There is Nothing Easy About Blending His and Yours

I have worked really hard in my motherhood journey. From a young age, pretty much directly at the day of birth, I thought about what type of person I wanted my children to be. Then I became that person. I worked my arse off to become the person I am today. I still have my quirks and I still have certain ways about me that drive others bonkers, especially someone who may be living with me. But one thing no one ever has to question is if I am being honest and real. I am honest and real. Period, That’s it. Even if my honest and real is somewhat intimidating at times, I just refuse to ever not live a life that works for myself and my children. After all, they are the most important part of my life and of course my mental health well being is also important!

Lee and I spent a lot of time figuring out how to blend our family into this home we purchased over a year ago, we worked to ensure that we both were respected. That was somewhat easy, because it was my three kiddos, him and me. I am the work at home Mom, so I was essentially in charge of my three kids. Which is easy. I am used to that.

And then his teen daughter decided to move in and of course we discussed this, and agreed that she could. After all, we both believe in giving our children their wishes when it comes to which parent they wish to spend more time with or less time with. Life is far too short to put kids in the middle of co-parenting issues. So we said yes.

She moved in July 26, 2014 and every day was great during the Summer. That first month or two was amazing. The girls loved having sisters and the boys were excited to have a new sister. It worked well. Then it happened, the real girl came out of the woodwork. You see, it’s hard to blend a child who has lived 13 years in a completely different path than the other three children. This is not the teens fault, she is and was not in control of how she was “raised” {I used that term lightly}. So now it’s not only our job to determine how to blend his teen daughter who has a completely different mindset and a lot of pain inside from disappointments in her life, it’s also our job to stick on the same page.

We have to be a team.

But we weren’t being a team.

Finally Lee and I sat down, had a long talk, but not after a huge blow up fight. And decided what our roles were going to be. How we would handle parenting both my three {which we already had mastered} as well as his teen. No more of his teen playing him against me, I am not sure she was doing it on purpose. I don’t think she is used to living in a home where two parents are truly on the same page. I support Lee and he supports me. We talk about every thing that goes on inside this home and we are always on the up and up with each other. We have respect for one another as a parent.

Ever since we got on the same page together, as a family unit of two parents with four children, instead of looking at it as his and hers, we have been able to nip a few things in the butt and even see his daughter opening up a bit more and actually asking us to help her to move forward and be happy! I love that we had a long chat Friday night with his daughter, it really helped open our eyes to just how much pain and hurt this girl has gone through. It makes my heart break knowing all this girl has had to go through and I can only hope and pray the two of us can come together to blend this family unit in a way that allows all four of our children and us as adults to grow happily together!

 

Miranda Lambert’s Song Automatic Shares My Thoughts Almost Perfectly

I am working in the office today with a local country station blaring music over the house while I sit at my desk getting stuff done. This song came on and I am listening to the words, thinking woah, I say a lot of what she is saying in this. Of course, I had to go to YouTube and search the song out, come to find out it is a song called Automatic by Miranda Lambert {an artist I adore} and so I thought “there’s my post for MVL today” ….

Since my step daughter has moved into our home, I have had to rethink some parenting things. You see, she is a teenager, but she has also been allowed to raise herself along with her brother who is fourteen. It seems they were left to raise themselves in a lot of ways where they had freedoms but really were not raised in any way, shape nor form that I believe in kids being raised. They weren’t raised, they were raising each other. When kids raise each other, well a lot of common courtesy and respect concepts are lost and you end up with teens who really have a self centered personality or don’t have a care for consequences as they haven’t had to face them. Ever. It’s sad really to me. So with having her move into our household, it’s been a matter of trial and error; a lot of things that she was allowed to have are things that kids are to earn in our household; such as a cell phone, leisurely internet access, social media, etc. Those are earned things, not things just handed to children around our home.

