Reblog:

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“While I don’t mind when you assume I am their mom, my stepkids do. They have a mother. I get to be their bonus mom. It’s hurtful to have to explain that I am their stepmom, or worse, to hear them quickly correct you, by saying, “She’s not our mother.”

This is my least favorite one. It happened last night at the little restaurant our family likes. “You all ordered a lot and I bet Mom here will help make sure you finish it here.” not noticing the fat joke she made, we nodded and carried on.
Then 9 steps in and says, “Step…….mom.”
Can we seriously not get through one public encounter without having to explain the dynamic of our family to perfect strangers?
I am the mother at the table. I may not be your biological mother, but I am the one who is doing the mothering at this given time. I am mothering these kids when they cry, when they spin in circles on their spinny chairs and have nothing else to do, when I pick up their dirty laundry, when we play video games on our phones, when I drive them to and from the bus stop. I am mothering, even though I am not their mother.

Does this perfect stranger need to know that our family is confusing and is a mess? No. Can’t we just sweep the extra “Step” words under the rug for just this meal? Why is it so much?
What will our meals look like when we take new kids to dinner with the older kids and the waitress says “Mom, what’re you having?” Will 9 say, “She’s not our mom. She’s their mom but not ours. She’s our step mom,” ?

This article is so good.

https://www.romper.com/p/10-ways-you-dont-realize-youre-shaming-stepmoms-48569

Courtesy of Steph Montgomery

10 Ways You Don’t Realize You’re Shaming Stepmoms

By 2 days ago

Once upon a time, an evil stepmother spent her days thinking of ways to make her stepkids miserable. Oh wait, that’s not right. She actually spent her days thinking of ways to bond with them, engage with them, and not step on anyone’s toes. Being a stepmom is seriously hard. Sometimes harder than being a mom, and society has some serious preconceived notions about what I’m like, only because I married a man with kids. There are so many ways you don’t realize you’re shaming stepmoms and, honestly, it hurts.

My husband and I have worked hard to build a family with each other and his, my, and our children. Being a stepmom is one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done, and it has taken a lot of patience, creativity, and occasionally locking myself in the bathroom to cry, to get through the hard days. To be perfectly honest, you don’t instantly fall in love with your stepkids and they don’t instantly fall in love with you. To make matters worse, stepmoms are rarely the heroes in fairy tales, often finding themselves the object of other characters’ hatred and fear.

In the end, I am often the scapegoat and whatever is going on, it’s all my fault. Seriously, the list of things that are my fault goes on forever. Psychologists theorize that we blame and stigmatize stepmothers in our culture as a way to  deflect bad feelings away from our mothers. However, it’s 2017, and so many parents divorce and remarry and have to find ways to blend their families. It’s time to give stepmoms a break and stop shaming them, because it’s already hard enough. Trust me.

When You Make Comments About Our Family Size

Our blended family has five kids, ages newborn to tween. I don’t go a day without someone commenting about our family size, from sarcastic comments about me not knowing “how those things are made,” to questioning how many times I’ve been pregnant given that my “body doesn’t look like I’ve had five kids.” I know it’s supposed to be a compliment, but it’s gross. Please don’t.

When You Forget We’re Stepmoms

While I don’t mind when you assume I am their mom, my stepkids do. They have a mother. I get to be their bonus mom. It’s hurtful to have to explain that I am their stepmom, or worse, to hear them quickly correct you, by saying, “She’s not our mother.”

When You Ask Which Ones Are Our “Real” Kids

None of them. I’m pretty sure they are all robots, specially designed to wake up early on Saturday mornings, make annoying sounds, and interrupt their parents having sex. Seriously, though, love doesn’t require biology.

When You Assume We Hate Our Stepkids’ Mother

Like it or not, I am always going to have their mother in my life. It’s seriously hard to have to plan your life around another person’s schedule and disagree with their parenting choices. However, for the most part, things work better when we get along, so I try really hard to do so for our kids’ sake.

