Parenting Issues: Step Mom Discovers Joy When She Chooses Gratitude

By Greg Baer M.D.

February 7, 2024

Josie married a man who had two children, hoping that she could overcome her lifetime dislike of children.

Her dislike did not go away, and she expressed irritation and disgust toward them several times a day.

Of course, this did not go well with the kids, who only behaved more badly.

I taught Josie how to find people who loved her unconditionally, and she began to feel safe and whole overall.

She wasn’t as afraid of everything as she had been, and—surprise!—she began to get along with the children.

One day she said, “You would not believe what happened today. The whole family went on an outing, and we were all together in the car for a couple of hours, then together for lunch, and together in stores, and it was BEAUTIFUL! Not a moment of contention. I sailed right through it. The next morning I was feeling a bit grouchy and couldn’t be around them. I don’t quite understand.”

Choose Gratitude for Progress

I said, “Focus on faith and gratitude, kid. You had your first happy day with children in your entire life! Celebrate. Now you can never say again that you can’t get along with kids because you proved that you CAN. 

"You felt loved from other people and from God, and with that you were able to accept and love them. Beautiful. What you do once you can do again. That’s huge. One day of love is a testament to your ability to repeat it.

“Now, remember what it took to get to that place, and keep doing that. Actually, you’re getting what you need right now with me. Good work. But that day did drain the love you had, so it’s little wonder that you had little to give the next day. You just got empty. 

"Relax, and have faith that you can build back your reserve of love. Then you can more consistently be happy yourself AND have love to give others. Perfect.”

We all need to be grateful for our progress, no matter how far out perfection appears to be. And gratitude increases our faith in our ability to continue growing. Faith and gratitude.

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About the author 

Greg Baer, M.D.

I am the founder of The Real Love® Company, Inc, a non-profit organization. Following the sale of my successful ophthalmology practice I have dedicated the past 25 years to teaching people a remarkable process that replaces all of life's "crazy" with peace, confidence and meaning in various aspects of their personal lives, including parenting, marriages, the workplace and more.

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