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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

Time Flies

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timeflies

“Time flies. It’s up to you to be the navigator.” – Robert Orben

Yes indeed, time sure does fly by in so many ways!  It’s amazing to watch things change all around us, especially our Kids.  Sometimes we inadvertently miss crucial moments or dismiss the small things which prove just how old our Children are getting or what’s really going on in their lives, or even our own!

One small, but significant example is my little dance diva, Aleah, just got a new pair of girlie “Jordans!” Never in a million years would I have thought she would want anything of the sort or run around afterward saying “ Whaaat? Whaaat?” but it happened just before my eyes.  Now she looks like a cute little hip-hop dancer which she hated less than a year ago!  I’m still baffled as to how this transformation took place or what sparked this transformation but I’m good with it!

Luke now has a new iPod and is getting so technically savvy at the age of six that it’s amazing!  The other day I tried to FaceTime him but was unable to so I called his Mom.  She asked him if he had his wi-fi on apparently he didn’t which was the problem. So, he turned it on and we were able to chat “face-to-face.”  I asked him if he knew what wi-fi was and he explained it to me well and further explained that he turns it off and on depending on where he is and also ensures his Bluetooth is off to “conserve battery life.”  Who would have thought that a six year old guy would have known what he was explaining to me.  Heck, there are adults out there who don’t know some of that lingo.

Zack, the teen, knows a so much about many things, technically and otherwise (though he chooses not to use that knowledge from time to time) and seems to gain more knowledge each day.  He’s also growing like a bean sprout (which I’m hoping will cease soon before he eats us out of house and home ;-)  ) Nevertheless, he’s changing on a daily basis as well in so many different ways.

As my Kids’ grow and change I have to remember to allow them to change accordingly, become themselves, but also to steer then in the right direction.  Not in a militant fashion (unless it’s called for) but rather in a way that lets them know that what they choose to do now and the effort they devote to different things will ultimately help or undermine their future.  It’s up to them to choose what’s really important and what they want to focus on.

I am going to do my part to ensure they know and understand the “cost-benefit analysis” of what they choose to do and ensure they are doing at least the things they are supposed to do…get decent grades, be respectful, keep their word, etc…but in the long run they are going to who they want to be and do what they want to do…within reason.

My goal is to help guide their way.  The time sure is flying by and before they know it, they’ll be on their own wondering if they’ve made the right choices.  I will ensure they have a kit bag full of all the information and guidance I can possibly give them before that time!

My Son and Step-Kids deserve at least that much from me and I won’t let them down!

I welcome any and all thoughts you have on this subject!

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!

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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!!! 😉

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Make Your Days Count!

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“Don’t count the days, make the days count.”

So, I don’t spend too much time on Twitter but I checked it out and came across this quick Tweet that really got me thinking. I spend a heck of a lot of time counting down the days or even minutes until something that I am really not looking forward to IS going to transpire: the key word here being “IS!”

What’s going to happen is going to happen whether it be a meeting I’m not looking forward to or having to attend a social event I really don’t want to attend. Some things just can’t be avoided and I have personally found that many times these things aren’t nearly as painful as I imagine. The more time I think about these inevitable events, the worse I imagine they will be and the more time I have to anticipate the worst-case scenario. That’s no way to spend these days, hours, or even minutes.

If I am consistently focusing on the bad things that MAY or MAY NOT come then I am bound to miss out on all the great things that are happening around me, beside me, or even to me!

I don’t know why it took this simple little wake up quote (author unknown) of 8 words to get me to think about this but it sure worked so I’ll take it! If something bad is going to happen then it’s going to happen. Sure, if it’s avoidable than I’ll do what I can to ensure it doesn’t happen, otherwise I’ll let nature take it’s course but in the meantime I’ll choose to focus on the positive! And trust me, there is always something positive going on around me. It might be as simple as watching my cat play, going for a run, watching the kids play, etc…but there’s ALWAYS something. I just have to open my eyes to that and not focus on what IS going to transpire. I hope you can pull what you need to from those simple 8 words as well!

Have a great Sunday and take a look at all those great things around you!
~ Brett

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Sixty Lost Seconds!?!

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“For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Lately, there have been a couple of instances where I have felt like I was starting to get angry, almost that if I were to let the situation continue my blood was going to boil. I had to step back (in my own mind) and realize that is not the kind of feeling I want to have and I don’t have to let myself get upset. The key, for me at least, is knowing that it is only myself “ALLOWING” this feeling to consume me.

When I just “step back” and realize that if I just take action to toward making something positive out of what is transpiring in my life, or in my dealings with others I ultimately feel great and that I can thrive from that feeling and continue moving forward, more motivated, make good changes and be more optimistic in general.

If I can help the others involved, and those perhaps feeling the same negative emotions, feel better and look at the situation at hand from a different perspective then that’s all the better! As a group, or team of people making light out of dark situations we can do great things. However, if others can’t accept that truth and want to continue being miserable (because they are allowing themselves to be) then that’s what they’ll have to do…and I’ll talk to them later if they want ;-)!

The bottom line is that anger in my life is manifested by me and no one else. I have to accept that fact. Once I accept that, I can further make an obligation to myself to not let it happen. Sure, something is bound to trigger a little anger in my life every now and then but I have to be cognizant of that and turn it around 180 degrees ASAP and use it to motivate me to do better, be bigger, and enrich my life rather than deteriorate it!

I love running across quotes that fit perfectly into my own thoughts at that point in time, it’s truly no coincidence!

I wish you a great and anger-free day, friends!
~ Brett

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