[just maybe]

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maybe i am a little too much. too forward. too direct. too needy. too involved.

we’re in the throws of custody arrangements for 11 and 15. everything that has occurred in our household since we filed paperwork has been e.g.g.s.h.e.l.l.s.

i have to be on my best behavior, because “this is the time they’ll think about if they get spoken to at court” or that quite possibly “this is what they’ll go back and tell her when they see her again.”
well. they’re talking back. they’re not doing any work in the house (i.e. chores). they’re not doing anything productive (tablets. tv. video games) and they’re driving me up a wall. i can justify a yell or two at them. especially for the disrespectful crap.

oh well. that i can tolerate.

15’s birthday wasn’t too long ago and everyone came over for dinner to celebrate. 22 just bought a motorcycle and rode it out. then it got cold and very dark and the lights didn’t want to turn on, so he borrowed our truck to take home and parked the bike in the garage overnight (in my spot, i might add.) no big deal. My prince invites 22 and his girlfriend to come to church with us in the morning, since they’ll already be making the drive back out. “We’ll see” is the response he gets. Prince tells him what time we think we’ll be home, so we can make plans and he can figure out when to come. Nothing strange.

We get home from church and lo-and-behold, our truck is back and a bike is running in the driveway. This is odd. Our house was locked. Our garage was locked. 22 doesn’t have a key. 22 finagled his way into our house (aka broke in) while we were at church and his girlfriend was rushing to pack their bags and trying to leave. We make these observations as we pull in and are still in the car. I announce that i’m going to yell at them. Only 15 objects.

So i get out. i ask him how he got his bike out if the house was locked and he chuckled and said, “Magic!” and i proceed to tell him to not do that sort of thing. why couldn’t he have texted us and let us leave a door open for him or just let us KNOW he was doing that instead of intentionally coming when we were at church and trying to leave before we got home? I got in his face a little because he didn’t have the decency to shut his bike off. Girlfriend doesn’t speak. Prince doesn’t speak. I’m shaking.

A mere two weeks ago, we did have someone come in our house unannounced and unexpected. it was a very unsettling feeling and not one I want to re-entertain. 22 is not mine. 22 hasn’t ever tried to get to know me. 22 doesn’t really come around as it is.

22 didn’t come to easter. 22 ran his mouth at his mom’s easter and 19 told us about it.
i’m so frustrated that i am in the wrong for being upset that someone came into my house. MY HOUSE. unannounced. unwarranted. i am in the wrong for speaking up and for getting mad that this happened. the story would be different if he were active and involved in our lives, but he’s not. the younger kids sometimes say he’s not even really their brother, since he’s never around.

ugh.

 

stepmomming.

 

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middle ground

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we’re in the middle of a battle with their mom.

it’s making me want to delete this page in case any of my deepest, darkest thoughts of how terrible the kids can be sometimes ever became public.

im not sure i can.

[there is hope]

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i’ve never been known as a chef. or someone who even likes to cook.

but when i got married, i realized it was something i’d need to learn to do because my husband will not want to cook every single day for 4-8 people.. even though i wish he did 😉

the last several meals i’ve made have come with complaints- it’s too crispy, the flavor is off, there’s too much of this, not enough salt (okay thats so easy to fix its not even worth saying!), i don’t like this kind of food, etc.

and this drives me bonkers.

it makes me wild because i DON’T complain about food. i used to when i was a kid and i literally got beat for it (i honestly deserved it). but now that i’m an adult and can appreciate the effort it takes to put into a fully planned out meal, i don’t complain. if my husband asks what i think, my response is almost always that it’s good. he knows some foods i don’t like (okay most) and i still try to find a way to compliment it because i don’t want to cook.

i don’t stand by when kids complain or when they’re unhappy with plans, etc. they do not get to dictate what foods we eat, what events we take part in.

so last night, i made tacos. the simplest meal. the first thing i ever learned to cook.

14 comes int he kitchen to ask what’s for dinner. i almost dont tell him because i don’t want the snarky comments.

“Tacos”
14: “YES. i’ve been craving them”
Me (in my head): Probably because i told you three days ago we were going to eat them and i haven’t made them yet. either way, i’ll count this as a win.
14: but your tacos are always dry
Me: They’re not always dry. but okay thanks.

