Successful Co-Parenting Tips

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” Don’t use your kids as messengers or any other form of communication with the other parent. That’s not their job, their job is to be a kid, not handle adult situations. ”


Not the Average Mama


Co-parenting is a tricky world to navigate around. There are a lot of people who love this child and want what’s best for them. Over the past six years I have learned different techniques and tips on how to be a successful co-parent. I may not be the biological mom in this situation, but I am a parent involved in helping raise two kids, so my voice and my actions matter too.


Putting the Child’s Needs First:

You will be in awkward situations with the other parent at times, and tension might begin to rise, but look around you, the kids are watching you and they can feel that tension too. Check your ego at the door. Put your emotions, anger, and resentment aside and focus on what is best for your child. In the end this is why you are co-parenting in the first place, because this is what’s…

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Damn! Where is that Scapegoat When I need it? … The role of Stepparents is most Blended Families


“I have been talked about and criticized for filling out school forms the children asked for my help with. As I have driven the children from on activity to another and made some suggestions and comments, I was made fun of that I was “too parenty”. Despite being the champion for getting my stepdaughter braces, guitar lessons, and enrollment in drama camp, I have been told by her that I am “the cause of all her suffering” and that she “can not” treat me well because she “hates” me. “………..

Soul Healing Art


I was reading a book the other day. A memoir written by a young woman. It was humorous, alarming, and triumphant in turns.
A passage that struck me though was when she was writing about one of her father’s girlfriends.

The situation was not a positive one. There was much anger, limited resources, and confused energy on all sides.

At one point, according to the writer’s memory, her father’s girlfriend told her (I believe the author was 14 years old or so at the time), that she no longer needed to pay for things for the young woman nor give her any money.

Oh the drama! The pain! Look at the abuse! Look at how she was treated by the girlfriend/pseudo-stepmom. How dare a grown woman tell a young child, such as the author was at this time, that she was unwilling to care for this child financially?

I am…

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ReBlog: A Screwtape Letter For the Unappreciated Mom


I shared this on my personal facebook page last year and it just popped up in my “On This Day.” I love it and think it needs more recognition.  Also if you haven’t read The Screwtape Letters you need to. It’s so good.

Carry on.



My Dear Wormwood,

I was thrilled to hear you have been making progress with the mother.  You have a good lead, from what I hear.  She’s feels over-worked, unappreciated, and discouraged?  I’m so glad to hear it.  If you tread carefully, this can be a great opportunity.  With the kids waking her up every hour last night, we already have an advantage.  A tired Mom makes for a more emotional Mom, and an emotional Mom is a vulnerable one.

I do have a few tips.  First, aim your best efforts at her marriage.

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Out With the Old



When Prince Charming and I got married, we sorta just threw our hands up and said “It’s time!” and packed all our belongings into a tiny 3 bedroom house with 1 bedroom and very little room to breathe. I was (and still am) the owner of a house about 20 minutes away, renting out spare bedrooms to pay the mortgage. PC has owned the house we live in for nearly 18 years, but was not occupying it during the time we were dating. I made him promise not to step foot back into the house (unless it was related to being a technical Landlord to the current tenants) until we both had rings on our fingers. The house was already his and I already had the less than feelings creeping in.

I packed my boxes and shed my house of way too many things- I have went several times to find keepsakes and items that I once loved and realized that when I was packing up to move, I deemed them unnecessary and now I am missing these things more than I can explain. But that doesn’t mean I waltzed in with few items- I brought the whole load and a couple dogs, too. I packed the belongings of my 4 bedroom house into my car.. several times..and headed to my new home. Charming did the same- we packed all three people’s personal items up and headed to our first home together.

Once it was all in, there was hardly any room for us! The boys’ room is packed to the ceiling with toys and clothes they refuse to wear. The office has been filled to the brim with the copious amounts of books we both have, photography equipment, computers, bookshelves, a treadmill, the list goes on and on. Our room is the least cluttered, but I say that lightly. My closet is exploding and we use every inch of available space underneath our bed for storage. There are no storage closets or pantries for us to store things in. Our house has no basement and the garage is filled with Charming’s… collectables. He’s a pack rat. He finds things on job sites and knows they can be useful somewhere, so he brings them home and I park in the driveway instead of underneath the covering of a garage.


