Posts Tagged ‘BlendedFamilies’

The Stir Article: 17 Things Only a Divorced Mom Knows

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

17 Things Only a Divorced Mom Knows

By: Jodi Meltzer for on CafeMom’s blog, The Stir.

After the divorce tear gas stops stinging and the OMG-I-should-have-been-a-lawyer bills are paid, there’s a period of awakening, of embracing your new reality as a divorced mom.

At times, it’s intoxicating. The freedom, the firsts, the time you have to devote to your precious child. Other days are wracked with guilt, with “what if”s, with longing for your baby. It’s a bumpy road only those who have gone through it can possibly understand. Here are 17 things only a divorced mom knows.

  1. How infuriating it is to deal with “Disneyland Dad.” Everything is more fun at dad’s. It’s no problem when your kid hangs from his ceiling fan while eating candy for breakfast.
  2. The loneliness of your kid making mom-free memories, taking mom-free trips, and enjoying mom-free time in a home where you’re most likely not welcome.
  3. Having to censor everything you say because your kid has become a recording device that plays back your conversations to his dad.
  4. Wondering which of your friends will be on Team Mom and which will be on Team Dad. They always choose sides — and this can mess things up for all of your kids.
  5. The challenge of co-parenting. If your ex is spiteful, he may do things just to piss you off (like feeding your vegetarian a double cheeseburger). And there’s nothing you can do about it. Also, see #1.
  6. Choking back tears on the phone knowing your baby wants a goodnight kiss you can’t deliver. Or worrying that he’ll wake up after a nightmare and you won’t be there to comfort him.
  7. Watching your siblings form teams with their kids for the family’s annual Thanksgiving Day lawn football game, but having no ‘team’ in attendance this year. Why do we even play football on Thanksgiving? Football is stupid. So is Thanksgiving. Decide never to celebrate again in solidarity with the Native Americans. Until next year, when your kid will be with you.
  8. The sting when your child says, “I want daddy!” Ouch. It’s so much worse than when you were married.
  9. Trying to act like a grown-up when you talk about your ex so you don’t “tarnish” your kids’ image of him or make them feel like they have to take sides. Even though you know they’d totally pick you. Right?
  10. Pretending you don’t notice your child watching the happy family of four eating dinner at a restaurant. Shiny, happy people holding hands, please go away.
  11. The thrill of post-divorce sex — no worrying about locking the door because your kid definitely won’t interrupt. It’s dad’s night!
  12. Wondering if and when you should introduce your child to your new man. OMG. Is he good enough to be a stepdad? Will my kid like him? Do I like him?
  13. Feeling like a third wheel on playdates that spill into the evenings when that lovely couple invites you to stay for dinner. Nice … but awkward.
  14. Agonizing over whether you’ll be “replaced” when daddy gets a girlfriend. Conducting a seance or doing a rain dance to ward this off.
  15. Feeling guilty about everything. From fearing your kid will blame you for breaking up the family to fearing your kid’s bad grades, allergies, [insert anything here] are all because of the divorce. Divorced mommy guilt is like regular mommy guilt… on steroids.
  16. The incredible exhaustion of being up all night with a sick kid and having to work the next day. There’s no more sharing shifts with the hubby. It’s all on you, baby.
  17. Cuddling with your child in your own home that’s finally free of toxic energy. Just the two of you.

What would you add to the list?

In The Stir’s article “17 Things Only a Divorced Mom KnowsMs. Meltzer states a few feelings that most all divorce moms understand. It’s difficult to go through divorce and feel the pull of what have I done (or what has he done) to this family.  The emotion of wanting to have your children with you all the time and posing the question of whether you could stay in a unbearable situation just so you can be there to keep them safe all the time instead of half the time.  
There are so many different thoughts that come into consideration when you are struggling with the back and forth of divorce or separation. Sometimes you feel cornered with no way out and that’s why we are here to help.  If you or someone you know is in a circumstance that is intimidating or even hostile, please call our office for assistant.
Law Offices of Steven B. Chroman, P. C. Santa Clarita Divorce
Call 661-255-1800 for your free initial consultation.

