Positively Paula

The New Brady Bunch Reboot With Vince Vaughn

Tuesday, July 31, 2012
This morning I saw a great reminder by Rebecca Snell (@stepfamilytips on Twitter).  "Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine." (attributed to Lord Byron) For those of us in blended families, we can all use some more laughs. I am looking forward to seeing the new version of The Brady Bunch from executive producer Vince Vaughn and CBS. According to The Hollywood Reporter in "CBS Developing 'Brady Bunch' Reboot with Vince Vaughn," the upcoming reboot of The Brady Bunch will have some new blended family angles.

The film is supposed to feature Bobby as someone who is remarried, and will include his new bride's exes and "feature their kids from previous marriages, along with the couple's shared child." I fully expect this film to be totally unrealistic, but I'm hoping it makes us all laugh, and maybe even at ourselves a little bit as we can sometimes do when we look back on some of our stepfamily circumstances.

I wish I had a film of myself from many of my days in a newly blended family; I'm sure I would crack myself up.  Trying desperately to please everyone and having pleased very few can be very laugh-worthy, at least in hindsight.  And, so can sitting in a closet on the floor crying over something that seemed so significant then, but I can't even remember why now.

I do remember getting so excited to see Stepbrothers starring Will Ferrell and Jon C. Reilly in 2008 that my stepfamily and I brought my mother! Big mistake. Roger Ebert gave Stepbrothers 1.5 out of 4 stars. Here's to hoping that Vince Vaughn, Wild West Picture Show Productions and CBS won't let us down. 


3 Top Questions Remarried Couples Should Ask When They Disagree

Wednesday, June 06, 2012
This week I had the pleasure of interviewing Chuck Semich, our advice columnist at RemarriageWorks. Our episode, "Top Secrets of Stepfathers" is one of my favorites because I don't think there are enough resources available for stepdads. During the show, dedicated to all stepfathers in honor of Father's Day, Chuck, a licensed family therapist who specialized in blended family relationships and is both a stepchild and stepfather himself, offered a spot check or inventory that we can ask ourselves when we are arguing...  
I asked Chuck for his best advice on how to make your remarriage succeed. Chuck described the top three questions he has asked himself when he has been in a disagreement:
  1. Is this a matter of life or death? 
  2. Am I part of the problem, or part of the solution?
  3. What's more important - being right, or having a healthy relationship?
If you take a moment and think about these questions the next time you and your spouse are arguing, especially about a blended family issue, you can really change your own perspective, and diffuse your anger or frustration. I've tried it. I haven't succeeded in calming myself down every time, but with practice, it gets better.

I invite you to listen to the podcast, "Top Secrets of Stepfathers" with Chuck Semich, and to check out his stepfamily advice in our advice column. His professional and personal experience, along with his wisdom are really helpful. If you and your spouse are facing problems in your remarriage, consider listening to the podcast together.
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Top Secrets of Stepfathers

Friday, June 01, 2012
Looking back over my last nine years in a blended family, I think I could have done a better job, especially when it comes to understanding my husband and his point of view on parenting and stepparenting. Sometimes I wondered why is he doing what he is doing? I just didn't get it so many times. Even after asking him! Do you want to know how a stepdad thinks, feels, and deals with stepfamily challenges? Tune in to my RemarriageWorks show on June 4 at 8 p.m. EST as I interview our advice columnist, Chuck Semich about the "Top Secrets of Stepfathers." 

Chuck Semich, a licensed family therapist who specializes in stepfamily relations in his private practice, was a stepchild and is a long-time stepfather and step-grandfather. Chuck's professional and personal experience with stepfamily living runs deep and wide. In honor of Father's Day, I thought it would be great to hear a man's point of view on blended families, stepparenting, and life as a stepdad.

This is your chance to hear the top secrets of stepfathers! Send your questions for Chuck to [email protected] or Tweet @RemarriageWorks by noon on June 4, and I will consider including them. One of my questions will be: "What do stepdads know that stepmoms don't?" And, "How does my husband seem to compartmentalize stepfamily challenges really well, and I don't?" More importantly, "How can I do that, too?"

