Puberty And Potty Training


As Jazmine eagerly awaits her body changes, Baby Grace shows then shies away from potty independence. It is quite the spectrum we have here in the Lee household. On one hand, we are watching our flower blossom.  On the other hand, our sweet cherub is turning into quite the tyrant.

As a mom who enjoys like-mindedness with other moms, it is hard to straddle this spectrum.  I am fully immersed in each but not exclusive to either. I can speak with some moms and be right in the boat with them in puberty discussions.  Other moms, our potty training woes cause us to click. The tricky part is when I need to leave one conversation to tend to the part of motherhood that I have but they don’t.  Discussing the necessity of undergarments for budding girls is cut short because I need to discipline the toddler who thought it was a great idea to remove things from shelves.  Exchanging funny toddler stories is cut short because my big kid has another activity to get to.

I am in a unique position not because it is exclusive to me but because in my circles, I am the white tiger in the room. I don’t quite fit. I used to struggle hugely in this area.  When it was only Jazmine and I was waist-deep in step-motherhood, I was still a white tiger. I hated not feeling fully apart of the mommy tribe because I had one child and not multiple to juggle on top of having blended family uniqueness.  That was a hard time. Praise God I learned a few things from that experience.

I am better able to accept my motherhood duality now. I can pass easily from puberty, to potty training, to being a step-mom to teenagers and back again seamlessly because it is ALL my life.  Each unique stage of life applies to me simultaneously.  I wear that fact as a crown.  In my bag, I keep snacks for the tyrant and spelling words for the blossoming one. On any given day, we could have teenage boys or our adult daughter over. It is my life and I am grateful to live it.


A Taste Of My Own Medicine

This post is about a truly humbling experience.

Recently, I was separated from my child.  That is my exaggerated way of saying she spent the night away from me.  I normally welcome these times because they are rare and I fully need the break but this time was different.  I did not initiate the separation; she did.  It was just like the phrases you see on onesies; “I’m going to Grandma’s/Nana’s/Granddad’s/Auntie’s house etc.  It was comical to see…at least initially.

However, when time for our separation came, I was not 100% comfortable with it.  Yes, I knew she would be safe, loved, and well cared for but I had a problem; not a big problem, more like medium-sized problem with being away from her where she was. Something was amiss in the environment and I was afraid she would experience some confusion and unnecessary discipline if I were not there to protect her.  I did not feel this way until we arrived and I sensed the precursors of what, in recent times, has sent me (with Jazmine in tow) packing.  Because Jazmine was already looking forward to her sleepover, I did not want to cancel it due to my feelings alone. Not to mention having to point out that which I did not want to explain.

Although I wanted nothing more than to take my child and run, I left her.

I felt like crap the entire ride home.  I told myself I was going to call her every few hours until I was satisfied she was ok. I scrapped all of my earlier me-time options (running errands, going to the gym) to sit and mope and worry about Jazmine.

It was here in my sad humbling tale, that I had my revelation. This must be exactly how Tanya and Anthony’s mother feel when their children visit with their father because they want to be with him.

This blew me away!

I have more sympathy for their plight now then I did before.

However, my history of being on the receiving end of said behavior stopped me dead in my tracks.

I can’t call Jazmine every few hours.  How would that help her? What do I achieve by staying in the house moping, complaining and eating myself into oblivion? Nothing!  No. That is not true.  It achieves something. It grows distrust between me and otherwise trustworthy people.  It grows co-dependent feelings in me towards my child. It fosters distrust between Jazmine and myself.  It draws Jazmine into thinking she can not spend a significant amount of time away from her mother without checking in. It also does not allow for Jazmine to experience people and their emotions on her own and develop her own opinions.  It hurts her in the long run.

I am not about to do that.  Not willingly at least.

I’ve seen what that way of thinking and behavior pattern does and it is not healthy for anyone involved; child nor adult.  If I am always there to buffer and protect her from people I know, how does she grow?  Yes, she is a child and MUCH protection happens to keep her safe from all harm current, possible, and probable.  HOWEVER, she will not remain a child forever.  Having her to learn significant life lessons in real life but safe environments is best.  Yes, this caused me great concern momentarily, but after praying and casting ALL of my cares and concerns to God about Jazmine, I am able to relax and trust Him.  Should anything confuse her, make her wonder, or cause her to question, whenever I find out every detail of her time away, (Jaz doesn’t always share what happens immediately) I will guide her as God guides me.  I will not fret and snivel while she is away.  I will not retreat and be less of who I am during a respite. I will not be a pest (purposeful or otherwise) to my child nor those whom we entrust with her.

