The Fine Line Between Mom & Step-Mom
One of the greatest joys that I have experienced in life is being a parent. My son BabyE has shown me that I can feel an overwhelming sense of love for someone that I just met, that I would sacrifice my happiness, my life, for this human in an instant.
But, what if you have a child that isn’t biologically yours?
Is that love the same? Are those emotions the same?
Any good step-parent will tell you, “I love them all equally.” Do you though? Is that bond the same between the child that was born to someone else and the child you carried and brought into this world. Honestly, no. It’s different. Not bad different, but there is a different level of bonding that is there when you have step-children.
Now, before you go getting all in a tizzy, I am by no means saying that I do not love P, in fact, he was my first chance at being a mom. So, like I said, I have a different love for him. I learned how to be a mom, learned about a sense of selflessness that I had never known before him. Our situation though, is different than most people. My husband and I raise P, 100% of the time and have for the past 5 years (note: he’s 9). When I say 100%, I mean full-on-no-breaks-100% of the time. So, in the “mom” sense, I am his mom. Am I his biological mother? No. But, being a mom is so much more than giving birth. I don’t get the chance to be a part-time mom, or a real step-parent that can leave all the parenting up to the biological parents. If I did that, my poor husband would be stuck raising P all by himself, and he didn’t sign up for that, he signed up for a partner to help him raise his child. So that is what I will be.
What is a mom really? Being a mom is everything else that happens behind the scenes. The things you don’t get credit for, the things no one sees. Like the time P threw up all over his Tonka Truck bed in the middle of the night, and my husband had to dig puke out of the crevices of the bed while I got a vomiting child into the shower while trying not to puke myself. Or, the time when P had his first baseball game and my husband and I were cheering like we were watching the Rays beat the Yankees. Or, when I had to help P write his first book report. Or, the first time P read a full sentence. You get the point. There’s so many moments we’ve experienced together, yet, I will never be his mother. I just won’t. I can be called Mom all day, but that doesn’t change the fact that he is biologically not my child. Now I won’t get into why we have him full time, or why he calls me Mom, but remember: there are 2 sides to every story, and the only victim in the situation is always the child.
So, how do you raise a child like you’re own, that isn’t biologically yours. In my house, it’s easy. P is my son. There is no “step” in my house except the little step from the garage to the house. He is not my step-son, I am not his step-mother. Legally, sure, if you want to be a technical jerk about it I am, but in our house we’re a family that doesn’t have those labels.
Raising a child that isn’t biologically yours is a thankless, and impossible job. You will never feel like you’ve done enough, hugged enough, loved enough, because there are always forces against you. There will always be people thinking that you’re overstepping; my advice to you, let them think that. Parent how you and your significant other deem fit. Set rules and boundaries and expect everyone to follow them. If they want you to take part in raising this child, they should support the decision you and your significant other make. If they don’t, then you know the don’t really support your familial relationship. One thing to always remember about being a “bonus mom”: Love the absolute heck out of that child. Be that person they know will always be a constant for them, because in their eyes, everyone can always leave.
Knowing which type of boss you work for doesn’t happen in the interview process, sometimes it may even take a while for them to show their true colors. One thing rings true for every boss: they either criticize or provide feedback, and there are significant ramifications of both.
First to understand the difference between the two, let’s look at their respective definitions as defined by Merriam-Webster:
Criticism – to express disapproval of: to talk about the problems or faults
Feedback – helpful information or [helpful] criticism that is given to someone to say what can be done to improve a performance, product, etc.
As you can see they are both relatively similar, with the exception of a couple things.
Feedback is pieces of advice or (even criticism) that are actually helpful to the person being evaluated, it is showing them that while the work they are doing is not exactly satisfactory, they can improve by doing certain things.
Criticism is simple, “I don’t like it,” “no that doesn’t work,” “Delete this,” you get the point. Criticism is not providing helpful feedback or commentary, it is the act of degrading or condemning someone or someone’s work without a way of improvement.
How could this affect leadership?