As Lee and I were discussing our parenting ways and things to get on the same page about, I mentioned, “well we have the magic jack line, why can’t she talk to her friends on the phone? Like normal kids?”, it seems because his daughter has always been allowed access to forms of texting; social media messengers, etc, that she never really had much interest in actually making phone calls. My oldest will text or make phone calls, whatever she feels like in those moments and it’s been a pretty balanced lifestyle around here. I was telling Lee the other night, “whatever happened to boys calling the girls homes, or friends calling friends and laughing while talking, like real words talking. None of this secret texting crap?!”. You know, teens will say “that’s old school” and so on, but who cares, if talking to friends is that important to them, then they will learn that they can do so, but over the telephone instead of being written/typed words. I think talking on the phone teaches better social skills and quite frankly we don’t feel that his daughter is ready for social media. It’s not something she should have even had before age 13 … one rule I don’t allow here anyways. A majority of sites don’t have protections for children under age 13 and so it’s the rules that you cannot be on FB until you are 13. A lot of parents don’t follow that rule, but I do. I also don’t mean once my Ki is 13 she automatically gets FB … no no no. That is again, an earned privilege and I have to see maturity levels and so much more before I will allow my children on FB.

This song, Automatic by Miranda Lambert, speaks volumes to me on how times have changed. Everyone is so busy, we want want want and we get get get. There is no patience, little common courtesy and we have become so self absorbed as a society that it stinks. There is no appreciation for a hard days work, so many just want everything handed to them. There are few people who appreciate a long day work for your family and coming home to a warm meal while sitting down to the table for a family dinner. What happened to that? We are still slightly like that in our household, because it’s important to us to instill those “old school” family bonds! I believe that I am slightly new school with a huge part old school. The old school in me though, says this is craziness, old school should NOT be old school – having morals, good standards & character, being an honest, trustworthy person and being respectful to others – that should NOT be old school. To me, that is what we should all expect of our own self and our children.

When did that change????

Knowing What Role I Need to Play in this Blended Household #relationships #blendedfamily

Blending a family with his kids and my kids is not easy at all. OMG. I have all the answers in how you can do it, and I recently wrote a post about it, but that’s not to say you won’t get in your own way or become that Type-A person you always are and demand things be a certain way or take over because the other parent in your home is too slow.

I seriously have to step back more often than not to realize that it’s okay if Lee takes longer to do something than I necessarily would like. I have to remind myself to step back and be more patient, kind and hope that things don’t fall apart while he takes his sweet time with some things.

You see, I have been raising three very free-spirited quick little munchkins and with that came the need to be quick as a parent. I am very quick on my feet and when it comes to life and parenthood – I am also very proactive. I take time to get to know a noise, a certain way the kids step (such as a heavy footed walk) or even a level of their voice (pitch of voice, etc) … that means I can tell when crap is about to hit the fan around here before it hits the fan and I can come in to diffuse it. Lee has not yet mastered nor learned that skill really. He is more reactive and that doesn’t work well for my three kids and myself. It drives me UP A WALL.

I am trying. I am really trying hard. Patience with this stuff doesn’t come easy for me because I have worked really hard to raise my three children to be who they are and I cannot have any small step backwards create a week worth of hard work on my end because someone else isn’t handling things the way they should be handled.

Lee and I do great so as long as parenting stuff doesn’t get in the middle of us. You see, he parents one way but wants to parent closer to how I do it because he has seen how positive, fun loving my three are after being raised in the way I do things. Lee wants to be his own person as far as parenting goes, but with a blend of my positive proactive ways. Which I think is wonderful, but the process to get there takes what seems like forever. Lee and I finally figured out the parenting of my children in our combined household, and then his daughter moved in so now we are working to get on the same page in response with his teenager. It’s hard work y’all. This is no walk in the park!

In regards to figuring out how to blend Lee’s teen daughter in this household in a smooth way that also encourages her to be herself while being a better person for the sake of society – meaning respectful, polite and you know, the things one is expected to be such as respecting their elders and being nice to people. We had to figure out what makes her work, what is good for her, what we can do to encourage her to love herself and be herself while still learning to be what she should become to be a well rounded adult.

