Step Parenting & Blended Families: Tips & Advice From Kelly Wonderlin! by Donna John
Are you a stepmom or stepdad, or about to try and blend your family with another? Stepparenting isn’t easy, but it can be done positively. Kelly Wonderlin, stepmom to a son, mom to a baby daughter and 30SecondMom contributor, shared her tips on how to make stepparenting as seamless as possible.
Q: You inspire us with your tips about stepparenting! How has it been to be a stepmom and a new mom?
A: “Thank you! Hi all! It’s hard on both fronts but wonderful at the same time. I’ve learned to take things one day at a time. Don’t sweat the small stuff! You have to learn from your mistakes and not get down on yourself or anyone else if things aren’t perfect – they won’t be!”
Q: What was the biggest challenge you faced with your blended family and how did you overcome it?
A: “Definitely communication and setting boundaries. Ha, we are still working on it! It’s important for everyone to share their feelings. Encourage open communication! Make sure everyone knows what the boundaries are so each family member feels comfortable.”
Q: What are your best tips for moms who are becoming stepmoms or blending their families?
A: “Have an outlet. It’s not easy to be a stepparent. I’m fully offering myself to anyone becoming a stepparent! Make sure to take care of yourself. Moms and stepmoms need to practice good self-care so they can care for others! Make sure everyone knows they are loved. The words ‘I love you’ go a long way!”
Q: Congratulations on the birth of your baby girl! How did it feel to become a new mom?
A: “Thank you! I had a horrible pregnancy but when she arrived I was thrilled! To be needed the way a new baby needs you is a special bond. She relies on me 100 percent and might be a tiny bit spoiled, lol. She is amazing and so smart. I am shocked that I made her! I also learned practical things, like baby clothes come and go – don’t buy expensive clothes! Zippy onesies at night are a lifesaver. Also, keep diapers nearby – accidents happen!”
Q: Any tips for introducing the new baby to his/her sibling?
A: “Don’t push it. If my stepson wants to be around Avs, he’s welcome! If not we let him do his own thing. We remind him that she can’t do anything for herself and she is very tiny, so he needs to be gentle. I ask his advice: ‘Do you think the baby would like to wear the blue shirt or yellow shirt?’ Let them tell Baby a story: Have your child help make a simple picture book about him and his new sibling. Keep to your child’s routine. Consistency before/after Baby’s arrival is key!”
Q: How do you balance your life as the busy working mom of two?
A: “I work when Baby sleeps. If she is fussy, we go for a drive, I work out of my car, lol. My stepson is 6 so that makes it easier. I ask for his help by having him feed the dog and help me put away stuff if Avs needs my attention. I made a color calendar for my stepson so he knows which family is picking him up and dropping him off.”
Q: Any final words of parenting or stepparenting advice for our community of parents?
A: “Communicate with your spouse. Don’t let things build up between you – talk to each other! We have learned that in situations we both see what’s going on, but there can be two very different views. The family is important, but so is the couple. Make time for each other and keep the fire burning!”