Living out of balance is one of the most common issues in stepfamilies today. One of the primary causes of divorce is when the parents live out of balance and put their main focus on the kids rather than their marriage. Many marriages do not survive because couples fail to put their marriage in the center of their family life. This includes the blended family life. By learning and applying sound principles in your blended and step family home, you can create and keep a balance that is crucial to the success of your family relationship.
· Find time for yourself. To stay healthy and sane, you must schedule time for yourself. If you keep running just to make sure that everyone in your step family is happy, you will soon forget yourself and burn out and be worthless to your family and to yourself. If you truly want to love your family, you need to learn how to love yourself. You will feel stronger physically, mentally and emotionally after you have regular times to renew your spirit, your soul and your body. Your family will appreciate a stronger, healthier, and happier you.
· Time to Relax. Take time to unwind from a busy day. Turn on the TV and watch your favorite talk show, read a good novel, drink a cup of tea or a glass of wine on your porch. If you are saying to yourself that you don’t have time for these things-, you’re wrong. Figure out what makes you calm and make room for these activities in your day. Include this in your “to-do” list every day. At least 1-2 times a month, take time to treat yourself by going shopping or doing something special- just for you.
· Keep memories of special times. Find a box to keep special memories in. Put cards (birthday, mother’s day/father’s day, anniversary, thank-you notes) – anything you receive, that makes you feel good about yourself, into this box. If someone gives you a compliment, write it down and put it in your box. Periodically, go through your box and read these compliments and praises.
· Spend time with your partner. Remember that you entered this marriage because you love your partner, saw a second chance at life, a chance to make things right this time, and have a great marriage. Spend time with your spouse! Your marriage should be in the center of the family, not the kids. The two of you should connect daily, and plan at least a couple of times a month to get away from the kids and just enjoy life together. It doesn’t have to be an expensive, out of town vacation, it can be a quiet dinner, looking into your love’s eyes and just listening to them talk. What’s important is that you are continuing to get to know your mate, pay attention to his or her interests, and make him or her your first priority.
· Do your best with the kids. Take a couple of days to give one-on-one time to each child. Make it a special time so that they will look forward to it with excitement, even if it’s just once a week, in which they will go on an errand or activity with their parent and get some quality one-on-one time.
Your family is important- and creating a healthy balance means dedicating time to yourself, your spouse, parent/child time and blended family time. This is not easy, but it’s crucial that you figure out and keep a balance for you and your step family. Providing your family with a stable and healthy environment for them to thrive and mature requires balance.
If you need help with your blended and stepfamily, The Blended and Step Family Resource Center has resources to offer, which are designed to help you and your family achieve a healthy and balanced life.