Managers or bosses should always strive to help their employees reach for higher and higher goals, striving for success every time. A manager is only as successful as his team; bad team=bad management. No manager or boss should ever be putting his employees down, or making them feel inferior in his presence; that is not a leader, that is a intimidator. A leader helps develop their employees into what is best for the company. An intimidator gives information to his employees to be regurgitated, basically his words, typed or performed by the employee. That way if something ever goes wrong, he has the employee to put the blame on with an, “I never said that,” or a “you misunderstood me.”
A leader provides feedback that is encouraging to the employee to resolve the issue, without feeling like a total failure. An intimidator says it’s wrong or they don’t like it without any kind of constructive advice behind it. So, how does this affect leadership exactly? One way to see if a leader is successful is retention: are employees sticking around? If that answer is yes, then generally, he must be doing something right. With so many opportunities out there, people aren’t sticking around in jobs where they feel unappreciated and undervalued. Now, on the flip side, does he have constant turn-around in his department, people asking to move to other departments, or complaints to higher up constantly about his behavior? Then, he’s probably a bad leader. A lot of the time bad leaders don’t just affect their department, their intimidation tactics stretch throughout the entire company.
How can you change your criticism to feedback?
This is easy, rather than condescendingly telling someone what you think of their work, provide a solution and utilize the sandwich method. This is: compliment – feedback/ways to improve – compliment.
An example of feedback using the sandwich method:
Hey Susan I really appreciate you getting me a draft on that blog so quickly. I do think we can work together to create a better headline though, something like “5 Ways to Tell Your Dog Loves You.” Also, I really enjoyed the part about the different dog breeds and their affection levels. We can meet to discuss this if you’d like, what do you think?
An example of criticism:
Susan, the headline has got to go, it doesn’t even make sense. Send me a new draft ASAP.
In this example we see Susan has written a blog about dogs and their affection towards their owners. Susan’s boss isn’t digging (get it) and wants a better headline. After reading both email examples, which one do you think would get a better reaction out of Susan? Example 1 still tells Susan she needs to change the title, without being condescending or patronizing. In example 2, we see the type of boss that criticizes work: he provides no constructive feedback, no ways of improving, and no collaboration. In example 2, Susan would probably get defensive. She’d do the project, but wouldn’t have pride in her work, or pride in her job. Trust me, by this point, Susan has already hit up ZipRecruiter. Example 1 thanks her for providing the work quickly, offers a solution to the problem at hand, and even offers collaboration in case Susan wants to take the lead on the headline herself, this example would bode a completely different reaction out of Susan.
How you talk to people goes a long way
It really all boils down to how you talk to people. Employee retention has a lot to do with happiness. We’re no longer in the age where people stay at jobs no matter how bad they are treated. Now, people want to be happy in their jobs, and who wouldn’t? You’re there for 40 hours a week, some people spend more time at work than they do with their own kids, so why wouldn’t you want to be happy in that kind of environment? People are leaving even if that means taking a pay cut, just so they can have a work-life balance that doesn’t make them miserable, and one thing getting people out the door faster than ever: condescending, criticizing bosses.
So, which one are you: are you a leader, or are you an intimidator?
Better yet, which one do you work for?
My birth story is long, traumatic, and overall sucky, so if you are pregnant and want butterflies and rainbows, you should probably move along. Did you know 25% of all births in the United States are done via induction? I am one of that 25%, one of the ¼, who went through with an induction to deliver my son. I was 40 weeks on the nose when Hurricane Michael tore through the Florida panhandle. I lived in Tallahassee at the time so we did not see astronomical damage, but we did experience extremely high winds, rain, and a loss of power for over a week. I don’t know if you know this, but October in Florida is still very, very hot so being without power for a week meant no air conditioning, and no air conditioning at 40 weeks pregnant, huge and bloated and swollen and uncomfortable, was awful. (I know, first world problems but, I’m used to AC sue me). For 2 days we couldn’t even leave the house because the roads were inaccessible, power lines were down everywhere, no traffic lights, and nothing was open because, duh, no power. So, I do thank God I didn’t go into labor then because I wouldn’t have had a method to even get to the hospital. At around 41 weeks my doctor said that I wasn’t progressing and I was being put on the list for an induction, and they would call me between 4 a.m. and 9 a.m. with a time to come to the hospital to be induced. I got my call on Wednesday, October 17th, 2018 at exactly 4:01 a.m. to come to the hospital as soon as I could, as there was a room ready for me. My emotions were all over the place, I was excited, but also petrified. We dropped P off with a sitter (who thank GOD went to the gym at 3 a.m. every day so she was already awake), and made our way to the hospital. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t really drink anything, I just wanted to get the party started.
