Stepmemo

A note to stepmoms everywhere


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Why This Is

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The girls when i met them, and only one liked me.

I’m pretty sure I’ve said this a few times over the course of my blogging, but maybe I haven’t. Or maybe you’re new here. But about a year ago, I had been talking with a fellow stepmom in my family, and she was having a hard time. Among second wives I’ve spoken to, the common sentiment is that it’s rough going.
I kept trying to put positive little things on Facebook to encourage these women, but I found I had more to say than a little post would allow. So I looked into blogging.
All I wanted to do was tell people that family life is hard, and it’s hard for all of us. But it doesn’t always have to be that way. I want you to be encouraged that this isn’t forever.
Yes, they will be your spouses children forever, but they won’t try to come between you forever. They won’t drag remnants of a former life into your home forever. The drama isn’t forever.
The hard part is standing on the sidelines, being the cleanup crew and support staff in the meantime. There were a lot of nights I went to bed hurt and frustrated, feeling like the maid. There were times I had angry outbursts and times I cried alone. But none of that was forever, even though at the time it sure felt like it.
The kids got older and they saw how I toughed it out. They saw I tried hard and made sacrifices. They saw how much I love their dad, and how much I put them first and really appreciate them. I cherish their hands made things, I have shoeboxes full of old homework, drawings and school pictures. I have kept every Christmas ornament they have made, and take time to talk about each one all over again every year.
But most of all, I listen to them. When they talk I listen to them. I sit down and look at them and respond just as I would any other human being. I answer all of their big ugly questions, I support the positive things they do and I listen to them without judgment.
That alone has made the biggest impact in my relationship with my family. I have seriously cut down on my cleaning time because I’m just talking to the kids all the time. I saw a need and I fulfilled it.
That’s all being a stepmom really is, filling the gaps. There’s not much else to do, and it’s not easy.


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Am I Tired or Is It Just Boring In Here?

courtesy gihpy.com

courtesy gihpy.com

Yeah, this whole week alone thing is jive. Turkey. This is bunk. I’m not sure how else to explain this in “dude” which is my native language.

That whole “bunk” thing is not totally true. I got to do a few productive things. But I’m not sure if it’s the boredom, or if I’m still catching up on sleep, but I am ready for bed at like 7. I feel like I’m 80. I’m not sure what to do with myself, and I’m super unmotivated, so I’ve been playing computer games. I mean, I’ve been looking for jobs too (which is productive), but mostly looking at Facebook and playing games.

Work this week is super insane, which I suppose couldn’t have fallen on a better week. I can come home, eat some emergency chocolate and put my feet up. And play games. If I could remember to pick up some stinkin’ batteries, I could be playing some Legos Star Wars. Yeah, I’m a nerd. Don’t judge.

But it’s quiet and boring and there’s no one to talk to. So like I said, I can’t tell if I’m bored of if I’m really tired because work has been super crazy and I woke up at 5am. But I’m going to bed. Maybe I can sleep this boredom off.

I really like my husband. He can come home now.


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I Took a Day Off to Catch Up On Work.

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This year, I have been taken out of the holiday hosting circuit. Now I don’t know that there will be Christmas at my house, but Thanksgiving is off my plate. Ha, pun.

The youngest child’s birthday is in the beginning of December, smack between the two holidays. Normally, I’m just getting a little frayed around the edges at this time. I always want to do something more than dinner and cake with family for her, but just can’t pull it off.

Plus, birthdays are kind of a foreign concept for me, so I have a hard time remembering the importance of it to someone else. I know, it sounds mean. I’m sorry, I just don’t get it.

So we are planning a rock climbing wall party for her this year. I’ve been asking her all week to come up with a list of people she would like to invite. For most people, a list of friends comes easily, right of the top of their head. It has taken her all week to come up with a list of people. I’m pretty sure it will change several times before we get to the actual party. There’s almost nothing she likes more than two days in a row. But that’s not my problem. I just have to get the rest of it together.

It’s been an amusing week. The middle child and I are irritating the crap out of the youngest by only speaking to each other by yelling. The other day, those two were fighting over couch space, so I made them sit up so we all could fit. They sat there pouting, so I said “life sucks when Jessie’s here”. Then the oldest shouts “no! without you I wouldn’t have food!”

Not much of a compliment. Whatever.

Today I took a day off of work. I spent my whole day running errands and cleaning. I did get some sweaters and a pair of shoes out of the deal, and my house looks pretty great. Nice accomplishment. Now the youngest is asking when the invitations to her party will go out.

