~Welcome to my personal story as a first time wife and stepmom. I use this space to share real life happenings in a blended family, funny stories, my personal frustrations, failures, and occasional victories as I journey through this life with two beautiful and challenging stepdaughters. Thanks for reading, and I hope you find something to help you have a better day!~

Monday, October 21, 2013

Roller Coasters

I'm learning that in blended families there are lots and lots of additional opportunities for sudden and/or gradual "mood swings". Let me explain. We have the kids with us for a few days and everyone is clicking, routines are followed, and we excitedly plan the next few weeks out. The kids can't wait to come back. So we're happy, feeling like things are going well with the kids. And then, something comes up with the ex (because she hears how happily the kids are talking about their time at dad's and wants to sabotage it to bring the focus to herself). And then we get the "Oh my gosh, I just realized I need the girls with me on your day or weekend because of this or that." Never fails. It's like that every time something big is going on at either house. When we got a puppy, got the beach house, got married, the girls were always wanting to be with us and she would try to find ways to trump it. Then their mom got a puppy, got a new car, got a new house, had a baby--so at those times, they always want to be over there. I may buy them a single headband, and their mom then rushes them off on a "bribery-scapade" and gets them each hundreds of dollars worth of jewelry and accessories that they just bring over and never wear or take back to their mom's. It's back and forth, back and forth, each house always wanting the momentum of kid's affections swinging their way. What it boils down to is insecure and immature adults each craving the affirmation that "Yes, my kid loves me and won't stop just because they love their other family too."

I found out over this weekend that their mom cried and cried for hours last week just because Jane sent me a text that she had finished her book and was bored on a road trip with her mom. Her mom took that text to mean that Jane was blaming her for not having something to do. She said it hurt her feelings that Jane would text me about that. How ridiculous! First of all, the text said NOTHING about her mother. It just said "I finished my book and I'm bored in the car." How insecure must you be to get your feelings hurt over that? How sad for your kids that everything is always about YOU. Anyways, it is sad she is so emotionally immature, but I'm feeling pretty good that I am not nearly that insecure any more. I can tell I've made progress in that department, and it feels good. I actually just had my hair in a ponytail and wore an old sweatshirt around her this weekend and didn't care what she thought! (Okay, done tooting my own horn.)

The lesson is, I think that we in blended families need to learn to maintain a consistent, balanced energy in our homes with and without the kids, whether something big is happening that they are excited about, or whether it is just normal hum-drum stuff. If we teach them to be emotional roller-coasters by our own moods, it is only going to hinder them later in life. J and I have started telling them about all the fun things we do together even when they are not home, to show them we are happy and content. They may act upset and jealous that they miss certain things, but deep down I know they are happy to see us happy. We love having them with us, but life doesn't stop when they are not, and we want them to feel the same way too, no matter which family they are with.

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