Once at the hospital I got my IV in and a doctor came with a weird hooked glove and broke my water, as I watched my husband eat a bagel. I was beyond annoyed with him because the minute he walked in with it the nurse asked me if I’d eaten, when I said no she told me I could really quick if I wanted to. So, sadly, I ate the hospital pancakes something that resembled scrambled eggs.
Let’s get the Show on the Road
After eating was when we decided to get going. I got my first round of pitocin. Pitocin, for those of you who don’t know, is a drug that brings on labor. I waited for it to kick in, and didn’t really feel much. So, they upped it, and upped it, and upped it. Until I could finally feel some pain going on. I have a mild pain tolerance so I withstood the contractions for a while, but soon asked for the IV pain meds. Those, sucked. I felt high as a kite and hated being on them. So that didn’t happen again. After a while the contractions started to really pick up, I was bouncing on the yoga ball crying in pain when they asked if I wanted the epidural. My answer, 100% absolutely heck yes. My language was a little more colorful, but you get the point.
The Epidural (the first one…)
Epidurals are incredibly scary. You have to sit, hunched over with your back looking like the letter C, while someone takes a needle the size of Manhattan and shoves it right in your spinal area. All of this while having excruciating contractions. Once my epidural was in, instant relief, although I could feel a weird pain in my hip I wrote it off. Within an hour I realized my epidural wasn’t quite working, I could completely feel the contractions in that spot in my hip, and I could easily move and feel my legs. I even asked the young (super young, kept calling me girl and hun) nurses to let me walk around, I could honestly do that, they didn’t believe me and told me I was threatening their licenses if I were to do that. They gave me a bolus, or another round of epidural meds directly into the epidural catheter. That calmed it for a couple minutes, but then it was right back to square one. Onto the second bolus. This is when it starts to get real dodgy. The minute that medicine flowed through the epidural catheter I knew something was wrong. My back completely seized up and I was screaming, literally screaming, in pain for her to stop. I couldn’t move, I was frozen with my arms clutching the side of the bed, my bad seized up completely, and in absolute agony. This was worse than any contraction. My back felt like someone took hot knives and dragged them slowly through my muscles in my back, and then poured acid over the open wound. It. Was. Madness. This pain got so bad I begged my nurses to give me a C-Section, a statement I fully regret now. The anesthesiologist was so shaken up she had to sit in the rocking chair in the corner of the room once I calmed down. She said it was to monitor me, but we could tell she was a little shaken up by it all. So now I’m clicking that epidural button every 20 minutes like clockwork, my husband even had an alarm on his phone to do it. Doing this took the edge off, I was still feeling every contraction, but I wasn’t in agony like before.
This is the only highlight of my delivery story, my last set of nurses. During this process I went through 3 groups of nurses. The last ones understood my anxieties and helped me calm down when I was freaking out. They were literally amazing. Once they came on shift they got to deal with the very worst version of me I have ever “witnessed” I was mean, in pain, and exhausted. They brought in the new anesthesiologist who said my epidural didn’t look right and she was going to place it again. Again, it didn’t quite work. I had the “hot spot” in my hip again and was in the same amount of pain as before. Soon, after sitting with that stupid peanut ball between my legs (ladies, you know), I was at a 10 and ready to push. One doctor came in and said I was there, at a 10, and it was time to push the baby out. So, I did just that, I would “bear down” every time I had a contraction and pushed as hard as I could. Then my real doctor came in, he wasn’t on rotation, but heard I was in labor so he stopped by, he said I wasn’t dilated enough and to stop pushing. Weird. But ok. He left and a little later I was checked again by my nurse who said I was back at a 10 and to start pushing again. So, a new doctor came and sat between my legs and I pushed. That doctor then said to push, and my nurses would come and get him when I was crowning. So for 5 hours I pushed, with no success. I remember vividly staring at a dot on the ceiling trying to focus all my pain and energy on that one tiny spot just to make it through.
