Stepmoms Speak

28 10 2008

Karon Goodman lives in Alabama with her husband of eleven years and is the mom of one son (22) and stepmom of two (22 and 18). She is the author of several books, including three for stepmoms. Her latest release is “Stepping Stones for Stepmoms: Everyday Strength for a Blended Family Mom,” which helps guide the new and even seasoned stepmom through the stages of steplife: Beginning, Struggling, Coping and Growing. Find her at: http://stepjourney.blogspot.com

Decide to adopt a long-range view while living in the moment.

By Karon Goodman

Sounds contradictory, doesn’t it? Actually, it’s a practice that allows you to live in peace and joy because you’re a relaxed and powerful stepmom. This is when you’re keeping your faith but it’s tough, you’re pressing through your latest crisis the best you can, and your stepson walks up and gives you an unexpected hug. Will that hug solve the crisis you’re battling? No, but taking the time to live in that hug for a moment will make you more able to solve the crisis you’re battling.

Sure, it’s hard to laugh with a stepchild over breakfast when you have the screaming telephone message her mom left ringing in your ears. But a stepmom’s strongest suit may be her ability to focus on two things at once-to enjoy right now even if you’ve got to sit beside your stepkids’ mom at a ballgame in an hour and keep your faith in the future you see years from now when their mom is far less intrusive in your life.

This decision gives you the ability to appreciate the blessings of an isolated moment when your world feels upside down-because your confidence is strong in your staying power for the long-term. You can decide that you’re unwilling to give up easily, even when it hurts, because you trust something good is coming, and you’ll rest in the joys along the way. All of the decisions we’ve discussed so far come together here, in this one, because everything else you practice and claim for yourself will empower you to adopt a long-range view while living in the moment.

The more positive and confident you feel about your steplife in the long term, the better short-term management you’ll have. Looking at your world with a view way down the road gives you lots of room to maneuver, lots of time to experiment, lots of grace to adapt to whatever happens.

And when you keep your eyes on the future yet to come, you aren’t so scared of the right now. You trust yourself and your spouse to handle things so that the long-range life you see in your heart is still reachable. You trust your abilities and resourcefulness and strength to deal with the issues at hand and-here’s the best part of this decision-even somehow put them all to use for a better long-range view than you had before.

Often that will simply be part of decision number 4, where we learn from everything that happens, but many times the sum will be greater than its parts, and the struggle we conquer today will serve us many times over in the future. And if we’ve already decided to get to that future we see, we use today’s distraction as a stepping stone, a great big slab we can jump up and down on because we’re powerful enough to create peace in our present and promise for our future.

Meet each day with this decision, and whatever happens falls into the perspective you’ve assigned it-the place where you’re committed to having a great life now and later.

Decide to adopt a long-range view while living in the moment. Then live it. That’s power you have if you’ll use it. This decision is another step toward making things better.

Action Plan:

1. Put a picture of a clock on your computer or refrigerator or dashboard, wherever you’ll see it regularly. Let it remind you that you only have twenty-four hours in each day. You don’t have to solve every problem in one day, but trust you’ll find or create at least one reason to rejoice every day, probably more than one.

2. Monitor your progress in dealing with a difficult issue. Note that it may take a long time and tremendous effort, but let that encourage you to give other issues the time and attention they need as well. Pace yourself.

3. Think about a personal goal you hope to accomplish within the next five years. How will you factor that goal into your other steplife hopes and dreams? Spend some time talking with your husband about it, and enjoy that time together even if your hopes and dreams are a long way from coming to pass. Time spent discussing them today makes them more real tomorrow.

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