~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!~
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Well, I see I haven't written in quite a while. There are a couple reasons for that. One--I don't like focusing on the negative just to have a good story for my blog. Two--the age old excuse of "busy-ness". Anyway, here are the thoughts and issues that I've been dealing with over the past few months. The girls lost their grandfather in October. He is the first family member either of them have ever lost. He had battled cancer for 10 months, so it was expected. The day we told them he passed away, Jane immediately was crying and kept saying "Why, why, why?" She continued to cry the whole night long. I guess she got it all at once, because for the whole next week at her Grandma's house, the funeral, the graveside, looking at old pictures, she was so strong, and never really lost it again. Kate on the other hand has handled this completely the opposite extreme. The first night when she heard the news, she was kind of like, Okay. Now can I go play? She wanted to carry on like normal as if nothing had changed. She was in a state of denial. We packed the car and drove to Missouri, and she was still talking, laughing, making jokes the whole way. Then we get there and she actually sees Grandma without her Papa, and she was inconsolable from there on out. She was sobbing so loud at night, I had to go lay down with her. She would see a picture of him and scream and run the other way. She buried her head in my lap for the entire 2 hour visitation and funeral. We had to step out and get some water and have her catch her breath, she was making such a commotion. It just broke my heart. Once we got back home and back into school routine, Kate started changing--a lot. Her teachers noticed and started making comments. Her mother noticed. Her dad and I were very concerned. She was acting out so much. She started talking out of place all day at school, she stopped writing down any assignments, she wasn't listening or paying attention to anything she read or what people around her were saying. It's like she was in this little bubble. After a bit of research, I found this behavior is normal for kids processing grief, so her dad recommended we just let it go for a few weeks and see if she snaps out of it. Well a few weeks turned into over a month, and she was getting more and more defiant. We would have to tell her something 3 times before she would listen. Her grades were slipping at school. She started obsessing over food and sneaking food, snacks, cookies, candy and lying about it--at both her mom's house and ours. The only time she would talk is to ask what the next meal was going to be. At this point, a couple weeks ago, I was really concerned. Sure, it may have started as a response to grief, but her behavior was just getting worse, and I didn't think we could excuse it any longer. We had a talk with her teacher, and with her mother several times to see if she was behaving the same for all of us. It seemed she was. We told her what reports her teachers had given, and it seemed almost like something immediately went off in her brain. She was embarrassed by her behavior. She was immediately sorry and went to school and apologized to everyone, on her own accord. She started working really hard on her school work, and would read books for points instead of play on electronics. I'm not really sure what triggered this turn around--but I really hope it's permanent. I love having my sweet Kate back to normal. Here's what she did when cleaning her room that night--how could I be upset by this mess? =)
Friday, September 18, 2015
Monday, July 27, 2015
Thursday, April 23, 2015
This week I feel like a live-in maid/nanny. It hurts because I try so hard to be more. But I'm not. I need to be a wife and that's all.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Friday, March 20, 2015
We've been pushing our girls SUPER hard the last 2 months to get along better; not fight; not bully; not insult each other; be kind. We have definitely seen some effort, and probably some improvement as well. I even framed little quotations in the hallway between their bedrooms as constant reminders: However, I've been asking myself, "Why am I the one doing this? Why do I care so much how they treat each other?" Their own mother said she doesn't think the girls will ever get along at this point, so don't even bother trying! I don't know when or why or how I have become this super-involved "parent." I lose my patience almost once a week. I always regret it and feel guilty for yelling instead of relaxing. I feel like I have come to the place of doing almost EVERYTHING a normal parent does. I have taken them to every dental, doctor, you-name-it appointment for the past 2 years (even when it's not my husband's custody day). I have to plan summer camps and register and take care of every little thing the school needs all the time. I have to get medications and refills and prescriptions. The organization stuff I can do. I'm good at it. But I'm not a good people person. I catch myself griping about a mess left over here, dirty clothes on the floor there, someone's bad attitude, or loud and wild craziness. I feel like my over-involvement is making me much less fun to be around. I don't want the girls to dread being with me because it's just a matter of time until one gets "yelled at." Jane has started giving me this huffy-puffy, so-annoyed, teenager-y attitude lately and it gets me SO flustered SO fast, I don't even have a second to check myself, and before you know it, I made her cry again. Isn't my job as "bonus mom" just supposed to be the fun-loving, no-stress, friendly "aunt" type of position? How have I become this over-bearing, everything has to be perfect, teach them to behave person? Maybe I see the need and feel like no one else is doing anything about it, so I feel obligated. But I fear they will grow to resent me very soon. How do I get back to being their daddy's fun, cool wife instead of the evil stepmother that I feel like?
