a step mom- on mother’s day.

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Apparently everyone is jumping on the Mother’s Day bandwagon right now, even though we’re more than a week out from it. I guess this is when I should write about it, too.

imagesMother’s day is a really, extremely sore spot for me. I’m not excited for it. I don’t have a wish list. I don’t look forward to any part of it. It hurts me. Mother’s day feels like a giant loss for me and there are no possible words for me to even explain this to you, without giving you miles and miles of explanations. So for short:

Mother’s day is a trying time for me. My own mother lives on the other side of the country and told us she was leaving only 10 days before she drove off. Her job didn’t call her there, she convinced them she needed to move. She took a pay cut, drove her own, personal car through the mountains, and increased her monthly bills tremendously. This was 6 years ago.moving-company-reviews-clipart

In these six years, my own mother, who I used to view as this immense source of strength and beauty in a way I couldn’t understand, this woman who had it all and had it all together- she has cracked. She is broken. and she is lost.

 

My own mother suffers from some manic depressive habits and probably schizophrenia, if not a multiple personality disorder. I can’t give you a real diagnosis because she won’t visit a doctor to receive any help. Through these debilitating mental disorders, she has lost the job that she chased after, 2300 miles away. She has lost her home, she has lost her car. and she’s lost a lot of dignity. While there isn’t much else to lose, she is very rapidly losing her children. It’s hard to even say that. I’m not going to go in to grave detail here because it’s far too extravagant to try to explain.

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I have felt, for 6 years, the way a young child with a parent who walked out of their life feels. Abandoned. A little worthless, since it was so simple to just leave. A lot forgotten. But I’m an adult and I was an adult when she left and I do still have contact with her. But it feels so strange. This is the first year I didn’t call my own mother on Easter. I just couldn’t.

As a step-mom, mother’s day is naturally strange. Two years ago, Mother’s day was only a few days before my Prince and i’s wedding day. So he had the kids make me Mother’s day cards. I got one that said “Happy Mother’s Day-ish” and “Thanks, StepMomma (with my real name inserted.) And it was cute the first time because they still didn’t really know what it meant to have a step mom or what was happening. I’m not sure they really realized I was moving in until I didn’t go home the first night we returned from our honeymoon.

The second Mother’s day, I directly asked them to not send me an “ish” card. That I’d rather have nothing than an “ish” card. Because in all honesty, that “Ish” hurt.. pretty bad. They couldn’t even call me their step mother. i was just Ish. My Prince had them buy me flowers and they picked some out for their mom, too. Snuck into her house and left them on her windowsill. Our church has a Mother’s Day thing every year, where sometimes the kids deliver the flowers to their moms or sometimes they call everyone up in front of the church to have flowers given to them, or sometimes an adult will pass them out while we watch a slideshow of memories of little babies in hospitals and moms kissing their babies cheeks.

I don’t want to stand there. I feel like an outcast. My kids don’t want to buy me flowers, they correct the servers at restaurants that say “Maybe Mom will…”. They can’t stand the idea of me as their mom or as a mother-like influence. And it really crushes me sometimes.

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Mother’s day hurts. And i know that for you, it might hurt in different ways. This year feels different and feels like my kids may actually like me better than they did last year, but i am still a little bit broken on Mother’s day, grieving the loss of my own mother. She’s still alive but she is very much not here. She doesn’t know the names of my kids and hardly knows what I do for a living.

For mother’s day this year, I don’t want a thing. i don’t need a thing. Except maybe a giant hug from my Prince and an “I love you anyway.”

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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?

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…………….]

The big, green monster

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Proverbs 27:4New International Version (NIV)

Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming,
    but who can stand before jealousy?

Jealousy is something I’ve never struggled with, until now. I’m not sure how to handle it- but Proverbs has said it perfectly. Who can stand before jealousy? Who can even try to compete. Who can win against it? No one. Your mind eats at you. Your thoughts are overcome by negativity- worst case scenarios. It creeps in and spews darkness in all of the wrong places. Lord, help me.

Italian Chicken, bread dip, hand pies, mmm.

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So last night was clearly a sappy holiday, so i felt like trying to be a #goodwife and attempting to cook a meal for my dear husband. I also knew i was alone in the house for 2 hours, so i could photograph every step of the way.

I am 100% not a cook. I need step-by-step-by-step instructions. Your “Dash of Basil” does me no good. I need precise measurements. I like baking for that reason. So here we go: This is the part where I teach you how to cook Italian Chicken with bread sauce and hand pies.

First, thaw chicken. We used about 1 pound of meat and probably could have used half of it and had plenty. Prince Charming left this out for me in the morning so I could come home and be ready to go.

