Teeter Totter summer update 2. [the one that you should read.]

Standard

Okay my posts aren’t always going to be about a teeter totter summer, but this week it is because its week 1 and everything is upside down.

Last night was …dun dun duuuun.. report card night.
9’s is almost glowing, it’s so good. he has 2 areas he can improve on, but the teacher even said “I think he’ll figure it out. He’s a leader in our class. He is an example. He works well with others, etc.” Everything a parent wants to read about their kid. He is GIDDY with his end of year grades and the positive report his teacher gave him.

13 has had this impending doom hanging above his head for the entire last trimester- he’s known it was coming. Long story short, he barely passed his year at school and we’re searching for summer school as a sort of bonus punishment. He’s lost privileges like television, tablets, cell phones, video games- all of it. very strictly for 3 weeks.

We came to this agreement about 6 minutes after we got the letter in the mail. The kids’ mom came over and my Prince kept saying, before she arrived, that “We would all discuss this and figure it out.” and i questioned him- “You keep saying we. does that mean i get to be a part of this?”
“Unless she outright won’t meet and talk about this if you’re here, yes. I want you to be a part of this.”
*huge internal smile*
Immediately after, she arrives. We all gather on the porch and she even says hi to me before i get on the porch. that’s strange.
we have our discussion and she actually listens to my input, which i am mindful to not add unless i think its very important, since this is the first time i’ve been tolerated. this is going well…

she admits a lot of her own faults in why 13 didnt succeed this year. she admits to a lot and basically reaches her hands out asking for help.
Eventually the conversation is wrapped up. I sent the boys in the house to find a book that they  were playing with the other day, it was their mom’s and her sisters from when they were kids- we gave it back to her and she smiled so big! she said she really appreciated it and held it close. and then the  boys go off to swim.
She doesn’t run off the porch.
Instead she thanks me.

SHE THANKED ME.
and she apologized for the way the last two years have been and blamed it on “momma bear.” and i just told her i understood and i thanked her.
and i told her how much i love those boys. and how much i care for them and just want the best for them. and she just said “Stepmomma, i know. they love you. and care for you. and i’m just grateful to have a support system for them. Thank you for all that you do for them and all you have done. i think things are going to be a lot better from here on out.”

WHAT!

and once she left, i walked right out to the pool and told my prince what she said, and he hopped out like “Should we talk somewhere else?” like the boys shouldn’t hear. and i said no. i intentionally came here for them to hear that their mom came to me and apologized. there was a tangible tension between us the last two years and they have openly talked about her disdain for me. I think it’d be good for them to hear that things are better. and he just smiled, like “You’re right.”

And then we took the boys to Taco Bell as a little surprise, but also because it was hot and we didn’t want to cook.

and then we took them to play tennis and 13, the one who hates all physical activity and outdoors, LOVED IT. he had fun. he smiled and laughed and ran around and then i smoked him in a real game of tennis (PS it was his first day ever of tennis, but still i won.) and then i crushed my Prince in another game of tennis that he tried, so hard, to get me to redo, but i scored on him in all 3 redo rounds. and i won again.

we all giggled and we all smiled hugely and came home feeling good.

this was my favorite day in a very long time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Competitive Me.

Standard

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been competitive.

Whether it was who could clean their room quicker, sister vs sister

Winning soccer and softball games.

Getting my name called first to be a helper in school.

Having the best baked cookies.

I don’t “take it easy” when we play board games with kids. I play to win.

Whatever it is- I will race you at it and I sure as heck plan to win.

But how does that work out when you’re a parent? How does that work out as a step parent? Simple: It doesn’t. Competition doesn’t belong within our four walls. Competition should stop there. It shouldn’t be a race to see who can wake the kids up the quickest or in the best manner. Shouldn’t be a game to see who can fold the most clothes or do the most tasks for the kids. Shouldn’t be a contest who the 12 year old will spill his guts to first. Or who 17 will text message first. But for me, it sort of is.

It’s somehow become a game. If Prince Charming walks through the door, I’m the winner if he greets me first. If he hugs 9 before me, I’ve failed. Something is wrong. I’ve told him it bugs me. That if he says I’m first than he needs to show it too. That he is happy to come home to his wife. and that things are different now that we are married. The kids cannot speak over top of me to get their dad’s attention. things are different.

So what do I do? How do I stop?

How do I change the way that it feels when I am aching for attention from my husband who works almost full time and goes to school full time and spends 25 hours in his office studying… and he reaches for the kids first? How do I respond when he misses the kids but I am breathing a breath of relief that I get 2 hours alone with my husband and don’t have children climbing on me asking for their next meal (because they know I can cook now.) How do I not get upset when he wants to spend one on one time with them but doesn’t have time for me? How has this become a competition? Who am I?