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
When I accepted my husband's proposal for marriage, I knew I was also accepting his two girls into my life--forever. What I was also accepting, however--as far from the forefront as my thoughts as it was--was his ex being part of my life--forever. Despite my early, naïve thinking that she would be a very insignificant factor in my new life--maybe to only be seen or heard from around birthdays or the holidays--the cold, hard truth is that she is very much a big part of our family life and she is here to stay. She'll never stop being their mom. Any hostility, resentment, insecurities, or jealousy on my part will only lead to my own unhappiness and miserable marriage. I had to realize that my negative comments or "Poor me--I don't have a say in anything. I'm just overlooked, neglected stepmom" attitudes are the exact opposite of what my family needs from me. My husband just escaped a hostile environment. Divorce wasn't pleasant. There's always arguments and accusations, hurt feelings, court dates, dividing property, financial distress. He didn't endure that just to get back into a relationship with a negative, hostile person. And it seems like the more involved I get, the easier it is to fall into that negativity trap. I'm here to be his second wind, his breath of fresh air, a reminder that love CAN last, and trust IS attainable. So anytime I roll my eyes at the mention of her name, or mutter under my breath while he's talking to her on the phone, or act hurt when the oldest girl talks incessantly about memories of their family "before", I am doing a disservice. I am hurting, not helping. I am inviting unhealthy hostility into my life and the lives of my family. I had to make a choice very early on in my blended family experience to GET OVER IT! I now am so involved in the girls' daily life and school happenings, that I communicate with her at least two or three times a week. At first it was just places and times to meet to drop off or pick up this or that. Gradually it has evolved to also include discussions of behavior, health, puberty, and what we need to work on. It's not always easy, but if I don't let my mind wander and dwell on the past, we work together pretty well. On the flip side, I have to walk a tight line and not get too involved or friendly with her to the point that I'm sharing and parenting more with her than with my husband. He doesn't want us to be "friends" because he knows I'm a very trusting person and could easily be hurt by her stabbing me in the back again. So I must be friendly, but not friends. I must be open, but not vulnerable. I must be flexible, but not a push-over. I must be non-judgmental, but not naïve. I must be honest, but not mean. I must communicate, but not overshare. I must be very balanced! It's easy to see now why so many stepmoms easily fall to one side or the other over time and have such huge frustrations because it's such a delicate balance. I feel like the old adage to "keep them at arm's length" is a good one to apply in this situation. Don't let her control your life, but be open enough to allow the kids to see a united blended family instead of all the unhealthy hostility.
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Friday, January 23, 2015
Let me just address (now that I've had a week to cool off) some hate I've received over my blog lately. 1. If you don't like what I write here, go away. No one is forcing anyone to read, agree with, or comment on anything I write. This blog is therapeutic for me and allows me a place to vent and feel heard without upsetting anyone in my family. I have never claimed that all of my feelings are good, right, or justifiable. They're just feelings. I don't have to defend them to anyone. This blog will NEVER be seen by Kate or Jane, and they will not ever be hurt by anything I have written. 2. I have never been, nor ever intend to be, rude, mean, or disrespectful towards bio mom. Yes, I'm a stepmom--read the title genius! There IS going to be conflict and hurt feelings. But, I have never once taken them out on her or the kids. Again, this is my place to vent. I talk about conflicts and messy situations. All the good, easy-going times don't get mentioned, because they are drama-free. My relationship with bio mom is better than probably 90% of other stepmom/ biomom situations. We do a very good job of putting the kids first, the past behind us, and acting like adults. So take your judgmental attitude somewhere else, thank you very much. 3. Comments that my husband moved on "pretty fast" after his divorce are just outright lies and unfounded. If you want to attack me, fine, but don't drag my innocent husband into your sad, twisted, hateful world. He was single dad for nearly two years while his ex went through the affair boyfriend, met and got engaged with new boyfriend, was pregnant, and married for over a year before we ever even got engaged. No girl grows up dreaming of becoming stepmom someday. No girl imagines becoming a parent the same day she says "I do." No girl anticipates her honeymoon and romantic dates being interrupted by texts and calls from his ex. No girl has goals to mother kids one day that already have a mother. No girl plans to put her parents in an awkward "step-grandparent" situation. You get the point. It's not ideal. But some of us fall in love with a great man, and we do whatever it takes to make it work, messy or not, perfect or not, ideal or not. So pardon me as I continue on my personal journey through good and bad as a stepmom and wife.
Posted by TexasStepmom at 11:01 AM