I praise God for teaching me this valuable lesson for my sake, to feel a glimpse of what Tanya and Anthony’s mother feels, and for His glory.


It’s official! I have a Facebook page! Woohoo! This is another way to get the word out. I you have found anything helpful or insightful on any particular post you can like and share this page!

This is my first blog post from a mobile device as well. Many first today!

Oh yeah. I almost forgot. The page name is Wifommy

Bella Who?

I have been a bonus mom for 10 years. Early in my marriage, I thought being a bonus mom would get easier. I was wrong.

I had such a hard week last week that I wanted to divorce my bonus children. They in and of themselves, did nothing wrong. Children will act their age.  Their mothers, however, are a different story. Tanya, in my personal-humble-but-correct-opinion based on who she has shown herself to be to me, is not concerned about getting to the bottom of things which makes trying to state a fact or have a meaningful conversation about Bella and Scott with her, pointless for both me and my husband.  Anthony’s mother adores him. She has said as much.  She adores him to the point that she calls and has no less than 15 minute conversations with him almost every day of his visits.  Not only the visits during his school vacations but also during his weekend (48hr) visits. I say the conversations are no less than 15 minutes but they are typically 20-30 minutes. I find that ridiculous. He’s a tween. She needs a life outside of her son.

Between those two, I wanted nothing more to do with my bonus children. It is mentally and emotionally EXHAUSTING. I feel terrible admitting that but it is no less than the truth.

To put another exclamation point on things, Anthony, who is here for a few weeks, said that, and I quote, “I forgot what Bella looks like!  I haven’t seen her in so long.” My husband and I both laughed.  It was not a humorous laugh.  It was an incredulous laugh. It is utterly ridiculous that Anthony should feel like that.  Jazmine also chimed in saying, “I am sad. I miss Bella.” The last time Bella and Scott were here was during my husband’s college graduation two months ago. The time before that, I can’t remember.  I think they have spent the night a total of three to four times since January this year.

I hurt for Anthony and Jazmine. I hurt because they hurt and there is nothing my husband and I can do about it. My husband handled the statements well though.  Their statements weren’t intended to be anything except to state their feelings but those same statements can hurt a parent to their core.  My husband, having worked through his pain, hurt, agony, grief, and guilt he felt when trying to get visits with Bella, Scott, and even Anthony previously, was able to answer them today with kindness, gentleness but also matter-of-fact. He said, “Hey guys.  I know how you feel but there is nothing Daddy can do about it.  Everybody’s household is run differently. I’ve done all I can do.” He acknowledged their feelings and helped them grow through their grown-up emotion.

In spite of all this crap, I am so proud of my husband who continues to overcome to become.

Bella Lee Update

I wanted to write in detail the miraculous conclusion to Bella’s def-con silence to her father but it’s not my story to tell in its entirety.  I will share this bonus mom’s vantage point of the ordeal. This is part two of the original story.

I didn’t hold my breath for Bella to contact her father.  She holds a grudge like one holds a valuable piece of jewelry. I didn’t know how long it was going to take…at one point, I thought it would be years.  She’d either contact him about graduation from high school or needing money to send the applications. However, we prayed for her to return to us.  Bella was not the only one silenced from us.  We had no communication with Scott either.  After two months, Bella text her father.  Up until then, Brian would send texts periodically to tell her that he loved her, was thinking about her, and cared for her.  In days leading up to Bella’s text, he was given the advice to text her everyday.  He was on day two of texting everyday when she contacted him.

I prayed diligently for that to happen.  I saw how God was comforting my husband through this time. I was very grateful for God’s answer to prayer in that regard.  My next primary concern was that Bella would let this ridiculous grudge keep her from participating in life with us.

I was fearful that whenever she did come to herself, she would still blame other people for her decisions because dealing with the painful consequences of her actions would be very heavy to bear. Whenever she did come around, she would not see her face in any of the pictures or in any home videos for the period of time she kicked us out of her life. I was fearful that she would also pile up on us any other consequences that she would suffer from in other areas of her life (possible acting out at school or home, poor grades, poor decision-making etc).

I am living proof that consuming thoughts in one area of life will affect the rest of your world, whether you wish them too or not, if you do not face them.

