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Why Worry?

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Howdy folks! It’s been a while since I’ve posted on this blog as I’ve been focusing more on my Step-Dad Diary site (www.stepdaddiary.com) which I hope you’ll take the time to check out.

Nevertheless, this topic has been on my heart recently so I thought I’d share as I’m sure many of you are in the same boat. The bottom line up front is that I’m a worrier! There are healthy levels of worry, I believe, but I think I walk the thin line of unhealthy worry.

With another child on the way I worry that I will be able to provide for my newborn throughout his years as have for my other biological son and two Step-Children (which I gladly do as their fathers don’t really step up to the plate all the time.)  I worry that my job might be gone tomorrow (which it always could as I manage a non-profit,) or that my wife and I won’t continue to grow old together and enjoy each other like we do now.

Financially, I know that we can make it one way or another through military retirement, taking on extra jobs if need be or whatever but those realistic facts don’t always sink in when I wish they would would.  Rather, I find myself letting negative thoughts or worst-case scenarios take control of my thoughts and when they take control of my thoughts they often take control of my mood which resinates throughout the home or everyone around me.

I try my best at all times to remain positive but we all get into a slump.  It’s when we get into that slump or “bad place” that we need to count on our friends, spouses, or loved ones to give us a little pat on the back and just say “you know what man, everything is going to be alright!”

It’s  so simple to do and we should look for others experiencing the same types of thoughts and support them.  In supporting them, it turns out to be a win-win situation in that we start to believe in ourselves as well.

Even writing about it, as I am clearly doing here, makes me feel better even though I doubt it will be seen by many.  Perhaps one person will be able to read it, relate, and know that things are always going to be fine.

Worrying does no good, what will be will be.  We can only be proactive and make the best decisions we think we can at any given time. If something unexpected bad happens we’ll deal with it when the time comes.

Wow…it’s nice to be able to have a venue to share this stuff.  I hope you always focus on the good and choose not to worry when there’s really nothing you can do about what MIGHT happen down the road!

In the meantime, take good care!worry

Juggling Life!

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JugglingLife

“Juggling work and parental responsibilities is no easy task, but I’m trying my  best and just like everything else there are good days and there are bad days.” – Ali Landry

There are so many things going on from day to day between family, work, obligations, hobbies, etc…that it’s often hard to manage everything at once.  I always hear that I need to set a list of priorities and work from there but that it difficult in itself.  For example; Quality time with my Kids and family need to be of the highest priority but how can I put that above going to work and fulfilling the needs of my job at the highest level possible.

Sometimes, that’s easy as the Kids are gone and I can focus solely on work (which sometimes requires me to develop presentations, attend functions, etc… on weekends) but that’s okay because the Kids may be gone, my Wife at work and me home alone to focus.  Other times that’s not as easy as I may have focus my efforts on the same types of task while my Kids are home looking for some quality time and attention. 

The bottom line is that it’s doable.  Doable in terms of “do what you can when you can do it!” Maybe I don’t have time to engage in my hobbies one day or week but that’s okay, there will be time at some point.  I had plenty of “free” time this weekend to do just that but I was feeling under the weather with a sore throat and sinus pain (seems to be going around recently…especially in my home!) That’s just life…and I couldn’t foresee that coming but it did and I dealt with it.  So rather than sit and bask in my facial misery, I watched a couple movies with the kids and even went so far as to start watching episodes of “Once Upon a Time” with my wife and Step-Daughter…pretty girly fairy tale series but we all seemed to enjoy it  nevertheless.  This isn’t our normal genre of flicks but we all kinda got into it and really enjoyed both the series on Netflix and the time we were spending together.  Zack was a little too “cool” to watch it with us but that’s understandable as he is 14 years old and a boy so I can’t blame him in the least.

There’s always so much going on in our home on a daily basis, especially during the week between dance classes, football practice and games, work, doctors’ appointments, household chores, etc…that it really is difficult to set a list of priorities.  It really does take some mastery of juggling these things but above all, working as a team with Lisa to make it all happen is essential.

Perhaps setting a list of priorities at the beginning of each day is more beneficial than trying to set an ongoing list that stands firm.  Values are something that don’t have change such as service, ethics, manners, God, love, etc… but maybe setting a daily priority task is better than trying to set a priority task and leaving it alone.  Maybe I can set a list of priorities for a few days or even a week but they might need some tweaking or adjusting as the time goes by…we’ll see because that’s what I am going to try and do! 

I know one “priority” that doesn’t require me juggling, just requires me to ease up a bit (as I know I’ve said before) in my own home is to stop being so “knit-picky”…that’s really not going over so well and I know I should save that sort of stuff for when I really need to “bust it out” otherwise it might not be quite as effective!