“Why does my Husband/Wife’s ex hate me?” By: Law Office of Steven B. Chroman P.C. Santa Clarita Divorce

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Divorcing or separating couples have a new venture to embark upon. A new marriage, or dating brings along with it a new world of issues. With the holidays upon us, here are a couple of items that may touch on the core of what is really going on- you as the new ‘member’ need to know and respect what everyone involved may be going through.

1. They don’t hate you, but they may hate what you represent: The failure of a marriage, the breakup of the family, fear that they may have ruined their child’s life by not being able to make the marriage work.

2. They are afraid the kids will love you more. An irrational fear, as the chances of that happening are basically nil, but a common fear nonetheless.

3. They perceive you as overstepping boundaries. This could include showing up at a parent-teacher conference, forcing the kids to call you mom or dad, calling the kids “mine,” posting pictures of the kids on your Facebook page, trying to co-parent with by responding to messages sent to you’re the ex, etc.

4. They resent your participation in events they believes are reserved are “firsts.” These might include a first haircut, or a talk about the birds and the bees. You can be sure that mom or dad wants to be there for any sort of milestone. Try to be sensitive to that.

5. They perceive you as doing all the parenting while mom/dad is “let off the hook.” Stepparents often help with household duties and life in general. That’s what a marriage and dating is all about: partnership. But when one spends more time at work during visitation time, it opens the door for these kinds of feelings.

6. Now that you’ve come along, mom/dad is asking for more parenting time. You’d think this would be a good thing, but this change in dynamic can be threatening or scary for the ex. Not everyone likes change.

7. They don’t know you. When mom/dad send the kids off to be with their mom or dad, and this person they don’t even know will have full access to them, remember they don’t automatically trust you just because mom /dad does. But at the same time, they don’t necessarily want to meet you. A no-win situation for all involved.

8. They see their ex being a different than they were with you. It can be painful to see the man or woman you think treated you so poorly treating another like gold. They might still be grieving the loss of the marriage while the other has moved on. It’s nearly impossible to have good feelings toward you when they may still be processing — or in denial of — the loss of her family.

9. You actually did something worthy of negative feelings. Are you consciously or subconsciously trying to make them look like a bad mom or dad? Are you trying to prove to your husband or wife that you’re a better spouse? Are you trying to make your step-kids love you more? Take a look at your behavior and your motivations. You’re going to have to be honest with yourself to see how you might be contributing to the high-conflict dynamic.

For more information and a complimentary consultation regarding all dissolution matters, custody, support, pre and post nups, contact the Law Office of Steven B. Chroman at 661-255- 1800 or visit us at

Are We There Yet? Making Summer Plans When You Are Divorced or Soon To Be. By: Law Office of Steven B. Chroman P.C. Santa Clarita Divorce

Monday, April 28th, 2014

With summer vacation right around the corner, thoughts on how to keep kids busy, entertained, structured, happy, and distracted from the throes of your divorce are probably beginning.

Kids who are home from school have a lot of available time that needs to be scheduled. Some will benefit from going away to camp or to their grandparents, while others will benefit from more one-on-one time with parents because they may find the isolation from divorce as alienating. A good place to start is by asking your older kids (12 and up) how they want to spend their summer before any final decisions are made.

If your divorce is final, you are required to abide by your final divorce decree regarding summer visitation. If you do not yet have a final divorce decree, I highly recommend that you begin discussing with your ex-spouse a summer schedule for the children.

There are several reasons for coming to a summer visitation arrangement sooner rather than later:

(1)  You can make travel plans, if necessary;

(2)  You can make arrangements for taking time off work or arrange child care/camp during the time you have the children; and

(3)  You can ensure that both parents will have some extended free time with the children over the summer.