Enough was Enough
Finally, the doctor on call said enough was enough and I had gone longer than she lets patients go, and I needed to have a C-Section for the safety of my baby. Now remember, my water had been broken at the very beginning, right when I got there. That was now 36 hours ago. My baby needed to get out, and get out safely. So, they gave me the gown for the C-Section, told my husband they would come back and get him, and away I went, crying down the hallway feeling like the biggest failure of a mother already. When I got to the surgery room they gave me another round of epidural medicine and proceeded to pinch me to see if I felt anything. Of course I did, it hadn’t been working this whole time! So, they told me they had to knock me out. Cue panic. I didn’t even get to see my husband. He was left in the little waiting room, crying because he didn’t get to kiss me goodbye.
Waking up from being put under is so terrible. I apparently decided I couldn’t speak, so I proceeded to sign (I know bits of ASL), so much so that the nurse asked my husband if I could even talk, and they brought in another nurse who knew sign language to interpret what I was saying. Note, I haven’t mentioned babyE yet, because I didn’t get to see him. BabyE was born with some bacterial infection under his lungs, I never really got a clear answer of what it was, but they whisked him off to the NICU immediately and started antibiotics. I saw my son for the first time, drugged out of my mind from the anesthesia, I don’t even remember it. I didn’t even get to hold my son until almost 15 hours after giving birth to him. I still, to this day, 5 months later, cry about my birth experience. I dreamed of a vaginal delivery, getting skin to skin right after, and breastfeeding within minutes. I got none of that. Breastfeeding was so difficult because of the NICU stay, I wanted to hold my baby, not pump and hold bottles. So I rarely pumped, and latched him when I could. This led to him having to supplement with formula. Looking back, I should’ve pumped, but I failed at that too. Just another fail I add to my list of being a parent. Now luckily, I pump every day, and nurse my son as often as I can; I still cannot feed him solely breastmilk, but how I look at it is, at least he’s getting some, even if it’s just 5-10 ounces a day. My son is now healthy, happy, and absolutely remarkable. I cherish every single day I get with him. I don’t let my birth story define me as a mother, but I wish more people were made aware of the heartache that comes with a birth that didn’t go as planned, and the feelings of failure that come with not achieving what you had hoped to achieve.
If you had a difficult delivery, or a birth that didn’t go to plan, you’re not alone in your feelings. If you want to be published as an anonymous contributor, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or send me a message on Facebook.
1. When you just want them to go the f to sleep
2. When you make a gourmet meal for a kid who only eats chicken nuggets
3. When trying to convince them to just taste it
4. When you’re willing to pay them just to try it
5. When you tell them for the 876th time not to touch something
6. When they won’t stop fighting
7. When you have no idea how their room got this bad
8. When you just want 5 minutes alone
9. When you want them to
Please. Stop. Talking.
10. When you know you talk to walls
11. When you find strange sticky substances
12. When your kid brings home a new “pet”
13. When you can’t seem to teach them to pee IN the toilet
14. When they’ve mastered peeing in the toilet, but just leave it there
15. When you don’t know if you should be disgusted or proud
16. When they finally push you too far
17. When you know, no matter what, you love those little heathens
A landing page is defined by Unbouce as: “In digital marketing, a landing page is a standalone web page, created specifically for the purposes of a marketing or advertising campaign. It’s where a visitor “lands” when they have clicked on a Google AdWords ad or similar.” So in essence, a landing page is a blip of your website that is custom tailored to a specific promotion you are running.
Landing page copy is incredibly important. It is where your would-be customers go when they click on an ad, so they have to be intrigued enough to follow through on your landing page. There are 6 things that are absolutely critical to a successful landing page creation, and of course I’m going to explain them all to you.
Headline and Sub-Headline
These go hand in hand for every. single. piece of copy you write. A captivating headline should always attract your readers after less than 3 seconds, you don’t have long, especially on the internet so you better wow them from the get-go. I can promise you, if your headline sucks, your conversion rate will suck. A good headline addresses a problem that you want to solve. Today our example is going to be getting people to register for a webinar that will show them how to use their iPhone.
