This summer I made the commitment to start reading more. So far I've done okay. By that I mean, I've managed to read one book. (Hey, when you were doing ZERO reading to begin with, it's pretty easy to make some progress)
Yes, I am actually saying this out loud... Even though it was my choice, there were times when I was really struggling with our inability to get pregnant, that I wondered whether my decision to be a stepmom robbed me from having the number of children I was truly meant to have.
What I'm saying is that bashing your husband's ex-wife on the internet is not a great idea. It's not going to improve your stepfamily life. It's not going to make things more harmonious. In fact, I'm willing to bet, it's not going to do anything positive for your situation at all! Get a journal, call a friend, or get yourself an appointment with a therapist. Find a healthy way to work through the extra stressors and challenges that come with blended family life, and keep the internet out of it.
Comments in the thread below were full of other moms, giving each other virtual high-fives and pats on the back. Part of me chuckled at these status updates because they made me feel less guilty. But another part of me became a little annoyed and a little jealous. Here is where the double standard between moms and stepmoms rears its ugly head.
"I wish I would have known the “Disney Stereotype” of the Evil StepMother. Hollywood has totally made sure to frame us as wicked and manipulative, but I as well as others are more than happy to demolish that stereotype!
I wish I would have realized that respect isn’t given and even if it is earned, some will still refuse to be respectful.
When Reese turned two I proudly announced that she was going to start Potty Training. We were going to tackle it head on.
I was confident that she was going to be one of the first in her daycare class to be diaper free! I quickly transitioned her from diapers to Pull-Ups® naively thinking that the whole process would be smooth sailing!! Because well... it couldn't be that hard right?! WRONG!
As it turned out, my three year old didn't really care about my schedule. She was goofing around, being her usual silly self. Normally I would laugh but, but on this particular day, acting like a wet noodle while I try to get her in a jumpsuit just wasn't funny.
When my husband introduced me to his kids, when we made the decision to move in together, when we got married, and even when we had a baby of our own, we didn’t experience any of the behaviours you would expect from a “child of divorce”. In fact, until recently, it's been smooth sailing!
I'm pretty sure I raised my eyebrows and quickly turned my head to say "come again?" BUT before the words came out of my mouth, I totally got it. She is our village. Together we are raising these three little people with one common goal. To raise them up into being kind-hearted, giving, hard-working, successful members of Society. Even though co-parenting is not always easy and sometimes we have different opinions, we are a village. When push comes to shove, we have each other's back.
With the number of blended families and stepmoms in our Society, the stigma and assumptions often surprise me. Especially because I am connected with so many stepmoms who absolutely adore their stepchildren and treat them as they are their own.
HOWEVER after I posted the rant, I receive a message from one of my Instagram Followers that brought me back to reality.
People are always asking me if becoming a "real mom" changed the way I stepmom. The answer is 100 times YES. But probably not in the way that you think. Step or bio, all four kids ARE always and WILL always be treated the same in our home. This will never change!
What did change was the way I looked at being a stepmom... Specifically the way I consider how it may feel to be on the other side!
"How old are your stepchildren" everyone always asks.... "I have a 14 year old step-daughter, and step-sons who are 10 and 13" "Ohhhh.... how's having a teenage stepdaughter?" they always respond. Obviously expecting me to report horror stories of dealing with teenage attitude and rebellion.
Even though, despite the inevitable struggles of co-parenting, I do personally honour her for being the Mother to the three beautiful kids who have changed me in more ways than I can write I this blog, the gifts (and the money spent on them) truly have nothing to do with her and everything to do with the people we are teaching them to be.
Every once and a while I like to do a little update post with some behind the scenes of what's been going on around here! Life has been crazy. In fact, saying we've been busy would be an understatement. And no, I am not one of those people who wear "busy" like it's a badge of honour. Personally l like it when things slow down and we're able to stop and smell the roses every now and again! Hopefully after this week, there will be more time for rose smelling... because this Mama is craving some quality family time!
Five years later, I'll say this. Feeling comfortable in another woman's home is something that can only be cured with time (and a little redecorating) Slowly but surely, I have redecorated and put my touch in our home, while still respecting the memories and traditions that are still important to my husband and the kids.I've cleaned out those junk drawers, organized the storage room, painted walls, purged, donated and put my touch on the place. Five years later, it looks completely different.
The final step was our kitchen .... last summer we took the plunge completely gutted the main space of our house and transformed it into our dream.
The bedroom is where the 'magic' happens...and by magic I mean sex AND sleep and if you don't LOVE your BED or your bedroom you will have less satisfaction in the 'magic' department. SO make the bedroom NEW again. Fresh paint, new bed, new sheets and have FUN with your spouse picking it all out together.
Look, I don't always post nitty gritty details about my own personal struggles, because I am very cognicent about how what I write affects the people in my family. The internet is forever, and I refuse to air my dirty laundry online. But make no mistake, it's not always rainbows & unicorns. From my experiences as a child of divorce all the way to a stepmom, like many of you, I have experienced abandonment, personal attacks, high-conflict situations, heartache and even accusations.
When I first started this blog and become a mother, I vowed that I would NEVER touch on this subject, because well, I've seen many of my blogger friends receive nasty comments, hate mail and some pretty serious threats for sharing their opinion. To say the topic of breastfeeding is controversial is a HUGE understatement.
As stepmoms, because our family dynamic is far more complicated than a "first family", we have this nasty little habit over over-analyzing situations. We often assume that any complications are due to the fact that the we are in a blended family. And well, sometimes they are, sometimes they aren't. But either way, it's not worth driving yourself crazy over.