24 May Embracing The ‘Bonus Mom’ – Making A “Modern Family” Work
Embracing the bonus mom
A year ago, I posted a picture on Facebook that I never would have imagined would have gotten so much attention. It got OVER 400 shares, 500 comments, 14,000 ‘likes’ and reached over a MILLION people!
What was the picture of you ask???
Well, it was a picture of me, my daughter, and my “ex-wife” (as I like to call her).
The picture caused quite a stir…in a positive way!
You see, in a country where over 50% of marriages end in divorce, so many kids are used to multiple homes, step siblings, and schedule changes.
Many kids of divorced families struggle with parents and step-parents that don’t get along.
Even worse, many kids are the victims of parents and step-parents that talk bad about each other — which breeds resentment, hurt and jealousy.
When my daughter was just a baby, her father and I decided that we were no longer going to work out together.
We created an amazing child together, but our love for each other was not the kind that would survive a marriage.
We decided to divorce and did the uncommon, we did not use attorneys or even a mediator. We went to the courthouse and divorced on our own, together.
Simple? Yes. Painful? Yes. Always is.
The right thing? You tell me…
My ex-wife and Mothers Day
Me and my “ex-wife”, Deirdre, have spent the last 5 mothers days together with ‘our’ daughter.
My daughter’s dad and I divorced when my daughter was just a baby and he married Deirdre soon after.
I love my daughter so much and as any divorced mom knows, the thought of sharing your child with another woman can be frightening and overwhelming.
I wanted what was best for my daughter and I knew that it would be important to put aside my own feelings and embrace and get to know my daughters step mom.
What I found was a caring, compassionate 2nd mom to my daughter and an amazing friend to me.
I now consider her one of my closest friends – family actually- and I am SO grateful to have her in my life!
This was a CHOICE and we both took actions to create this relationship
Each time I post about my friendship with Deirdre I get questions about what to do when your ex’s partner/wife/husband is a horrible person, or what if they hate you, or they don’t want a relationship??
My advice would be to shift your attitude.
You cannot control the actions of other people but you can control your own actions or how you react to negativity. You have heard the term, “be the bigger person.”
Well, I agree with that statement and I would add to say, be the person your child can admire and look up to as an example of how to deal with difficult or negative people.
Handle the situation with grace and compassion and don’t react.
Be part of the SOLUTION! Remove stress, and be calm!
As a health and fitness coach, I have to remind you that stress and negativity and unresolved feelings often lead to many physical issues such as headaches, fatigue, digestion issues, problems with sleep, and MANY more.
Being part of the solution instead of adding to the problem is KEY! When you are part of the solution and can fight the urge to lash out during stressful times, you can help EVERYBODY involved.
If you can’t remain calm, and you let the stress win, you are increasing your cortisol levels and that impacts your weight loss, fat loss, and overall health.
My relationship with Deirdre in the beginning wasn’t easy…for either of us.
We had our struggles, our own insecurities about each other and ourselves. But with time and a commitment to put our daughter first and to always make sure she had two sets of loving parents, we found a common ground.
Now my daughter truly has two mothers, and we got the bonus of an authentic friendship.
We were sharing stories about our challenges of balancing work and family and living a healthy lifestyle.
We went all over the place from wrinkles and cellulite, to belly fat, back pain and hormones.
We talked about how many of our own friends have in common the struggle of finding the time for themselves to take care of their health added with the challenges of the “aging” process on our bodies in general.
Then we had this crazy idea to create a product that could help our friends and other women out there with these exact same challenges.
And just like that, we became two women on a mission to help not just each other, but ALL the women out there with similar struggles!
We are more than “co-parents”… we are close friends.
Every day you will be faced with many moments in which you have to make a decision.
It could be about work, about a friend, about your kids, whatever. Decide it is possible even when it may seem it is not.
Decide to see the good even when it is hard. Be kind to others even when they don’t seem like they deserve it.
Always keep in mind you never know what another person may be going through. Most of all, just decide to be OPEN.
You may just be surprised what life will have in store for you when you open up your mind to receive the many possibilities that life could have in store for you. Deirdre and I are proof of that for sure!
If you are divorced and have a new “stepmom” in your child’s life or if YOU are that stepmom, I promise you it’s so worth it to embrace that other special mom.
So I guess my advice is, do whatever you can to make things work. It is better for EVERYBODY involved when you can put everything aside and get along.
Trust me, I know it can be hard. But in the end, it is the best thing not just for the kids, but for the adults as well!