Endless Information at Your Fingertips
As you can see we created an intriguing headline with a problem we want to solve for them, there’s a whole bunch of information out there for them, and they don’t know how to get to it (we’ll tell them how to solve it in the sub-headline).
Learn the ins and outs of how to operate your iPhone
See, we are telling them what we’re doing, and how it directly correlates to the headline.
So now I’ve caught the attention of the reader, because I have already targeted them with ads on being a new iPhone user, or being a beginner in the iPhone realm, and they have landed on my landing page wanting to know more.
Body copy for a landing page should be short and sweet. Because this is a webinar, I plan to say a short blurb about the webinar and detail in bullets the topics I will cover.
During this live webinar on July 12th, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. ET, we will go into detail on how to use your new iPhone XS and the new features revealed with its release. In this webinar we will discuss:
- How to use portrait mode
- How to add parental controls to other devices
- Hidden features
- And much more!
As you can see, in my body copy I said what I’m doing (webinar), when I’m doing it (July 12th, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. ET), and what I’ll be covering (bullet list). The 3 basic things a reader would need to know in order to register for my webinar.
Form (Lead Capture)
The most important thing that needs to be on your landing page, is a method in which your users can buy/register/sign-up/download whatever it is you want them to do. Since we’re doing a webinar, we’ll be asking them to register for it. (Don’t say “sign-up” for a webinar, you sign-up to receive a newsletter, you sign-up to play tee-ball, you register to attend something). So in order to register for a webinar we have to get them to fill out a form. A form is huge in the landing page world. A form is a method in which you’ll capture the lead because they want to be captured, you don’t have to farm for these leads, or cold call, or any other grimey method. These people want to be contacted and they are giving you everything you need to do so. Form copy is super duper easy. Always remember: The shorter the form, the better it performs. Don’t make them fill out frivolous details, stick to the bare minimum. Our form will look something like this: (please note: this is NOT a designing a landing page demo *I’ll get to that another day* this is simply for copy, so ignore the grey color and basic fonts)
Notice how my form is short, i have 3 required fields, and 1 optional field, and my call to action button stands out and tells them exactly what I want to do.
Call To Action
The 5th most important thing in your landing page copy ties in directly with your form, a call to action. A call to action is simply telling your reader/future-customer what you want them do to. In this example, I want them to register for this webinar, and I want them to do it now. So, my call to action is simply Register Now. If you want people to sign-up for your newsletter, it could be Sign-Up Today, if you want people to download your eBook it could be Download Now. You see where I’m going with this right? A great CTA is short and bossy. Don’t be afraid to tell people what to do, if you’re timid, you won’t get results. Be bossy, be blunt, and be straightforward. Don’t put a bunch of foo-foo text in your body and CTA because you’re trying to get awesome SEO, if you’re concise and direct in your body copy the SEO will come with it.
The last important thing to include in your landing page copy is a contact section. Give people a way to contact you if they have questions. A contact section doesn’t need to include a map with your exact whereabouts, but a simple Contact Us section with an email address (and maybe even a phone number) is the bare minimum you should include. Don’t just put a phone number, people nowadays don’t want to talk on the phone, they’d rather text. So unless you have a text bot, an email address will suffice.
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There are probably a lot of reasons why teachers quit working at daycares, but, 3 of the main reasons why are situations outside of their control.
A lot of the time parents will pull their children from a daycare (or preschool if you want to be that guy) for one of three reasons: their kid got hurt, they didn’t like the teachers or administrators, or there was a high turnover of teachers. I want to focus on the third, a high turnover of teachers. If you’re unfamiliar with the word turnover as it occurs in the business world, turnover is the issue of people coming and going from jobs creating an unstable work environment. I am a previous daycare/preschool teacher. I worked with children from 6 weeks, to 5 years old. I have potty trained kids, and taught them how to write their name. I’ve seen it all, heard it all, and experienced it all (for the most part). One thing that still rings true even though I no longer teach is that daycare workers are severely underpaid and underappreciated. You want to know why your child has had 5 teachers in the span of 6 months at his daycare? Here’s why.