We are also finally into 2017, which is the year we planned to move out of this first, tiny home and into our dream home. Except we haven’t saved any money and neither house we own are anywhere near selling-ready. I’m itching to get out. I have hated living in the house we live in since day one, but grit my teeth because the other three love it. 12 thinks it’s the evil step mother’s dream to crush his childhood and take away the home that he grew up in, to never step foot in it again. He may be right, but not for the reasons he thinks. 8 (happy birthday!) 9! is excited to move into the farm house we dream of. To have room for animals and to play, for four-wheelers and big toys. He’s ready to farm.

We’ve hardly packed anything, nor have we paired down our belongings to the essentials. Prince Charming always shares that we can’t overdecorate, because new home buyers don’t want to imagine your family living in the house, they want to see theirs. So having pictures on the walls and personal touches are a waste of time. Which really means: We live in a house that only has two photos on the walls and they don’t match each other. It drives me bonkers.

Recently, the moving topic has been heavy and common. We spent a couple weekends ago filling boxes with books we know we won’t read for at least a year (and accidentally boxed up the nighttime story that PC reads to the kids. Oops.) We packaged up nearly 30 boxes of books and school supplies and put them in our attic- we can finally breathe in the office. Last weekend, it was like pulling teeth to complete.. but we did it!, we went through the boys room and purged their closet and had them get rid of obsolete toys. The photo below is of boxes and bags (except 1) that came from their room. I’m sure there’s more to go, too.


It finally feels like we can almost breathe in our home, like our belongings aren’t pushing us against the wall and we have space to stretch out our fingers. We don’t even have that much stuff, we just have nowhere to put it! I have literal dreams of living in a giant farm house with 7 rooms, 2 offices and a safe room for me to scream when 9 and 12 drive me batty.

What kind of pre-sale tips do you have for someone who has never sold a house before? How can we continue to remove the excess and work toward our future home?

I am so excited, I can hardly wait to move into a home of our own.

7 Things I Didn’t Know I Was Getting Into As A Stepmom



7 Things I Didn’t Know I Was Getting Into as a Stepmom
-Jessica Valentino, Not The Average Mama

I’ve been a stepmom for the past six years. There were a lot of things I thought I “knew” marrying a man with kids from a previous marriage. I “knew” I wouldn’t always come first, or even second at times. I “knew” I would have to be careful about what I say around the kids (impressionable minds). I “knew” I would have ex-wife issues to deal with and I “knew” I would have more responsibilities now that two little kids would be in my life for half of the week. I thought that was the gist of it and everything else would just work out, but then things would get tough and emotionally draining. That’s when I would hear, “You knew what you were signing up for when you married a man with kids.”


But did I really know? Does any stepmom really know what they are signing up for? Would anyone ever say that to a first time biological mom? Of course they knew what they were getting into when they got pregnant, but not every baby and not every step family is the same. Sometimes things happen later on that you never saw coming.


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To My Husband’s Ex Wife


To My Husband’s Ex-Wife,

I was never more nervous to meet anyone than I was to meet you. I never would have guessed I’d be in this position. I hadn’t heard a lot about you and I’m sure you didn’t know very much about me. I was so self-conscious about what you would think of me and worried that things wouldn’t go well. Thank you for being kind.

Thank you for supporting me as a mother. I was new and scared about how I would do. I prepared my whole life to be a mother but thought I would grow into it with a new baby. Your children are the sweetest blessings my life has had. They are a joy that I would have never known without them.

Thank you for being genuine and honest. I appreciate the open communication we have. People are amazed to hear how well we can all work together.

The kids crave your love and support. They look forward to every phone call, visit, and event with you. Thank you for being dependable for them. Thank you for loving them individually and supporting the things they choose to do.

Sometimes my role feels awkward or difficult. I don’t always know my place and feel like an outsider. Maybe that happens to you, too, sometimes. I’m sorry if it does. It’s a lonely and scary feeling. I will do better to keep you from feeling that way. Sometimes in our own struggles and hard times we forget to allow others to be human; humans who make mistakes, have feelings, and are doing the best they know how.

When I make mistakes, please know I am doing the best I can. And even with mistakes, my love for the kids and Jake only grows. When I have been frustrated or unkind, thank you for being patient with me.

With so many years ahead of us, I hope we can continue to have a good relationship. I hope the kids will be able to see and appreciate four parents who love them and will do anything for them.

You’ll have my gratitude forever.