I started talking to many people for advice, tips and what they have done, etc. I love hearing what works for others and what others have to say about this scenario, because it’s new for us and we want to do our best! I figured out that I am in my own way, you see I feel as as a step-parent I should step back a bit and allow Lee to be Dad and me to be his backup. After much conversations with both Lee and some other elders and friends; we have come to the conclusion that his daughter needs to be treated just as if she is my daughter. No, that doesn’t’ mean I replace her own birth mother, that is never and will never be our intentions! Ever. Period. Rather, here is how Lee and I set our household up to work:

Lee is the primary out of home worker. I work at home but am primarily the MOM. I am the parent on duty 24/7 for the most part. I am the one in charge and enforcing the rules and consequences Lee and I discuss and come to agree upon. This means, his daughter needs to be treated just so — meaning she needs to learn that I am the Mom Figure around here and I have to start acting like that to her.

Essentially I have no boundaries, this teenager lives with us full time and I am in charge of the children full time. Lee is my back up, my partner and we always discuss what’s happening in the household when he is at work and we always come to an agreement on how to handle things. That is what works best for us, we like the household this way and it won’t change. I am great at parenting and he trusts my judgement and knows I love his daughter just as much as I love those three I gave birth to. There’s no issues there. It’s me. I have a hard time realizing that is my role with another person’s child. It’s a new scenario that I have to learn to work with and live with! I can do this, but it’s going to take me some time to get used to, I think!

The birth mother has nothing to do with this child, except contact virtually two times since the Mom moved over an hour away! This means, it’s my job to step up even more so, because the birth mother really hasn’t been a mother to this teen and that makes me so sad. I need to be that Mom this beautiful, kind hearted teen deserves!

Thinking Out Loud on Motherhood, Parntership and Life

I am someone who does it all. When I say that I do it all, I do not mean the house is clean or the dishes are always done, but you can rest assure that the kids are clean, fed and taken well care of. You can rest assure knowing that my work is done daily as a means to add income into the home. You can rest assure knowing the groceries will be purchased, dinner will be cooked and all of the household bills will be written on the calendar. I may not do it all by the standard definition, but I sure do a hell of a lot.

I am the shoulder to cry on, the ears to listen and I am the mouth that speaks positive advice. I am the understanding Mommy, ready to hold back the giggles when something needs to be heard even if I cannot fully grasp why this is a big deal. I am the cooker. I am the worker. I am the goodnight tucker inner. I am everything that a Mom is suppose to be and more. I have a partner, so I help around the home too. He works many hours during the week to compensate for any lost time I get from work due to the children’s needs. We are a team. Or so I think we are.

Some days, I just cannot even fathom hearing a word come out of his mouth. I do not want to see his face, hear his voice nor be anywhere near him. My children adore him, but the oldest does sometimes get frustrated with him. He gets the dishes done and folds laundry almost on a regular; two things I do not seem to keep up with except that one week he went on a business trip, I kept up with everything, even vaccuming that week.

Something about having a partner, makes me not keep up with certain tasks around the home, because I feel he can pick up those areas. I do not need to do everything, in my opinion, I work my butt off working from home and taking care of our combined four children in this house. He can do some of the other little tasks. I tell ya, working from home isn’t hard work really, because it’s what I love, but that parenting gig? That is tough work. It can be extremely rewarding at times yet extremely emotionally draining at times. When their hearts break mine does too. It’s a mother thing, many fathers may feel that same way. When we have this bond with our children; whether they are blood children or not is irrelevant, we feel what they feel.