There is no shortage of tensions that can easily explode if unaddressed. In order to facilitate a peaceful summer, divorced parents will need to cooperate with each other.

-Plan a budget for your child(ren’s) summer activities.

-Plan for your child’s summer job- pick up, drop off and/or car situation.

-Plan for how much time you will be with your child(ren).

You and your ex-spouse (or soon to be) or the court may agree to modify child support payments in different amounts during vacation periods when the child is with the noncustodial parent more than during the regular school year or use that money towards activities, camp, travel, etc.

Plan for your child’s camp or summer school:

If you are paying for child support, will you continue to pay the same amount of child support or can you agree to pay for other children expenses in lieu of child support?

Make arrangements regarding who will drop off and pick up your child(ren).

Plan for your child(ren) staying at home in the summer:

Will your child-related costs increase? For example, will you have greater expenses for babysitting, food, entertainment, driving, etc? How will these increased costs be shared, if at all, with your ex-spouse?

The Law Offices of Steven B. Chroman, P.C., are committed to helping you understand your options and make the best choices for yourself. Call our offices at 661-255-1800 for your FREE consultation today!

Huffington Post Article: This Stepkid Has Some Helpful Advice On Dealing With Blended Family Problems

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

This Stepkid Has Some Helpful Advice On Dealing With Blended Family Problems
By: Huffington Post

As part of our Blended Family Friday series, each week we spotlight a different stepfamily to learn how they successfully blended their two families. Our hope is that by telling their stories, we’ll bring you closer to blended family bliss in your own life!

This week, our reader Molly Walter gives us a primer on what it was like to gain a stepmom and two new siblings in her teen years.

“It was four teenagers in a house together and all of a sudden we were supposed to be a family,” Molly said. “But to be honest, we became so close so quickly and now I love my stepsister and stepbrother as part of my family — we are so close!”

Below, Molly shares more of her family’s story and offers her best advice for kids in blended family households struggling to find their place within them.

Hi Molly! Want to introduce us to your family?
Sure! There are six family members total: My dad Chip; my stepmom Cyndy; my sister Hannah, 21; my stepbrother Steve, 21; my stepsister Annie, 19; and then there’s me. I’m 24.

My dad and stepmom have been dating since 2005 and living together since 2008. They married in the spring of 2009.

Your dad and stepmom got together when you and your siblings were a little older. How did you feel about it at the time?
Originally, I thought our parents were very brave to try to merge families when all four of us were teenagers. But it miraculously all worked out and we all became very close right off the bat. Now, I’d say the biggest challenge is coordinating everyone. With four kids who live around the country and who all have two sides of a family to spend time with when they come to town, quality family time can be hard to schedule. For the few times a year all the college breaks line up, the time still has to be split between a lot of people, leaving little time for all six of us to be in the same place at once. It definitely requires lots of planning pretty far in advance. Since it can be so crazy, we make sure that all six of us spend Christmas Eve and Christmas morning together — we have our holiday traditions every year and know that we can always look forward to that time together, no matter what.

What’s the best thing about being part of a blended family?
I gained three amazing family members! My stepmom, stepbrother and stepsister are my family now and I love them as I love anyone else in my family. My three siblings and I are very close and I wouldn’t give that up for anything.

What makes you proudest of your family today?
How supportive we are of each other and how little not being biologically related matters. My stepmom treats my sister and I like her own children, my dad treats my stepbrother and stepsister like his own children, and the four of us kids all treat each other like we’ve been together from day one. We’re always there for each other and have an amazing supportive network in each other around the country.

How does everyone manage the stress that comes with being part of a blended family?
I think a lot of how we as a family deal with that stress comes from our parents. My dad and stepmom have always been really good about when we should handle things as a whole family and when our parents should deal with their own kids separately. Their example set a really great mentality for the family from the beginning. I also think that making time for the “original” families to hang out is an important part of being a blended family.

