Stepfamily Letter Project

13 01 2009

Ladies: I’ve teamed up with Erin on a fun website called the Stepfamily Letter Project and we need your input! Here’s a description from the site:

In the Fall of 2008, Erin  wrote an open-ended letter to her stepdaughter on her blog. The letter was filled with things Erin wished she could say to her 12-year-old stepdaughter but didn’t. From future hopes and dreams to the intricacies of teenage angst, the letter was one stepmom’s heartfelt approach to communicate with her stepdaughter without actually “communicating.”  The letter went on to capture the attention of other stepmoms across the Internet. 

One of those stepmoms, Jacque, had heard of The Mother Letter Project, a compilation of letters that a husband has been collecting his for wife as a Christmas present. 

The letters, written for mothers, could be about anything so long as it was addressed to a mom. At the same time, Jacque popped open her computer to begin her annual holiday letter to her family. Each year Jacque, her husband, and her three stepkids write a letter to each other that describes the previous year’s ups and downs and hopes for the upcoming year. Then they read them out loud to each other. It’s a tradition that Jacque’s dad and stepmom started when Jacque was a teenage stepkid.

And so an idea was born. Why not create a site where blended families could write anonymous letters to a member of their family. Stepmoms, stepdads, stepkids, husbands, bio-moms, half-siblings — we wanted to create a place where blended families could write letters to the people in their families  — be it heartful and  joyful to angry or sad.

If you would like to add a letter to the Stepfamily Letter Project, there are a few steps to follow:

  1. Compose your letter. We’re taking all kinds of letters: Happy, sad, angry, sweet — it doesn’t matter. We only ask you don’t threaten any harm in your letter. We won’t publish those. 
  2. Send your letter. You can send your letter within the body of an e-mail, in a Word document, a text document or Google Doc.  All we ask is that you send it to Stepfamilyletterproject@gmail.com. We’ll try to publish the letters within 48 hours of receipt. 
  3. Include your name and e-mail. Obviously, because you’re e-mailing your letter, we’ll have your e-mail address. Please also include your first and last name somewhere in the email . We will not publish your name or e-mail address on the website; however, should we need to contact you for any reason, we’d rather not have to start out with “Hey you with the letter.” 
  4. Spread the word. If you know someone in a blended family who you think would want to participate, let them know about the site. We’re happy to answer any questions about the project. We’ve event created this fabulous button (175 pixels x 175 pixels for your web-savvy folks out there) that you can post on your own blog or website.
    Stepfamily-Letter-Project

    Stepfamily-Letter-Project

    5. Check back or subscribe. If you have an RSS feed reader or aggregator, sign up for an RSS feed for the site. This way, you’ll be alerted when we post a new letter. 





Connect With Your Partner

28 10 2008

1) Discuss a topic other than your stepfamily. Have a fun discussion about a play you saw, the latest episode of So You Think You Can Dance, a book you read, a trip you want to take, or the presidential race. 

2) Talk about sex. Buy a copy of Hot Monogamy by Dr. Patricia Love and take a quiz about your sex life. Then make time to implement some of the things you learn about each other.
 
3) Keep your mouth shut. Guys often complain that all we women want to do is talk, talk, talk. So do something active instead. Do a yoga class together. Rent one of those tandem bikes and hit the trail. Take a hike. Go skydiving. Swim in the ocean. Canoe down a river. Spend an afternoon golfing. Organize a touch football game with your friends. Lift weights. Challenge him to a race.
 
4) Kiss for a full minute every single day. Hold hands. Rub each other’s shoulders. With our busy lives it can be incredibly easy to let days slip by without touching your spouse. Make a point of connecting physically with each other every day.
 
5) Plan something special for your partner that doesn’t involve you. Sometimes the best way to connect is to spend time apart. If your husband has a hobby that he loves, send him off for an afternoon so he can indulge in his passions without feeling guilty. Meanwhile, you can do the same. When you meet back up for dinner or dessert, you’ll both feel refreshed.





Conversation Starters

28 10 2008

This stepmom thing is no easy task we’ve signed ourselves up for. Whether you’re new to it or have lived in your stepfamily for decades, stepmotherhood takes constant attention. People change, custody is renegotiated, children grow up, new children are introduced to the family. Each transition requires a fresh look at the dynamics within your household as we are all constantly growing and changing. And with each passing year you must continue to re-focus your intention to create a happy, peaceful blended family.

 Learning how to becoming a stepmom is not something that you do once and then poof! you’re finished. Instead, just like a marriage, you must pay attention to it as the years pass, making sure that you are on the path you intended with your stepchildren and your spouse.

Take a few moments to answer the following questions. Better yet, use them to start a discussion with your partner.

1. How have your stepchildren changed since you met them?

2. How has your relationship with each of them evolved?

3. What have you done with your stepchildren that you are most proud of?

4. What aspects of your relationships with your stepkids would you like to work on?

5. Check in with your partner. Compared to a year ago, how is your partnership more solid?

6. Are you harboring any resentment toward your partner over something that happened within the past year? Have you talked about it? Can you discuss it now?

7. Do you think your stepfamily is stronger now than it was a year ago?

8. How do you want your home and your relationships to feel a year from now?

9. Have you become a more flexible stepmother?

10. Think back to when you were a child. Would you have liked a stepmom like you?





S.M.A.C.K.s for Stepmoms: Talk to each other.

28 10 2008

Have an uncomfortable conversation with your partner. It could be about anything you’ve been avoiding or have had trouble resolving. Only attempt this challenge using the following guidelines.

1.) Listen to each other, for real. Make sure you can see your partner’s point even if you disagree.

2) Do not interrupt.

3.) No contempt, sarcasm, or criticism allowed.

4.) If things get too tense, make a joke or compliment your spouse.

5.) Take ownership of your baggage, assumptions, and victim statements.

6.) Brainstorm creative alternative solutions to your predicament.

And finally, remember that you love each other and you both have good intentions. Sometimes partnership is difficult, but there’s a reason you’re there now willing to go deep with your partner. Before you end this conversation, tell your partner at least three special moments you cherish from your time together.

Visit my other site www.smackyourinnercritic.com for more about the art of smacking down the Inner Critic.





S.M.A.C.K.s for Stepmoms: Write a love letter.

28 10 2008

Write your spouse a letter telling him how much he means to you. Tell him all the ways he makes your life and the children’s lives better. Share with him the times you’ve been grateful for him but haven’t told him. Show your appreciation in a letter that he can keep and reread when things are tough.

Visit my other blog www.smackyourinnercritic.com for more about how to S.M.A.C.K. your Inner Critic.