Category Archives: Holidays

4 Tips to Avoid the Summer Divorce Schedule Blues

Lions! Tigers and Bears! Oh my, It's the Summer Season!
Lions! Tigers and Bears! Oh my, It’s the Summer Season!

Oh, boy!  The school year is ending and for many of us it means that the children’s schedules are changing.  We may have the kids for half the summer or camp schedules are starting.  First tip is to remember that every time there is a change, even if it is minor, it will get exaggerated in a divorced family.  Why?  It triggers feelings of uncertainty.  The schedule has changed and we just don’t feel safe.  Our thoughts may go something like this:

* “I just know that she’ll mess with the schedule and ruin our vacation plans.”

* “I just dread taking all the kids on vacation.  It may be a vacation for everyone else, but not me.”

* “Does the ex ever pay for any of these extra activities? She feels so entitled.”

A trigger is just that…a trigger.  It means that we have associated fear and anxiety with something. When the summer schedule changes, our flight or fight mechanism believes that we are at risk because of the thoughts associated with the summer. The fact is that we will all survive the summer and have fun while we are doing it.  Here are 3 tips to avoid those summer divorce schedule blues.

  1. Clear Agreements
    There is nothing worse than a fuzzy schedule for the kids. This is a sure way to get your wires crossed with your ex and have your plans ruined.  Be sure all agreements are in writing as well as having a confirmation meeting to review the details: pick up times, drop off times, any written permissions you may need from the other parent and a general idea of where everyone is going.
  2. Talk to Yourself
    As soon as you start to feel anxious, talk to yourself. Say something like this, “You are fine. Nothing is scary and everyone means well. I wish myself, the kids, their Mom and everyone well. We are all good.”  Breathe.  If you like to exercise, do it. If you like to write, journal your thoughts. These techniques trick the brain into calming down.
  3. Fight the Urge to be the Only Vacation Organizer
    For those of us that like to control everything, fight the urge to be the only vacation organizer. By taking on this role, be cognizant that you will add to your frustration. You will be looking for everyone’s approval.  If a plan goes wrong, your upset will be heightened. You will be looking for acknowledgement which is a road that will lead to disappointment and resentment.  Divide the vacation planning duties among the adults that are going along.
  4. 3. Try to Get Adult Time
    Know thyself. If you know that you are a person that needs quiet time, schedule it as a vacation activity. Let someone else take the kids and take your nap or walk.  This activity is just as valuable as the visit to Seaworld or the beach time.  If possible, get a babysitter for a night or two.
  5. Communicate with the Other Parent
    Be sure the kids are keeping in contact with the other parent. Let them know that they are safe. Do not let Facebook do this communication for them.  Using social media can be a passive aggressive communication tool when you are divorced.  Be up front and clear.  Let the other parent know the time when you are on your way home.  Treat them the way you would want to be treated.

Your attitude can make the summer schedule miserable or fun.  Go into it organized with activities and with the approach that it will be an adventure.  Give everyone a break with the knowledge that the initial transition days will pass.  You will survive with flying colors.

The Stepfamily and Life: It Is All About the Playground

It’s the end of the year. There have been holidays, custody changes, vacations and aggravations. There have also been feelings of extreme joy. Some of us have received notes of love and appreciation from our stepchildren and/or our partners. Some of us feel peace in the knowing that we are making a home base for… Continue Reading

Celebrating Stepfamily Day: Why #Stepfamilies Are Better

If you are lucky enough to have a stepparent, a step-sibling and step-relatives, September 16th is your day.  It is National Stepfamily Day.  The purpose of this day is to recognize stepfamilies by taking a minute and recognizing the love, care and support the step-relatives provide.  It is the day for us to remember how… Continue Reading

The 3 Lies We Tell Ourselves About Mother’s Day

It is that dreaded time of year for stepmothers everywhere, Mother’s Day.  The emotional turmoil and quiet confusion starts several weeks before the holiday and culminates in a litany of rationalizations right up until that dire Sunday.  It is reasonable that children spend Mother’s Day with their mother.  For divorced families, it means that the… Continue Reading

Stepmothers: How To Stitch Together A Happy Valentine’s Day

When I think of Valentine’s Day, I think of all the stepmothers who spend their days and nights stitching hearts together.  We are the silent seamstresses who watch the family patterns.  When we see a piece of heart tear, we are quick to try to mend it.  We grab our sewing kits.  We find the… Continue Reading

Twas The Night Before Christmas for Divorced and Remarried Families

TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS by Scott T. Taylor of ‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the Courts, Applications were piling, with time running short; Frantic parents consumed in a flurry of faxes, With lawyers and spouses all arguing Christmas access. No stockings yet hung by the chimney with care, Doubt children… Continue Reading

The Forgotten Family Members, Friends and Strangers – The Grateful Stepmother

This week, our family gathered to celebrate the life of my father-in-law who passed away last year.  We just had a blast as we watched all of our children and grandchildren just have fun.  We ate and drank too much.  We celebrated another win from the Notre Dame football team.  (Our family lives in South… Continue Reading

Stepmother Advice-Ever Feel Haunted by the “Step” Label?

A step family can be like living in a haunted house.  There are ghosts and goblins behind every corner.  Every time you think that things are going well, “Boo!” another monster comes out of the woodwork and you are back to ‘square one’.  We all have experienced these phenomena.  A snide glance or a cruel… Continue Reading

I Feel Like the 5th Wheel! – Stepmother Help from The Evil Stepmother Speaks

Have you ever felt like a 5th wheel in your family?  I certainly have!  I have been a stepmother for over 20 years and I still have those moments.  You know what I’m talking about.  There is a family party and you feel as if you don’t belong.  There is a family life cycle event… Continue Reading

Dear Stepmom, Happy Mother’s Day

Dear Stepmom, You must be shocked to be receiving this card from me.  Let’s face it, seven Mother’s Days have gone by and you haven’t heard from me.  Please do not let my silence speak for me.  I really do appreciate you. Surprisingly, it has been nice to have you around.  At first, I was… Continue Reading