A few months back, as I watched my my husband work on our yard wearing his under armour hat, cargo shorts and work boots... and our daughter trail behind him with her Paw Patrol garden gloves and plastic shovel, I had this ah-ha moment..
We had just returned "the kids" (aka my stepkids) to their Moms after a really great "week-on" and everything felt good!
In that moment, I realized that our marriage is the best it's ever been. It's been just over 5 years since we said "I do" and I have never ever been happier. I'm pretty sure he feels the same.
I remember, during our first year of marriage, one of our mutual friends looked at us and said, "oh look at your two, still in your honeymoon phase". I politely smiled and looked at my husband, but deep down both of us knew that there was nothing HONEYMOON like about how things had been going.
If this was the "honeymoon phase" you could count me out (kidding, well kind of)
I didn't know for sure, but I was pretty sure that couples who were in their honeymoon phase, didn't have heated arguments over bedtime routines or after-school chores. In fact, I was pretty sure that they didn't have kids at all.
When you get married, from what I understand, those first years are SUPPOSED to like your honeymoon.
As I type this I am not quite sure how to describe the honeymoon phase, because, I honestly have never experienced it.
From what I understand, it's when your marriage is blissful, you're madly in love and awe with each other, and the real life struggles that come with marriage haven't crept their way into your relationship.
Again, I'm just assuming.
However, I'm pretty sure that when you're stepmom or in a second marriage when kids are involved, you pretty much forfeit the honeymoon phase and jump right into real life.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that our first years of marriage weren't great. There were so many great things about them. We WERE madly in love with each other and excited about planning our new life together, but real life struggles have been apart of our marriage since day one!
Amongst the love, lust and excitement, our first years of marriage was full of struggles and adjustments.
- I, the 26-year-old bachelorette turned stepmom of three, was adjusting to life with three kids and all the extra responsibilities (and clutter around the house) that came with that (Seriously, the shoes right in front of the back door used to drive me wild)
- We were trying to get into a co-parenting groove and navigate the extra stressors that came with that - territory that was new for everyone involved
- I was trying to develop relationships with my stepchildren and figure out what role I was going to play as a stepmom in their lives. They, I assume, were trying to do the same.
- We were trying to get on the same page about how we were going to run our house. Me coming in with some new ideas of how things "should be" all while he was quite content with how they were.
- I was dealing with insecurities about being the "second wife" that I never expected to have.
- And my husband was trying to balance it all and help everyone adjust, while he too was just figuring out how all this was going to work.
Again, don't get me wrong, life was good but it certainly wasn't what I would consider a honeymoon. More of a major adjustment.
As I sit here sipping my morning coffee, with two of the four kids giggling and running around the house excited for the day, I'm like, "okay Jamie, what's the point of this post? Where are you going with this"
While this may not be the most flowing piece I've ever written, I am writing this post for the stepmoms who are in those early years of marriage. The ones who often think "holy shhhh this is harder than I thought it was going to be" or "holy shhhh this is just too much" .
I'm writing it for the stepmoms who feel like they will never get on the same page as their partner about how they're going to run their house
or who feel like trying to co-parent with their husband's ex-wife is sucking the life out them.
This may sound a bit dramatic, but during those first years of our marriage, our stepfamily stressors would consume me so much that my hands would LITERALLY shake! I would become so fixated on the extra stressors that came with coparenting that I would lay awake last night just worrying.
Heck this very blog started after one night I found myself sitting on the bathroom floor bawling my eyes out feeling alone and like no one understood what I was going through.
The truth is, there were times when I thought that my husband and I would NEVER be able to get on the same page.
But now here we are. God I'm glad I stuck around, because we did.
The stressors I listed above are still the same. Some less, some more. But over the past few years we've learned how to communicate with each other, be patient with each other, to stop worrying about shhhh that doesn't matter.
We've gotten really clear about what our goals and intentions are for our family, and have spent a lot of time intentionally troubleshooting our way through the extra stressors that come with blended family life.
We did not get a honeymoon phase. We did not get the kid free years of Sunday morning sleep ins where the only concern was whether to have eggs or pancakes for brunch.
Our relationship, like many of the women reading this post, was stressful and complicated from the start.
But now, 5 years in we couldn't be more in sync. The thing is, even though that honeymoon phase would have been really great to experience, I'm pretty sure the we wouldn't have there relationship that we do, if we had one!
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