Stepmemo

A note to stepmoms everywhere


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Friday Ride On The Crazy Train

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From the youngest, the caption says it all...

This week has just vaporized, I swear. It’s fine so fast, I’m still not sure it’s Friday. We haven’t had the kids, so I’ve been trying to get caught up on things I didn’t do when they were here.
I guess the trip to the mall was a big hit with the kids. The oldest is still talking about her “exciting weekend” with me. I guess she was just tickled to hang with my mom and uncle. Super weird, a teenager that wants to hang out with adults all the time. But I won’t complain.
She had told me that she had to quit talking to some friends because she found out they were doing drugs and they were racist. She’s half Mexican, so that whole racist thing doesn’t fly, and she’s not a fan of drugs either. She felt like they were the only friends she had, so we had a talk about that.
I suppose high school isn’t the place for a girl with a big heart.
The middle child has secretly pierced a second hole in her ear, by herself. I’m just glad it didn’t happen at our house.
The youngest had her conferences last night. She had drawn a portrait (the pic at the top, supposed to be a self portrait but she’s blond) and her caption says. I swear, that girl makes me Facepalm twice a day.
But I never tell her to change. Only to be herself and not be afraid of it. Can’t stop a crazy train like that.


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What? No Spongebob?!

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Holy cows and chickens. What a week, and then a weekend. I was busy every day with the girls. It helped to wear me out so I slept better and helped to keep them from fighting.
Thursday they went to the gym with me, and I don’t remember Friday. Like, at all. I feel like we went somewhere, but it’s gone from my memory forever.
Saturday was insane. I ended my day by taking the kids to the mall. There was an entire day’s worth of activity, then I took a preteen and 2 teenagers to the mall.
Yes, I’m a bit slow.
We did have a good time. There were lots of sales and they were all very happy. We joked around and laughed, and they showed all of their new treasures to me. We were starting to leave, and the youngest asked if I could take her to the Spongebob movie.
No, there are no movies today. I was toast.
Then yesterday was so in insane, in not sure there’s room enough on here to go through it all. Lots of running around and cooking, and more running. My feet were killing me.
I need a nap people. I am NOT single mom material. I can obviously push through when needed, but that was rough.
I’ve decided that I might not cook anything this week. At all. I think I’m done. I hope my husband doesn’t mind.
I left my gogo at the mall.


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Single Mom Time – Nailed It! (Sort Of)

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Courtesy parenting.com

I’m playing single mom for a few days this week. It’s just until Monday, while my husband is out of town. But a single mom gig is always a little much because, well, I’m not really a mom.
I take care of these people, and I’ve lived with them for years, but they are not my own. Although, I do love them that way, but somehow things seem exponentially more complicated when you are alone. Parenting math never makes sense.
I like to try to keep busy when I have the kids, because if we all sit in the house they will start to fight, and I will start to lose my mind. So last night we went to a craft store. The youngest had a gift card to Hobby Lobby, and she wanted to spend it, and everyone wanted to go.
We all walk in, and the youngest looks around, staring wide-eyed at everything. I ask “what do you want to look at?” She responds simply “craft stuff” and looks to me to show her the way. I lean in and say “you’ll have to be more specific, we are in a craft store“. She looks at me like I’m an idiot and says “you know, the stuff you make crafts out of”. Duh, of course. The other two are laughing to themselves at this point. The middle child says ” I know what she wants ” then takes her hand and leads her away. I decided to look around close to the registers so I would see them when they were done, and I wouldn’t have to hunt for anyone. The oldest stayed with me.
After a while, the middle child appeared and announced she’s lost the youngest. Oldest child says “you had one job!!”.
We found the youngest, went to another store and the rest of the night was uneventful.
This morning, I woke up, jumped out of bed and was sure I was 20 minutes late. I must have turned off the alarm in my sleep! Then I thought ” I better check the time “. It was 2:20. No, I was very early. I facepalmed and went back to bed.
Today is day 2 of single mommyness. It will be interesting.


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I Can’t Even

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Youngest with her duck fluff and "what are you doing" face

My fourth (I think) anniversary will be next month. In pretty sure it’s the fourth. I’m not very good at this stuff. Anyway, every year I get all nutty and want to do something nice for our anniversary. I want to get away, have a second honeymoon, a little vacation. I always want to go back to where we had our honeymoon. We had such a good time, even if it was stupid cold out the whole time.
So each year I get all amped up, and each year my hopes and dreams are destroyed. I’ve had to settle for a nice dinner. I love a nice dinner, but I love that on a regular basis, not as a special occasion like an anniversary. This year, the whole month seemed to get snatched up before I could even get excited. Our anniversary falls on a Friday this year, and it’s a weekend we have the kids.
I didn’t have the energy to try to plan around it. I just can’t. So when I suggested to my husband that the 5 of us just go to a water park together, he was a little surprised.
I just can’t care this year. I just can’t. I want to do things with my husband, I would love to get away, go somewhere, but I know that we are just not in that place right now. There’s too much going on, too many things come up. Maybe we can go to the art museum in Chicago sometime as a belated anniversary, but this year, we’re celebrating with the kids.
Why not, they are at least half of the marriage anyway. Just gonna go with it.
I think I’m gonna be doing that a lot this year. I just can’t. You know?


