Positively Paula

A Great Bonus for Stepparents Who Want to Change Their Mindset!

Thursday, January 05, 2012
For stepmothers who may be struggling with stress or depression and for stepparents who have lost all hope of being happy or at peace in their stepfamily, my RemarriageWorks.com radio show, "RemarriageWorks: Stepmom's Prerogative, Changing Mindset" on January 2 featured a special guest, Mindset Coach and author of Life As An Onion: The Journey Back to Your Core, Renee Canali. During the interview, Renee made some great offers to help those of you who are looking to step into 2012 with a fresh perspective in your stepfamily life. Now Renee is offering even more tools to help you at no cost!   

Renee Canali and I explored how our stepchildren reflect back to us what we need to change or adopt in our relationship with them, and she shared some exercises to help you shift your mindset and help you think about you and your role in your stepfamily from a different perspective.

During the call, Renee graciously offered a FREE 30 minute coaching consultation by phone, and for those who buy her book, Life As An Onion: The Journey Back to Your Core she offered her free report. 

Now it gets even better than that!  I invite you to listen to the show and take advantage of Renee's valuable offer, including a coaching consultation at no cost from Renee.  Plus, for those who leave feedback in the comment section under the podcast or right here (below) in this very blog, you will receive a complimentary downloadable pdf copy of Renee's ebook, Your Greatest Asset is Your Mindset, based on a presentation she gave at the National Institutes of Health. 

If you've been wanting to feel better, improve your stepparenting, and/or look at things in your stepfamily in a positive way, I hope you take advantage of this! I've personally been a client of Renee's, and it has made a tremendous difference in my life. (By the way, I am NOT being paid for this endorsement.) I want more stepmoms and stepdads (or even future stepmothers and stepfathers) to know about a resource which can help them work through some challenging stepparenting times. It's free. Why not give it a shot?

Tonight's Show: A Stepmom's Prerogative, Changing Her Mindset

Monday, January 02, 2012
Are you a stepmom struggling with stress or depression? Have you lost all hope of being happy or at peace as a stepparent? Did you know there's a possibility that you can start turning these feelings around today? You're not alone! Tune in to my RemarriageWorks.com radio show coming up tonight, January 2, 8-9 p.m. EST.  We'll be discussing some ways to start the new year off with new perspectives in your stepfamily life.  

My guest will be Renee Canali, The Mindset Coach and author of Life As An Onion: The Journey Back to Your Core. We'll explore how our stepchildren reflect back to us what we need to change or adopt in our relationship with them. Renee will share some family exercises to help you step into 2012 on the right foot. 

Tune in to the Stepmom's Toolbox mini-network on January 2 at 8 p.m. EST! You can change how you look at things today and feel a lot better! 

LeAnn Rimes, Gary Busey, and Huh? A Call for Better Stepmom Reporting!

Thursday, August 18, 2011
A couple of weeks ago I tweeted about People.com's "Caught in the Act!" column that opened with a picture of LeAnn Rimes, her husband Eddie Cibrian, and Eddie's sons. The piece consisted of four lines total, and the opening line was "What a good stepmom!" I tweeted about it, and I knew from LeAnn's tweets back to me that she wasn't too happy.

You see, I had tweeted, "'What a good stepmom!' for shopping w/ stepsons. More to being a good stepmom than shopping. Let's hear it." And, once again I learned a lesson about communicating on-line whether it be via email, Twitter, or whatever else. Most of us have had the experience of our thoughts and even feelings being interpreted differently than we had intended.

Here's the real point I wanted to make in my tweet, and I am so thrilled that I have more than Twitter's 140 characters in which to say it. I wish the media would cover remarriage and stepfamilies in a more positive way. (By the way, I just tweeted the preceding sentence because it fit into a tweet.) 

That paragraph that opened with "What a good Stepmom!" didn't really do justice to what LeAnn or the majority of stepmothers do every day for their stepchildren. It pointed out that: their family was enjoying a shopping outing; she was wearing leopard print shorts while browsing; she ran into Gary Busey; and, she returned to the area for a romantic meal with her husband later that day.  That's it!

I'm just not getting how the opening line connects in any way with the rest of the paragraph. Good stepmoms do more than shop with their stepkids, and I think the column contributed to the unfair picture of remarriage and stepfamilies that is often painted. (Read more about this in my column entitled, "On ReMarriage: Hollywood Paints an Unfair Picture" in The Washington Times.)