The RemarriageWorks show will air live on the Stepmom's Toolbox Network on June 4 at 8 p.m. EST. It's a great opportunity to learn about what makes the stepfathers in our blended families tick!


Mother's Day 2012: My Favorite Picture

Monday, May 14, 2012
I hope all of you moms - whether you are a mom, stepmom, bonus mom, adoptive mom, grandmother, or foster mom - had a fabulous Mother's Day. In our blended family, we have two children who are now out of college, two in college, and one in high school.  We were fortunate to have had at least three of our five kids with us this year on Mother's Day. We wish we could spend time with all of them, but that is a rare occurrence as they are growing up and moving out on their own.  I thought I'd share my favorite Mother's Day photo this year with you.
This year we had our three sons with us at home. Here is my favorite picture of the day! How many of you can relate to this? 


And, here they are on our wedding day in 2003:
  

They are probably going to kill me for posting these, but I couldn't resist! We've had our ups and downs in our blended family like everyone else. We'll have many more. One thing is for sure. We absolutely love them all.

Tune in Tonight! Parenting Teens in Your Blended Family

Monday, March 05, 2012
Do you have teenagers in your stepfamily? Are you struggling with your spouse over parenting teenagers in your blended family? Tune in tonight at 8 pm EST to my RemarriageWorks show, "Parenting Teens in Your Blended Family." I'll be interviewing Al Betz, author of Outfluence, The Better Way to Influence, and founder of Outfluence LLC which offers coaching, training, and public speaking to teens, families and other audiences interested in improving communication. 

Al Betz is an entrepreneur, author, and a public speaker who believes in hard work, inspired performance, second chances, and always moving forward. Join us as Al offers tips and wisdom about understanding teens and communicating with them. 

There are five kids in our blended family.  At one time, four of our five kids were teenagers all at once. Looking back, I'm not sure how we survived! I'm eager to hear Al discuss some tips to help parenting and step-parenting teens go more smoothly. This topic ins't covered often enough. You can tweet your questions to us @RemarriageWorks. And, if you are going to be an instant stepmom or stepdad of a teenager, you may want to especially tune in so you know what to expect.


Happy Valentine's Day to My Blended Family and Yours

Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Opinions about Valentine's Day vary.  (In fact, these days opinions about everything vary, including ones about remarriage on Facebook, but I'll save my story on that for a future blog.) Today I want to send everyone, especially my husband, family, friends, and readers a positive Happy Valentine's Day message. I often refer to my family as a blended family or stepfamily in my posts, but they really are my "family." If you blog, you know how it is to try to please the search engine gods out there. So, back to Valentine's Day...


Some people swoon at the idea of an entire day dedicated to love and the act of showing love; many others think it is a "made up" holiday forced upon us by the greeting card industry. Before writing this post today, I read the Wikipedia article on Valentine's Day to try to come up with some deep, meaningful post about Valentine's Day; and frankly, I was just disappointed. Reading the article started to become a downer. How can a day celebrating love turn into a day that has been banned? (I guess I'll explore that theme, too when I decide to write about my recent Facebook experience. And, that isn't going to happen today!)

Today I'm sending a loving Happy Valentine's Day to my husband, my family, friends, and to all families - blended and step! I truly appreciate all of you and wish you love, peace, and happiness. Whether you are the remarried couple that goes out on the town tonight and exchanges extravagant gifts, the couple that gives an extra hug whispering, "Happy Valentine's Day" while settling into bed, or the stepparent that sends a simple text message to your stepchild simply saying "Happy Valentine's Day," show some love today to those around you that you care about. Any way you want to do it is fine.


Here Comes Support for the Remarrying Bride

Tuesday, November 08, 2011
Are you getting remarried? Or, planning a second wedding? Or, have a friend who is? Last night I had the sincere pleasure of interviewing two incredible women on the RemarriageWorks.com show on the Stepmom's Toolbox mini network on BlogTalkRadio.com. In this free, downloadable podcast of "Here Comes Support for the Remarrying Bride," you'll hear top tips that you should know before your second wedding day.  