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Nice Jessies Finish Last

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Courtesy giphy.com

This week was very busy, in spite of the fact that there was no children or husband for most of it. I had somewhere to be every day, and a few of this things got rescheduled to new days. So it was crazy, and a little unpleasant.
For the past few weeks my office has been being remodeled, and I’ve been shoved, with a few other renovation victims, into the conference room. It’s freaking cold in there. It’s right next to the receiving door, so each time it opens, a chill breeze flows through the ceiling tiles.
I’ve been freezing my butt off. I come home from having my very frozen to the office floor and just want a shower to warm up.
This week, since there were no children, I tried a new approach; I stole their shoes. They have some really cute boots that just sit around for the whole week they aren’t here, and hey, I paid for them. So I wore them, and it was great.
Then I had that sad little moment where I realized that they have nicer things than me. I’m always pushing to give them what they need and not spoil them, and here they are with warm boots and new clothes, while Jessie is suffering mild frostbite and is a resident at goodwill.
I need to do better. It’s not a good example I’m setting of “neglect yourself for your family”. I’ve known a lot of women, and not one of them have done this without ruining their family in the end. At some point they will need to put themselves first, and if they wait too long to do it, they may be so traumatized that they never find the balance. They never pick the family back up.
I don’t want to be that girl, and I’ve been avoiding becoming her long before I ever thought I would get married.
I’m going to set a budget and make a calendar of days I can go shopping for what things, and then I will be able to decide how much I can spend. I need to get back to having a normal influx of new things.
I take care of these people, sometimes to my detriment. I deserve nice things too.
Darn it.


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She Might Be An Alien Child

weird animated GIF

courtesy giphy.com

It’s been a pretty great day. I started working on a video to promote the cause I volunteer for, and I’m pretty amped about it. After I recorded a bunch of shots to use as filler, I came home to try to save it on my computer and get a look at the footage. I was going through it, and the youngest told me she had some orchestra practices that she needed a ride to. I suggested she call her grandma, and resumed checking my footage.

She went and borrowed a phone, and I saw her dial a number and then she said “grandma?”. I didn’t hear anything else, and she put the phone down on the dining room table and went and sat down and watched tv. A minute later I happened to look up and saw the phone was on and in mid-call!! She had her grandma on the phone, and just put it down and walked away! I said “um, do you have someone on the phone?” She jumped up and said “oh” and grabbed the phone, she just started talking like nothing had happened. Unreal. She’s 11 and has no idea how to talk on a phone.

Then I saw her go in the kitchen and grab 1 paper towel. A single piece. She walked in the living room, wiped something a few times, then went and threw out the single paper towel. I asked what happened and she said she spilled some water. She went upstairs and a few minutes later I went into the living room. I saw that she had spilled a GLASS of water on the ottoman. A glass of water. She used a single paper towel to wipe up a glass worth of water off of the fabric ottoman.

I’m not sure what world she lives in, perhaps it’s parallel to reality, just way off. It seems where she lives is very far away.


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The Biweekly “I Need” Run

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It’s a Saturday with the kids. That always means the same thing; “hey Jessie, I need…” Every other Saturday when we have the kids, I spend the better part of the day running around like crazy for assorted child’s needs. Almost all of which I have been informed of the night before.
This week was nice in that I had a little more of a head’s up on what the kids needed, the oldest needed bras and wanted to use a gift card. Simple enough. The youngest has a concert and needs an outfit. We’ve been talking about this for weeks. She needed an outfit from any decade between the 50’s and the 80’s. I told her to narrow it down a bit. We had this talk several times. We get to the store today, and I asked what decade she wanted to be, and she gave her answer for everything, all the time; “I don’t know”. She doesn’t know what she wants to wear, what she wants to eat, where she wants to go, what she wants to do, but you can bet all of your money, she doesn’t want whatever it is you have planned.
Anyway, I facepalm in the store, and send her off to get some jeans while I collect several decades of outfits. Gah. At the dressing room, I only have her a few things on the hopes of speeding things along, and it did. She can’t have too much to choose from, her brain will overheat and then anything can happen, and it’s never anything good. She got a multi color polka dot skirt and striped sweater, she’s from the 80’s. Because I said so.
We dropped her off and the older two and I went bra shopping. While waiting for the oldest to try her stuff on, the middle child and I sat on little chairs in the dressing room. A man and a woman came in, and the woman insisted it was fine for her husband to try his stuff on in the women’s room. Sure, why not. I’m gonna try out a urinal, I hear it doesn’t matter.
We went to a makeup store so the oldest could use her gift card, and so I could get some makeup that won’t slide off my face 5 times a day. I look around for a few minutes and had a few ideas when a pretty woman with dark hair in a lab coat approached me. She asked in a very soft and polite voice if I needed any help. I said “yes, I’m greasy and I’m old. And when I say greasy, I mean slick!” Not a smile or look of confusion or anything, she was like a guard at Buckingham palace. Without missing a best she said she had just the thing for me. I hope she really did, but I can’t help but think she was only pushing a hot product. I hope I’m wrong, it seems like I got nice stuff, I finally got grown up makeup.
I guess that means I really am old, at least I want lying.


