I know that I am not my stepson’s mother, but I constantly struggle walking that line between my head and my heart. Actions can lead to feelings.    Sometimes all of the work of being the maternal figure leads me to feeling as though I am a mother to him.  I want so much to think that – at least in my home – I can be that person.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

My husband was gone for a few days for work.  Things have always gone smoothly for me and my stepson when we are alone together.  He is a good kid who has never given me any real grief.  His dad has always expected him to be respectful of me and reminds my stepson to listen to me.

I got off early from work the same Friday that my husband came home.  I walked though the door, and my husband called out playfully, “Mom’s home!”  We all had dinner and watched a movie together.  It was after 11pm by the time the movie was over.

My stepson had been dozing during the last of the movie, and he woke when the credits were playing. He rolled over on the couch to continue to sleep.  I got up to go to the kitchen, and I called out to him to go ahead and go to bed if he was going to sleep.   He looked at me like I was crazy.  I added that I understood if he wanted to spend time with his dad, but repeated that if he were turning over to sleep that he needed to go ahead and go to bed.  Silence.

I looked over at my husband expecting support.  He said nothing and looked at me like I was crazy.  I immediately recognized that I was being left adrift.  Feeling angry and hurt, I went to take a long hot shower.

After crying a bit in the shower, I realized that yet again I was trying to act like his mother.  It is one thing to be in charge when I’m the only one home.  When his father is home, I need to lay low and not attempt to parent.

It can be so confusing.  Even though my husband will sometimes refer to me as “Mom”,  on some level he resents if I attempt to parent in front of him – as if I am overstepping my boundaries.  Even though my stepson will write sweet cards and thank me for “being the mother [he] never had”, he doesn’t actually want me to be “Mom” in our home.

He and my stepson only want my support of Dad as a parent.  That’s it.  This is the lesson I struggle with daily.

I might fill in as a mother in our home, but I can’t allow myself to feel as though I am Mom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015 was a year of repeat lessons for me as a stepmom and wife.  Each time it get a little easier, but I hope 2016 is the year that I finally learn those lessons.  However, since every article I read says it takes several years for a blended family to settle, I expect I’ve got at three to four more years to go.

******

What did I do in 2015 that I had never done before?   I was away from home for the New Year, built a bee hive, used a cultivator, made a Reuben sandwich, participated in an organ harvest, first speeding ticket, first defensive driving class, threw a crawfish boil, surfing, camping, kayaked  27 miles, got my first tick, caught and cleaned crabs, had family to our lake spot for 4th of July, won a scholarship to national nursing conference, was apart from my husband for 2 weeks while he was out of the country for work, ate smoked duck pizza, made cakes for family birthdays, drove the boat onto the trailer, got my concealed handgun license, real snowball fight, Thanksgiving buffet, visited Utah, mountain biking in Moab, skiied at Park City, got my first Macbook (Christmas present from husband)

Did anyone close to you give birth?  3 co-workers had their babies.  My little brother and his wife are expecting.

Did anyone close to you die? No

Where did you go?  Kayaking and camping 3 days on the Ouachita River in Arkansas, Atlanta for nursing conference, road trip to meet husband’s friends in  Oklahoma, mountain biking and skiing in Utah for Thanksgiving, and stopping to see my grandparents in New Mexico

One of your favorite memories?  Valentine weekend at the lake with my hubby, my valentine card and message from my stepson, anniversary weekend with dinner and spa treatment, restaurant birthday dinner with both sides of the family, 3 day kayaking trip with my people, Thanksgiving snowball fight and sledding

What do you wish you’d spent more time doing? Writing, playing music, creating

What do you wish you’d spend less time doing? Wasting time on social media

What song will always remind you of 2015? Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars, See You Again by Wiz Khalifa, Exes and Ohs by Elle King

What was your favorite TV program? Walking Dead,  House of Cards, True Detective, Game of Thrones, Orange is the New Black, Jane the Virgin, Fear of the Walking Dead

What was your favorite movie?   Mad Max and Star Wars

One of the hardest things for me about being a stepmother has been the lack of connection my stepson has with my family.

I never thought I would be raising a child who did not consider my family his own.  I expected that any children I had would be  close to my parents and siblings. My sister and I used to talk about how our kids would be over at each other’s houses all the time.   My family make wonderful grandparents and aunts and uncles to my little nieces and nephews.  It almost hurt to think he wouldn’t think twice about them except as some nice people.  They are so important to me that it felt like a form of rejection of me.

I knew in my head that it wasn’t the case.  These people were literally strangers to him. He didn’t have any history or bonds with them, and that wasn’t going to happen overnight.  This also meant that he wouldn’t really have any drive or desire to see them.  So I have had to learn (over and over again) that this is just the way it is.  It isn’t a fault of his or mine.  It is what it is.  I should have that mantra tattooed on my body for the significance it has played in my life the last couple of years.

Over the last three years,  he has gotten more comfortable and playful with my family when he is around them.  They pick and play with him like anyone else.  But he still did not seem to connect with them any more than seeing them as really nice people who give him presents.  He calls them all by first name. He doesn’t ask to spend any time with them.  When there are two conflicting family events, he will choose his mother’s family over mine. I understand, of course, though I still feel a twinge of grief.  It is what it is.

He and I were talking in the car the other day, and the conversation somehow turned to age.  I told him about my great grandparents and that they had passed just a few years before he and I met.