My two guests were Christy Borgeld, founder of National Stepfamily Day and Martha Wiles, a wedding planner and encore bridal specialist. Christy Borgeld, as mother of the groom, has just experienced planning a wedding in her own blended family and offers some valuable suggestions on working through stepfamily challenges during the encore wedding planning stage. And, Martha Wiles shares some really unique ideas about planning second weddings, including suggestions if you and/or your future spouse have children.

You can also catch some of their fabulous insights about remarrying, second weddings, and stepfamily blending in my book, Journal for Stepmoms as they have each contributed some helpful information to it. Tune in when your schedule allows; it's a great way to kick off your second wedding planning. Enjoy and best wishes to you on your remarriage journey!

Give the Stepfathers Some Love, Too, on Father's Day

Sunday, June 19, 2011
A male colleague and I spoke this week about the lack of positive attention that stepfathers get. (So, for all of you deserving and extraordinary stepdads, it is especially important that we send you some stepfather love on this Father's Day!) I first wrote about this topic in The Washington Times, "On Remarriage: Stepfathers Deserve to be Honored Too" a few years ago. It still hangs in a frame on a wall in our home today in honor of my husband who is a stepdad to my two sons. I'm wondering has anything changed for stepfathers since I wrote that column in 2008?

There have been some positive changes that I've noted. Just yesterday a stepdad mentioned to me that he was pleasantly surprised to see a whole section of stepfather Father's Day cards in the store. I don't know how big that section is, but I still don't get the sense that there are enough cards for even half of the millions of stepdads in the country.

And, since 2008, I am aware of one additional book written specifically for stepfathers, namely The Smart Stepdad by Ron Deal. This book, which is in the Christian living genre offers advice for men navigating stepfamily living and provides essential guidelines to help stepdads not only survive, but succeed.

So, yes, I think things are moving in a positive direction when it comes to supporting stepdads, but there is still a long way to go considering that 4 out of 10 adults are now in a blended family. 

Why aren't there more resources for stepdads? Is there no demand? Do stepdads not care? Do they not seek outside resources and assistance to help them be the best stepfathers they can be? If not, why are they reluctant?  Is there indeed an overwhelming demand, and there just aren't enough experts or resources to meet their needs? What are your thoughts on this?

As a final tribute to stepdads this Father's Day, take a listen to Brad Paisley's music video, "He Didn't Have to Be" which was produced in 1999, reached #1, and was nominated for CMA song of the year. With so many more stepdads around today, this song is even more important. Happy Father's Day!

 

Correction on What Para-Kin Means

Thursday, October 07, 2010
Yesterday, I contributed to some misconception about what Para-kin means. I thank Debra Chernick for setting me straight and apologize for my misinterpretation. According to Debra, "Para-kin is primarily for those adults who are in monogamous relationships, raising children from a prior union but have not chosen or are barred from remarriage."

That being said, I think I'd still like to be called "P-Mom." There's just something about step....

Read more about the Para-kin movement here. It is a pretty novel idea that could help many.


A New Stepfamily Term Beyond Blended and Bonus

Wednesday, October 06, 2010
If you are a member of a stepfamily, you have probably struggled with the much written about dilemma of what to call each other. If you are planning to get remarried, I highly recommend discussing this topic before you remarry. Wanting to come up with some new terms to call stepfamilies, other than "step," "blended family," or "bonus family," I asked our fans on our Remarriage Works Facebook page for some ideas. We got some great ones!

Some terms that made me smile were: "lumpy families," "the majority,""fixed families," and "a box of cereal...a bunch of fruits, nuts, and flakes." On a more serious note, Giselle Minoli, who writes a very insightful stepparenting column on examiner.com, recently informed me about www.Para-Kin.com, a website founded by Debra Chernick, a family court attorney in Rhode Island.

According to her website, "our mission is to add words to our vocabulary and dictionary which will accurately reflect, describe and embrace the evolving family relationships through the promotion of 'para-kin' (which is trademarked by the way) terms." I guess I'd be a "Para-mom," and I like the idea of being "P-mom." It seems like a natural fit with "Paula" anyway.

While some of my stepfamily members may connect me better with the cereal suggestion, I highly recommend you take a look at Debra Chernick's www.Para-Kin website. It definitely provides food for thought.



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