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Ms. Taken

Ms. Taken is a stepmom, mom and wife. She's been known to slap a smile on her face and plow through life as her husband's ex throws nasty names, private investigators and death threats in her blended family's direction.

Ms. Taken is a winner of Top 25 Moms with Blended Families - 2012

What aspect of being in a blended family has surprised you?

When I moved in with my husband, I was surprised by how awkward my new life felt. It took a good 5 or 6 years before I started to feel like I'd become part of a family, instead of a wife plus a nanny for two kids who didn't want me around.

What's a good tip for preventing sibling rivalry?

Making sure each kid feels noticed and appreciated.

I like the "15 minutes of special time" approach to solving all sorts of issues. If you (or your husband) can't find 15 minutes to devote to each kid, to let them decide what you will play/do, then maybe you should rethink your life.

Special time is an idea I learned from Meg Zweiback's website. I think the idea is wonderful. I think Meg is wonderful. Enjoy--

What's one piece of advice you'd give to moms who are about to become part of a blended family?

No husband has ever walked through the door and said, "What a lovely job you've done with the house and kids today! Why don't you kick your feet up, while I take care of things for a bit." You must must must make time for yourself before your loved ones descend on you.