He turned to me and asked, “so I almost had great great grandparents?”

♥  Watching TV show with friends Fun day at pool with family A lot of hand holding when the man returns after 2 weeks away  Visiting local winery    Texas Tacos  Sexy times in a moving vehicle Smoked duck pizza with mozzarella and cherries  Belgian chocolates  Clean sheets New mug from Amsterdam ♥  A new school year…I have my Mondays and Wednesdays back to myself   Hanging up honeymoon pics…finally   Gym time

  1. Skype dates.
  2. Send him sexy underwear and shower pics.
  3. Make a list of date night ideas.
  4. Knit him socks for hunting season.
  5. Netflix.
  6. Dinner with the girls.
  7. Keep on with my running and exercise plans.
  8. Try out lots of new recipes that I think only I would like.
  9. Pick up extra shifts at work.
  10. Look forward to having my man back.

♥  Cool, breezy, drizzly morning run Sending my husband sexy pics while he is away Printing honeymoon and vacation pics to frame and hang Getting off work early   My fastest run yet Looking forward to seeing my husband tonight Fun days at work New pens  New recipes Planning a birthday cake and present for my little brother ♥  Date night at a local winery this weekend   Watching my dog embarrass himself at the vet by barking and growling at another dog…on a poster  6 weeks into a 14-week half-marathon training plan

♥  Winning a scholarship to a national nursing conference in Atlanta, GA Being able to Skype with my husband while he is out of the country for 2 weeks Planning my adventures in Atlanta Trying out new-to-me recipe: Olive Garden Copycat Zuppa Toscana (I followed the suggestions from review left by Dans La Lune.)    Lightning storm  Quality time with my stepson while my hubby is away More cake decorating classes with the stepson’s grandmother Putting an outdoor symphony garden performance on my calendar Clean sheets Night run with my stepson ♥  Listening to some classical guitar on my way to work   Netflix’s documentary Tig… so good   Gym time

♥  Running with the hubby Making a mean slow cooker lasagna Feeling needed/wanted at work  Beginning the planning stages of our trip to Colombia next summer    Gym time   Summer days with the stepson Hearing stepson say he has the best parents – referring to his father and myself Finally putting up some wedding pics in our room  New bamboo cutting boards New towels to replace ratty towels at lake ♥  Laughing with my hubby   Eating ice cream together in silence on the couch   “Date” at blood donation center

♥  Working on e-book project with my sister Another cake decorating lessons – maybe will be able to go into business before the summer is over Training for a  1/2 marathon with my stepson  Having family visit us from Colombia  Long, achingly honest discussions with my husband  Being reminded of how thoughtful he is Finishing the new bedroom at our lake camp Showing my family around our little spot at the lake  Seeing my stepson with my family A day to myself ♥  Planning for the July birthdays   Weddings   Quality time with the in-laws

My Happiness Project

1. Set a bedtime.
2. Make my bed every morning.
3. Always be reading something.
4. Move more.
5. Toss and organize.
6. Give proofs of love.
7. Leave the past.
8. Fight right.
9. Don't expect praise or appreciation.
10. Kiss more, hug more, touch more.
11. Aim higher.
12. Find some fun.
13. Ask for help.
14. Smile.
15. Realize it's possible.
16. Don't compare;be inspired.
17. Focus on what I have.
18. Beware of drift.
19. Take a chance.
20. Listen.
21. Be mindful.
22. Cultivate gratitude.
23. Spend out.
24. Do good, feel good.
25. Show up.
26. Have the courage to be imperfect.
27. Find joy in the ordinary.
28. Work smart.
29. Enjoy now.
30. Talk to strangers.
31. Go outside.
32. Start where I am.
33. Show up on time.
34. See art everyday.
35. Love with abandon.
36. Be colorful.
37. Dress the part.
38. Revel in accomplishments.
39. Learn something new.
40. Fear less.
41. Take pictures.
42. Speak with integrity.
43. Don't be critical about small things.
44. Manage my pain.
45. Surround myself with creative people.
46. Practice, practice, practice.
47. Don't force it.
48. Deal with something once.
49. Trust my instincts.
50. Avoid gossip.
51. Choose to see the best in people.
52. Take time to be silly.
53. Throw my own party.
54. Be a mentor.
55. Lean into my fears.
56. Find the others.
57. Do the unexpected.
58. Don't break the chain.
59. Do things others aren't.
60. Slow down.
61. Be cool with not being cool.
62. Be kinder than necessary and more generous than reasonable.
63. Pretend I'm good at it.
64. Keep in touch.
65. Row my own canoe.
66. Do what only you can do.
67. If it doesn't work out, find something that does.
68. Dream bigger.
69. Notice what's right.
70. Stop talking. Start doing.
71. When in doubt, choose laughter.
72. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
73. Respect everyone.
74. Be early.
75. Delete the unnecessary.

Three Simple Rules

1. If you do not GO after what you want, you will never have it.
2. If you do not ASK, the answer will always be no.
3. If you do not MOVE forward, you will always be in the same place.

All I Need

1. Someone to love.
2. Something to do.
3. Something to hope for.

U.S. States I’ve Visited

Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
Colorado
Georgia
Florida
Louisiana
Maryland
New Mexico
North Carolina
Ohio
Oklahoma
Pennsylvania
Texas
Utah
Virgina

Countries I’ve Visited

Mexico
Colombia
Thailand
Vietnam
Bermuda (British territory)

I write about…

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