Posts Tagged ‘ stepparents ’

Winter-Sport (And Family Life!) Advice From Olympian Picabo Street

Monday, January 13th, 2014

2013 Photography by Robert W Gilliard of Eppicmoments.com

To gear up for the bi-annual Olympic festivities, Parents checked in with Olympic gold medalist, World Ski Champion, and mother-of-four Picabo Street. Juggling her work with the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) and her four sons (Eli, 10, Treyjan, 9, Dax, 4, and Roen, 2) is no easy task, but nothing gets this gal motivated like the games!

P: Do you watch every Olympics with your kids?

PS: Absolutely. In Torino [Italy, 2006] I was there, and in Vancouver [Canada, 2010] I was there with two of my children. This year unfortunately I won’t have my kids with me, but I will be there with FOX Broadcasting and the U.S. Olympic Committee and Ski Team. I am infected with the Olympic bug and will be a huge fan forever.

P: Do your kids have Olympic fever, too?

PS: They definitely get it, especially the older two who are 10 and 9. They started to ask some big questions about it: where certain countries are and what sports come out of them. We go online and they can send a well-wish to the athletes or donate money or buy mittens that will benefit the team through the U.S. Olympic Committee sponsor programs. Through Citi Every Step, my 10-year-old voted on my initiative [promoting injury prevention and awareness for Olympic skiiers and snowboarders]. You see all the Olympians that are in the Citi program and then the kids feel really close to it. They know athletes by name and sport, so when we watch the Olympics we’re into it. They’re just counting down to the Opening Ceremonies in February.

Kids' Olympics
Kids' Olympics
Kids' Olympics

P: Is skiing their favorite winter Olympics sport?

PS: Trey likes the bobsled, the skeleton, the luge, all of those gliding sports. Trey and Eli love the skiing because they can relate. Three out of the four do ski. The youngest was only 2 last year when we were in Park City in March. I think that hockey is probably also a favorite.

P: What do you say to moms who might think that skiing is too dangerous for their kids?

PS: Get yourself out of the way and don’t put yourself in your kids’ shoes and automatically assume that their strengths and weaknesses are yours. That’s one of the most difficult things that parents have to do is to get themselves out of the way of their child. They are their own person and they are capable of potentially more than you are. If they’re gung-ho, make sure you or somebody with experience can guide them along the way so they are safe while doing it. Skiing is a great family vacation, I know it’s expensive but it’s like no other family vacation. It’s such a safe place to let your kids be free.

P: Are there safety precautions that you take with your boys as they ski?

PS: First and foremost is to wear a helmet, dressing them for success. I made sure they knew how to stop. We taught them speed control and how to make quality turns before we took them over to the chair lift. The next thing was teaching them etiquette of the resort, and that’s something we still work on. Eli, my oldest, was relentless. His persistence was very inspiring.

P: How do you ensure that your kids enjoy sports while still taking it seriously?

PS: You gauge off of them. You can tell what kind of motivation they need; whether they like tough love (like I did) or if they need a softer, more praising touch. From personal experience, competing at that level, we were all willing to do more than the next gal or guy in order to get it done and win. We didn’t have to be told. It was just something that we do. I grew up with “good better best never never rest til my good is better and my better is best.” I have to actually be careful not to step on my kids toes too much with who I am and what I’m about and what I expect of myself. I try to let them be them.

P: Do you ever worry that they might put pressure on themselves because you have accomplished so much? 

PS: Of course, you worry about everything as a parent. I don’t really believe that I or anyone else has that much control, or any for that matter, over what our children like, what they’re interested in, and what they want to become. I can tell you my mom played 26 instruments all self-taught, I can barely hold a tune and cannot play a single one. All of my kids are musical, go figure. Why wasn’t I a musician? I’m just going to encourage my kids to follow their dreams and aspirations and do what they love. If it happens to be Olympic bound, here we go. If not, I’m fine with that, too. With four of them, my odds are good that we could be at the Olympics again.

P: How do you keep your boys effectively bundled in the cold weather?

PS: Layers. Layers. Layers. I dress the boys in layers and make them easily accessible so they can go to the bathroom while they’re up there and feel comfortable. Eli is alright with wool against his skin, but it itches Trey, so we go with silk or a polypropylene for him. Roen is the same as Eli. I like wool, polypropylene, cashmere and then fleece and then the outer layer is the key. It needs to have two components in it. It needs to have down and it needs to have a windbreak. With those two in the outer layer, you really don’t have to bulk them up too much inside. It keeps them from having a stiff-armed snowman feel all day. If it’s really cold you can change their temperature by what you put on their hands and head. Go gloves or mittens depending on the temperature. You can also just wear a helmet, or you can do a light little beanie super thin up underneath the helmet and cover the ears. If it’s super cold, you can put a neck gator on with a face mask and bundle all the way up. Make sure you’ve got sunscreen, sunglasses or goggles and water. Lots of H20. You have to watch the water intake. That’s key.

