Finding The Awesomeness In Being A Stepmom

It seems like there are more and more blended families. I grew up in a blended family with one half-sister, two half-brothers and three step brothers. My family growing up wasn’t perfect, but whose family was? My husband has two kids – a 11 year old daughter and a 7 year old son. In the beginning, it was very confusing for me. I am a person that needs clarity around my role and purpose and it was very unclear at first. Fellow stepmoms can relate. I was becoming a part of a family that had so much history and so many memories that I was not a part of. That intimidated me at first, but over time I developed an understanding and an appreciation for it. In my case, I did not have any kids of my own, so I was coming into a situation where I knew NOTHING about parenting. I mean… I babysat for a few kids back in high school. Does that count? Coming in midstream like this stepmama, I was royally confused. I am supposed to know what to do? Do people expect me to know what to do? Am I setting a good example? Should I be doing more? Am I doing it right? Plus like ten thousand other questions. My husband (before we got married) was incredibly supportive and shared with me that he did not expect anything from me. That gave me some space to process and find my way. Eventually, you catch up enough to have some level of parenting confidence.

So here are the things I love about being a stepmom. I’m not sure how these are similar or different from being a “real mom”, but here are my thoughts…

You can create the stepmom that you want to be. For me, once I gained my parenting confidence, I was able to shape my stepmom brand as fun, passionate, dedicated and trustworthy. Goofiness runs deep in my veins, so of course I am goofy with the kids. Often I try to make them laugh (sometimes I succeed and sometimes I don’t). It was important to me that the kids see how passionate and dedicated I was about certain things like running, health and my relationship with their father.

You can be a trusted adviser and friend. I’ll never forget when our daughter came home several months ago and opened up to me about something personal. I realized after she told me “don’t say anything, not even to dad” that I was the only adult that knew of this story. I kept her secret for real! Later, she shared the story with her dad and I could sense her appreciation that I kept my promise.

Your relationship is what you make it. The relationship you have with your step kids is what it is because you both choose what you want it to be. They don’t have to like me or love me, but I am incredibly grateful that they do and there is something beautiful in that. I enjoy spending time with them together and individually and that has helped us to deepen our relationship.

Let your partner and kids shape your role in the family. I didn’t understand this at first and I really struggled with needing clarity of my role in the family. Honestly, there just wasn’t any and I needed direction. Looking at my strengths and passions helped guide me, but really understanding what my husband the kids appreciated about me and relied on me for helped me to find it. In my situation, my role started to form as a co-parent to my husband with helping to run the kids around (pick-ups, drop-offs), preparing dinner, helping to keep tabs on homework and projects and motivating the family to pursue the things important to them.

For all you stepmoms out there, keep your chin up and I’m sure you will find your mojo. You need to work with your partner to help you through this journey. Thankfully, I have an amazing partner and he provided me so much support through my journey. My advice is that building a relationship with your step kids takes time and demands your patience. You shouldn’t expect your step kids or the kids of your partner to immediately accept you. Keep an open mind and invest in getting to know them. You should be transparent about who you are and when the time is right, your relationship with your partner. Allow the kids to ask questions and be prepared to give honest and appropriate answers. They need to have space and freedom to express their feelings and ask questions. Sometimes their thoughts and feelings may be hard to hear, but it is so so so important to allow them to speak their mind and embrace those feelings. I know this might feel uncomfortable for you, but it is the best thing for them and long-term the best thing for you.

Best of luck in navigating your journey!

Why you need to set life goals

Every year the company I work for develops goals that align with our corporate strategy. That is a pretty common practice in the business world. It wasn’t until about 5 years into my career when I realized… “Wait a minute. Shouldn’t I be doing this for my life?” And so I did! It was incredibly empowering. I loved the exercise so much, I built it into the Teens Leadership Program that I help out with. The students also love it and it’s my favorite part of the program to teach.

Goals keep us true to the people we want to be. It is so easy to slide into habits and routines that pull us down and hold us back. We get so ingrained into these habits before we realize that we need to change. For many people, this feeling can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Setting goals is the first step to making a change!

Step 1: Define your personal values

Reflect. Make a list of 10 things that are of the most importance to you and define what they mean to you. These should be the foundation for your vision of the person you want to be. There are hundreds of values, but I have included some common values here:

  • accountability
  • authenticity
  • awareness
  • balance
  • beauty
  • boldness
  • calmness
  • closeness
  • commitment
  • confidence
  • happiness
  • courage
  • creativity
  • determination
  • decisiveness
  • dedication
  • dignity
  • discipline
  • empathy
  • fairness
  • freedom
  • fun
  • generosity
  • gratitude
  • growth
  • happiness
  • health
  • humor
  • integrity
  • kindness
  • knowledge
  • learning
  • leadership
  • learning
  • logic
  • love
  • mindfulness
  • motivation
  • openness
  • optimism
  • organization
  • originality
  • passion
  • peacefulness
  • resilience
  • respect
  • serenity
  • significance
  • spirituality
  • stability
  • strength
  • success
  • thoughtfulness
  • trust
  • understanding
  • uniqueness
  • vision
  • wealth

Step 2: Assess the different aspects of your life.