When You Make Jokes About Evil Stepmothers

Disney has seriously given stepmoms a bad reputation. It’s not funny, and it’s so not true. I love my stepkids, and I try really hard to treat my stepkids and my bio kids the same. Of course, that makes them think I am “evil” when I do things like enforce bedtime and make them clean up after themselves.

When You Assume We All Have The Same Last Name

This one is subtle. My husband and I don’t have the same last name, and neither do our children. So, things get complicated at school, work, and the doctor’s office, and we regularly have to explain how our family works to strangers. Awkward.

When You Don’t Include Them When Asking About Our Kids

Our family is one team. When you ask me how my biological kids are doing, but forget to ask about, or worse, deliberately exclude my stepkids, you send a subtle message that you don’t approve of my family, or don’t consider them to be important enough to mention. That’s not OK.

When You Don’t Include Us When Talking About Our Stepkids’ Family

It’s totally awkward to be at a parent-teacher meeting, school concert, or family event, and get treated like the elephant in the room. You can include me. It’s OK. I wouldn’t show up if I wasn’t a part of their lives, and while I’m not their mother, I do matter.

When You Assume We Hate Being Stepmoms

It definitely has its difficult moments, but being a stepmom is one of the best (and the hardest) things I’ve ever done, and there have been so many wonderful moments I will never forget. I still remember the first time each of them hugged me. Moments like running a race with my stepdaughter, watching her hold her baby brother for the first time, hearing my stepson excitedly describe his newest Pokémon card, and watching him play in the yard with his sisters and brother, make it all worth it.

When You Assume Our Stepkids Hate Us

Over the past couple of years, we’ve had our share of ups and downs, and definitely some eye rolls and tantrums, but please don’t assume you know anything about how our relationship works. I love my stepkids, and I hope that someday they’ll love me. However, and always, I’m not trying to be their mom.

A little known secret about blended families: stepkids get to have more than two parents to help them navigate the world. While I am sometimes still the scapegoat, and occasionally still hear, “You’re not my mom,” I’m learning to be a major source of good in their lives, too, even if that means  being “evil” and making them do their homework. If that makes me an evil stepmother, I totally want a crown.

New Years Check In

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I am slow to post these days and I am fine with it.
I am spending my days at work a lot busier (most of the time).
I am spending my lunch hours raising the bar and lifting weights.
I am spending my evenings taking walks with my husband and recouping from the day. Cooking more. Cleaning. Enjoying my time with him when it is there.
So blogging is low on the priority list and I hope I haven’t upset you by not being here.

I realized I’ve only checked in once on my 2017 goals and now is a great time to do so again!

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 a work in progress- like decluttering, making healthy choices, saving money, and having more family time. They always will be. As long as there is progress in these areas, I am so happy.

We have been boxing up as much as we can. We’ve found a couple items we wished we wouldnt have boxed up yet, but we will NOT pull them back out. Prince Charming almost boxed up our TV, but I’m not ready for that. We like watching movies on the weekends and we love our Wii lately.

Two weeks ago I talked to my dad on the phone and somehow he suggested we do a weight loss challenge, because my entire family is overweight, unhealthy, and making no signs of positive changes. I jumped on it. I like challenges and I need someone to hold me accountable. I invited my husband to join in and he will, once school is over. So right now, my dad, husband and I are in the battle of the fittest. Except we are all going to win if we commit to making better choices. I don’t really care about a certain number that I get down to- but I did set a goal for myself. I’m happy to see myself change. The first week I lost 10 pounds! Then another five, but those came back. So i have steadily lost 10 pounds in 2.5 weeks and I am happy about that. If I know that I am eating better foods and I am working out steadily- I don’t really care what my scale says. I know that I am doing good things because I can lift more than I did last week and I can drum longer without stopping for a drink. I can see change in this short amount of time and that in itself is encouraging. I have been to the gym 12 times in 2.5 weeks and the days I didn’t hit the gym, I worked out at home or went for walks with my husband. I think there’s only been one day of inactivity and in reality, I got my butt kicked at work that day and was lifting heavy equipment all day long- I count it as a workout almost.

