You may not have my eyes, You may not have my smile, but from the beginning you had my ❤️

How many of my mama friends out there are step-mamas like me? I’ve met a lot of mamas through my journey of helping others over the years. We mamas come from all walks of life to into our children’s life whether by blood or by choice your still a mama my dear❤️ My journey as a step mom started 6 years ago when I met my husband for the first time I learned he had a daughter 18 months older than my 3 year old son. I had always wanted a girl and soon enough I had a hazel eyed little peanut watching my every move.

Hales and I clicked. We quickly became good friends and it was clear our bond would be more than that as time passed. As my husband and I got married and blended this beautiful blessing I get to call family. My role as “stepmom” came with a lot of ups and downs as does any change. There were boundaries in parenting all of a sudden that I didn’t have before. How much do I do, how much is to much, how much is to little? Do we parent them the same? What do we do about discipline she isn’t “mine” (I kept thinking I can’t do that) Who is going to take care of things cause I’m kind of the one who runs the household? But I can’t really make decisions it. needs to be a triplet consideration (her father, her mother, and me if needed) 🤔 how do I develop a relationship with her mom and make sure I’m doing things the way she wants as well. As respect from one mother to another. It was a constant balancing act there for a while. And it was fun to watch our family come together through marriage, moving in together, and the birth of our twin daughters. Our family of 6 was complete❤️

Over time my husband and I found a balance consulting each other on things, talking things through, and reminding each other to back each other up as needed. Don’t get me wrong mamas we failed miserably at times. We have had arguments, we have taken the side of each of our children, we have used the words “your” “my” and “mine” instead of ours and we. But eventually we got the hang of it. Parenting your own and watching someone else parent your child can be challenging at times. And it’s a process that each blended family goes through. Some easier than others. Haley quickly became “mine” and “our kids” became our focus. Starting with changing our verbage. But as long as we have communication we have the key to unlock any issues that may come our way. I know it has worked wonders for us and has made us a lot closer over the last 6 years. And in our house we use no labels. No stepdad, stepmom, step siblings, or half siblings. We are just family. ❤️

So here is my personal mama (and a little therapist) parenting advice and tips:

1. Be consistent in your expectations, your rules, your discipline, your praising of your children it helps them develop a healthy sense of self. And let’s face it they need it in this day and age with the challenges they face.

2. Avoid fighting or arguing in front of your children. It only teaches them to do it. Anger is not inherited it’s learned. (Trust me I’ve run an anger management program for almost 8 years)

3. Spend time with your children. Be present. Leave the dishes and laundry. Leave dinner for a few more minutes. Be late one day. Plan the family vacations. Have 1:1 dates to soak in each of them and their personalities. This was huge in our household afterwards the twins were born so we made our older two feel like they were getting just as much attention as the twins were. Life is to short and they grow up to quickly.

I’ll leave you with those my mama friends. Now if you excuse me I’m headed out on a date night with my gorgeous hubby for his birthday! Couples time is equally important my dears. That is another post.

Happy living, happy laughing , happy loving!

XoXo 💋

The grief of losing a pet and five tips to help you cope❤️

This is me crying my eyes out as I was talking to my baby girl, my 12 year old basset hound. She had been ill for a few weeks. A kidney infection, hospitalized and treated. She came back home and life resumed as normal. I ended up taking her back in a few weeks later because she had been puking and couldn’t keep food down. Tests showed her kiddies were shutting down she would need a lot of fluids, medicine, and require another admission. Another hospitalization, 5 days later, many visits with her in one of the tech rooms, we finally got to bring her home. She was in good spirits and seemed a little tired. 6 hours she went no eating, 12 hours she still wasn’t eating, 24,30. Another call to the vet, trip in for a shot to help with nausea, and back home for the day. Still minimal eating and just laying in her bed trying to get comfy. This is when I laid with her and asked her what she wanted me to do. I videoed this and snapped this photo from it. I told her it was ok to go Jace I knew she was tired. (Jacey was her name). The next day, took off work, and yet another trip into the vet. Jacey did not want to even walk in the door she pulled away. I carried her in and more blood work. My stomach sank, she looked so tired, she didn’t want to be there, and somewhere deep down I knew what was coming.

So we waited and they confirmed her counts were back up. Her kidneys were shutting down again and she was going toxic. It was time to make a decision the vet said. Time to admit her again for more medical intervention, time to take her home to let her go on her own, or time to put her down. I had been agonizing for two weeks about this moment. I don’t make these decisions well none of us do. I took her home to discuss the situation with my family. We decided in the end to put her down in two days when they had their next appointment open. My heart was broken 💔 I am making the decision to end her life? But deep down I knew she was ready.

So we planned chicken nuggets for dinner for her and my son even crawled into bed with her to read her a book.

This would be his first experience saying goodbye to a his dog. He was devastated. And my heart broke all over again watching him grieve her loss before she was even gone. But I was grateful he had the chance.

Jacey never made it to the appointment to put her down. She passed away later that night right at home in my hands. It was awful and I’ll never forget it. I’ll never forget carrying her to the vets office wrapped up in a blanket. She is with me all the time in various ways with all the paw 🐾 prints she left on my heart.

Her loss in my life affected me in ways I never expected it to. And I grieved for a number of weeks. I received cards and a framed picture on my desk from a loving coworker. I have made sure to let the kids grieve in their own way especially our 10 and 11 year old. We had some talks, drew some pictures, said our goodbyes. It was wonderful and so therapeutic. As a mom I let them see me cry many times and they cried with me. I am not afraid to show my children grief. In fact I want them to know that it is ok to show your feelings. It’s ok to grieve in your own way on your own time frame.

Grief never discriminates. It knows no boundaries, no time lines, no gender, no age, no limits. Everyone of us can grieve in our own way and YOU are allowed Mama. It’s ok to take time, it’s ok to cry, it’s ok to feel depressed, and it’s ok to need support. So surround yourself with a loving people and give yourself time to work through your loss. Loss is inevitable in life but you don’t have to struggle alone❤️

Here are 5 tips to you cope with the loss of a pet:

1. Celebrate their life with you. Do something important to remember them by. Frame some pictures, create a memory box, plant a tree or flowers with your children for them, and have ice cream in a doggy dish in their birthday!

2. Expect to feel more emotional than usual. Feeling anxious, irritable, or just incapable of handling things right after it happens is normal. Be patient with yourself.

3. Support seek support from others in your life. Significant others, family, friends, or an online support group. Don’t go through this alone all the time seek support and comfort as needed.

4. Self care make sure your taking care of yourself. Not just your basics ie…eating and sleeping. But maybe some deep breathing relaxation, meditation, or mindfulness exercises. YouTube has a lot of free videos. Or one of my personal favorites is an app called Calm.

5. Talk about it I can’t tell you how many homes I have heard people say they just don’t talk about it. PLEASE don’t be a stuffer or bottler it has so many side effects on your physical and emotional health. Don’t be afraid to talk about your loss. Journal about it. Pray about it if you pray. Talk to your friends over and over. Your not a bother your not ridiculous your grieving my dear. As each day passes you will learn to live with what has happened and time will move forward. ❤️

Be gentle with yourselves my dear mamas.

Happy living, Happy Laughing, Happy Loving.