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July 21, 2021 4 min

Hello stepparents and thank you for joining me. In episode 1 I spoke about the long list of demands that stepparents are constantly juggling. Find the show notes for that episode at synergisticstepparenting.com/1.
Today I’d like to discuss a related topic that many of you are also very familiar with … competing priorities. Find the show notes for this episode at synnergisticstepparenting.com/2.
These might involve having to pick up or drop off your stepchild and attend an important work meeting or event in 2 separate locations … at the same time! Or vice versa, having to attend a work event or dinner and missing a stepchild’s important game, concert, performance, or celebration. 
Situations like this can be very stressful and anxiety-provoking. When I’ve been faced with these kinds of conflicts, I felt practically paralyzed as to what to do and how to choose. 
Naturally, the technology doesn’t yet exist to allow you to be in two places at the same time. And, even if it did, mental health practitioners would probably advise that it’s not a good idea to spread yourself so thin anyway. And that it gets in the way of being truly present at either event. 
So, how do you decide which is the priority and where to invest your energy? 
There are a few important aspects to consider. 
First, before drawing iron-clad lines in the sand such as “family always comes first” or “work always comes first” … consider the following. 
What is the state of your relationship with the involved players?
For example, if you’ve already been at your job for a while, have a great rapport with your colleagues and boss and know the ins and outs of the job, projects and clients really well, you will know whether this meeting or event is critical to attend. 
Conversely, if you know your stepchild and the other family members involved with the event, you’ll know how critical the event is for them and whether your presence is non-negotiable because of their feelings towards it. 
Secondly, I invite you to consider which of these conflicting commitments is most important to you? 
Take some time and space to think through and get clear on why you feel this way and where that feeling is coming from. Make sure you are being true to how you actually feel.
Once you take the time to consider these important aspects you will have much more clarity on how you might want and need to proceed. 
What do you do once you decide which priority and action to take?
The key as always with many sensitive situations is communication. 
Keeping open lines of communication and keeping each player in the loop is critical. 
I encourage you not to just tell one person and expect them to spread the word for you but to communicate to each person that’s impacted with whom you have a relationship directly. 
This simple step will mean so much to the individual - that they matter, that you are thinking about them, considering them and giving them a heads-up so that they don’t feel blink-sided. Whether it’s your stepchild, your significant other, the stepchild’s other bio-parent or another family member, your boss, colleague, vendor, or client, just the step to communicate with them directly goes a long way to preserving mutual respect and an open dialogue. 

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