We love The Blender, your Parents.com blog about having a blended family. What advice would you give a new stepmom-to-be?
Don't marry unless you really, truly love your potential husband's children, and feel called to be as much a part of their lives as you want to be a part of his. Too many women marry despite the fact that they don't really feel they can love or bond with their stepkids. Trying to "blend" a family puts an enormous strain on a marriage, even in the best of times. I never imagined when I married that I'd end up raising my stepdaughters seven days a week, however, I had always felt like I was in their lives for a reason (partially because I'm a stepdaughter, too), so when the opportunity presented itself, I was 100 percent on board, even in my most secret heart of hearts. Had I not been, I can't even imagine where we'd be now.
What's the most challenging part of your work-life juggle?
I worry all the time about shortchanging my children. It's helped me to create a schedule for the three of us when I'm home with them during the day- I homeschool my 4-year-old each day and plan outings and classes several times a week, either to the library or the park or the zoo or various special events around town. I actually keep a record of all we do together -- that helps me to put them first and make sure they're getting what they need before I do anything else. Being their mom is my primary job right now, period.