Photo Cred: Dana Ruby Martin

Photo Cred: Dana Ruby Martin

If you followed along on instastories this week you’ll know that I was in my own with all four kids from Thursday until Saturday morning.

My husband was away (Thursday to Sunday) and I was left to hold down the fort during a fairly busy time. Our schedule this week was jam packed with hockey, soccer, hair appointments, doctors appointments and sleepovers.

I didn't think twice about it until I had a whole slue of messages from fellow stepmoms asking how my stepchildren felt about being alone with me all week (and so much more)

So I instead of answering all the questions individually, I thought I'd put the answers all in one place! 

Q: How did you come to start doing appointments (e.g hair, doctors etc) for your stepkids? Does their Mom not get mad?

We basically divide up responsibilities for the kids according to our week on week off schedule. Things that fall on our weeks with the kids, are our responsibility and vice versa.

However that being said, we do have a list that outlines who’s responsible for what with the kids:

For example hair cuts, dentist appointments, back to school shopping etc are all designated to one house or the other. 

This prevents any misunderstanding about who is going to take care of what. It also helps us stay organized and plan ahead!

While technically these responsibilities are my husbands, I’ve always just done them because I am home with the kids, and he has fairly demanding work hours.. It’s how we’ve decided to divide up the responsibilities in our household.

Everyone is on board and feels comfortable with this arrangement - if that wasn’t the case, I'm almost positive we wouldn't do it this way!  

Q: Is everyone okay with you taking care of the kids when your husband is away? Do the kids feel comfortable staying with you? Is their mom okay with it?

Yeah as far as I know everyone is okay with it ... no one has ever said otherwise. 

When my husband goes away we always offer “first right of refusal” to their Mom and vice versa. That’s why the kids went back this weekend on Saturday instead of the regular transition time on Monday after school.

Their agreement states that "first right" needs to be offered for any period of over 24 hours - however there isn’t anything that outlines how that works when a “stepparent” is left in a caregiving role. I’m sure it could be argued either way.

Even though there is nothing that specifies how to handle this, we offer as a courtesy because that’s how we would want to be treated if we were in that situation

Due to scheduling conflicts there have been plenty of times when i have been here with my stepkids for a period of time, and I don't mind at all... they’re my people and Reese’s siblings.... and I love when the house is full!

I want them to feel like this is their ALWAYS their home .... not just when they’re dad is here.

Q: How do you handle discipline when your husband is away? You say you don't discipline the older kids anymore, but what happens if something happens when you're on your own.  

I have to say, the kids are fairly good. Like exceptionally good. Other than managing Fort Night screen time and asking them to bring dishes upstairs, the need for discipline is minimal.

However this weekend there was an incident with the boys on the trampoline that resulted in some tears, yelling and a loose tooth. (I didn't see it, but you should have heard Reese try narrate the scrap! Too funny!) 

As I said it Step-Parenting Teenager: Why This Stepmom Is Taking A Major Step Back I’ve taken a back seat in discipline department with my stepchildren as they've gotten older.  

I quickly learned that teenagers are less forgiving of a stepmom than they are they’re parents and straight up, I am not interested in a house full of tension so I've really learned to pick my battles.  

BUT when I’m on my own and there is a full on brawl i really have no choice.

So I diffused the situation, told them to take time apart and then left it for their Dad to take care of when he comes home. I also gave their mom the lowdown when I saw her. 

I anticipate there will be a consequence (and should be) but to be honest I just felt more comfortable letting him deal with it when he returns.

Q: Legally do you get any pushback from health professionals when you take your stepchildren to appointments - given that you’re not LEGALLY their guardian?

It's funny that this was asked this week of all weeks - because until this week, I hadn't had any issues!!

This week when i took my stepdaughter to an appointment a doctor (who was unfamiliar with us and our dynamic) he straight up told me that legally I couldn’t be there and she needed to be with a legal gauardian. I pushed back and told him that when the appointment was booked her mom advised I was able to made decided regarding my stepdaughters care, but he wasn't buying it.

However, after some push back and a heated moment he proceeded...

I totally understand where he is coming from but also believe that verbal permission should suffice. If you’re ever doing an appointment for your stepchild be sure that the health professional is up to speed.

It’s the first time that I’ve had that happen in 5 years but better be safe than sorry.


As always it's important to remember that every stepfamily dynamic is different and what works for one family may not work for another. At the end of the day, it about everyone's comfort level!

If YOU have a question that you'd like to add to the list, head to Facebook and leave it in the comments below this post and I'll be sure to answer it ASAP!

Also, if you're not already, be sure to come follow along on Instagram - we've had some phenomenal blended family conversations going on lately. 

Have a great week!

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