Monthly Archives: September 2014

Sep 16

Part-time Parent, Full-time Worrier

By Rebecca Townsend | Family , Step-Family

The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it ~ Steven Pressfield

I have a secret...I'm a step-mom.  A role often portrayed with evil undertones or by a flippant, selfish woman.

That's not me.  I'm not the evil step-mom.  Nor am I a woman who was self-absorbed and never had children.  Fortunately, my life has been much more complicated than that...Yes, I said fortunately...

I've journeyed through the emotions and grief of not having my own children, struggled through the options of adopting and fostering and then found peace and comfort in believing I have actually been called and chosen to be a step-mom and aunt.

But, some days it scares me to death.

If you looked at my resume, I'm perfect for the job.

I'm a licensed mental health professional - actually with a couple of extra credentials...started my career with six years of work in some hard core residential juvenile facilities...eleven years working in elementary, middle and high schools as a school psychologist and now the last four and a half years in full-time private practice as a therapist.

I've completed continuing education training in trauma (I think that's perfectly appropriate for step-parenting), marriage, step-family development, parenting, assessment, mediation...you name it - after 15 years of being licensed in the mental health field, I have thousands of hours of professional development.

On paper, I'm the perfect step-mom.  In reality, there is no perfection in any type of parenting.

There are struggles.  There are emotions.  There are worries.

It's hard some days.  It's maddening other days.

This journey has brought much laughter and also many tears.

I've been given an opportunity to love two amazing boys I wouldn't have had the possibility of growing with...it is definitely a journey I didn't seek, yet a journey I am learning to enjoy and embrace.

Being a step-mom was not in my childhood dream.  I never daydreamed..."When I grow up, I want to marry and divorce and then after failing at it once, I want to marry someone who also failed at a marriage...oh, and please include children and an ex-wife in that package."

No one...not one single little girl...has ever dreamed of being a step-mom.
Little girls put on the princess dresses...no one even manufactures step-mom costumes...because it's a complicated role and difficult to define.

And just like many other roles we assume in life - if you aren't in them, you don't necessarily understand them.  Honestly, there are many days, even after five years, I don't even understand the task at hand...nor do I always know my role.

But, you can guarantee I've studied for this gig.  Even the best students don't always perform at their highest level and I've had plenty of times I've walked away knowing I didn't engage my skill set to the fullest.

There is a ton of pressure to perform as a step-mom - especially without biological children...this is it for me.  Not only am I critiquing myself, there are plenty of others on the sidelines judging, too.  And there are the cheerleaders, as well.

As the boys have gotten older, they face more obstacles of peer pressure, making choices independently, and having the responsibilities and consequences of those choices.

And, just like a biological parent, I face more worry time.  Did I say the right thing 3 years ago when I "taught" them to apologize?  Have I asked for too much structure in the time they are with us?  Did I put too many restrictions on technology?  Are we teaching them enough about finances?  I should have them write essays when we're driving to UT games...why haven't I turned every moment with them into a teachable moment??

There is no such thing as part-time parenting because you continue to be a full-time worrier.

Believe. Create. Live.
© 2014 Rebecca G. Townsend

Sep 11

Six Million Minutes of War

By Rebecca Townsend | Military

As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation -- either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course. ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

9-11-6It has been thirteen years. In many ways, the calendar has moved so quickly – is it possible there are 676 weeks separating us from that day?

4745 days have passed since horror struck our nation of freedom…ultimately ripping so much from so many.

113,880 hours have elapsed…those hours have held the highs and lows of war for millions of Service Members and their loved ones.

6,832,800 minutes have included 6,830 deaths of our Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, and Marines. 4,486 US Service Members have given their lives in Iraq and 2,344 US Service Members paid the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan.

And so many of our lives continue. Untouched. Unscathed. Unchanged.

Many lives are not unchanged simply because this is all they have known in their lives on this earth.

They were born into war. Have grown up with war. No nothing but war.

It hurts my heart to realize those young hearts cannot even experience peace on this soil – where the war continues amongst ourselves.

The division…the extremes…the assumptions…the arrogance in presumption…the selfishness in deception.

We are fighting two wars.

The war continues overseas with our honored Service Members withstanding attacks and battles. Sacrificing their well-being to protect others from the chaos and pain of bloodshed.

Yet, we struggle in our own warfare on this land of freedom. The conflicts and clashing have ravaged our spirits…disheartening our belief in one another…weakening the bond between all Americans.

Thirteen years after 9/11, I remain hopeful peace will be given to our Service Members and their loved ones and healing the soul wounds of war can begin and continue.

How can they heal in what we have created in this land? If we wish to support our Warriors upon their return, we must be able to offer them peace on the homefront.

How can you create peace in your corner? Calm connections are contagious…but it must start somewhere. Will it be with you?

Believe. Create. Live.
© 2014 Rebecca G. Townsend