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It’s 7:30, Aaaaannd… We’re Done Here!

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I’ve been hibernating. Well, sort of. I mean, I still go to work, pick up the kids, come home and make dinner, and a few other assorted tasks. But I shut off at about 7:30 every night. That’s it, no more gas. Jessie stops.
I just can’t do more. I still talk to the kids, spend time with the family, but I’m not even trying to keep up with the pace I kept a few months ago. I’ve decided I don’t care. If the kids aren’t here, I can’t even bring myself to make dinner!
I have had a few really good things work out. My car was quickly deteriorating into a death trap, and there was no way to drive in the show without sliding all over. We finally decided to go get a new car, and like a week later, there is a massive snow dump over the Midwest. The timing was epic! My new job is nice and pays better. The girl I work with is hilarious, and it seems like I’m doing well so far.
The greatest thing is that we are getting an awesome tax refund this year, and it looks like we will be getting out of our hole.
I will be having a busy weekend. One child wants to go bra shopping and another wants me to take her to the Sponge Bob movie. I dig on Sponge Bob, I might be down.
One funny little thing that happened this week (there were many, but I have a hard time remembering them all), the middle child was telling me about her friend at school who is in Italian club. I asked her what that was, and she said that they learn things about their culture. I asked “do they teach them to say ‘ey,yooz guyz’?” She didn’t miss a beat and said “no, he already speaks Italian”. And then didn’t understand what was so funny.
Freakin’ kids.


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It’s Mommy Time In This Piece!

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Courtesy giphy.com

Today was the day I made the full on mommy commitment. I drove cheerleaders around this summer, and between that and needing to take 2 cars for just us to go camping, I knew it was time.
We bought a minivan.
Now when I was a single girl, living with boyfriends, I also had a minivan. They were great for road trips with friends, the insane amount of times I would need to move, and occasionally for sleeping in. But now that I’m married to a man with 3 kids, I need one for other reasons.
I tried a different car that I thought would work for us; my husband detested the idea of becoming minivan people. But after toughing it out for a few years in my car that was just a bit too small for our people, we knew we had to go ahead and become minivan people.
We knew we would be gone for most of the day, so we took the kids out for breakfast. On the way home, the youngest mentioned that she was very disappointed with the “monkey pouch”. The middle child starts laughing hysterically. I asked what a monkey pouch was, and the middle child tells me that when they were all younger, the older 2 (who are 13 months apart) told the youngest child (3 years younger) that when she got to be their age, she would grow a monkey pouch. It would be a pouch in her mouth where she could store extra food, like a chipmunk.
The youngest thought that would be great. She could put candy in there. So when she got a little older and asked about the monkey pouch, she was a little upset when they just laughed at her.
I thought this was a very creative lie; most younger siblings are just told they are adopted, like my brother told me.
After that enjoyable story, we were off to spend some time at a dealership, where we were very lucky to be able to get what we (I) wanted.
I’m pretty excited, it’s the newest car I’ve ever owned, and it has all the room we need. And a roof rack, just in case it doesn’t have all the room we need. But that makes it official, even if it’s not official, I’ve become some sort of mom.
I worry about them, I buy things for them before I buy anything for me, I know lots of their secrets, and now my car is really about them. There’s no denying that.
I turn more into the mother of kids I never had every day. Just no jeans with front-butt. Ever.


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Let’s Just Keep Still And Quiet.

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Courtesy giphy.com

Things are settling down “post-indecent” around the house. The kids are pretty quiet. That might have more to do with the fact that middle child is very obviously coming down with something and youngest child is still coughing something up (all over the rest of us, wonder how middle child got sick) but there still seems to be a subdued vibe in the house. I think we all are in recovery mode.
It was an emotionally charged moment, and after something like that and being shaken up, it takes a little bit to get settled back down.
The whole thing only further emphasized how complicated my role is. I live with these little people, I love them, take care of them, help them with their problems and laugh and sometimes cry with them, and here I had no authority. I could say NOTHING about one of my people being threatened or the fact that her advocate in this thing found fault in her for it. She goes over there and that’s it, hands off. Whatever happens, happens.
I started this blog as an encouragement to other stepmoms. This is a rough ride, and there’s no right way to take it. And no matter what, the adjustment period takes a long time, and sometimes it just sucks. I’ve worked hard to get close with the kids, and be whatever they need me to be. It took a long time, and I had to keep giving and trying, whether or not it seemed like anyone really gave a crap at the time. Now that there is a little more appreciation for the work I have put in, things are different, but I had to tough it out and just keep it up for a long time. It took persistence, it took patience that I didn’t always have.
I’ve gotten myself to the point now that when there is gum melted into the dryer, I just Facepalm and grab something to scrape it out. I suppose we’ve kind of worn each other down.
Even though I’ve transformed into some weird mommy-hybrid, and I love them as my own, I can’t protect them or help them here. I can’t do anything, even with my big bad mommy pants on.
So I will just check progress with my husband and hang out with the kids like usual.
Onward!