This is true at any place of employment, but weighs a little heavier when you factor everything else in at a daycare. Bad management can be anything from overbearing owners, uninterested directors, and brown-nosing assistant directors. All of them have a detrimental effect on a teacher’s brain, and thus, makes them want to leave. I’ve seen owners tower over a crying girl, yelling at her to “confess” that she had witnessed another teacher do something wrong (when the poor girl didn’t know anything), but when you have a man and a woman standing over you while you’re sitting down, berating and yelling at you, you tend to break down. I’ve also seen directors that are barely there, maybe show up for a couple hours every few days. I’ll be honest, I’ve never met my son’s daycare director, and he’s been there for over a month now. I honestly thought the front administrative assistant was the director. Seeing the director responsibilities fall on someone who isn’t a director, is strange, but it seems to be working for them so – more power to ya. Then of course we have the brown-nosers. The ones who are so ready to tattle tale on you for having your phone, for posting a picture on Facebook, for talking to an ex-employee. These brown-nosers make it to where you constantly live on eggshells, afraid to say and do the wrong thing when you aren’t even doing anything wrong. This is true for all businesses, but especially true for daycares: Bad management can ruin a great business.
The next reason why there seems to be such a high turnover in daycare teachers is “bad” parents. If you have any of these traits, and you exhibit them in your kid’s classroom, go ahead and pump the brakes. Bad parents do a lot to ruin a good teacher’s morale, but the main issues are: being condescending and acting like your kid hung the moon. I get it, I have kids, and my kids are great (most of the time), but I’m never under the impression my kids are perfect and do no wrong. For example, the parents that say “oh he never does that at home!” or “did you do x,y,z to be sure he doesn’t do this awful behavior?” Those kinds of parents are the ones I say are “bad” Let me give you an example of a parent I encountered. Her child, Beckett (that’s not his real name, because she seems like she’d sue, she was a real peach), was the worst kid I have ever encountered. He hit, kicked, screamed, refused to listen, refused to do the work with us, called little girls fat and ugly, and when we told his mother about it she literally responded with, “not my Beckett! He does none of this at home, what are you doing wrong?!” Let me just preface this by saying, I know there are some terrible humans out there, but treating your children’s teachers like dog poo just because you don’t want the world to see how your child truly behaves, isn’t ok. And please note; when your kid gets hurt by one of these terrible kids with perfect-parents, the school will more than likely do nothing about it, unless the owner/director doesn’t like the child/parent. In this case, Beckett’s mom had another child in the school ($$$) and another one about to join, so the owners didn’t want to lose that profit, so they let him stay, and make everyone miserable without any kind of help from the parents.
The last thing, but the most important thing, is pay. Teachers are leaving in droves from daycares all over the US because they can get paid better at WalMart and don’t have to deal with the previously mentioned problems, on top of bad pay. Did you know, daycare teachers get paid around $9.50/hour? When the daycare rakes in over $10k in ONE room, a month, and have kids driving fancy cars, but don’t pay their teachers, you know something is wrong. The highest I’ve seen a daycare teacher paid was $13 (and that’s because it was me who made that), and I had a Bachelors Degree, and over 5 years of experience. I’ve had some friends who work at the same daycare for over 5 years, with a director’s credential, making $12 an hour! You can’t provide for your family off $12 an hour. Keep in mind you also have to pay an exorbitant amount for insurance, plus childcare (because you don’t get free childcare even when you work in childcare) you’re left with barely anything at the end of the day. I also know some companies that pay an “average” amount of hours worked for “holiday pay.” So if you missed a day because your kid was sick (unavoidable), or had to go to the doctor so you left early (also, unavoidable), you don’t get paid a full 8 hours for a holiday because it takes the average amount of hours you worked over the previous 6 months. So it saves the school money, but ends up costing the teacher a part of their already small paycheck.
Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t consider being a VPK teacher a “career” per say, but some do. Some women (and men) make it their life’s ambition to shape the minds of small children, and that is perfectly ok, but they should be paid a meaningful salary to do so. SO please, next time you wonder why your baby has had 5 teachers all swinging through like a revolving door, remember this, and maybe you could offer a kind word to help brighten their day. A small act of kindness goes a long way when you’re in a thankless job.