That’s an excellent question. J


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Beef and a Nap; A Perfect Sunday

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Courtesy foodnculture.com

Today is a day of rest. I only half decided that, my husband decided the other half. I’m looking a little like I’ve been put through The Mangler (see Stephen King short stories), and feeling a bit that way, too. Work has been, well, complicated.
But I don’t want to talk about that, except to say I’ve only got one more rough weekend and that’s it. Thank God.
Today I came home in the morning and crawled into bed, freezing cold. I had told my husband that I had been STARVING and very much needed a burger. I’ve been eating lots of low fat sandwiches, I needed some real food.
He took me out for a wonderful lunch date. We haven’t had a date for a long time, and this was very nice. But he said I looked like I was going to fall asleep in my burger, so I enjoyed the social time while I could, then we went to Walgreen’s so I could stock up on some things I’ve been out of for a long time.
A burger and a trip to Walgreen’s. It was a really great day. I may not be a cheap date, but easy to please for sure.
He tried to be nice and go to the store for me, but that required thinking, and I can’t hang with that today. I will just go tomorrow.
I haven’t fully decided, but pretty close, that I’m not as low maintenance as I would like to be. I was in my 20s, but I like to have nice things now. I don’t mean I need designer jeans, but I like to be able to go out with my husband regularly. I like to be able to get my hair cut every few months, and I like to buy new clothes a few times a year.
And I like for us as a family to go do something cool a few times a year, like go to Chicago, or spend a weekend at a water park in the middle of winter when we start losing our minds.
All things that I see normal, middle class people do all the time.
So I’m nervous about it, but I may be needing a career change soon.
I will worry about that tomorrow. Today I’m resting and happy with the wonderful date I had with my husband. I sure hope there’s more to come!


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It Must (not) Be My Lucky Day!

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Courtesy imgion.com

Today was slightly less cranky than yesterday. I mean everyone else was slightly less cranky.  I think I’m about the same as yesterday. Things seemed more pleasant at work.
I’m trying my hand at working my second job on Tuesdays. I know I should keep an open mind because we need the money, but it already sucks. It was a mad dash to get here to hang or with someone who wants to be crystal clear that I’m not wanted here. Because Tuesdays just aren’t awesome enough on their own. I had to add an extra dose of suck.
I’m not amped about this.
The kids all decided to get into a classic show, they watched the twilight zone. I had told the oldest about it, and since we don’t have cable, she had plenty of time to search for it on Netflix. The conversation got into how if everyone was ugly, no one would be ugly, so they watched “the eye of the beholder” with the pig faced people. Middle child was a little freaked out. The youngest was perplexed by the term twilight zone. She seemed to think it was an actual place.
So we discussed those mysteries and then I dashed off to work. One little thing about dinner bothered me a bit. They always used to call seats at the table, according to who sat next to me and my husband. It’s been a while since anyone called a seat next to me.
I guess when you’re making a sacrifice for your family (or many of them) it makes the small things stand out more.
Oh well. All I can do now is try to survive the next 24 hours with no sleep and 2 jobs. Wish me luck!


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I Hope That’s Not a Turd on My Slipper

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courtesy oz.wikia.com

So tomorrow is Friday. Big deal. I had a moment this week. It was a moment of trying to let go and move forward. Those are a little gross sometimes, occasionally you step in the mud. Going forward is never easy.

Raising a family is a lot of work, and it’s more complicated when the family is not quite yours. You do the manual labor and trip over yourself to balance out the public relations between 2 households. It doesn’t seem as rewarding as actual parenthood. There’s no “hi mom” at every event, no hugs, or “I love you”. You are present at holidays, but not remembered, except for being in the kitchen.

There are little things. I keep little momentos of their lives, and they think that it’s amazing I care enough. They tell me things that they can’t always tell anyone else. Dad is a guy, and mom might not appreciate it. I do my best to hold in all of my reactions and not act like anything is a big deal, like not having a “our little girl is growing up!!” moment when the middle child got her monthly this summer (TMI). I know that’s key to having their trust.

I didn’t want this whole “stepmom” thing to be it. I was more than just the lady who cooked and cleaned and drove everyone around. I was more than the nanny, than the live-in maid. I had a hard time with thinking that this was enough. I started trying to volunteer for things, I started this blog, I started trying to reach out and make deeper connections with people. Well, at least this blog worked!! I can’t believe how many people are reading this!!

Well anyway, after all that stuff that was supposed to make me feel like a “real girl” fell through, there was still a house to run. And a couple teenage girls who need help through this sick, sad world (Daria reference). I had a long talk with one of them today. I had a chance to have a deep, meaningful conversation about how to ask someone if something is wrong without making them think you’re weird, things high school boys will dump you for, and lots of talk about her trip to Africa (she went last year with her dad).

She got a little choked up at the end of the conversation and cried a little, and then her mom came to pick her up. She hurried up to wipe away the tears and picked herself up before walking out the door. She only let me know about that little moment.

It was hard to let go of those things. I wanted to make a difference, I wanted to make friends. I wanted to be a person outside of my house. But I came home and there was a person here who needed me to talk to and had no other options.

I had to step up and work hard. And now I have to step forward and leave some things behind. I hope there’s no mud on my shoe, I don’t want to track any dirt where I’m going. Even if I don’t know where that is.


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My Brain Said It Was Friday Yesterday. And Stuck.

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Tomorrow is Friday. There are lots of good things about Friday. Not only is it the last day of the week, but also, I’m alone for most of the day at work.

My boss is a pastor, and that pastor has ADD. He will be the first to admit it. So today, he tried to take me along on his short-term attention challenge. I didn’t last long. In the middle of trying to finish one thing he would start three more and try to talk about all of them to me. My brains shut off at some point. The lights just went out in my head and it all just stopped.

