Monday, June 24, 2013

Appreciate What You Have BEFORE It's Taken Away

I had an epiphany last night. We had a pretty good weekend, and we were all a bit sad it was almost over. My husband and I bickered at one another for the latter part of our Sunday. After tucking the girls in, crawling into bed, and putting my arms around my husband I realized something. Have you ever noticed when something really bad happens, you were actually happy with what you had, right before it occurred? Maybe before something bad happens, we don't always notice the good things right in front of us.

I used to notice this more often, working in the medical field. I watched people die every week, and watched the families collapse in grief. I no longer witness death in my profession. Somehow, I have gotten caught up in the to-do lists, and the nonstop chatter inside my head. Why was I snapping at my husband? How would I feel if I found out something horrible happened, and last night was my last with him? We don't always get a warning before we lose someone we love. Your last kiss to your child could have occurred yesterday, you are just unaware, at the moment.

My husband and I have recently been crabby with one another, and quick to snap at each other. While my husband and I held each other last night, many things went through my mind. One was of how giddy I was for most of our first year together. It took us months before we had our first fight. I also thought about all of the women out in the world, who had their husbands taken away too soon. I kept thinking that somewhere in the world, was a widow who would give anything to have just one more moment holding her husband. My thoughts drifted to my children. Somewhere in the world was a childless mother, sobbing into her child's pillow, wishing for one more hug. I thought about what a blessing our weekend had been, and I stopped the chatter in my head. I concentrated on the moment with my husband, relishing every second. I woke up with a smile, realizing if something were to happen to one of us today, there is no question that the other knows how loved they are. Don't waste time on too many chores. Put the mop down and read a story to your child. The dishes can wait. Take your husband's hand and dance in the living room. Chores and work will always be there waiting, your family may not be around as long as you anticipated.

Savor every moment.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

10 Ways to appreciate Step-Dads

Father's Day is a day to honor all of the dads in your life. I wanted to give step-dads the credit they deserve, but do not always receive. It takes a strong man to step into the lives of children that are
another man's biological children.

Ten ways to appreciate a Step-Dad for everything he does on a daily basis.

  1. Do not compare him to your children's biological father. They are different men, and it is not fair to compare them. Think of their step-dad as a "bonus" dad, and try to notice all of the ways he goes above and beyond.
  2. Make sure the children spend one on one time with him. Find something that can just be his to do with the children. My husband enjoys teaching my youngest to cook. They both enjoy it immensely, and it makes them both feel special.
  3. Do not make him the disciplinary parent. It is difficult enough to be a step-parent without making him the bad guy.
  4. Tell him often how important he is, and that you are grateful for all that he does.
  5. Try to keep the stories that involve bio-dad to a minimum. Focusing on what happened before he came along makes him feel insecure and like he is less important.
  6. Make sure to include him in all important decisions. Co-parenting is tough, and it is easy to leave one opinion out, which can lead to resentment.
  7. Understand that at times he can feel like it is him against the world. If he says something to the children that you disagree with, he suddenly feels like an outsider. Try to treat him like he is part of your family, at all times, even during disagreements.
  8. Have date nights with just the two of you. It is important for your marriage to be a united front, and this is much more effective when you take the time to build up your relationship.
  9. Ask him for his opinion. He has one, and it can often be overlooked.
  10. Make sure the children know how selfless, patient, and strong a step-dad has to be for his children.
Happy Fathers Day to all of the wonderful Stepfathers. Thank you for all you do.