They were dry the last time. because they came home 90 minutes later than they were supposed to.

So i prepare the entire meal. i chop the lettuce, i get the sides, i set the table, make the place settings. i do it all. i clean up my cooking mess. the kids are responsible for putting drinks on the table.

Prince Charming: I think these are the best tacos you’ve ever made! 14, there’s juice in there, you see it?!
14: yeah. but there’s corn tortillas here and they’re nasty.
Prince Charming: WHAT?
ARE YOU DISRESPECTING STEPMOMMA? ARE YOU TALKING POORLY TO HER? DON’T YOU EVER DO THAT. I’LL TAKE YOUR DINNER AWAY AND ALL OF YOUR DEVICES AND YOU’LL GO TO BED RIGHT NOW (3 hours early).
StepMomma: speechless. dead. in awe.

it finally really, truly, fully happened.
he really defended me. without my prodding. without me nudging. without it even being much of a situation yet, he defended me to his kids.

 

And all the people said, “AMEN!”

[up & down]

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Up & down

& side to side

This way and that.

Oh, how heart strings can be pulled.

A few weeks ago, I had finally started feeling like we had “it” figured out. Like our family was over the hump of learning these ‘new’ (3 + years old) dynamics. That we were finally a real family.

I was sorely wrong.

One of the kids is doing terribly in school (again) and I can’t mentally take it anymore. I hate that i am a parent of a student that is just like the kids i used to tutor in high school.
-we ask if there’s homework there never is any
-we assign extra study time it takes hours to finally convince him to sit down
-we assign reading time if he actually reads..

We have taken away tablets. we have taken away all forms of entertainment. We have given extra chores. we have threatened private school. we have removed phone privileges. we make him keep his electronics downstairs, away from him. we praise the other one, who is doing better. we give the other one perks. What else is there?

I feel so wrong in saying it, but i want this kid to get a beat down. Not punch-him-in-the-face kind of beat down, but enough to remind him that he’s the child who doesn’t make good decisions and we’re the parents who see what’s best for him.

Last time a spanking was threatened, my prince texted their mom and asked for permission (WHAT?). Who would grant permission? Especially in another house? Who would actually say “YEAH GET HIM!” and encourage it? So he didn’t.

I’ve sat down with 14 and told him i’m disappointed. that i know he is so capable of more. i’ve threatened to remove his door, screw by screw, because privacy is the only thing that’s left and the only thing i am capable of removing from his life. after all, he’s 14. privacy isn’t really a thing anyway.

Shortly after this conversation, on a ride home from work, kids in tow (while sound asleep), my Prince snuck in that he doesn’t want me to have any role in discipline anymore. That when we got married, i agreed to him as the disciplinarian. That’s how things should be.
No mind that two years ago, he told me it was okay for me to have a role.
Nor that my Prince frequently is outside, away from the kids- leaving me as the one to determine how things go.
No mind that we’ve been married almost four years now.

No mind at all.

So in the past few weeks I have moved from a mountain high- feeling as if we had it all. Feeling confident. Happy in our home. Happy in our space. Happy with our family

to a valley of lows

feeling insignificant. feeling worthless, useless, and completely unneeded. He also reminded me that he CAN do it on his own. Something he doesn’t usually forget to keep out of the conversation. So i am reminded that no, I’m not needed. He can do it. He is capable. i am actually not needed. I am actually extra space. i am actually an addition to the problem.
he’d rather they hate him

i’d rather be the hated step parent than be the wife of the father they hate. i’d rather they hate me and love the poop out of their dad.

no, i don’t want to be THE disciplinarian, of course not. but i want to be able to address situations as they come.

there is never time to discuss.
rather, the right time. it’s too late. the kids are home. it’s dinner time. the tv’s on. i want to work outside. i don’t want to sit here. you can’t force me to talk to you.
there is never time.

