Confession: I am a stepmom slacker.
These days I don’t feel too much like a stepmom. I don’t feel step anything really. My so called step life is pretty awesome. My husband is due home any day from his yearlong deployment (purgatory), my youngest bonus daughter and granddaughter just moved into their new apartment, my youngest bonus son has found a solution to help him get the life skills and a trade so he can survive in the world, my oldest bonus son is moving to New York, my oldest bonus daughter just had her first baby (Caleb Murphy Russell) and my two daughters are doing awesome. Our extended family is humming along quite nicely.
Not too long ago I interviewed Lorena Bathey and I asked her why she stopped speaking to divorced women. She’d had a successful five year speaking engagement run so I was curious why she stopped. Lorena responded, “I got tired of the all the whining and complaining.”
Perhaps Lorena outgrew the support she not only needed when she got divorced but also the support she was giving. It was simply Lorena’s time to move forward with her life. Without her forward motion, we’d never read Beatrice Munson.
In the stepmom world, there is a lot of hurt, pain, confusion, and the trauma of drama. In 2007 I was at my custodial bonus mom wits end on how to best help my very angry bonus son. I found help and support through Cathryn Bond Doyle and her amazing support group, Stepmoms on a Mission. Once armed with new ideas and creative solutions I began helping other stepmoms. I wanted to arm my sisters with different perspectives, tools, tips, and most of all resources.
I created The Stepmom’s Toolbox. I envisioned it to be the Yellow Pages for stepmoms and stepfamilies. I wanted you to have resources at your fingertips, a forum to dive into when you exhausted your own ideas, and I wanted it to be a place of sisterhood. Women helping women.
In 2010 I started broadcasting The Stepmom’s Toolbox Radio Show. I am so grateful to Erin Erickson for blindly agreeing to be my co-host when we started. My goal was simple – bring the experts to you. I tapped into my stepmom network and interviewed Jacquelyn Fletcher, Wednesday Martin, Tricia Powe, Cathryn Bond Doyle, Mary Kelly-Williams, Claudette Chenevert, Paula Bisacre, Brenda Ockun, Ron L. Deal, and many others. I loved doing the show. Listnership and ratings soared beyond what I imagined.
I added another co-host, the awesome Teresa Thompson, and I began airing every single Monday night. I was in a constant state of booking guests, promoting shows, interviewing, and promoting, promoting, promoting. Most of our shows were in the top ten in our category because we have the best listeners!
And did I mention I started writing for Lee Block’s Post Divorce Chronicles and Post Divorce Dating Club, Diva Toolbox, The Examiner, Yahoo! The Life Change Network, and my regular monthly column for StepMom Magazine? It all was starting to get a bit too much. I was saying “yes” to a lot of things that sounded fun and interesting but don’t actually generate an income. In short, I was doing a lot of work and spending a lot of energy, for nothing (sound familiar?)
When it was time to pay the bill for another year of doing my show on BlogTalk, a few donated to help keep me on the air but not enough to pay the bill. I decided to stop and press “no play.” I took some time to assess and evaluate where I was at versus where I wanted to go.
In my long term vision, The Stepmom’s Toolbox is not where I want to go. Some days are fine, the emails I’ve received are awesome, but ultimately it’s like immersing myself in a raging fire. I don’t want to do it anymore. I want to help you – really, I do. But ultimately you have to be willing to help yourself. Accept responsibility for your life, your choices, and your decisions. Stop blaming, complaining, and making excuses. Your life is your choice. No one can make you feel powerless, inferior, or like an outsider without your consent. This took me most of my adult life to learn. I’m 47. I am woman. Hear me roar!
After reassessing I decided to focus on the areas of my life that were going to carry me for the next 20 plus years. I’m applying to graduate school so I can obtain my Ph.D. in History and I’m focused on writing to be published. Whether it’s my poetry, my short stories, my creative non-fiction, that’s where my attention is focused. Who knows…that Stepmom book I wanted to write may actually come to fruition as long as I keep the main thing the main thing.
The radio show will go on. I won’t be hosting anymore but I’m leaving you in the best of hands – four amazing women who will help guide you along your journey: Barb Goldberg, Mary Kelly-Williams, Claudette Chenevert, and Paula Bisacre.
As far as the blog goes I am looking for guest bloggers and regular contributors. If you are interested in sharing your wisdom, tips, and advice with other stepmoms please send me an email at email@example.com.
I’ll be on here from time to time to check in and see how you are but if you want to read more of what I write, please visit me at Serendipity Smiles. I look forward to seeing you in my little corner of cyber space!