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The Importance of Date Night

July 9th, 2015

Happy summer!  David and I have been away enjoying the sun.  We even went to Hawaii for a week of fun with our kids who live in Alaska.  We rarely get to see them. It was wonderful to reconnect in a beautiful place.

As we age, (yes, we are getting older) we think of how far we’ve come from those early years of stepcoupling with five full time kids. My goodness, that was hard! The mix of interfering ex-spouses, demanding kids, competition for attention, hassles at the dinner table, and day-to-day life sometimes felt overwhelming.  The kids all took turns at being angry and sneaky.  We had a big silver and burgundy colored Chevvy van and I was the chauffeur with no less than 5 or 6 kids wanting to be driven somewhere.  There were times I didn’t know if I could survive.  I still believe the only way we made it was date night.  Love, romance, good food that I didn’t cook, a glass or two of wine, and time for conversation. We always came home rejuvenated.

Now it’s just the two of us. The kids are grown with families of their own.  And the best part is that we all get along now.  The kids check-in with us often, hang out, share information and stories about their lives.  I never believed I would get to this place when we were in the thick of “stepfamily chaos”. We did it though, and I’m grateful every day.

Life is good…very good.

I wish the same for your stepfamily. I encourage you to schedule your date night today and make it a regular time for re-connection. Your stepcouple is the foundation of your stepfamily. Keep it strong!

Have a good summer and a fantastic date night!

Date night with Susan and David

Susan and David enjoying a date night in New Orleans, David’s home town.

Stepcoupling® Brand Is For Sale!

March 18th, 2015

STEPCOUPLING® BRAND FOR SALE!

Are you passionate about counseling? Are you interested in a unique opportunity to work with couples navigating the unchartered waters of Stepcoupling? Do you have an interest in teaching and helping stepcouples stay together with all the difficult challenges they face today?

This unique brand of counseling is available to someone truly interested in taking over the proprietary brand, Stepcoupling® and building it into a state-of-the-art business.

What’s in it for you? The potential for taking this business opportunity to the next level is exciting including, in-person as well as on-line work in the following areas: counseling, coaching, writing, blogging, informational seminars and webinars, lecturing, education & support groups, and anything else that supports stepcouples and directs stepfamilies towards success.

Stepcoupling® is a prevalent and increasingly common situation in   families today. Its growth requires fostering the counseling and the branded technique that I started years ago.

But it’s time for me to pass the baton on. And now, the Stepcoupling® business is for sale.

 

STEPCOUPLING® BUSINESS (the background)

My journey of Stepcoupling® is a personal one: a venture involving love and re-marriage and ultimately leading to a counseling practice and my book titled, “Stepcoupling®: Creating and Sustaining a Strong Marriage in Today’s Blended Family”  (published by Three Rivers Press, division of Random House 2002).

My Stepcoupling® legacy began with falling in love with a divorced man who was raising his three children alone.  I was also divorced with full time custody of my two, young sons.  David and I fell fast in love!

Now nearly forty years later we’re still married and still in love.  We’re both retired… and aging. We remember the early days when our five children and stepchildren were young.  We remember the up’s and down’s, the drama, as well as the fun times. There was always some issue to deal with. Today our kids are grown with families of their own.

 

AND NOW…

I’m passing on the legacy I started years ago: that a healthy Stepcouple is the key to stepfamily success.  It’s the glue that makes stepfamilies strong and enduring.

My brand, Stepcoupling® with a service Trademark® is for sale.  It includes use of the word, “Stepcoupling” as well as the domain name, Stepcoupling.com, all content on the blog site, and the registered Service Trademark, Stepcoupling ® with the US Government.

Price is negotiable. There is tremendous need and opportunity here. One thing that is certain is that stepcouples need support, tools, encouragement, education, and ways to stay together. You could be that resource utilizing a well-recognized brand, Stepcoupling®.

If you are interested, please contact us. And, please share this. It’s a great opportunity for the right person!

I look forward to hearing from you! I also appreciate you sharing this with counselors you know that might be interested in this opportunity.

SUSAN WISDOM, MA, LPC (Retired)

 

Thanksgiving – Traditions Make the Stories – Stories are the Glue

November 20th, 2014

David and I have had many Thanksgivings to reflect on with our stepfamily tribe…39 to be exact! There was always a lot of hype around Thanksgiving – one, because it was FUN and two, because it was only one month ’til Christmas!

Historically our whole family participated in getting Tom Turkey on the dining table with all the usual side dishes. The girls decorated the table and made individual place tags. The boys peeled and mashed potatoes. Later they washed dishes…sort of. There was always music in the background selected by the kids, of course. One of the best parts was the kitchen smell that filled the house.