I was EXTREMELY excited for Bella and Brian’s outing.  I anxiously awaited the debrief from my husband when he got back. It did not go as swimmingly as I had hoped:/ However, MUCH good came from the meeting.  Not only did father and daughter have a smashing good time, but Brian was very honest, direct, and up front with her  about her decisions and the consequences of her decisions. I was grateful that Brian had the opportunity to say what she needed to hear.  Bella will always have to choose but at least she has been armed with how she should conduct herself.

Going Public

Did you know that if you Googled “Christian bonus mom” this blog is the ONLY result listed!  There are only four results that meet that specific parameter and all four results land you to Wifommy!!! That is amazing!  Then green-eyed monster appeared because my next thought was, “why the heck isn’t the subscription and visit count huge?”

I immediately dove into the “Results for Similar Searches” below the first four results and starting clicking on any mom-herd type of blog.  You know, the mom blogs that are a blog with links to HUNDREDS of other mom blogs.  As I searched through the mom-herd results, I paid specific attention to the categories.  I did not see a section for bonus moms (or the evil term stepmom). I then searched for “Christian stepmom blogs” and BINGO! Page after page after page of results.

Why did I Google “Christian bonus mom” in the first place?  I wanted to see where I fared.  This internet thing is so vast that I wanted to see if my blog would even register with a description of what the blog was about without having to type in the exact name.

In my perusal of the similar results, I came across a Christian mom blog that listed how to network your blog.  I skimmed it.  The information was good but I really am not aiming to put that much work into getting this noticed.  Yes, I hope this blog helps other women.  Yes, I would love to see an increased readership with comments to reply to.  I’d love all the positive things that come with having a popular blog.  So why am I not being diligent about going about it?  I am more passionate about writing the posts than I am about publicizing it. I have blogged under faith that God will lead whomever He chooses to this blog.  I’ve had a poor experience with trying to build something from the ground up before.  I turned into a “just sign up and do what I say” type of person with stalker tendencies.  I was not genuine although I tried to be.  My main goal was my objective without wanting to see what the needs of others were and how something I marketed could help them with what they wanted.  I will NOT be that person again.  Because of that, I ABSOLUTELY REFUSE to  jump through hops, make fake social-networking relationships, and like/follow blogs that I wouldn’t normally read in the first place just to drive traffic here.

That is not to say that everyone who publicizes their blog isn’t genuine.  Amber is a genuine social networker.  She’s awesome and she’s awesome at it.  I am not.

Trust and believe, any blog you see on my blog roll is one that I read, like, and enjoy. No pomp and circumstance here.

(PS. CMB has a series of post on How To Take Your Blog To The Next Level. I did not read all of them.  The only link I skimmed is the link above.  Please check it out for yourself)

In Response 1

The following is a comment a reader wrote in response to the This Broad Here post:

Through your post, I can feel your frustration with the whole situation. One thing I have to comment on is it is really not right to exclude the mom from your house. Yes, I don’t understand the situation fully since I am not l,iving it, BUT, you both share something in common, a child with your husband. Before you got married, you knew full well there was some “baggage” involved. What are you teaching your child when you exclude the mother of her sister from even entering your house? What are you teaching your child when there is straight up animosity and immaturity going on? No, you might never, ever, be one big happy family, but you are family and will forever be connected due to children. To foster a healthier environment that your child’s relationship with her sibling can flourish and stop all the unnecessary drama, you might want to rethink stooping down to the mother’s level. Being a Christian is not something we take off when it’s inconvenient for us. You show the love of Christ to even the unlovable. You know I have love for you, but you are wrong on this one because you are not modeling the right behavior for the children. If Bella is being disrespectful, she’s wrong regardless. At the same time, try being in her shoes and seeing that their is such hostility between her mom, dad, and step mom. She lives with her mom and of course will start taking her side and acting up. You need to be the bigger person, regardless if you feel slighted. Yes, you are the wife, but yes, you also married into this and somebody should be the adult.

