VIRGINIA, USA: Reciprocal Love

VIRGINIA, USA: Reciprocal Love


I still have vivid memories of my great-aunt seeding and peeling off the skin of grapes for me to eat. I enjoy thinking about the times my mom dropped me off at another great-aunt’s home and how we would walk to a store and she would buy me my favorite chocolates from the candy counter. I remember my paternal grandmother teaching me to make home made flour tortillas and the love and care she put into making dozens of freshly made tortillas every morning for her family to have for breakfast. My maternal grandmother has always been willing to remove whatever accessory she’s wearing and immediately gift it to you if you just mention that it’s pretty.

I grew up surrounded by women who generously gave all of themselves to their children and grandchildren and I pray I can be at least a little bit like them.


Ana Gaby

Ana Gaby is a Mexican by birth and soul, American by heart and passport and Indonesian by Residence Permit. After living, studying and working overseas, she met the love of her life and endeavored in the adventure of a lifetime: country-hopping every three years for her husband’s job. When she's not chasing her two little boys around she volunteers at several associations doing charity work in Indonesia and documents their adventures and misadventures in South East Asia at Stumble Abroad.

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AUSTRALIA:  ‘Step’ into My World

AUSTRALIA: ‘Step’ into My World

we are familyMy husband and I have four boys – his, mine and ours. We have one child each with other partners and then the two younger ones we have together. They now range in age from 16 – 24 years of age.

This morning my son sent me a text message to say his girlfriend has begun having contractions – which have since stopped and started and stopped again – regardless the baby is coming (be it today, tomorrow or next week) and this has raised all sorts of emotion in me.

This new baby is not biologically my son’s yet he’s been with the baby’s mother for almost the entire pregnancy. The girlfriend treats my son’s little boy like her own and my son in turn has been there for her every step of her baby’s short life from the first movements, to birthing classes, to sticking by her side today as labour has stopped and started and stopped again.

Raising happy, healthy children is a massive undertaking. As is maintaining healthy, sound relationships with all of the involved parties when relationships break up and family dynamics change. Step families have a dynamic all of their own with all of the extra people involved; from different partners and new siblings, through to step parents and step siblings. Wrap this entire group up with lots of emotion, plenty of personality and opinion and you have a good idea of how challenging step families can be.

The early years of family life were challenging in my world – with my husband’s ex-partner, my ex-partner and then all of the grandparents and family members who didn’t suddenly stop loving the children or wanting to see them because their parents had split up.

Consider Christmas which is hard work at the best of times; it’s harder when you have to coordinate four immediate households, four children (plus their step / half siblings) and numerous aunties, uncles and grandparents. Christmas is exhausting to say the least.

You may wonder where I’m leading with this post…

I’m excited for my son and his girlfriend, but I’m also a little reserved because I’m not sure how I should act. Am I a proxy grandma, a step nanny – I’m not really sure where I fit into this picture. This baby already has two sets of grandparents and I don’t want to step on anyone else’s toes. Then I realise I’m probably being stupid about the whole thing and I don’t have to ‘fit’ anywhere. I realise no baby can have too much love or attention and that biology alone does not make a loving family member.

Regardless, I guess this newest member of the family, when he finally arrives (yes, they already know it’s another boy – why am I not surprised?), will no doubt enchant us and beguile us. He’ll add an extra element to Christmas Day and I will goo and gaa over him, hug him and cuddle him just as I do with my own biological grandson.

In the end – happy, healthy babies and loving families are all that matters – biology surely doesn’t count for as much as love and emotion does.

What’s your experience with step families? Do you have special ways of dealing with the ex-partners, extra siblings and family occasions?

This is an original World Moms Blog post by Fiona from Inspiration to Dream of Adelaide, South Australia.

Image credit courtesy of Vlado of Free Digital Photos

Fiona Biedermann (Australia)

Fiona at Inspiration to Dream is a married mother of three amazing and talented MM’s (mere males, as she lovingly calls them) aged 13, 16 and 22, and she became a nana in 2011! She believes she’s more daunted by becoming a nana than she was about becoming a mother! This Aussie mother figures she will also be a relatively young nana and she’s not sure that she’s really ready for it yet, but then she asks, are we ever really ready for it? Motherhood or Nanahood. (Not really sure that’s a word, but she says it works for her.) Fiona likes to think of herself as honest and forthright and is generally not afraid to speak her mind, which she says sometimes gets her into trouble, but hey, it makes life interesting. She’s hoping to share with you her trials of being a working mother to three adventurous boys, the wife of a Mr Fix-it who is definitely a man’s man and not one of the ‘sensitive new age guy’ generation, as well as, providing her thoughts and views on making her way in the world. Since discovering that she’s the first blogger joining the team from Australia, she also plans to provide a little insight into the ‘Aussie’ life, as well. Additionally, Fiona can be found on her personal blog at Inspiration to Dream.