What advice do you have for kids who are having a difficult time getting used to life in a blended family?
The first thing I’d suggest would be to remember that this is hard. Your parent is marrying someone new and your family just got bigger with some weird, new people! But I would also say that your parent chose this person to spend the rest of their life with and that’s worth at least trying to make it work, as long as no one’s being cruel to you or anyone else. Talk to your parent or sibling(s) if you have any about your concerns and see if they have any ideas. Siblings are great because they’re likely having similar feelings as you. My sister was a huge help to have with me through the whole process, since she was also excited for our dad and new family, but had some of the same reservations as I did. Having someone in that same boat as you can be an amazing resource.

Molly’s advice in Huffington Post’s article “This Stepkid Has Some Helpful Advice On Dealing With Blended Family Problems” has some great tips on how to manage in a blended family.  Being open to the change is a key point in helping your new situation work.  There are many aspects that go into organizing any family and those aspects seem to double or triple within blended families.

Molly’s experience has worked out well for her and her new siblings but that’s not always the case for every family.  Some situations are a lot less civil and the tension can be very apparent.  If you found yourself in circumstances that aren’t as gracious, please contact our office for guidance.  We can assist you and your family with issues that go far beyond simply getting along.

Call 661-255-1800 for your free initial consultation.

Law Offices of Steven B. Chroman, P. C. Santa Clarita Divorce

Divorce’s Collateral Damage: Loss of Extended Family and Friends. By: Law Office of Steven B. Chroman P.C. Santa Clarita Divorce

Monday, April 14th, 2014

“I need to stand by my brother; we can’ t be friends anymore.”

This is a moment Lisa had with her friend—and soon to be ex-sister-in-law. A bond nourished for over 13 years was broken. There were tears and hugs, but the closure was hard to accept.

Why does divorce lead to this kind of moment over and over?

When some people are faced with a friend or family member who is going through divorce, it just seems easier not to have to take sides. For others, the relationship is severed because it was never really all that important. And there are people that try to maintain a relationship with both, and continue the link with grace.

Some individuals experience an identity loss as they are no longer welcome in certain social circles, invited to parties or know where to sit at their child’s soccer game.

Here are the top five things to consider when coming to terms with the loss of these

1. You don’t have to grin and bear it alone
Seek the help of a professional to help you cope with grieving the loss of these relationships.

2. Find strength from other relationships
Divorce is a process; accept that there will be losses. Maintaining a positive outlook will help you stay strong and develop other fulfilling relationships.

3. Redefine who you are
Ask yourself, “who am I?”and “what do I want out of life?” Shed the notion that you need to define yourself by who you were when married.

4. Eliminate negativity
Consistently talking about the loss of these relationships will drive people away; it means you have not moved on. Speaking negatively to your children about their extended family will make them feel that they are betraying you if they have a relationship with their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, and you don’t want your children to feel like they have to keep secrets from you.

5. Put your children’s best interest first
If your children have had a positive and loving relationship with extended family and friends, it is important to keep up the connections because good relationships impact on how the children feel about themselves.

Call 661-255-1800 for your free initial consultation today!

Huffington Post Article: 6 Ways To Beat Stress In A Blended Family

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

6 Ways To Beat Stress In A Blended Family
By: Brittany Wong at Huffington Post

As part of our Blended Family Friday series, each week we’re spotlighting a different stepfamily to learn how they successfully blended their two families. Our hope is that by telling their stories, we’ll bring you closer to blended family bliss in your own life!

Want to know real stress? Get married, have kids, then get divorced and settle down with someone with kids of their own. From conflicts in custody agreements to vindictive former spouses edging their way into household drama, there’s no shortage of stress in the lives of blended family parents.

So what can stepparents do to reduce some of the tension in their lives? Below, we look back at some of the best advice the parents in our Blended Family Friday series have shared with us in the past. See what they had to say, then head to the comments and add your best advice on beating stress in a blended family.