I'm pretty certain that LeAnn Rimes, like most other stepmoms, did a lot more that day to be a good stepmom than what was portrayed. And, regardless of what people think about her, her marriage and the circumstances in her and her family's personal lives, which I was quickly informed about by people whom I doubt even know her in a flurry of Twitter activity, my point was and is this:

Attention media! Let's please hear more about the positive, inspiring, loving things that stepmothers do every day for their stepchildren. I'm not looking for "The Brady Bunch" model, nor am I trying to be a Pollyanna. But, when will the media provide us a broader range of views of stepfamily and remarried life?

I  invite LeAnn Rimes and the millions of other stepmothers to join me in calling for a shift in the way media covers stepmoms. Let's talk about about stepfamily life, its challenges, and more importantly, real solutions.

2nd Wedding Wednesday: The Familymoon!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011
When approaching a second wedding, most couples are immediately aware that it will be far from conventional. In a second wedding, so many of the small details are handled in a less traditional way. The second wedding invitations may include the joining together of more than two people; the encore bridal dress may not be white; and, it's likely that his and/or her children will be involved. So, it goes without saying that your honeymoon, too, may lack the traditional romance and one-on-one time.

Not many couples would ever put the word "child" in the same sentence as the word "honeymoon," but remarriage often includes blending families, and that obviously requires a focus on your children. So, while planning the date and location of your second honeymoon, maybe it's time to consider a familymoon! (The word "familymoon" was trademarked in 2004 by Beaches Resorts.)

Essentially, a familymoon is a family vacation, a time set aside to spend time with the family and to create memories. Family time for a stepfamily is extremely important. By letting your children and stepchildren know that they are a part of your remarriage journey, the blending process will go more smoothly. 

There are some fantastic resorts that offer an opportunity for romance, one-on-one time with your new spouse, and great family fun. A great example is Franklyn D. Resort & Spa, the only resort in Jamaica to offer your family a personal vacation nanny throughout your stay. One of the attendees of our recent Remarriage Bridal Showcase for Encore Brides in Leesburg, VA just won a vacation from Franklyn D. Resort  Spa. I can't wait to hear how it went!




2nd Wedding Wednesday: The Perfect Second Wedding Invitations

Wednesday, July 20, 2011
When I was getting remarried, I had a really tough time trying to find the perfect wedding invitation. Regardless of whether you are going the cheap DIY wedding invitations route, or the "sky is the limit" budget route, you are most likely looking for unique wedding invitations that fit your needs.

When it comes to planning your second wedding invitations, here's what I imagine probably isn't going to work for your second wedding invitation wording:

Mr. and Mrs. Smith (read "your parents")
invite you to the wedding of their daughter (read "Your parents are most likely not paying for your second wedding.)
to
Mr. John Doe (read "He may have children of his own and you acknowledge that you will support, care for, and accept that they come with this remarriage at least part of the time.")
at
a fabulous, extravagant venue (read "We may be having an extravagant venue, but we want to include our children somehow in the ceremony and/or celebration.")

OR

You may simply want to include the children in the invitation somehow. Perhaps you want to include your children throughout the wedding planning process.  I can't think of any better way to get off to a good start, whether it is shopping, planning, or including the kids in the second wedding invitation wording itself.

When I was getting remarried, I searched all over the place for the perfect second wedding invitation. None of the catalog samples provided us ideas for wording for people like us; i.e., a couple getting remarried with kids. Whatever you want to call it, whether it be stepfamily blending, merging two families, or creating a new family, it was important for us to announce to our family and friends that we were celebrating ALL of us coming together. Wedding invite wording was important to us.

Since we were planning a destination wedding at Martha's Vineyard, I ultimately ended up going to a calligrapher who designed a grapevine border around our wording, and wrote the names of our five children in the grapevines.  This beautiful artwork is now framed and displayed in our home today as a keepsake that I treasure.

Since publishing RemarriageWorks.com, I thought there has got to be a better second wedding invitation selection for marriages that include children. Or, second wedding celebrations that are hosted by a remarrying couples' grown children. Or, second wedding invitation wording that is sensitive to the kids' feelings if you are marrying a widow or widower. I, personally, did not want to offend my stepchildren by having my invitation read, "Today I will marry the love of my life." Maybe our kids, in various stages of grief from divorce or death of a parent, would be hurt by thinking their mom or dad was not the one and only love because they are too young to understand. Who knows? 

I now know that there has to be some better second wedding invitation options, including both wedding invitation wording and design.

As a result, I've partnered with the creative and talented invitation designer, Carla David of Carla David Design to come up with unique second wedding invitations that can be customized to reflect your new stepfamily or remarriage needs. I hope you check out RemarriageWorks.com's second wedding invitations and let me know what you think!