Crazy as it sounds, our Thanksgiving dinners don’t change, even though our numbers have grown. There were always drop-ins and newcomers along the way. At times, I’ve tried to change it, but NO GO! The kids insist on turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes, spinach casserole, (not loved by everybody) ice cream and pie! And that’s the way it is. Total pig-out!

I think back to some of the disasters we’ve had: the year the sink stopped up beyond repair, the time the turkey hit the floor, the beige wallpaper paste-like gravy disaster, and the year one of the kids surprised me with a bunch of last minute friends from college. There’s always the incessant, “When’s dinner ready?” and the challenge of keeping hands from pulling the crispy turkey skin off before the bird gets to the platter.

After the Thanksgiving blessing, there is lively debate, laughing, eye-rolling, teasing, inside jokes and memories of how this stepfamily has written its own story. After dinner we all pass out in front of the TV watching football or a movie.

We still do Thanksgiving together…not always at our house as before.  It always tickles me to see how our kids have inherited the traditions that we started so long ago. Our children have all grown and have kids of their own. Our numbers have swelled. We’re always crammed around the dining room table and additional card tables. The love, traditions and stories keep us coming back year after year.

Enjoy writing your own stories this year. Happy Thanksgiving.

Susan Wisdom MA retired Licensed Professional Counselor

November 17, 2014

Nana

September 3rd, 2014
I’m thinking about a very sweet, special person who I loved dearly when I was growing up.  I called her Nana.  She was my step grandmother who married my grandfather after his first wife died.  Nana never had any children of her own.  I never knew any other grandmother. My sister Sara and I spent many weekends at Nana and Grandpa’s house when our parents had other stuff going on…parties to go to and people to see.  We loved her house!  It was big with lots of neat hiding places and even a meandering stream in the back yard.  She took us on fun outings. We were never bored at her house, and this was before TV and computers were invented.

In the summers, Sara and I went to her mountain cabin in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Lassen County.  Her house was on a small remote lake where there was no electricity.  We made do with oil lamps, a big fireplace, and an old-fashioned icebox.  We fed the chipmunks and toasted marshmallows.   We swam in the lake and played with the other lake kids. It was paradise! She used to take me shopping to San Francisco, across the Bay from Berkeley where we lived.  We rode the orange Keystone Train across the Bay Bridge.  We always ate lunch at her favorite restaurant.  In those days we dressed up to go to the City.  I wore my fancy shoes, and of course she always wore a hat and gloves. Nana loved animals of all kinds, but she was particularly fond of her two Welsh Corgis, Teddy and Scampi.  She was rarely seen without them.  She walked them in her lovely garden, city streets or a mountain trail depending on where she was.

Nana, my step grandmother and her Corgis

Nana, my step grandmother, and her Corgis

I’ll never forget the phone call from my mother telling me the sad news, “Nana died suddenly on her way to the hospital.  She didn’t suffer.”  She died of an apparent heart attack.  She was 81 years old. I remember her funeral.  It was packed.  The memories people shared, the stories that were told and the tears shed were all chilling and sad, but also impressive!  She was Nana to us, and Aunt Lou to her family of cousins, nieces and nephews.  She was smart, funny, and generous in all ways.  She had so much to give.  I believe she cared deeply for the people in her stepfamily– her husband, my grandfather, her stepdaughter, my mother, and her two-step grandchildren, my sister and me. I still think of Nana.  I’d love to bring her back to be able to talk with her.  I’d love to have her meet my stepfamily.  Sadly I don’t hold a candle to her saintliness as a stepmom and grandmother.  She was the perfect Nana.  I loved her dearly and I miss her still.

Susan Wisdom, retired Counselor and Author September 2014

Still A Stepcouple

June 24th, 2014

Since I wrote my book in 2001, “Stepcoupling: Creating and Sustaining a Strong Marriage in Today’s Blended Family”, lot’s has happened!  The five kids…his three and my two… are all grown with lives and families of their own.  We have seven grandchildren, who add so much to our lives.

Years ago, when I was in the thick of it, I couldn’t imagine freedom…ever! Managing a fulltime stepfamily with five kids plus two cats and a dog was overwhelming.  Throw in the issues with the exes and it was INSANE at times!

Fast forward…here we are well into our seventies with grandchildren graduating from Junior high and one facing college in a year.  We’re still a stepcouple and always will be.  Our lives are entwined with each other and with our kids and grandchildren.  We’re just a big old stepfamily…and we like it that way!  We don’t fight it anymore. We embrace it.

As a stepcouple, we hang out together, but we also have our separate friends and activities.  In the near future, I’m going to visit a friend in Napa Valley while David goes on a bike ride with his friends. Both of us are looking forward to it.

We take care of each other and try to stay healthy.  Yes, we snap at each other occasionally, but we always end up in our same comfy bed after 38 years!

Susan Wisdom, MA
Retired Licensed Counselor
June 23, 2014

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