About a year ago someone said something to me that made me raise an eye brown (and high).
After I expressed concern about Reese doing something that 3 year old just shouldn't be able to do... this person, who I just met, looked at me and said, "yeah that's just because you're a first time mom"
In my head, I was like "ummm yeah lady you have no idea what you're talking about... and by the way, would you kindly mind your own bees-wax?!"
Yes technically I was/am a first time Mom, but with three stepchildren, who are with us fifty percent of the time, I wouldn't fully throw me in the "NEW MOM" category. I'm not sure there is a category to throw me in actually... all I know is that definitely got my feet wet in the whole parenting thing before having my daughter.
[You can read how I answer the question "so how many kids do you have" HERE]
Last Monday, after a busy day I rushed to daycare to pick up Reese, and then we then hit up the grocery store to get what we needed to make a family dinner. It was the first day of our "week on" with my stepchildren and I was so excited to have a full house again.
At home, as Reese and I prepped the food, my oldest stepson came into the kitchen and asked to go down to a friends house... then my youngest stepson was invited to stay at the neighbours for dinner... then I remembered that my stepdaughter had hitched a ride to work with a friend. She wouldn't be back until after 8pm.
Even though I had a plate full of boneless chicken breasts ready to pop in the oven, and a big bowl full of Caesar salad, it was just going to be my husband and I with our "ours baby" for dinner.
I'm not going to lie, I was a little, errrr, bummed! As was my husband when walked into the door after work.
He'll tell you that even after 6 years, seeing your kids only half of the time doesn't get any easier.
BUT we also recognize that as this stage in their lives, the kid's social lives and friends are the centre of their world. It's age appropriate. It's healthy. It's something that we want! And hey it's better than them being cooped up in their room playing fortnight right?
We're a week into summer holidays here in Canada and there is a quote floating around Instagram and Facebook Newsfeeds that says
Guys, I hate to be the one to break it to you... but this is a vast exaggeration.
You do NOT get 18 summers with your kids. When your kids all of a sudden transform into tweens, they will crave independence and a social life. Summer nights of family ice cream runs, will turn into requests to bike down to their friends.
When they grow into teenagers, family vacations will change. Brace yourself, they won't be as excited about the extended period of quality time with their parents anymore. Especially if there is no wifi.
All of a sudden the question "when do I HAVE to be home" will be one of the most common things you hear. Key words being HAVE TO!
My point? Even though I am JUST the stepmom, and I have only been in this parenting realm for about 6 years now, that's something that I know for sure.
The days can be long, but man, those years are short
Make the memories.
Take the extra 10 minutes to cuddle.
Blow off work and go on an adventure.
Time really is limited.
I look at my 16 year old stepdaughter with awe. When I met her she was in plaid shorts and a pink "Daddy's little girl" t-shirt... and now we're talking about getting her licence how much she has saved up for a car.
A car. A freakin car.
So on those shitty parenting days when you feel like you've asked a kid to do the same thing 37 times with no real progress
OR when you're up to your ears in laundry
OR when you're not on the same page as your husband about rules, discipline or how you're going to run your house
OR when your kid just had an epic melt-down on the grocery store floor because you said no to a kinder egg?
OR if you're heading to court for yet another ridiculous amendment to a legal agreement from your partner's first marriage
REMEMBER, before you know it, you'll miss this!
All you will have is memories from when the kids were little
you don't want to look back and realize that you spent most of your time worrying about the little sh*t... or the the perceived big sh*t that actually turned out to be little
so... back to the point...
being a stepmom has taught me one of the most important lessons in parenting that there is.
Slow down, make the memories, embrace the chaos and don't get caught up in the b*llshit