In the United States, and perhaps in other countries as well, September 16 has been designated as “Stepfamily Day”. A day dedicated to the stepfamily. A day to honor all the StepHeroesTM out there who choose every day to be parents to ALL the children in their lives.
I will be featured on Headline News Weekend Express with Natasha Curry this Sunday to talk about Stepfamily Day and the challenges blended families face.
What will you do to honor your family on this special day?
- Some communities have picnic celebrations planned.
- Some blended families choose to spend the day together, as a family, without any electronic devices on for the whole day.
- Other stepfamilies go to a favorite place with friends and play together.
The truth is that the vast majority let the day go by as any other day and miss the chance to honor themselves for all the effort and hard work it takes to make a blended family work. Why? Because they do not even know this day exists for them. They are not aware of all the resources out there for them. They believe that they are the only ones who are experiencing what it is like to be in a blended family and they feel all alone.
Time to Celebrate!
This could be a great opportunity to reach out to other step and blended families in your community. Here are some ideas:
- Arrange a spontaneous pot-luck, where you invite two other families you know who are also blended, and ask each of them to invite two blended families that they know.
- Have some activities planned for the different age groups of children, and plan to meet at a location that can accommodate you all (one of your homes; a nearby park or playground; a community center; …).
- This doesn’t have to be fancy and you do not have to spend a ton of money. In fact, you can have each family bring one of their favorite games to play, and see what you discover – how many are the same? How many are different? Which ones have never been played? Which ones are the ones everybody knows and has? … Spend the day connecting and being with others who are blending too.
Step and Blended Families that choose to make this kind of effort are always amazed at the rewards that happen unexpectedly. Oftentimes, they enjoy the experience so much that they decide to make it a monthly event, with a different theme each month.
Excited or Resistant?
Are you finding yourself excited and elated by this idea? Or are your first thoughts those of resistance or dread?
Notice how your mind is responding to this idea. Is it coming up with all kinds of reasons why you could not or would not or should not do this? While all those reasons may appear to be valid, chances are they are not necessarily true.
Our minds have a way of keeping us from trying or doing anything that is different or out of the ordinary. This is a natural, healthy defense mechanism designed to keep us safe. The problem is that what we perceive as safe is often just what is familiar. The unfamiliar is then deemed to be unsafe, when the reality is that it can be very safe, fun, fulfilling, and full of new possibilities.
Could your blended family use a fun boost during this busy, back-to-school season? Could you use a break from the stress and day to day responsibilities and obligations? And, this idea can be tapped into any day, not just September 16!
Here’s my challenge to you: Make a commitment to honor Stepfamily Day in whatever way seems right for you, sometime within the next week (this weekend if at all possible). I invite you to take a step towards even greater enjoyment and connection in your blended family.