We have successfully paid off all but one debt (which we are making payments on) and are now working toward student loan debt, too. It is so exciting to get statements with zeros on them! It’s tough to do when both of us aren’t working full time, but I am so grateful for even widdling them down.

We have spent a LOT of time together as a family lately. So much that I have been in need of some real s.p.a.c.e. lately. or a lot of time with just my husband. one or the other is rejuvenating to me. Two weeks ago we had the younger two kids on our Wednesday, the weekend, the following Monday. Then 17 came over on Tuesday, we had the youngest two on Wednesday and 20 came over, too. The two youngest came again on Thursday. So we had them every day for an entire week and I almost lost it. It’s so hard for me to not get a break. It’s so hard to come home and be drained from work and feel no release or sense of rest. To not be able to put a load of laundry in the washer without being nagged.. it can be daunting. I feel awful about it, but I can’t help it. My Prince questions whether I truly want a family. If I want kids of my own. And I can’t explain to him enough that it will not be the same. He just doesn’t get it. There is a difference in the longing that kids have for their mother and the type of attention they crave from me. It is so incredibly different that I can’t even explain it. They crave time with me but when they realize it’s happening, they put up walls and they scoot away. I do the same thing.

They get excited and want to share with me or play with me and I sort of freak out over the type of intimacy that I’m experiencing with them. Afraid that they’ll shut me out again or their mom will rip them from me, their dad will interfere. That they’ll look up and realize I’m not their parent and they shouldn’t be giggling with me so much. I don’t want to do that to my kids. But it’s how I function.

I have mastered a few meals! I just had my dad over on Sunday and cooked Honey Balsalmic Chicken and green beans for him. Prince Charming made some potatoes and a tarte for them. My dad was so pleased. he was so impressed to see me cooking something and that the seasoning that went on the chicken was homemade, not from a bottle. That i blended spices together to get this delicious tasting sauce to coat the chicken and beans in. It was so good. I felt so accomplished.

I haven’t worn jeans since January.

I have still only read two books this year, but I am working on a third and just taking my time doing so. What recommendations do you have?

 

how are your goals coming along?

THE LONELY POST

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If you follow me on Instagram or on Facebook, you’ve seen my teaser posts leading up to this: Loneliness in Step Parenting. I just want to start out by saying that I really, honestly don’t know how to talk about it. But it needs to be talked about.

There is this stigma that I think a lot of step parents falsely believe when they enter into marriage- that they will be an equal to their partner in parenting. I do NOT mean when it comes to the other parent, by any means. But I DO mean within the household. And it just isn’t true, at least not in my house- and I don’t think we are abnormal.

There’s a lot that goes into this statement, though. It’s not a one-size-fits-all category. In our case, I had been around the kiddos the entire time we were dating, I knew them from church before we dated- I was comfortable with them and they were getting comfortable with me. It took them a long time to realize that I was their dad’s girlfriend and then fiance, and then soon to be.. roommate. But i was still there.

We started sort of implementing some roles for me, on accident, before we got married. I started taking them to their bus stop in the mornings so that my Prince could go to work on time and not have to miss out on hours just to make a couple runs to the bus around the corner. So for me, I woke up 3 hours earlier than I needed and trekked myself 20 minutes out of the way with the intent to help my future husband out. To have some one on one time with my future step kids. To try to do something positive. They saw that things were changing and that new things were happening.

When I became The Step Momma, I sort of expected to be a partner in decision making for the kids. I KNOW that I am not their mother. I am not their mom. I am new. I am the newest. but it is also my house and i have a role in their lives.

When the ugly step parent card rears its ugly face, the Step Momma falls. Fast. It’s easy for me to feel  isolated or lonesome. I feel left out.  It’s hard when my prince even plays with the kiddos instead of speaking to me. It. all. crashes. down. I get reminded of my new-ness, how fresh I am to this family. And I know I can’t be alone in these feelings. At the end of the day, I can be completely drained from the kids fighting or just the constant pull they can have- not that they are naggy, but just that it is a new life that I am still not used to.