So tomorrow will be nice and quiet, and I will actually get some work done instead of being on a challenged attention span roller coaster with all kinds of stops and interruptions. Ugh.

I do get to have a date with the husband, which will be really nice. We haven’t gone on a date since we went to the zoo, and I think that was August. And I have some things to look forward to on Saturday. More time with the hubby, and a little time just for me. I can’t tell you how long I’ve waited for that. I realize sometimes that playing mom makes you a little crazy.

It’s not that the kids are bad, it’s not that I don’t like spending time with them. It’s just you don’t realize that you’ve spent all of your time an energy on those little people until you don’t have any for you. Or your husband. There will be times where we see each other every day all week, and I will miss him just because we don’t spend any time alone.

But I got to spend some time with a friend last night, I get some overdue quality time with the hubby this weekend and more time with another friend on Tuesday. Having some nice, simple things to look forward to is so therapeutic.

I’m pretty amped.


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Boo-Hoo Space-Out

courtesy summernash.blogspot.com

I’m overtired and having one of those selfish days. One of those days where I wish I had a nice date with my husband to look forward to. One of those days where I wish I could just go out and buy a pair of NEW shoes to replace my old brown ones that I’ve destroyed.

A couple weeks ago I got a new purse and it was great. I still look at it and say “man, that’s a nice purse!”. Almost everything I buy is second hand. I don’t mind much because no one notices. And I don’t feel guilty at the register.

I always wanted to think I was low maintenance. I always wanted to say I could do without. But after a while, one day you just wish you could do something. A nice date night, a shopping trip for yourself. Anything.

My last job was salary pay, and it was nice. We could afford to go do a few really nice things every year, and I could make a couple “new” shopping trips a year. But that’s not quite the case anymore. I miss it. I guess I’m more high maintenance than I thought.

That’s one of the biggest reasons I am looking forward to my new job. I’m imagining going shopping for something for me and going out to a nice, quiet dinner with my husband. Or to the movies. Or anywhere. We got to go to the zoo a few weeks back, and that was fantastic, but I don’t think a date is in the budget any time soon.

So I guess I’ll put my little boo-hoo lip away and go take a nap. Then I’ll try to make something nice for dinner with the chicken in the fridge. I start training for my new job soon, so relief should be on the way. I will keep daydreaming until then. I’m really good at it!


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Even the Dust is Bored…

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Okay, the silence here is killing me. Not sure what the volume level at your place is, but it’s just been terrifyingly still at my house for days.

At first it wasn’t horrible, I was keeping insanely busy. I was sanitizing the whole place and rearranging furniture and what not. I just didn’t sit down until it was time for bed. But I got home really late yesterday.

Then today, after a long and horribly silent day in a church (yes, it was quiet as a church) I came home to a horribly silent house (also, quiet as a church). Husband has been in freaking France all week. He’s been sending me pictures, and I hope he’s having a good time. I sit and stare at my fish in the tank. That is sad.

I just can’t take it. I need some me time, a little quiet time here and there, but an entire week of it just sucks. No one to talk to. No. One. All. Day. Gah!

THEN, I am filling out a job application, and it was asking for personal references that aren’t coworkers or relatives. That’s like almost everyone I know! Wringing out a couple people proved to be a challenge, and I had to pull someone from my “professional” reference list! I don’t have time for that kind of stuff! I have a family! Now give me a job.

Yea, this week has been a quiet, sad little delve into loserville. It’s gross here, don’t visit. I’m getting out as soon as I can.

Oh, and what do I have to do to get off this weird schedule rollercoaster? One week it’s back to school bedlam, and the next is like being in sensory deprivation. Someone balance the tires on my life, it’s a little wobbly. Thanks.


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Friday Funk Relief

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Our strolling area

Today did so much to redeem my total garbage Thursday. I really thought all I had worked so hard for all week was slipping through my fingers right in front of me. I was pissy and upset and felt robbed. But I sucked it up and did my work (well as much as I could anyway) and kept busy. And pouted a little. I had some boo-hoo, so what.
But at 2:30 (30 minutes before I would normally go home) the printer technician showed up!!! I was so happy. He came in and was just shy of telling me I was either a liar or an idiot (some of these snooty repair guys, I swear) but he finally got it fixed. After a few hours of printing, I was free to go. I left around 6. My husband had been home from his trip a few hours, so he has some time to unwind before I came home. I can be intense sometimes (no way).
So this morning I didn’t have to go to work. It was glorious. I slept until done absurd time, like 11, then whipped up a quick breakfast and off we went.
We stopped at the zoo, then we went and just walked around downtown. It was so great. There were a few times where it got still and I was sweating sheets, but that was totally okay. I love the zoo and I love walking around nice downtown areas. And then we had some super amazing Thai food for dinner (fat kid love). It was a great day.
Now we are having a fire and just relaxing in the yard with the dog. It has been pretty close to a perfect day. I’m a very lucky girl.

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Sleepy guy at the zoo