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Italian Seasoning consists of:

Parsley- 3 tablespoons
Basil- 3 tablespoons
Garlic powder- 1 tsp
Rosemary-1 tsp
Onion Powder- 1 tsp
Oregano- 2.5 tsp
Thyme-1 tsp
Red pepper- .5 tsp
Black pepper- .25tsp

Or if you did like me and sifted through the entire cabinet only to find there is no thyme or rosemary, you can use pre-made italian seasoning, which i also didn’t know we had.img_0100 img_0102

For best results, lay chicken flat on surface and cover evenly with italian seasoning, salt & pepper, and garlic powder. Flip over and do the same to the other side. For even better results, do this in a bowl with the other items you will be eating, so they all get the same, even flavor.

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This is where I went wrong.
Learning Point #1. Do not put veggies in at the same time as the raw meat. Raw meat will take much longer to cook than veggies, but hyperactive brain does not compute that.
I sprinkled some onion & garlic powder on the asparagus we ate, after cutting off the woody side.. which is the stalk side, so I learned. You can take about 3 inches off. I picked up each piece and just bent it til it snapped- it naturally breaks where it needs to usually. img_0107img_0109img_0110img_0112img_0111

A regular cooking time for this would be 4 hours on low in your crockpot, but we didn’t have all night- so I cranked it up to high and cooked it for about 2.5 hours. Only after realizing that it was on warm for 45 minutes, i think it would naturally only take 2 hours on high to cook properly.

Hand pies:

Cheat. Use the pre-made, store-bought pie crusts. It’s so simple. I bought them on my lunch for $2.99 and let them sit in my car to thaw out until I got home. It’s okay if they don’t fall out of the pan perfectly, you’re going to use a rolling pin on them to flatten them anyway 🙂

Don’t forget to preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

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because it was Valentines Day, of course my hand pies were heart shaped. I used a heart cookie cutter that was about 3.5 inches wide. My two pie crusts made 4 hand pies and 4 leftover crust pieces that i brought to my coworker who loves pie crust, but not pie. I hate it all, so this works for me.img_0119

Just like cookies, rip the excess crust away from the cutter and roll back into a ball, then re-roll it and flatten to use again.img_0115

You’re supposed to use JAM for this but we only had jelly. i dont see the difference and PC didn’t mind. Take 1 generous scoop of jelly and put in the center of your heart. spread evenly, but dont get toooo close to the edge or you’ll have a sloppy jelly mess. But i guess that isn’t really a bad thing.

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The fun part: take a second heart and place on top of the jelly covered heart. line them up and press to seal it shut around edges with fingers. (I usually skipped that step). Then grab a fork and add some detail to the edge. This really seals the jelly into place and also adds a fun and cute detail to the edges that makes it look like you spent a LOT of time on…… when really it takes about 1 minute per heart (if that).img_0121img_0123img_0125img_0126img_0127img_0128

To make your hand pies golden brown, do this simple trick.

Use 1 egg Learning point 2: 2 eggs is too many for this small amount of pies, even if they’re the tiny farm eggs. just. use. one.

Use 1 egg and add a tiny bit of water to it. Whisk until it is an even yellow and even consistency. Take this egg mix and cover your pies with it. I used a wadded up paper towel, you can use your hands, you can use a brush, whatever you need- just be sure to cover the entire surface so it is evenly brown.img_0129img_0131

The final touch: Icing.

This is so simple guys. Use about 3 tablespoons of milk, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 1/2 to 1 cup of powdered sugar (depending on how much icing you like). Stir them together. They start to thicken and form an easy icing. It tastes SO GOOD. I had to try it, but can’t have any milk-based items, so i only got a little bit.img_0132img_0133img_0134img_0135img_0136img_0137

Pop these bad boys into the oven for 20-30 minutes and voila.

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I attempted to make a bread oil, but we aren’t sure about it yet.
Take about 6 tablespoons of minced garlic
1 cup of extra virgin oil
3 tablespoons of basil
2-3 tablespoons of oregano
Parmesan cheese to top it.
Stir- yummy bread oil at your fingertips

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Add some candy hearts as a pretty centerpiece. Complete with your husband’s favorite chocolate. img_0139img_0140

Decorate with the giant bouquet of flowers he got you.img_0141img_0142

EAT.

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(PC was home, I had to sneak final pics with my phone so he didnt think I was weird)

 

and, ok y’all. these are original images and i had a lot of fun taking them. you can use them, but please just give credit where it is due. these are images of my real life home and my real life messy kitchen and the flowers are the ones my husband chose just for me. these things mean something to me, so just take a second and don’t just steal my things 😀