So here i am. an empty shell.
trying to turn my nights of feeling lost into nights that I dig into God’s word. This is a method I haven’t yet tried, though I know it’s the best. My church is doing nightly readings and they have a plan they’ve shared with us. I’m trying to commit to it and read the daily chapter. Trying to involve my prince. if i read, that’s more time i’m silent. if i read, that’s more time I get to know my savior. what bad could possibly come from this? i’m ashamed it’s taken me 28 years to carve out time to read even a mere chapter per night. now is better than any other time.

so here i am. an empty shell. waiting for His direction. He immediately told me to submit. to do what i’m being asked. not to be spiteful. so my tongue almost has holes in it from me biting my words. my head hangs a little lower. my insides are upside down. and now we’re learning a new journey.

here we go.

 

 

[the weeks of on & off]

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Most of you will agree with me that step parenting is [hella] hard. it is challenging, it is defining. it is everything you never expected it to be.

Here we are, a few weeks into the new school year and “officially” doing week on/week off with the kids. This arrangement has been the norm for the past couple summers, but not for school days. This is new.

It is unreal how much of a roller coaster life can be.
One week, there are four to seven of us in one house. Screaming, chaos, babies, three dogs, video games, constant chatter. Another week, it is just my Prince and I. working silently in our own corners (because we both just need time to detox and feel like we can accomplish something without the kids being at our side.)

Mostly, I’m enjoying week on/week off. it feels like we have a chance to actually make an impact on these kids now. it feels like we have a chance to actually get to know them as they grow instead of brief visits. Like the sort you might have with your out-of-town grandmother. Come over for dinner and in bed no later than 9PM.But i’m back to transition days for myself. The monday after, I can’t hardly move. I need rest. I need fast food or non-laborous meals that don’t have dishes. I crave candy and sweets and every indulgence that will make me feel human again. A shower. And tv.

The weeks of off are odd, though. Because i am one who’s love language is absolutely, Time. I like just one night of us doing our own thing. I don’t like working on our own projects, i always want my husband to ask me to help. This week i’m sick, so i can’t help at all since his project is canning food. My husband craves time on his own and thrives when he is able to work in the yard for a few, uninterrupted hours. He comes back in the house smiling and joy-filled and ready to interact with me. If he works outside and i come to hang with him or help, there is so much less excitement and sometimes that kills me.

The weeks of off have consisted of TV and bad food. We eat like pigs when the kids aren’t around. We sit in front of the tv every evening ( i hate tv) and fend for ourselves for food.

The weeks of on have order. Come home, one of us cooks ( i try to when the kids are home so they can see dad). relax til dinner or do chores. Dinner. Homework. Someone get in the shower. Someone else get in the shower. SOmeone please please please help me put the dishes away. No one does. Someone else get in the shower. Kids: Read. Go to bed. Start over.

it is so weird for us to have these two lives. for things to bounce so drastically. for their to be this much change and for it to just be our normal.

we have a vacation every other week! we get time to breathe! we have relief!

why do i want a kid again? those things are constant.

 

 

[still here.bonus mama updates]

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hi friends

Sorry i have been so quiet.

I am someone who cannot handle a pause. I like to have my hands dripping in sweat because I’m involved in so many things, so here, in nutshell, is what life has looked like as of late:

-Slingin’ Makeup (Younique babies- if you need a refill lemmmme know!)
-Keeping up with the chickens
-Dog Mommin’
-Photographing everything and everything (9 sessions in June, 4 in July)
-Working full time
-Church/soul searching
-House Cleaning aka finally making sense to the boxes of our stuff that have wound up on shelves
-Beating the heat (or trying to)
-Loads and loads of laughs.

So last year, at the beginning of summer- you might remember me having a little bit of a meltdown about going week on/week off with the kids. I was terrified. It was daunting. Well, I had similar feelings this summer. In the midst of trying to acclimate myself to new scenery, churches, towns, I wasn’t ready to take on kids for that long. Selfish? Maybe. Self- Aware? Definitely.

I know that when I get overloaded, i either crack or i burst. When it’s with kids, it’s usually bursting. As in I burst my emotions all over everything, I yell, i cry, I fight, i everything -not- productive. So i was terrified to have this huge switch. This back and forth-ness that we experience. The drama, the headaches. i was terrified. I couldn’t do it again.

This summer has been different.

I’ve been telling my Prince that I have noticed some huge changes. Some weird little things that honestly, make my day.