Anyway, happy “Mastering” your juggling Step-Dads! Let me know how it all works out for you or if you have any advice for The Step-Dad in training! Hit me at brett@stepdaddiary.com .

 I’ve been doing my best to keep the spam emails and comments down so I moderate them all before they’re posted but rest assured…if something good comes along, I’ll be sure to re-post or share accordingly!

Share the Load!

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“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” – Lena Horne

It’s that the truth! Lean over to pick up 25 pounds and you just might hurt your back to a great degree. If you squat, grab that same load, and stand straight you then you’ll likely end up with no problems at all. Funny how that all works!

The bottom line is that it’s not necessarily the task at hand that can wear you out either physically or mentally, but how you choose to either handle or in some cases, not handle it!

We all have burdens, trials, tasks, and otherwise that we are either responsible for on a daily basis or that may pop up out of the blue and strike us from the blind side. Often times we take these battles full on or without asking for help and overwhelm ourselves to the extent that we feel lost or even helpless. We sometimes tend to carry with us unnecessary weight that we just don’t need or can handle alone.

Why not stop, see what’s wearing on us or beating us down, think of alternate means of addressing the issue at hand, ask for help when we need it and break adversities down into small, more manageable tasks or “chunks”…smaller more “light” loads seems to be a great way to carry the “bigger” heavier and potentially damaging load or burden you may be facing.

For example, maybe you’re practicing or preparing for a 10 mile run. In the past the furthest you’ve run without stopping may have been 5 miles. So, rather than go straight from 5 to 10 miles (which you would likely not be able to accomplish with ease) you decide to start early and build your stamina 1.5 miles at a time. You run 5 miles for a while…kick it up a notch to 6.5 miles for a couple runs, then 8…then 9.5 or even 10 and keep on going.

You get the point. Don’t be overwhelmed by looking at a single task without seeing how you can break it down into more small, manageable tasks that won’t be such of a trial. I have found that in trying to manage one large task that I might fail in the accomplishment of that mission, at least the first time, and though I like to get back up and try again it was a little disheartening to fail the first time.

Over time I have become unashamed to ask for help of take small steps to get a job done…sort of the “crawl, walk, run” theme we so often hear about and it seems to work out great!

Give it a shot! Just a thought!

crawl-walk-run-fly

Tune In Or Get Tuned Out!

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Most of you don’t know that I maintain (to the best of my ability) a website entitled “The Step-Dad Diary”. I choose not to combine the two blogs (the one from my page and this as the other is dedicated to step-parenting, parenting, mixed-families, etc…) but I thought this was a pretty good post that might come in handy to many parents out there or parents to-be!

It wasn’t until recently that I realized how much more time I spent “targeting” my Step-Son for things I didn’t want him to do or things I thought he was doing wrong than I was trying to develop a good relationship and parental report with him. I felt like I was failing at becoming a great Step-Dad and someone important in his life and I couldn’t figure out why.

We don’t enjoy the same sports so I was never as engaged as he was when he wanted to watch basketball, football, or sports along those lines. I might, just might, be there in a physical sense but definitely not in a mental sense. I’m more of a non-mainstream sport guy like rugby, lacrosse, volleyball, skiing, golf, swimming, etc… We both like electronics, social media, cool apps, and things along those lines but when he’s doing that stuff he definitely doesn’t want me looking over his shoulder and watching what he’s typing. Okay, I understand but that doesn’t leave too many ways for us to connect and bond.

Buuuuuttttt…we do have a Xbox now and I really have no clue how to play these games with fifty-thousand buttons on the controllers and crazy themes. Guess who does? Yup, you guessed it…my Step-Teen! (and probably all young teenagers these days) So, I found a common meeting ground for us where he could lead, teach me a thing or two (or ten), run the game and keep me alive while at the same time we could “bond” and spend some quality dude time together.

Now, I have no idea why I didn’t think of that before because he is always itching to play the Xbox as that’s in the family room on the big TV and he has a Playstation in his room (which isn’t as cool by the way) and all I had to do was ask if he wanted to play and he jumped all over it! It gave me a chance to learn how to play, have some side conversation with him about nothing deep, and he had a blast (I think) showing me how bad I was since he had to keep bringing me back to life in the game.

The bottom line was that I was able to just stop knit-picking at him for small things and just hang out for a while. For me, it really wasn’t about the game (though it was fun.) It was about getting past that barrier where my Step-Son would almost literally run to his room when he heard me coming in because he knew I was going to find something to target.

I realized that I have to get on a certain level to connect with each of my Step-Kids. For my Step-Son it might be video games, for my Step-Daughter it might be the swimming pool and I’m sure it will change for both of them over time. If I continued going in the direction I was headed, I was likely to permanently hinder any chance at having a good relationship with my teen because he’s already getting up there in age and maybe even with my Step-Daughter.

