes wish you could act out against bad behavior by another parent, it's a no-win situation. But you can stand up for teaching good principles and helping your stepkids on their way to the best, most successful life they can have. Teaching and reinforcing good principles is a beautiful way to be the best stepmom you can be.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Being A Stepmom Taught Me To Handle Criticism

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I realized today something really big. I have learned how to handle criticism. Wahoo! That's exciting. And you know where I learned it? Was it grade school? Nope. At home growing up? Nope. College? Nope. in my career or relationships? Nope. It was from being a stepmom!

The things I have heard about my man, me and our life together in court are so outrageous they would be comical if they were not so potentially devastating to our family. After some time, I believe the judge and everyone involved in the decision making processes for our little one recognized the truth of the situation. Actions speak louder than words. Yes accusations are damaging and extremely hurtful but as time goes along it is usually not difficult to see who is telling the truth and who is not.

Now that the real truth is beginning to come out, there is some relief, but for a long time, dealing with false accusations and criticisms took a real toll on me. I was born the oldest child in my family and was raised in an environment that emphasized integrity and character. Even as a young child, I took my good name very seriously and was probably more devastated than I should've been when I was corrected or got into trouble however small it might be.

But this also taught me to make good choices and always try to be and do my best. That has served me very well throughout my life and has resulted in a very joyful life. However, trying to be good and do good will never protect us from criticism. Being a stepmom has taught me to stand up for what I know is right no matter what anyone else tries to say or do to me or anyone I love. The stakes have just been too high to waver. We are talking about the life of a young child here! And that is something that I realize I am willing to fight for even more than I was willing to learn this lesson for myself in my own life. I am willing to take the hits and deal with it for this precious kid I love so much.

So despite a really unpleasant experience with custody and family courts, things are turning around and I am grateful to realize today that I can take the hits and stand my ground - thanks to a little angel who came into my life. I was willing to learn and grow because it meant protecting her. I am a better woman for it and I know this is trickling out into other areas of my life.

Yes I like to get along and I have always tried to take the reserved, respectful route through any unpleasant situation. I realize now though that sometimes that is the coward's way out and not the brave, courageous soul's way out. Today I am much more willing to be brave and stand up and make my voice heard and fight when necessary. I think this make me a much more well-rounded warrior mom and that is my goal!