1. Figure out a co-parenting plan with your spouse early on.
Parenting someone else’s kids is not easy — and those first few years are usually the toughest. That said, the road to peaceful relations with your new step-kid will be a lot less rocky if you and your spouse are able to come to an agreement on how you’ll parent, including who will be in charge of disciplining.

Step-mom Janice Bissell figured this out with her husband early on in their marriage.”[My husband] gave me fairly free reign on structure and discipline for his youngest, CJ, and he always backed me up.”

On bigger issues with her step-kids, though, Bissell said her husband is the decider — and she’s fine with that. “I’ve also learned to give up control, which has been so hard, but ultimately a very good and necessary thing for our family,” she said.

2. When you start to feel overwhelmed, take it one hurdle at a time.
Husband and wife team Jennifer and Jason said they handle stress the same way any non-blended family would. The only difference? The stress that comes their way includes “slow family courts, pricey parenting coordinators and difficult ex’s.”

So how do they deal? “Stress is stress. We eat the elephant one bite at a time like everybody else,” Jennifer said. “We keep an open forum for communication across the board and spend a great deal of time being together so our bond is strong and valuable. No matter how stressful any of our situations become, we never lose sight of our main goal, which is to experience joy.”

3. See your family — including the ex’s — as a team.
Having an “us against them” mentality is the best way to sabotage your attempts to blend your family or get along with your ex, said Prentiss Earl, a father of two who’s still close with his ex-wife and her new family.

“I’d argue that our situation was more stressful when we maintained a separatist attitude with our individual households,” he told us. “I don’t feel family-related stress as much as I used to because of the way we’ve come together as a team.”

4. Invest in a chore chart.
If you want to see chores actually get done in your home, it’s time to buy a big white chore board, said step-mom Raiye Rosado. “Use a chore chart, for the love of all that’s good in the world. Seriously, it changed everything.”
chore chart Photo credit: Raiye Rosado

5. Remind yourself to celebrate even the smallest of victories.
Your oldest and youngest bond while building a pillow fort. You and your wife managed to coordinate your custody agreements so you could plan a mini vacation in the fall. Small wins like this are worth celebrating, said blended family mom Andi Parker-Kimbrough. “Live one day at a time (or one moment if you have to),” she said. “Blend little by little and celebrate even the smallest breakthrough.”

6. Whatever you do, don’t aim for perfection.
No nuclear family is perfect, so why should any blended family strive to be? Our reader Kellee Mulkerin-Ford told us that the first step in making progress as a blended family is to lower your expectations a bit. “Stop thinking that things are going to be perfect. It’s not going to happen,” she said. “The kids will not get along all the time, the house will be not always be quiet, you will not always hear ‘please’ and ‘thank you.'”

Instead, she recommended that parents take a more sensible approach to blending. “What is realistic is taking stock of how incredibly lucky you are to have more children to love and to guide.”


In Huffington Post’s article “6 Ways To Beat Stress In A Blended Family” they have a few ideas that could really help step-families reorganize into an improved and productive lifestyle.

There are many ways to beat stress but the key is to remember to do them!  We have all had ideas and made promises to ourselves to do more, plan better and work harder.  Life tends to change things around before we are even ready, so we need to prepare, plan ahead and always remember to work as a team.

And sometimes that means you need to stand your ground to gain control of a situation and sometimes it requires that you relinquish that need to control and become more flexible in an already chaotic circumstance.

Whether you are in a position that handles most of the choices for your family or at a point that feels as though you struggle to maintain the smallest of decisions, our office is here to assist you.  There is always hope and we are available to help you with the steps that are essential to create an improved standard of living for you and your family, it’s worth the call!

Law Offices of Steven B. Chroman, P. C. Santa Clarita Divorce

Call 661-255-1800 for your free initial consultation today!