I’m going to make it a point to not be so picky about everything. My OCD kicks in every now and then but I have to realize most people don’t hone in on every little thing that’s out of place or a bedroom that’s a little out of order like I do and I shouldn’t expect them to. That’s not to say there’s no time to put my foot down but I have to make sure I leverage that with fun time as well!

Now, I gotta roll…GAME ON!!! 😉

Xbox-logo

The Brutal Teacher

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“Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.” C. S. Lewis

Experience in my life has been in the form of both positive and negative situations. I have had the fortune of being blessed with many great things to include a great childhood, education, an awesome Son, Wife, two Step-Children and many great things while serving as an Officer in the Army for over a decade.

Throughout the course of all these great experiences and fortunes I have also had to endure many negative situations. Some were inevitable parts of life such as deaths of elderly family members, some deaths of friends who were killed in action while serving our country, and others where honestly self-induced evils which I would never wish on my worst enemy…needless to say my Son and Step-Kids

The great part is this though; I have learned (and continue to do so) from all my experiences, positive and negative, and they have formed me into the man I am today. Some might argue (especially my step-children when I tell them to clean their rooms) but I am quite happy with the me I have become. I have values, virtues, respect for others, and try to positively affect those with whom I come in contact. I want to inspire my Kids (all of them) to do the same but often have a difficult time doing so. Maybe it’s the way I came across or it could just be their age (which I hope is the main culprit!)

Every once in a while, okay often, I have to turn toward my wife and close friends to lift me up when times get rough, read inspirational books, spend some time engaging in relaxing hobbies (such as drawing), and that’s alright. I have learned through EXPERIENCE that these are some of the things I need to do to stay personally grounded. If I’m not grounded and in a good place mentally, then there is no chance for me to impact the kiddos in a positive manner.

I need to keep my head up and remember what I have learned up to this point. I know that I have a lot more to learn from “the most brutal of teachers” but I’m ready for it!

Bring it on, baby! 🙂

Truth Be With You!

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“Be true to your work, your word, and your friend.” – Henry David Thoreau

What a great way to live and be able to look at yourself in the mirror each day knowing that you have nothing to hide, be ashamed of or lie about throughout your daily encounters or endeavors. The quote above seems so simple yet there are so many that find being true along these lines a struggle.  My thought is that if you can simply abide by the “law” of truth, especially to yourself, you can rest easily knowing that you are on the right path.

Being true to your work is difficult to a degree in that many people are out to find financial gain rather than doing work they truly believe in or feel drawn to doing.  Often times, finding that great paying job is done so at the expense of another.  Honing in on that young Soldier outside a military base with pay-day loans so they can come in and get money to pay their bills without fully understanding that they are going to be charged 45% interest on whatever they are given.  I, for one, couldn’t feel good about that regardless of how much money the job, or lie, is putting in my pocket. The great thing is no one has to do that…it’s a choice! You can choose do something you love and you can make a living by following your passion.  It might not be easy, but it can be done and we can all make it happen.  As I like to say, “You can take others along for the ride with you!” And that can make all the difference in the world.

Additionally, your word is your bond.  Once you compromise that, it’s very hard to regain faith and confidence in those deceived. I learned this at a young age, as most of us do, through little untruths to my parents…nothing devastating but it just showed me that once I told them something that wasn’t the COMPLETE truth, it was just as bad as not telling the truth at all.  Being true to your word is almost, if not, the most important thing I can do in life. I can’t work, have relationships, be trusted, or even left alone to accomplish a small task if people don’t have faith that I am going to do what I say I will.  I admit that I have inadvertently slipped here and there by perhaps missing a meeting or something along those lines but it was definitely not with mal intent and I was honest about my reason…if I over slept, I said so, if I forgot, I said so, etc….It’s not always what people wanted to hear but it was the truth and though it may have been uncomfortable to come clean, I knew I had to so that’s exactly what I did!

Friends…I make sure I choose my friends wisely and if their values aren’t aligned with mine that doesn’t mean we can’t talk, it just means they might not be the best choice for me to spend too much time with of put too much into what they have to say.  “Friend” is a term used very loosely…I have my Facebook friends whom I may or may not have ever been very close with but like(d) and am interested in seeing what is going on with them from time to time and then I have the other extreme where I can count on them to drop whatever it is they are doing and come to help out if I just say the word, and the same goes for them.  Friends are a gift, a true gift, and should always be treated as such.

I know this is a bit lengthy but I ran across this quote today (as I’m a quote guy in case you can’t tell) and it really spoke to me.  You may have a different outlook on the words of Henry D. Thoreau which is great.  My hope is that that you got as much out of this short sentence as I did and that you have a blessed day!

Be True!

~ Brett

 

StayTrue

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