I appreciate the comment and the insight/advice it contains. As you read this blog, please respond if you have a question or want to offer another point of view as it may help me or another reader.  I hope not to make it a practice to respond to a comment with a post but in this case, I thought it best to do so in case other readers share the same feelings as this reader.  It may also help other bonus moms verbalize a response to the same thought.
What I appreciate most about this comment is that it forced me to revisit my motives. Not allowing Tanya into my home is not a decision that was made hastily nor is it a decision that only applies to her. No one who disrupts the peace on my household is welcome into my home.  NO ONE. This is not exclusive to Tanya.  She simply falls under the guidelines I have for those who do not receive invitations into the Lee compound.  Women who try to get too friendly with my husband, men who make me uncomfortable, anyone speaks poorly of me or my husband, and people who try to parent our child are not welcome in our home. PERIOD.
It only takes meeting one guideline to be unwelcome in our household and, in this regard, Tanya is an overacheiver. But, like I said before, these guidelines are and would be the same even it Tanya did not exist! It is my role as wife and mother to make our home a safe environment for all its occupants with my husband at the top of that list. Anyone who does anything and continues to do anything in the guidelines I wrote above is not welcome in our household.
Tanya is not the only person unwelcome.  There are some others on that list. Some have recently been granted an olive branch to come back to our home. But believe you me, at the first sign of them returning to their former ways which put them on the list in the first place, they need not darken my doorway again.
(PS. the bolds are not yelling in response to the reader.  They are to express to all how serious I am about protecting our family, home, and marriage from anything that threatens it)

This Broad Here

I have to get this out.

I can’t even finish my list of things to do right now.

I am once again disgusted.

I am not surprised but yet, I find myself disappointed.

Just a few hours ago, my husband and I officially embarked on a new adventure in Christ.  (More information on that to come later as things develop).  This new adventure brought some old concerns of mine to the forefront of my mind. Brian and I hope this new adventure will lead us to our own home.  The major concern being the highly probable, albeit currently theoretical, confrontation with Tanya where I must repeat to her that neither she nor her mother are welcome in our home.

As I mulled over this possibility, I started to think I might have been wrong then this happens and I am again reminded that I am not wrong and I need to stand my ground and walk through the door if need be.

Bella posted something inappropriate on one of her social media accounts.  My husband sent her a text and told her to take it down because it was inappropriate.  We don’t know if Bella took it down because, not only did she not respond to her father’s text, she removed him from being one of her contacts and blocked him from her on the site.

Brian, my husband, text Tanya but did not get a call back.  He tried to contact Bella again today but she did not respond.  He reached Tanya today and her response was, again, not surprising based on who she has shown us to be but was disappointing nonetheless.  In a nut shell, Tanya said that 1. she heard that Bella had blocked some people 2. that Brian needed to speak with Bella about this directly 3. that Bella was asleep.

Here are my issues. 1. Why are you being facetious by saying you heard that she had blocked some people?  You know full well what happened in full detail. 2. How can he speak with Bella directly if Bella does not answer her phone and he has already told you that he has been trying to contact her? Furthermore, shouldn’t you also be speaking to Bella about this?  Why is it okay for her to block her FATHER?  Would it be okay if she did that to you? 3. It’s 10PM.  Bella has no known bedtime at your home and an extremely popular awards show was on at the time.  Are you really expecting me/us to believe that the teenager is asleep?!?!?!


(mouth hanging open)

You know those movies that show the oldest or only child coming home after their first semester away at college?   Remember the reactions of that child’s parents when they see their child for the first time in four months?

That is what I felt like this weekend.

Bella and Scott came for a visit. I couldn’t even look Bella in the eye for the first four hours of her visit.  She looked so grown. It hurt my heart because outside of wearing foundation, there was nothing left for her to look forward to.  Everything had changed.  Her hair, her eyes, she’s wearing makeup, her clothes are so adult.  I know that is only my opinion.  I know my husband shares my opinion too but neither of our opinions or thoughts matter.  Tanya is okay with it so we remain speechless.

I felt so sad looking at her.  There was no gradual change.  It was just BAM here it is.  Yes, her hair has been different colors before and her clothing has been tight for years now but to see the whole package now is/was sad.  I have no idea what prom will look like in a few short years if  this is what she looks like today.

All I keep thinking when I look at Bella is that there is no way Jazmine will look like that.

I know that is a lofty thought.  I can’t guarantee that Jazmine won’t to do her best to look like her sister does now when she is her age.  I just pray that I won’t change up and allow that when Jazmine gets older; not all at one time.  That we, my husband and I, keep things out in front of her for her to look forward to as she grows and not give her every privilege under the sun at one time.

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day

I spent the first half of this Mother’s Day confused. I didn’t know how I should have felt. I thought Mother’s Day was supposed to be something magical.  I thought I should have felt like the actresses portraying moms in the … Continue reading