Take a blank page of paper and draw a large circle. Then draw 4 straight lines to create a pizza shape. Each piece of the circle represents an area of your life. Pick the top 8 aspects of your life. Here are some areas of life for you to consider: family, friends, career, health, spirituality, emotional well-being, personal development and life vision. You should pick the aspects that are most relevant to you. Rate each area of your life based on how fulfilled you are by placing a dot in the middle of each piece with the center of the pizza at 0% fulfillment and the outer piece at 100% fulfillment. Once you have rated all of the areas of your life, connect all of the dots in the circle. This will highlight the areas of your life that you should consider focusing on which is incredibly important to setting your life goals!

Step 3: Create your life goals.

Start with the area of your life that you rated the highest and work your way to the areas that your rated the lowest. Reflect on why you rated each area the way you did. What would need to change to feel completely fulfilled in that area of your life? Set goals for each area. Here are some examples to get your brain churning:


  • Have dinner around the table with your immediate family 5 days a week
  • Call extended family members once a week
  • Do a family fun activity once a month


  • Make plans with a friend once a month
  • Send messages/texts to check up on friends weekly
  • Mark friend birthdays on the calendar and send a card


  • Ask for feedback to identify strengths and opportunities
  • Organize desk and files to help with focus
  • Explore advancement opportunities with your manager


  • Workout at least twice a week for at least 30 minutes
  • Set up time with your doctor to do a physical check-up
  • Track calories and nutrients daily to ensure appropriate portions and mix of nutrients


  • Join a group once a month that shares the same spiritual beliefs
  • Make time once a week to pursue further spiritual development

Emotional Well-being:

  • Make time for one self-care activity every other week
  • Find a therapist to help work through any emotional challenges
  • Journal your thoughts and feelings daily

Personal Development:

  • Find a life coach
  • Read one book a month
  • Try a new activity or deepen your involvement with a hobby by taking a class or joining a team

Life Vision:

  • Set goals annually
  • Revisit goals once a month
  • Share your life vision with your family and friends

Step 4: Write out your life goals and make them visible in your daily life.

I like to print out a copy of my goals and keep it in my daily planner (yes, I keep a planner that I carry around and you should too!) You should reflect on your life goals once a week and be sure to plan activities around the goals that you set so that you will achieve them.

Step 5: Make time on the daily to be the person you want to be.

Reflect on the personal values that you defined in step 1. Are you able to fulfill and live the things that are most important to you? For example, if you identified fun as one of your values, but you don’t make time to have fun or if you are in an environment where you cannot have fun, this would be an area where you need to do some work.

I highly recommend the book Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. This book teaches you how to build in daily habits to align the person that you want to be with your actions and behaviors. It also helped to transform me into more of a morning person. I’m not all the way there yet, but I have made so much progress!

You should revisit and develop new goals on a annual basis as a minimum. I like to do this during the holidays between Christmas and New Years. It usually gets me motivated for the new year!

I would love to hear if this works for you!

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Why You Should Try A Fedora

When the fedora trend started kicking in, I have to admit I had mixed feelings. Initially I was intimidated to try it because I felt I never look good in hats and I had no idea what occasion I would wear it. Then, curiosity got the best of me and I bought one! I’m not sure about you, but I get excited when I buy something new and out of my comfort zone.

I get excited when I try something out of my comfort zone.

The fedora is great for fall and winter. I wore mine to our favorite local restaurant for the first time and paired it with jeans, The Regan Boot in taupe from Madewell(currently 30% off), a slouchy sweater from VICI, a sweater jacket from Anthro (sorry, it’s sold out) and my favorite earrings from Nickel & Suede. I chose the Olive Trimmed Fedora from Anthropologie for $58. It comes in cedar, raspberry and green. The raspberry hat was my favorite color, but as this was my first ever fedora, I picked a more versatile choice, the cedar. As a side note, fedoras tend to feel “loose” on your head. That is normal and part of the fit.

We should all reach beyond our comfort zone to explore new things and find new confidence. Get that fedora!

Why I Started A BLOG

Life is crazy. Sometimes joyful, sometimes challenging and undoubtedly always persistent. Does anyone REALLY know what they are doing? There is so much to learn in this life and so little time, so I created a blog to share my journey in hopes that you share yours too.

I believe that life is a lot of wandering around with hopes to find inspiration. Inspiration to feel something or do something. Anything. Inspiration pulls us forward. Inspiration helps us pursue the unknown. Inspiration is what we live for. Have you ever met with a friend, looked at a picture or read and article and feel a sudden rush of excitement? Life is about finding inspiration to create pivotal moments that help us navigate the journey of life.

Hi. I’m Amanda, but you can call me Am for short.