So today, I am at my limit of frustrations with the partner of the home not being able to multi-task like me, but then again, even talking to most of the Moms I know there is only one other person that is a work from home mother that can handle as much as I do at once. It’s a rare skill to have; the ability to multi-task everything and still be genuinely happy. I have written before about how I am better off single and most days I know that I am a strong independent self assured woman, which makes it difficult to be in a relationship. It’s hard for me to allow someone else to help or to have them do things, because nine times out of ten I feel they are not doing it quick enough, not doing it correctly or not trying hard enough.

I am working to get out of that mindset, but some days I wonder if that is simply who I am. I cannot rely on someone else, but I would enjoy the help without stress. Here’s to hoping a nice long chat over the kid-free weekend will assist in alleviating some of my negative thoughts I have had lately.

I forgot My Son’s Snack for First Time Ever

There is so much going on at my household these days, that for the first time in four years, I forgot to pack my son’s snack in his bag. This is my son who is high functioning autistic, so he is in that habit of at snack time the snack is in the front of his bag with a drink. Every. Single. Day. I have not missed a day yet. It’s not something I forget as I always get lunches and snacks packed up the night before.

I get this phone call, from the school guidance counselor, and here I see the number on the caller ID thinking “oh dear Lord please do not be my youngest crying and having a hard time after he went to school so fine this morning” and nope. It wasn’t about my youngest. It was about Aj who was starting to or having a meltdown over the fact that his snack was not in his bag where it was suppose to be. Combine that with the late night bedtime due to soccer last night and you have one child who is not in a good state of mind.

Luckily for Aj, this is why I work strictly from home. To be there for my kids. Times like this, when my son does need a snack to hold him over until lunch or else he would be a bear. Times like this when the school knows my son is autistic and we need to do something to alleviate his frustration/sadness over something.

So I did what any work at home mom would do, I ran inside, noticed his snack was ON THE COUNTER and said “oh my gosh, it’s on the counter, I have never ever forgotten his snack. I will be right there.” It took me all of five minutes to get down there, I met the guidance counselor at the door to the school and handed off the snack and drink. I felt so bad about that and I am sure after school I will hear all about the “why did you forget my snack, Mama. You never forget my snack” from my honest Aj who can never hold back his questions or matter of fact points.

Thank God I am blessed to work from home and Thank God I am getting better at not giving myself a hard time for something as little as this happening … because otherwise I would be a wreck right now crying. I do pray that things slow down around here so that my mind is not so full I forget the little things like a snack for school packed in the bag.

Have you ever forgotten to pack something for your child’s day at school?

The Overwhelming Feeling That Comes with Lack in Writing

I have told many people; writing is my therapy. It’s no joke. Even back in the day when my Mom made me mad or upset, she would literally get this long letter. I recall many a moments when my mother would tell me “you should write a book”. Of course, back then I was a bit better with grammar and punctuation than I seem to be these days. I laugh because I am still that way, to this day, writing has become an outlet for me. Between writing and walking I am able to function with a positive attitude, take either of those away and it’s a disaster.

I find my thoughts racing. My world overwhelming and as of late, my anxiety started picking up again. It’s difficult to live life when you are not doing things that help you live it fully. Writing is my outlet and I haven’t been writing. I am active, after all I have four kids here at the home, two really active boys and two teen/tween girls who keep me busy on my feet most days. It’s the lack in writing that has allowed my brain to be consumed with all of the changes in our household. The lack in writing that has allowed me to have a cloudy brain.

Today, I am thankful to be back into writing. School is back in session, no more full days of being Mom. While I miss Summer dearly, we had such fun around here, I do enjoy having these days to write and I love that my work revolves around writing. I firmly believe that everyone can help their own self if only they keep an open mind and become aware of what makes them tick. For me, writing makes me tick. Even if I click delete after type something up, I feel better. I feel relieved and I feel the anxiety slipping away. That doesn’t make me unable to discuss my issues, because anything that is fully bothering me, is able to be discussed in a proper tone and proper way when I get it out in words through writing before approaching the person directly.

So today, I say cheers to writing again and I live you with a question …

What makes you tick? What is it that gets you through tough times and rough days?

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