Stepmemo

A note to stepmoms everywhere


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Breaking News: I’m Still Alive!!

courtesy livefromtexas.tumblr.com

courtesy livefromtexas.tumblr.com

You know, it’s been a while. I haven’t meant for that to be the case, I just haven’t had much time. I’ve been doing the usual part time mom and full time job, and then I started going to school. I don’t know, maybe I’m a masochist and I abuse myself with taking time away. Not really sure what’s going on there. But school is going pretty awesome, and my job (which I didn’t want in the first place, Inside Sales) is turning into something pretty cool. I had a hard time, I knew it was a good job with good people, but I was bored out of my mind. When Jessie gets bored, bad things happen. I’ve been known to shoot rubber bands at people (got one guy right in the eye) sneak up on people and scare them. Rig up their desks, steal things from offices, hide important items… you get the idea. I run out of work and turn into a gremlin.

But there may be a promotion on the horizon and that is super fantastic.

The oldest child (now 15, gasp) has a boyfriend. He’s pretty awesome. He always wears those Adidas sandals with crazy pattern socks (like the universe, statue of Liberty, things like that) so I started calling him hot socks. The name stuck. Some family members just call him socks. It’s an initiation. You can’t be one of us without a name, a few of us have many.

The middle child graduated from 8th grade (eek!). During her graduation, we made faces at each other and she was trying not to laugh. We have stare downs and awkward offs, you know. Teenage weirdo stuff. I have no idea what lies ahead for her in high school. But she knows I’m on her side, I will always help her and I will always listen, so I hope that helps. She’s so pretty, I worry about boys, but I guess we’ll burn that bridge when we get there.

The youngest, while incredibly smart, is in that horrible tween phase. She’s too cool for everything, and then not old enough for everything else. She’s a little sassy, a little lippy, and not sure what she likes, so she acts like she doesn’t like anything. I have my work cut out for me this summer with Dennis the menace here. She is so smart, I just want her to see that she’s really got a gift, and that fitting in just makes her someone she’s not. That’s what I worry about, but I also know that middle school cures that. It’s a phase people, they all go through angry cat syndrome, it goes away. Just keep acting like nothing is wrong and they’ll come around.

I went on my first business trip. I missed the kids birthday party at my house (I’m such a turd!). All I can say about that is 1) don’t fly Spirit airlines 2) stay away from O’Hare airport (just ridiculous) 3) no matter where you travel for work, it’s still work. It’s not a vacation. That was the worst possible trip to Orlando I could ever have had. Gah.

So that’s all. I feel more and more like a real mom every day. The oldest has been staying at her mom’s house more for the summer and I keep forgetting. Like a piece is missing. I like these people. I think I’ll keep them, they’re kinda mine now anyway.


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Let’s Go Racing Thoughts

What a Sunday. It was so super nutty, it felt like a Monday. Last night I got to go to the RACES!!! YES! I’m a Midwestern girl, so I like, no I love, the smell of racing fuel and clouds of dust raining down on you and the thundering roar of engines… you know, racing stuff. I bring safety glasses to keep the dirt out of my eyes, a blanket to sit on, and try to get there early to get the best seats. I’m not an amateur. My mom got my brother and me into it when we were kids, and I still like most of the things I liked as a kid. So we went and watched the sprint cars, and it was pretty nuts (like high speed bumper cars).

I got home around midnight with the oldest child (she likes racing too, so awesome) then my husband woke up around 3am to catch a flight for a business trip to Florida. Ugh. My alarm went off for church this morning, and apparently my sleepy brain said “no” and shut it off. I jumped up at the last second and made it just in time with only one child in tow (again, the oldest). I came home, took middle child and youngest child shoe shopping, then to the grocery store. Then back home to create and print a newsletter, make dinner, clean the kitchen and then off to one of my volunteer services (I make the newsletter for them) which I fell asleep during (oops). Back home to cram dinner in my mouth then go pick up oldest child.

You know what? I’m not good at this single mom stuff. The youngest child had too much sugar and then did the thing where she melts and everything irritates her and makes her cry, and I just cooked my lunches for the week. I had no brainpower left to come up with a real solution to that problem. She fell hard and hurt her butt and was overtired and oversugared and melting all over the couch. I tried to giver her ibuprofen for her sore butt and she cried the she couldn’t swallow pills. She will be 11 in a few months, perhaps now is a good time to learn. She didn’t understand why I didn’t keep children’s pain reliever on hand, and why she was near the weight limit for it to even work anymore. I stayed out of the room and let her older sister coach her through it, and for the first time, she took pills!!!  It was such a victory!!

Almost everything with the youngest child is mind over matter. She is always deciding she can’t do something or she doesn’t like something before she has any idea for sure. If I can show her she can do something, or get her to try something with as little prodding as possible, then she can go “Oh, this isn’t so bad!!” and add something new to her list. She is afraid of a lot of things, she doesn’t like change (at first, she always changes her mind, immediately disagrees) she doesn’t trust anybody, she doesn’t think anyone else knows how to do anything, even if she asks them for help. But she has an amazing imagination and she is incredibly (I mean incredibly) smart. She reads and draws and writes amazing things. I don’t want all of that intelligence and creativity to be stuck inside a little box of fear. I want her to be free, and bold and brave. I want her to dare to do crazy things and be different and try new things. Push ideas that others tell her will not work. I want her to do those things because I know she can.

I don’t have a key for her box of fear. I don’t know how to get her outside of that and see it. See that she is turning things down with out a chance, and see that she is keeping herself from doing things that might be great.

I feel secure in knowing the other two are growing up and becoming responsible and mature. They are good kids and have a solid foundation of early teen years to build upon for early adulthood. I just have to figure out how to make some building blocks for the youngest one. She could be so amazing, but that also makes her the most complex to work with.

I started this off trying to talk about my exhausting day as a single (step) mom, just winging it and barely making it work. I ended up talking about child development. So weird. Sometimes it’s like I’m a mom but not a mom. I’m the unmom.

I’m going to bed. This was way too productive of a Sunday.