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GUEST POST: NEW JERSEY, USA: Losing My Mom While Pregnant

I will never forget the moment I walked through my mom’s door to see her sitting on the couch looking so scared, so frail and so child-like.

We looked at each other, tears streaming down both of our faces and we embraced.  She was shaking as she uttered one sentence that crosses my mind almost daily:

“Jeni, I will never get to meet your babies.”

It was like an arrow went through my heart at that exact moment.  (more…)

Wall Street Mama (USA)

Wall Street Mama was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago and moved to NJ when she was a teenager. She fell in love with New York City and set her mind to one thing after college – working on Wall Street. She has spent the last 16 years working on the trading floor at three major banks. As an Institutional Salesperson, she is responsible for helping large corporations and money funds invest their short term cash in the fixed income part of the market. She lives in the suburbs of central NJ with her husband of 11 years, their amazing 21 month old boy and their first baby – a very spoiled Maltese. She has baby #2 on the way and is expecting a little girl in June 2012. She is a full time working mother and struggles with “having it all” while wondering if that is even possible. Wall Street Mama was married at the age of 25 but waited to have children because she felt she was too focused on her career which required a lot of traveling and entertaining. When she was finally ready, she thought she could plan the exact month she was ready to have a child, like everything else she planned in her life. She was shocked and frustrated when things did not go according to her plan. Fast forward four years later, after a miscarriage and several rounds of failed fertility injections, her little miracle was conceived naturally. She never thought in a million years, that she and her husband would be in their late 30’s by the time they had their first child. Since the financial crisis of 2008, she has endured some of the most difficult years of her life. The stress of trying to conceive was combined with some of life’s biggest challenges. She and her husband, who is a trader, both lost their jobs on Wall Street the exact same month. Her mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer and she ended up passing away while she was 6 months pregnant. At times it didn’t seem like things would ever get better, but she has learned that life is cyclical and what comes down must again go up. Leaving her baby boy with a wonderful nanny each day is difficult, but at times it is easier than she would have expected. She still enjoys the seemingly addictive draw of working on Wall Street. The past few years have been dramatically different from the “good days” but she is focused on trying to achieve what she once had before. She is currently working on launching her own blog, Wall Street Mama, in an attempt to guide others who are focused on continuing their career, yet struggle with leaving their little ones at home. She is weathering the ups and downs of the market and motherhood, one day at a time.

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WASHINGTON, USA: Savoring Time with Aging Parents

My husband snuggles with our four-year old daughter and asks, “If I get sick, will you take care of me?”  She smiles, hugs him around the neck, and says, “Yes, I will take care of you daddy.”  I chime in and ask, “If I get sick, will you take care of me?”  She smiles and says, “Well, I already have to take care of daddy. Maybe my sister can take care of you.”

I laugh out loud – partly because I’m hurt…she’s such a daddy’s girl…but also because at such a young age, she already seems to understand the responsibility involved in taking care of someone.

This past Monday I hugged and squeezed my parents tightly as I said good-bye to them at the airport after we all spent a wonderful long weekend together in Northern California.  I hadn’t seen them since November.  As we pulled away, my four-year old asks, “Momma, are you sad?”  I answer, “A little bit.”  She says, “Why, because you will miss your mommy and daddy?”  I say, “Yes.”

I have a close-knit family and a great relationship with my parents – Mami and Papi.  We can talk to each other about anything.  I talk to Mami everyday and never hesitate to ask her for her advice or opinion on an issue at hand.  It was hard for me to relocate to the Northwest U.S. from the east coast because I was putting almost 3,000 miles between us…and it’s gotten even harder after I’ve had my own children. (more…)

Eva Fannon (USA)

Eva Fannon is a working mom who lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her hubby and two girls. She was born and raised on the east coast and followed her husband out west when he got a job offer that he couldn't refuse. Eva has always been a planner, so it took her a while to accept that no matter how much you plan and prepare, being a mom means a new and different state of "normal". Despite the craziness on most weekday mornings (getting a family of four out the door in time for work and school is no easy task!), she wouldn't trade being a mother for anything in the world. She and her husband are working on introducing the girls to the things they love - travel, the great outdoors, and enjoying time with family and friends. Eva can be found on Twitter @evafannon.

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