Prince and i have stopped carpooling, due to overtime schedules and me not wanting to wake up at 4:30AM for my 7:30AM start time. No shame in my sleep game. So we get home at different times. Almost every day that I get home, 14 will stop what he’s doing and come to greet me. A few times, he’s been mowing the lawn and will wave at me from the moment I get in the driveway until I stop and can actually call out a “hi!” to him. Sometimes he even gets off the mower and comes to say hey.

WHAT?

10 isn’t as excited, but certainly does come to say hi and acknowledge that I’m home. They give me a recap of what chores they did and wait for their “good job!”s. or critiques, whatever there is.

Even more of a wow, 14 has been himself lately. He finally broke up with his crummy girlfriend that we are convinced was the reason he failed 7th grade and barely scraped by in 8th, even though she is a successful student. He laughs again and seems to have fun with his brother- which is so neat.

But most recently, the most amazing thing happened.
14 and i were standing in the toy aisle at Wal mart, they were shopping with their chore money, and he just looked at me and said “Stepmomma, I think we should keep doing the week on/week off thing.”

See, we mentioned it ONCE about 3 weeks ago. Just to get a feel for how they like this setup. there was no push back. They seemed fine with it. 14 suggested we do a ‘trial’ once school starts… little does he realize that the summer is the trial.

We haven’t talked to their mom about it. There is always some fear in approaching changing schedules. It has never gone our way.

Last year, my Prince wanted to take a course that was on Wednesday nights. I told him I’d handle the kids but it wouldn’t really be fair because they’d only get to see him to say goodnight, so we inquired with their mom if we could trade nights for just one semester. Her response? Find another class. and that was it.
No matter that this class was only available in this particular time slot and is required for graduation. That doesn’t matter. What mattered is that she has a beer league she plays for and didn’t want to change that up for us for 8 weeks.

Here’s the thing:

14 has failed school the last 2 years
10 isn’t required to read at all this summer, even though their mom enrolled him in a summer reading program.
They don’t have chores at her house
They don’t have responsibilities at her house
they cook for themselves most of the time and have no limit on sugars/sweets.
They don’t have a bed time
And they have a caring, supportive, involved dad who deserves more.

So as scary as it is to say, I think if she disagrees, there might be court to come.

Pretty soon, 14 will be driving and I’m certain we will see less of him. We want to take advantage of the time we have left before girls and cars become the most important things in his life.

When we were at the store on Sunday, we were teasing in the aisles, and he said “You’re a great step mom you know that?” sarcastically.
And I said, “Yeah. I know. Or you wouldn’t have made a replica of me out of legos for Mother’s day.”
His response was finger guns.
Which means “you’re right.”
At lunch on Sunday, which the kids prepared for US, 14 led us in prayer and thanked God for helping us to find a church, find a home, and for being where we are.

He has been warming my heart so much, lately. I surely hope this lasts.

For 14,

fcbecaea-303d-469f-9dd9-958e92c6b8b1_2.2fc7e919e989fd819bec92fce0b3e30c

love,

“bonus mom”
As he affectionately calls me.

[reblog: What It’s Time For You To Do]

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What It’s Time For You To Do

 

“Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires” (Ephesians 4:22).

My daughter, hear the song in your heart for Me. Hear the song of longing, of beauty, of self-forgetfulness, for the sake of joy.

Surrender and receive more joy.

What is it you need to surrender? What is it you need to believe more deeply about Me? What is it, child?

Oh, come, be rescued.

Oh, come, hear the thunder in the distance, the rolling of the beat, my own heart speaking your name.

Lay down, my girl.

Lay down the future.

I’ve got you.

Lay down the past.

I’ve got you.

Believe I am for you, that I come for your heart in ways you don’t yet even know.

But you want to know, don’t you?

You want to see Me coming for you, running, my arms spread open. Daughter, turn it over again, that place in your heart that I touch, that I reach in and grasp and show you what it is you need to lay down.

Lay yourself down, my love.

It won’t hurt too much. I promise. And what is pain? Come—come deeper now.

Lay down.

Come closer.

It is only painful when the old self dies. Let it die again.

Oh, the thunder rolls. My heart beating still. Let that self be killed to receive more of Me. I promise—it’s worth any temporary pain.