As I've mentioned in a few posts, Dan & I are completing our Self Expression & Leadership Program with Landmark. Tonight is the final session, but we won't just wrap it up & move on. One of the guiding practices in SELP is the creation of a community project. So many amazing projects are created during SELP all over the world...projects that bring families together, that create charity, that build all kinds of community.
My project is called Bonus Mom Bootcamp. (catchy, right?)
Let me provide a little help with the name. What's a Bonus Mom? It's another word for step-mom. I like that it has the connotation of extra rather than away. Why Bootcamp? Because I like how it sounded, AND because it's all around strength, stretching, and emotional fitness. For the record, there's no correlation with military or war or whatever. Also for the record, it's likely the only bootcamp that you'll ever find me getting up in the morning for...because sweating before coffee is so not my thing.
So, y'all know that I'm a bonus mom to two Littles, who were an unexpected add to my life 2 1/2 years ago. In the beginning? I thought this would be a piece of cake. I've been a Mom for almost 25 years....I've got this. Turns out? Not so much. I've grown & changed as a parent & a person. Dan is a different partner than I've parented with before. We have Bigs and Littles in the mix. And life is just...life.
As I really settled into this role, I knew that I had Dan's unwavering support. Thankfully, we're a team. And of course, I have an awesome tribe of friends who provide unwavering support (and a fair amount of good-natured ribbing about having Littles again). I wanted to hear from Moms who were in it, though. What I found when I looked at a wider community of bonus moms, was unwavering negativity and frustration. It's a lot of the same us vs. them mentality that sahm vs. working moms get caught up in. In addition, a lot of conversation was focused outward...about the kids, the exes, and the mechanics of family life. The resources are helpful, but also not exactly what I felt was missing.
What was missing for me was space for Bonus Moms to celebrate...the hard work, the families that we're creating, the love that we're expanding, and the strength that it all takes. A space for high-fives and hugs. A space of quiet amidst the you shoulds and you shouldn'ts. This project evolved over the 5 month course in ways that I didn't envision. The first "draft" was a workshop event. That hasn't happened. What has happened is a Bonus Mom Bootcamp Meet-Up Group. It's small, and growing, and I am excited to see what develops.
What I also got out the course, and my community project, is a new confidence in my role with the Littles. I am a Bonus Mom, and I am celebrating that. I'm able to acknowledge myself for my role in my family's life, and able to accept acknowledgement. I no longer push it away with "it's really not a big deal"...b/c it actually IS a really big deal.
HUGE gratitude to my SELP community for their love & support over the last 5 months. Y'all are the best!!
If you are local to Vermont, and would like to join us, email me for details! Not local? Email me anyway! I'd love to help you create a Bonus Mom Bootcamp community of your own.