I don’t want to outweigh the kids. I don’t want him to not spend time with them. I don’t want him to ignore them. I think I expect him to be superman and it’s disappointing when he can’t be. When he can’t fill 19 roles like I hope he can. Because I have to fill a lot of gaps right now and I think I always expect him to swoop in and say, “No babe, I got this tonight.” So when I overexert myself and try to make everything work out, it’s his call at the end of the day whether the quality time was spent with the littles or spent with his wife. They both like to do different things. One doesn’t like to play board games with the other because of the age gap. One doesn’t like the outdoors and the other wants to be active and live a little bit outside of our own four walls. One I butt heads with and the other can be my best little friend at times. How do we mix ourselves together and act like a regular family who can handle having time away from other members of the family and get quality time when we can?

 

Do you struggle with this? Competition? How do you fight it? How do you win against it?

Insta-new to Instagram

Standard

new-instagram-icon22

Took the plunge and added an Instagram account for my favorite step monsters ❤ Follow me at @thestepmommablog

Upload images of your step-family and use the hashtag #blendedfamilyseries!

New Years Progress

Standard

I’m not one for setting new years resolutions. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever committed to one for more than an entire week. If I’m going to change habits or do something new, I don’t need or want a new year to be the reason- I want it to be a real, prayed over, well-needed reason. My Prince Charming is the same way, except he conveniently is trying to eat better this week… I see you New Years Resolution, I see you hiding over there. I’m not downing anyone who sets these- I applaud you, really. I just don’t function that way. I don’t like to be told what to do and don’t really like to follow orders of any sort. I like doing things my way and on my own dime.

So instead of a New Years Resolution Post, I thought I would share some goals the Charming family might have for 2017 and beyond and may share if we have made any dents in them yet. So here you go!

The StepMomma’s 2017 Goals:

  1. Decluttering
  2. Fixing up House A
  3. Fixing up House B
  4. Making healthier food and life choices
  5. Saving more moolah
  6. Paying off all debt (excluding student loans, mortgages)
  7. Weekly Bible Studies with the kiddos
  8. Reading my entire bible all the way through
  9. Hosting a Bible study in our home
  10. Becoming a DBA and LLC for my personal business
  11. More family time
  12. Learning to cook one decent meal for the family
  13. Only wearing jeans one day/week…
  14. Read more.

Some of these are totally realistic. Totally attainable. Like for Goal 1, this weekend, Prince Charming went to a local store and raided their cardboard stash from behind the building and brought home probably 40 boxes- we filled every. single. one. We sorted through our office and got rid of all but enough to fill our hallway shelves. We boxed up all of our DVD’s except the family ones. We boxed up my cameras that are on display. We pitched not one but TWO old, rickety book shelves (and have one more to go!). We have a donation bag FULL of books, movies, clothes, etc. JUST FROM THIS WEEKEND. We rocked it. Hard. We formed an assembly line with the kids to get everything into storage- as we are trying to tidy, we are preparing to sell our house and decluttering is one of those things that New Home Buyers really appreciate. Lets just hope they don’t peek in the attic.

Doing weekly bible studies with the kiddos will be a challenge. 12 is uninterested and unconcerned with our faith and wants nothing to do with it. It’s a good thing he’s not the head of the household. Becoming a DBA is challenging just trying to follow the paperwork- I have it all in my purse right now, but I have to learn the language and really understand what they are asking me. I’m so excited for this to happen!

Number 13 is my favorite. If you’ve followed me, you know that I’m a leggings connoisseur and am slightly, mildly, wildly obsessed. I sort of -jokingly- said “I’m not wearing jeans in 2017” and I think I honestly could go 3 weeks without having to wear anything but leggings. But I wore them yesterday to prove to my boss that I still have real clothes, so 1 day/week isn’t bad 🙂 I also really want to read more. it’s been a goal of mine to read more once I graduated college and had more freedom in the books I read. I’ve been out of school since August and I’ve read 4 books and am now on my 5th- it feels so good.

I’m curious to learn if you and your family set goals together? Or if you do your own? Do you set goals at all? I love talking about upcoming plans and people bettering themselves. Leave your plans below!

Exciting Things are Happening Here!

Standard

Friends, I bring good news and exciting happenings around thestepmommablog!

First, you can subscribe to my blog via e-mail now! There is a sign up button on the sidebar of my home page, or you can let me know via e-mail at thestepmomablog@gmail.com that you want to hear more from me! More than just blog posts- there will be updates, challenges, and more exciting things coming your way in 2017!

Recently, I was approached by a fellow blogger, Joey at Fruitland Home, to collaborate with other step monsters like us and create a new series on blended homes. We would love your help.

You who are step parents, divorced biological parents, step children, half siblings, other step-relative (aunt, grandparent, etc.), impressed/impacted/ from a blended family. You can help.