P: Your kids all have such unique names. How did you choose them?

PS: Treyjan I named after the Roman emperor. On his father’s side he’s the third Newt [Trey is a nickname for "the third"] and his dad and I just really thought it was a cool name. Eli is biblical, my husband chose it that way. Dax is a little French town and it was a kid in my class growing up and I wanted an ‘x’ in his name and I landed on him. I wanted his initials to be early in the alphabet, too, so I landed on Dax and my husband, John, agreed. Roen’s was tough. Dax and Eli’s names were early in the alphabet, I wanted Roen’s name to start with something close to Trey so I bounced around the S’s and the R’s. We finally landed on Roen. John said without the w. And I said R-O-E-N and he said love it.

 

Check out our Baby Names app to help you find names just as fitting as the ones Picabo and John chose for their kids.

 

P: Eli, your oldest, is your stepson and your husband, John, is Trey’s stepfather. What is your advice for parents merging two families?

PS: Definitely unconditional love. We also have to get over ourselves and really see our kids for who they are. I had to really get to know Eli and then earn his trust. Also, the best thing for someone who you’re new to and who is new to you is to be predictable and consistent. The more consistent you are the more stable your relationship is, the stronger it gets. Honestly, Eli and I have worked really hard to have a really strong bond and we can talk about everything and anything. It’s rock solid. As far as Trey and Eli went, merging them, that was tough. I wanted to protect Trey from the way Eli is because Eli is dominant, a real alpha, and he’s boisterous. Trey is sensitive; he’s harmonious. Eli would kind of beat up on Trey and I would get protective. When I talked to some of my expert resources, they told me ,“Eli is gonna toughen Trey up and Trey is gonna soften Eli and they’re gonna land somewhere in the middle and it’s gonna be a beautiful thing so unless they’re really going at it let them work it out.” It got easier when Dax showed up because he was a true brother to both of them.

P: Do you have plans for another?

PS: No ma’am. We gave up on having a girl with Roen. It is a lot to handle, but it’s an even sports team because there are six of us.

P: What is your best advice for other moms who travel a lot and might spend a lot of time away from their kids, as you do with your speaking engagements and your activism work?

PS: Take care of yourself and try not to beat yourself up too much for being gone and being someone who contributes to the family, and who pursues their dreams at the same time. Easier said than done. I leave notes when I go. I make sure to call and participate at the really important times during the day. I try to Facetime and Skype with them, so I can really see them and get a feel for them as much as possible. One of my goals is to talk to my kids and my husband first thing in the morning every day. The bottom line is to be honest with them about where I’m going, what I’m doing and why so that they understand. What’s tough is when I say “bye-bye” and then Dax says “But Dad, you’re staying with us right?” And I just think oooooooh. I’m picky about what I leave home for these days and my kids know I’m leaving for important things. They know all about the work that I do with the US Olympic Committee and with the sponsors and specifically now with Citi to make a positive difference in the next generation of Olympians’ lives. That’s what I am proud to go be a part of these days.

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How to Protect Baby's Skin in Winter
How to Protect Baby's Skin in Winter
How to Protect Baby's Skin in Winter

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A Look at 5 Stepfamilies in Hollywood

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

This post was written by our friends at Celebrity Baby Scoop.

There are millions of stepfamilies across the nation.

So it’s no wonder that Hollywood has its fair share of blended families. From LeAnn Rimes and Eddie Cibrian’s crew, to Gisele Bündchen and Tom Brady’s bunch, let’s take a look at 5 stepfamilies in Tinseltown.

Megan Fox & Brian Austin Green

Hot Hollywood couple Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green are getting ready to welcome a sibling for Brian’s 10-year-old son Kassius later this year.

The Beverly Hills, 90210 star said that his wife is an amazing stepmother to his son, whom he welcomed with ex Vanessa Marcil in March 2002.

“She is absolutely my better half in parenting,” Green said. “She just gets it. It’s instinctual for her. She loves my son, Kassius. And from the time we started dating – you know, she was 18 – she stepped in and took control. It’s unbelievable. At 18, I was like, ‘Hey, which club is open tonight? And how cool do my pants look? Can I sneak a drink across the bar without getting caught?’”

Sara Evans & Jay Barker

Country crooner Sara Evans has her hands full with a blended family of 7 children with husband Jay Barker.

The Anywhere singer opened up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about staying organized in their large family.

“It’s definitely a lot to keep track of [laughs]!,” she said. “I try to stay super organized with my schedule. My work schedule is crazy by itself, but when you add in 7 kids and their school activities, sports, Jay’s work, etc., it can be nuts. I have a calendar that I keep with me almost all the time to just stay on top of it all.”

So any chance for baby No. 8?

“We’ve definitely talked about it and would love to have a child together at some point,” she said. “Right now we’re so busy with 7 kids though!”

Anna Paquin & Stephen Moyer

Anna Paquin and her True Blood costar husband Stephen Moyer are getting ready to welcome twins this fall.

