“Don’t Let Them Dull Your Shine – Give Them Sunglasses”

I was recently co-chairing an event to help raise money for U for Change. An organization that has helped over 2500 youth (some of who have been living on the streets of Toronto), where they learn skills in the arts to go onto to working or post secondary skills. This program also gives the youth the chance to believe in themselves.

As I sat there watching this event, and having put this together I never thought I would be learning even though that was the goal for the audience. I sat in awe of these fabulous speakers - Vanessa Craft, Barry Avrich, Mikhael Kale, and my handsome husband G. Scott Paterson because of what they had to share. It isn't just stepmom's who struggle obviously, it is everyone. What was nice was hearing them talk about those struggles and learning from them.

During this fireside chat one of our panelist Vanessa Craft - the Editor-and-Chief of Elle Canada spoke about her hardships and her successes. While following how she had come from a sketchy part of Toronto she felt that her shine was too much for some. There are a lot of haters out there and her advice was "Don't let them dull your shine - give them a pair of sunglasses"!

This is where stepmom's can help each other. We can share our stories (anonymously if that is better for you) in hopes that other stepmom's can learn from each other. Through our own trials and tribulations just maybe we can feel like we are not alone. I will start with one of my own stories!

This past weekend we had over 20 teenagers and/or young adults show up over the course of the night into the wee hours of the morning. It is a lot of kids to manage all at once and my two year old daughter ended up waking up (and to boot she was sick). I was so tired, and now angry from all the action and the excitement that I just couldn't spend the time to put her back to sleep. Instead, I changed her and brought her into our bed (something I rarely do) and snuggled her for the WHOLE night while she caressed my face, laughed, sat up and said "Mommy please turn on YouTube I want to watch it now". It was a delightful evening filled with lots of hugs and kisses, but it was a loooooonnnnngg night. The next day followed with loads of kids activities and 25 people coming to celebrate American Thanksgiving. When you are tired your patience are thin. I wasn't my cheery self at dinner and would not have considered myself the hostess with the mostess. Sometimes you just have to say no! When you get tossed into raising kids you don't get to choose what ages they are.  The age differences can be challenging. If you have your own kids all around the same time you learn to parent throughout the years, but when you have the different ages it can be frustrating because I am not mentally wanting to be in that stage yet, but I am forced to. I found myself resentful over the weekend because it was unfair to my two year old who had been sick all week.

Having said that, everyone had an amazing time from playing cards with my two year old, eight year old stepson, and husband to dance parties and fort making. Tired and all I made sure to continue on as if nothing happened and considered this a WIN.

Social Stepmom is here to give each stepmom or blended family the confidence that these things happen to everyone. That we are not alone and can be helpful to each other! I will continue to shine (or try to) for the sake of my family (stepkids included), and will NOT let anyone dull my shine. The holidays are coming so maybe a few sunglasses are in order! LOL