But how? Create a post by January 31st and e-mail it to thestepmommablog@gmail.com!

You who has felt hurts, you who has been pained and felt alone or unsure of your position- you can reach others who are in the same shoes as you. We are linking arms and creating something beautiful here. Together, with Fruitland Home we are building a place to share real life instances. Real stories, feelings, emotions and maybe even some tears. Stories from the heart and from real places in our lives. Stories that will build up and encourage others in our shoes- not tear them down. This is a place that will not tolerate cut downs or judgments on other parents, we are here to encourage and to build one another up. We are so excited to hear your stories.

unnamed

Need some inspiration on what to write? Here’s a list that Joey & I have come up with:

  • To My Husband’s Ex-Wife- An Open Letter
  • To My Kids’ Other Mother- An Open Letter
  • Why This Works
  • FAQ About Our Family
  • 10 Things No One Tells You About Being a Step-________
  • Communication Tips for Blended Families
  • Being a Blended Family With No Experience
  • Skipping the Honeymoon – Married with Children
  • Respect You. Respect Me. Respect Us.
  • Teaching Kids About Love
  • Who’s Home for the Holidays – Planning Traditions for Alternating Holidays
  • Remember: We’re All Human
  • Balancing Two Homes
  • Allowing Kids to Be Kids
  • The Fears of Being a Step-________
  • Recognizing God’s Role in Our Family
  • Blending Your New Family With Your Old Life
  • Being a Step-_______ is ________
  • Blending a Family With No Experience
  • You Don’t Owe Anyone an Explanation
  • Why Does “Step” Feel So Bad?
  • Comparing Yourself to _________
  • Mom of This House
  • 10 Things Not to Say to a Step ________
  • Things I Wish I Knew Before Becoming A Step Parent
  • Learning to Cope With a Second Family
  • To My Ex-Husband and His Other Family- An Open Letter

136231.blue_mason_jars_2.JPG.resize.jpg

I can’t wait to hear from you.

thestepmomma

Making the Switch

Standard

There are times, like now, where the anxiety is high and the tensions are high- mainly because we are stressed about the upcoming holidays (okay, mainly it’s me that is stressed, but Prince Charming has to deal with it so..), and I cannot handle the general public. And it seeps into my daily life.

o-christmas-shopping-facebook.jpg

Yesterday, I had one of those miserable Christmas-shopping experiences. I waited in line for 12 minutes before it was my turn to pay for my $1.98 purchase (2 birthday cards, I couldn’t NOT get them or I’d have to go wait in line somewhere else). The cashier was very friendly, but that was the problem. She talked and talked and talked and I wanted to gouge her eyes out for not being more productive in her cashiering. (I’ve was a cashier for about 10 years, I can critique her skills.) She took so long, I was late coming back from my lunch. It irritated me- I am not a late person. My work was slow yesterday, so all I could do was stew about it and let my anxiety continue to brew.

By the time I have gathered the kiddos from their grandparents house and brought them home, I’ve been driving too long and my head hurts, it’s time for stepmomma to take a nap but we all know that can’t really happen. 8 and 12 are pure chaos. It’s the first day of Winter Break, after all. They fight and scream and 8 cries at least two times. Prince Charming isn’t home when he says he’ll be, there’s too many dishes and too much laundry and two very stinky dogs. Too much for a Wednesday. 8 gets sent to bed, 12 goes berzerk because this means that’ he’s locked out of his room! I still can’t take it and Prince Charming is still not home.

What do I do?!

It’s so hard for me to transition. To have weekends on with the kids and weekends off from them. My mind can’t handle it. Plus the holiday craziness e v e r y w h e r e  we go. My mind goes at a billion miles an hour. I can’t come home and unwind, like a normal person. I clean, I wash the dogs, I do laundry, pick up the garbage all of the littles leave behind, and then I finally sit down to finish a photo session I’ve been working on all month- it is unending.

Two hours later, 8 wakes up and comes to sit next to me on the couch. I know it’s because my blanket is the softest one in the house, but I pretend its because he wants to be by me. He actually scoots closer. He’s almost sitting on my lap. But I’m editing, so I can’t handle distractions and I look at him and say You’re too close. I can’t do this right now. and he moves. and I forget that that moment is what I have been striving for for TWO years. and I push him away over someone’s wedding photos (that will be finished 3 weeks ahead of schedule). Is it worth it? Is it worth making my business name a bigger name than my stepmomma name? Is it worth ignoring the chance to snuggle my boy because I am full of irritation and ready to snap?

kids_music_couch.jpg

No.

But I don’t know how to switch from “Daily Life” to “Home Life” and I don’t know how to switch from “Newlywed couple” to “Parents.”