Positively Paula

Divorced and/or Remarried? Mediation Can Help You

Tuesday, September 27, 2011
When I was going through a divorce over a decade ago, I associated the word "mediation" with "giving in." And, in no way was that going to happen! In my view, I had been wronged, and things weren't going to be even. I was in such a different mindset then, and just the thought of my sitting on the living room floor, jousting, and divvying up our joint collection of CDs and "...one stuffed Pikachu for your house, and I get the stuffed Barney for mine" is horrifying. Whether you are divorcing or remarried, tune in to my next RemarriageWorks show (the Stepmom's Toolbox) on 10/3 to learn how professional mediation can help you.

On 10/3 at 8 p.m. EST, on our new RemarriageWorks.com BlogTalkRadio show, our topic will be "Mediation Can Help You in Divorce and Remarriage." Join me as I interview guests Jim Pope, M.S.W., J.D. and Ann L. Warshauer of the non-profit organization, Northern Virginia Mediation Service. As professional mediators, they will address: the ABC's of mediation, not only divorce mediation, but how mediation can help you in your remarriage and stepfamily life.

Are you facing a sticky or downright high conflict situation with an ex? Are you frustrated with shared joint custody problems? Are you absolutely stressed from child support, or lack thereof? Do you need a co-parenting plan? Does your child still want to see her step-grandparents after your ex has divorced again?

Thanks to our show's sponsor, IDEALS of Kentucky, tune in to our show on 10/3 at 8 p.m. EST, and hear the facts about mediation, and how it can help you in your divorce and remarriage. We'll even discuss if and when it doesn't work. I am sure it is a much healthier process to explore than tugging on Barney's arm or even worse. Very sad, but true in so many cases. 

Stepfamily Name Calling Doesn't Have to Be Negative

Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Have you ever experienced learning or thinking about a person, place, or thing and then suddenly it pops up everywhere around you? That's how I've been feeling since I wrote about stepfamily terms. There is yet another aspect of terms and naming in the stepfamily experience - what to call extended family members. The sooner you tackle this topic, the better! Even seven years into a remarriage, this little, but sometimes awkward situation arises!

I remember the first time my new in-laws visited our home after I was remarried. My teenage son was standing in the kitchen with my mother-in-law and me and I could see he was struggling to get her attention. It dawned on me that he didn't know what to call her. And, I felt awful that I hadn't initiated a discussion earlier (with my son or my mother-in-law) about what my kids were going to call their new step-grandparents.

I jumped in and started the quick conversation, but it felt really awkward to me. I'm not sure how they felt at the time. But, why hadn't I thought of it sooner?

A few weekends ago my husband, son and I visited my stepson who is away at college. (Or, shall I say "our son?" Again, here I go wondering if it would bother anyone, especially my stepson, if I call him "our son" in public. And, this is STILL after being remarried for nearly eight years!) Anyway, my mother joined us for the trip.

My mom, son, and I went in to see my stepson's dorm room. When we entered, he was the perfect gentleman and introduced us to his roommate. He introduced his stepbrother as his "stepbrother," me as "Paula, my stepmom," and then he just paused when it came to my mom. He normally calls her "Miss Andrea."  Again, a little awkward silence...or, maybe it was just my imagination.

I spoke up and said, "This is his step-grandma, my mom, Miss Andrea." Phew! Having an analytic background, I am well aware of my tendency to overthink. But, really, I've been thinking about how well or not we've covered stepfamily names and terms within our family. I know the bottom line is to have good communication and everyone should do what works for them as a family. But, am I the only one still trying to figure all of this out? And, does my stepson even want to refer to my mom as "step-grandma?" I have no idea, but I plan to find out.



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