Dear Stepparent: Wrap Yourself in Grace

I cringed with guilt as I watched my son pull a uniform shirt out of the dirty clothes to wear to school. Ugh – how had I failed to get the laundry done?


I’m overwhelmed some days during the holiday season. I can’t keep up with where I’m supposed to be or what I’m supposed to be doing. There’s shopping, parties, Christmas concerts, decorating, baking, gift wrapping, and there’s… writing deadlines, coaching clients, and conference calls. Add in the daily family responsibilities and it’s easy to hit overdrive!

After I dropped my son at school that day, the guilt started again. I need to get those gifts in the mail, I should have done more shopping by now, I forgot to call my stepdaughter and check on her job situation… But then I stopped. I decided to start over with grace.

My thoughts changed to: I’m doing the best I can.  I’ll tackle the laundry as soon as I get home. I’ll ask my husband to go to the post office. I’ll text my stepdaughter and see how she’s doing. I’ll work on shopping after I finish my writing deadline. I don’t have to be perfect.

Are you pushing yourself into a frenzy of guilt? Are you expecting more from yourself than is feasibly possible? Step back and wrap yourself in grace.

Retrace your steps. If your stress set off a string of harsh words, apologize. If your head is spinning from an overly-committed schedule, cross something off. If your house needs cleaning before company comes, hire some help. But don’t strive for perfection. Sometimes good enough is, well, good enough.

Step back and remember the reason for the season. It’s not all about what’s under the tree or hosting the perfect Christmas party. It’s about celebrating with those we love and building memories through good times and bad. Your stepkids won’t remember if you bought the perfect present ten years from now, but they will remember if you apologized for a less-than-perfect parenting moment.

Grace is a beautiful gift. When we offer it to ourselves or to those around us, it multiplies.  One act of grace deserves another. If you forgive yourself for your failure, you have energy to start again. If you hold onto the guilt, you succumb to defeat.

Give yourself the gift of a grace-filled holiday season. And offer it freely and often to others. You’ll find joy and peace in the process.

How will you offer grace to yourself today?

For more holiday tips, follow my blog and  Heather Hetchler’s blog at CafeSmom  as we share tips from our holiday e-book, Unwrapping the Gift of Stepfamily Peace, every Mon, Wed and Friday. Our e-book is a great tool to help you and all stepparents find peace during the holidays and beyond. It’s packed with proven tools and tips, personal stories and a list of recipes and new holiday traditions you can create with your stepfamily.  Unwrapping the Gift of Stepfamily Peace









Pic by Natara

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4 replies
  1. asguilamo
    asguilamo says:

    Great post! It is so true that we beat ourselves up after not being able to keep up with the most unreasonable schedules. How will I live in grace today? By changing the negative comments to positive ones? Asking how can this get done rather than it will never get done, and asking for help when I need it.

    Thanks for the reminder.

    All the best,
    A. S. Noraford
    Author, Stepfamily Diaries

    • Gayla Grace
      Gayla Grace says:

      Asking for help is something I don’t do well but definitely something I need to consider more often! Thanks for your comment.

  2. Shawn Hartwell
    Shawn Hartwell says:

    I had a rather large reply ready. Than it deleted. Sorry that I won’t be sharing much insights this time around, but it’s too much to rewrite.

    The holidays aren’t that bad for me, honestly. I don’t have too many events to attend. I like it that way. People, like you mentioned in your post, often overwhelm themselves with things. Take the time to focus on family, close friends and let everything else fall to the wayside.

    Count your blessings. You’re alive, aren’t you?

    • Gayla Grace
      Gayla Grace says:

      I like your thoughts Shawn: take the time to focus on family and close friends. Thanks for sharing! Sorry it lost your original post!

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