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The loneliness creeps in when they have been with us for 1 night and 12 calls his mom because he misses her, but he can spend 6 nights away from us and never call us to check in once. again, i get the mom/son connection, but sometimes that stings too.

How about when the issue of time and visitation comes into play. ALL I have ever asked is that I am notified if there are changes. This is typical in the summer that we will get extra nights with the kids. When  I come home I am aching for quiet, solitude. If things are out of the norm, it is difficult for me to even function, really. If we pick up extra nights, I want to be involved in that decision. My plans are important, too. What if I planned a date for us? Or planned to do something different? Or what if I just need a break and some time with my husband? Spring break is approaching, so the Time questions are surfacing. I don’t get to answer because I don’t know 100% of what bio mom has said or what her impact is on the kids. i do know what it’s like to be  a step kid. I do know what it’s like to be the voice of reason between two parents who can’t get along.  Tonight, I mouthed off and said “let me know what’s acceptable for me to say.” and walked away. I am more easily hurt as a step parent than i ever have been in any other role in my life. ever. the person who holds my heart and shares the same dreams and goals that i have is the only one who has the ability to shake my emotions, and he doesn’t even know when he does it. which makes it tougher.

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I don’t know how to explain it.

It’s hard for me to see them have father/child chats and not get updated on what they’re “chit chatting” about. I’m important too.
When they come back from the store and get special treats and nothing for me, I get jealous. I get lonesome when they don’t think of me.

When they haven’t seen their dad or i in almost a week and they, sometimes, come through the door excited to see him. They hug him and get in wrestling matches and i stand to the side. I don’t get much of a hello. I don’t get told good night. I certainly can’t be told I love you. and the last and only hug i have ever gotten was when i specifically asked for one when their mom ripped them away from me. 9 has sat on my lap twice this weekend, but he knows he’s doing something risky- he’s cautious when he does it.

This weekend, we created Mii’s on our Wii gaming system, my step dad gave us his old one a couple weeks ago so we are still customizing and learning new things. They made Mii’s for each kid, my prince and for me. When my Mii showed up on the screen, 9 said “NO. YOU LOOK LIKE THE MOM.” and resorted the entire group of Mii’s and kicked me out. it. hurts.

We are silent because we have to be strong. We endure a lot that other parents don’t. We see a lot. We feel a lot. We are in roles that are unnatural and that’s why it’s so damn hard.

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The quote that has been hitting me hard lately is something like, “Why is it so hard to believe that parents can love multiple children, but children cannot love multiple parents?”

 

Are ya with me? Does this sound like your walk as a step?

Weekend Update

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Just feeling like I need to share that the weekend which just ended can go in my log of “Favorite weekends ever.” Not because we did anything spectacular, in fact we did hardly anything at all. I parked my car on Friday night and didn’t move it until Sunday morning for church.

Friday  we had four kids and a grandbaby in our house. Prince Charming cooked us dinner, per special food requests from 17 that “only dad can make.” She loves how her dad cooks. She brags about his cooking every chance she can, it’s great. He laughs because a lot of the recipes she loves are the ones on the backs of boxes and bags. But no one can do it quite like him. We probably played a board game,but i honestly can’t remember. i just know that we had fun. We watched Pirates of the Caribbean and fell asleep. No fights. No nothin’.

Saturday is chore day in our household, but the youngest ones have been asking for “Saturday Cartoons,” which we have never done. We’ve granted them a few free hours on Saturday mornings to watch cartoons, play on their tablets, play a video game, sleep more, it’s really their free time to do whatever it is they want. Then we start our chores, which is never fun. I had a conference call at 12:00, so I had to bump chore time up 30 minutes and all hell broke loose over the thirty minute time change. Chores started at 11:30am.

My Prince guided the kiddos in their chores, after I laid out lists of what they were to clean. He gave them “break time” and took 9 with him to go work on a roof of a family friend. Bologna jabroni (12) stayed home with me and poked his head in the office every 20 minutes to see if i was still on the phone. Yes, son I am. I was on the phone for 2 1/2 hours.