And they’ll be adding to the brood! Anna is stepmom to Stephen’s two children – daughter Lilac, 10, and son Billy, 12 – from previous relationships.

“I love my kids beyond anything,” Stephen recently said. “They’re the best things ever, and having two more is just going to be even more crazy, but that’s cool!”

(more…)

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Daily News Roundup

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

New Recruit in Homework Revolt: The Principal
The school board will vote this summer on a proposal to limit weeknight homework to 10 minutes for each year of school — 20 minutes for second graders, and so forth — and ban assignments on weekends, holidays and school vacations. (New York Times)
Sex after kids: The art of the quickie
According to a recent survey by the online magazine Baby Talk, just 24% of parents say they’re satisfied with their post-baby sex lives, compared to 66% who were happy before they had children. (CNN)

America’s tale of 2 different dads
A tale of two different fathers has emerged in America: Those who regularly participate in their children’s everyday lives and those who live apart from their kids, according to a study released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center. (CNN)
(more…)

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Daily News Roundup

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Sun exposure in babies could mean cancer later
Getting too much sun is bad for anyone, but it’s especially dangerous for babies, whose sensitive skin hasn’t developed enough layers of natural protection to withstand intense summer rays. (CNN)

Warnings and tips for stepparents
Editorial from CNN: Forty percent of Americans have at least one steprelative in their family, either a stepparent, a stepsibling or half sibling, or a stepchild, according to the Pew Research Center. (CNN)

GoodGuide Ranks the Best and Worst Baby Foods
Concerns about the eating habits of American children are constantly in the headlines, whether it’s the ballooning obesity epidemic among youngsters or bans on Happy Meals to encourage fast food chains to serve healthier food. (Wallet Pop)

(more…)

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Underappreciated

Monday, September 27th, 2010

That’s often a big part of what it feels like to be a stepmother, says Rachelle Katz, author of The Happy Stepmother. “It can be one of the most challenging roles in society,” she explains, “and it often receives little support and understanding from others.” Katz is a psychotherapist in private practice in New York City, and runs monthly stepmother support groups. She also is the mother to a stepdaughter. Knowing how many of you out there have your own stepchildren and blended families, I asked Katz:. If she had to name five things stepmoms shouldn‘t do, what would they be? Her answers drive home just how complex this role and relationship is, and how much effort it can take for everyone in the family to feel comfortable. This is her list.

1. Don’t overdo it

It’s easier to develop caring, loving, and friendly relationships with stepchildren when you’re not taking on parental responsibilities. As much as you can, let your husband take on the bulk of the true parenting stuff, and concentrate on spending quality time with the kids and interacting with them in meaningful, pleasurable ways.

2. Don’t discipline your stepchildren

Mental health experts generally agree that, at least in the first few years of remarriage, disciplining stepchildren should be left to the biological parents. Stepchildren need time to bond with stepparents, to learn to trust and accept them, before they can view them as authority figures. Stepmothers should operate more as a babysitters or aunts than as parents. You might say, “This is the rule of the house: Homework is done before television.” If your stepchild counters, “You’re not my parent!” you can respond with, “Yes, you’re right. You have a mom and a dad, and I’m not going to replace either one of them. Meanwhile, I’m the adult in charge here tonight, and the rule is no television until homework is done.”

3. Don’t yell at your stepchildren

Remember that it is inappropriate to criticize, put down, raise your voice, or be cruel in any way to your stepchildren – no matter how much they may seem to misbehave or aggravate you. (While it’s equally inappropriate to yell at your biological children, there’s usually a stronger foundation of love that may enable them to tolerate and overlook an occasional angry outburst on your part.) If you find yourself lashing out at your stepchildren, apologize immediately. This doesn’t mean you’re condoning their misbehavior; you’re simply taking responsibility for your own behavior. An apology is a sign of respect and an indication that you care about your stepchildren and your relationship with them.

4. Don’t ever say anything critical about your stepchildren’s mother

Even if your criticism of her is accurate and justified, it will only hurt your stepchildren to know how you feel. The resentment this might produce could last for years, regardless of all the wonderful things you do for them.

5. Don’t encourage your stepchildren to call you Mommy

Some stepmothers, particularly those with full-time custody of their stepchildren, perceive themselves as their stepchildren’s “true” mothers. But even then it’s inappropriate for her to ask her stepchildren to call her Mommy. Stepchildren who have limited relationships with their mother still maintain a strong sense of loyalty, and probably harbor the hope of developing a better relationship with her in the future. Young stepchildren, as a sign of affection and respect, may be most likely to call you Mommy. If yours does this, gently correct him by saying that you love him very much, but he has a mommy who also loves him very much. You know he loves you, and it’s okay if he calls you by your first name. (If this is too casual for your taste, have your stepchild add Miss in front of your name.)

All you stepmothers out there: What do you find to be the biggest challenge?

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