    2nd Wedding Wednesday: Your Second Wedding With Kids

    Wednesday, July 06, 2011
    For the 65% of remarrying couples who have kids of their own, deciding whether to have children at the wedding is often a no-brainer. Instead your dilemma often revolves around how to include your kids in the second wedding celebration.

    First, if you have or want a great relationship with your children or stepchildren-to-be, I highly recommend that you don't exclude them from your wedding. I have heard stories about couples not including their children, and I truly believe your kids should be a part of your wedding event in some way, the very least of which is to be invited. After all, when you get remarried with kids, the reality is you are bringing families together; there is more to consider than just you and your spouse.

    "One of the most complicated aspects of stepfamilies is figuring out the issues of belonging - who feels 'in' and who doesn't," according to Jean McBride, author of Encouraging Words for New Stepmothers. Assuming the children want to be included, here are some ways to include them after you get engaged to remarry:

    • Create opportunities for parents who are about to become stepparents to spend time with their stepchildren during the wedding planning phase (e.g., enjoy a make-up session or spa day; shop for wedding attire together; have a pre-wedding picnic; let the "guys" in the newly forming family have their own version of a "bachelor" party on a paintball excursion or golf outing, etc.).
    • Let the kids help sample the wedding food from the wedding venue beforehand. Allow them to create a kid's menu to enjoy at the wedding reception. Have a cake designed just for them that celebrates a new family coming together.
    • Include unique second wedding favors for them. Consider having entertainment for them. When I remarried, we had an antique fire engine on which the kids could take rides, and it presented some great photo opportunities, too.
    • Encourage your kids to participate in your wedding ceremony. Older children can recite a reading or a poem. Or, your entire stepfamily can participate in a sand layering ceremony.
    • Present your children with a wedding gift or keepsake so they can be recognized and have a treasure to help remember the day.  
    • Have a special dance with them. For many kids, they will want to feel connected to you on that day.
    You don't have to have a traditional second wedding or reception. You and your children can make it as bold and creative as you would like. Brainstorm with your kids beforehand and discuss the planning with them. Taking these steps will go a long way in setting the foundation for a happy and healthy stepfamily. 

    What is There to be Thankful for in Your Stepfamily?

    Friday, March 11, 2011
    A dear friend and mindset coach I know, Renee Canali, gave me a very meaningful gift, namely a small book entitled 365 Thank Yous by John Kralik this past Christmas. In a nutshell, it is a story about a guy who handwrote 365 thank you notes in one year and the remarkable things that happened in his life as a result of displaying such gratitude. I've started writing more thank you notes as a result, and it feels good. It got me thinking; how many of us are grateful for our stepfamily members?

    And, how many of us get caught up in the whining and complaining about exes, our kids' other stepparent, and all of the challenges that stepfamily life can bring? I'm guilty! Especially in the early years of my remarriage, I complained, got angry, and I'm sure I drove my friends and family nuts on many days. And, even now having been remarried for nearly eight years, I still have my moments.

    In hindsight, I feel like I have wasted valuable time and energy simmering in a stew of negative feelings. I wish I had read books, including 365 Thank Yous and Jack Canfield's The Success Principles, years ago. In his book, Canfield writes, "When you are in a state of appreciation and gratitude, you are in a state of abundance. You are appreciating what you do have instead of focusing on and complaining about what you don't have."

    So, turning back to remarriage and stepfamily life, for what is there to be grateful?  As a start, how about:
    • the opportunity to learn about your own strengths and weaknesses?
    • the chance to learn more about love and its many forms?
    • a second chance for true happiness after experiencing divorce or widowhood?
    • learning how to appreciate others?
    • developing healthy coping mechanisms?
    • the ability to be a positive influence in a young person's life?
    All of these experiences do not just happen overnight, rather there is a process for each. So, while we continue to progress and work on these things, we can express appreciation in our stepfamilies each day - for even the smallest things.

    In The Success Principles, Canfield explains that there are three different kinds of appreciation. He describes three different ways (auditory, visual, and kinesthetic) "the brain takes in information, and everybody has a dominant type they prefer." 

    So, every day we can strive to appreciate the people in our family in the way that makes them feel good. We can hug one of our stepchildren who responds to touch. We can call one of our kids who is away at college to find out how they are doing, and we can write a note telling our spouse how much we appreciate what they do.

    The things that we grumble about may still be there. But, if we follow John Kralik's example, we'll actually feel happier.  Thank goodness for that!




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