Prince Charming and Honky Tonk(9) came back a couple hours later and it was dinner time. I have no idea what we ate, this weekend was a blur. My Prince changed the clocks back, mid-evening. The boys came out of their room- they were playing “Logan and the Albino” and dressed up.. it was hilarious. They saw that it was almost 11pm and couldn’t believe it. We shrugged and they went back to playing. We all fell asleep soundly. No fights. No arguments about bed time. No attempts to get another cup of milk before bed or to stay up later than the other one. Just a “good night” and it was over.

Sunday is church. We wake up, eat breakfast, someone usually cries before we leave, Prince and I fight in the car and I storm into church.. every week. But not this one. We took our time getting ready, no one was upset. Everyone had their stuff together and we left for church.

We come home, my prince takes a nap.. an almost 3 hour nap.. in his chair and 9 and 12 and I hooked up our new Wii system and played Mario party 8 for almost 3 hours. They got new nicknames and laughed every time I said them. They were so incredibly happy. Except when we had to turn the game off.. that’s never fun. But 3 hours is plenty of game time for a Sunday afternoon.

So I made some pasta salad + italian chicken (SO GOOD) and we ate dinner, with very little clean up. Jabroni did his laundry and threw it all over his room without folding, hanging up, matching socks. Nothing. But i didnt notice this until Tuesday, so he’s off the hook until tonight.

I don’t know what changed but this weekend was SO good. everyone was so happy. Everyone was joyful.

Why can’t they all be this easy?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honey Balsamic Chicken

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Ok y’all, I found a new favorite chicken and I can’t wait to share it with you.

You have to forgive me, as I am still nervous to use my camera in the kitchen and get laughed at. so i sneak phone pics 🙂

So today on TheStepMomma Meals we are going to bake honey balsamic chicken. It’s so good. So easy. The kids liked it and so did my Prince, so I’m considering it a crowd favorite and never letting it go.

Here’s your ingredients! (Serves 4):

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1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 pound brussels sprouts, cut in half, lengthwise
3 tablespoons olive oil (we use extra virgin)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
S&P to taste
1 cup balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

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I’m serious, you’re going to love this. It’s sweet and tangy and even better- HEALTHY.

Before we get too far, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. 20170308_17401920170308_174135

Arrange your chicken and brussels sprouts on 1 sheet pan. Sometimes the seasonings stick better if you toss your food items in oil first (be careful not to mix raw chicken with other foods though! I do chicken last- always.) Season chicken & brussels with italian seasoning and salt and pepper. Transfer to oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and sprouts are tender.

While this is happening, you can prepare your glaze!

Add balsamic vinegar to a medium sized sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 6-8 minutes, you should notice the sauce will reduce to about half the original volume.

Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl to allow to cool and stir in honey, garlic powder and salt.

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After the sprouts and chicken have baked for about 15-20 minutes, switch to broil for about 5 minutes, but pay attention to the sprouts so they don’t burn! (easier said than done). Remove pan from oven and drizzle with balsamic glaze. Or if you’re like me CAKE THAT GLAZE ON. I drench my chicken in whatever glazes or dressings I find.

Use your meat thermometer to ensure your chicken is at 160 degrees F and ready to eat, garnish your chicken with cracked pepper and thyme.

Eat!

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I must say, no one liked the “Baked” brussels at our dinner. If I made this again, my family has requested that the sprouts be steamed and then drizzled. I LOVED them, but 3 out of 4 voted otherwise. My perfect husband took one bite of this chicken and his eyes got huge. He lit up. He loved it. He saved the leftover glaze for us to use later.

Voila!

Competitive Me.

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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?

Blended Family Series

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http://joeyhtracy.com/relationship-step-childrens-mother/

[During Marriage Having an amicable relationship with your step-children’s mother is important.

I married a man with 4 children. This seemed ideal since I have fertility issues and don’t know if I will ever be able to have children of my own. He is an absolutely wonderful father, although fidelity is not one of his strong suits. I found this out after 2 years of marriage. When I married this man I knew he came with 4 beautiful children. This also meant that there would be an ex-wife to deal with…………….]