Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Art of the Step(Mom)

Every once in a while, McLovin will come home and see the chaos, and Kate in yesterday's clothes and dinner is a dude in the driveway with bad Chinese food that is either too spicy, too cold or too gross. And he'll think about his bachelor days and how he was thisclose to being all George Clooney-ish and perpetually single without being assumed to be gay.

And it's days like this when Kate is pretty sure McLovin is going to say, "wow, are so not worth this..."

So far, he hasn't...

Let's just splat it out there, in all its unglorified messiness: Blended families are hard work. Take all the stress and toil and work and tears and fears of raising children and being married, and then add in another spouse, possibly two, and other kids. And schedules. And "who's weekend is it on the 17th?" And that you can't make a move without consulting someone you're not married to anymore, who has to consult the person they are now married to, so that that person can consult the person they used to be married to.

So, I can take the kids to New York on Tuesday? Yes? Awesome. Note to self: Tell spouse's ex-spouse's new spouse's ex spouse "thank you..." I think his name is Frank...or possibly Doreen.

And, with the help of our awesome friend Abigail, who has absolutely mastered the art of being a step, we give you the Top Ten Worst and Best Things About Being a StepMom...

Top 10 Worst Things About Being a StepMom
  • 10. My husband and I are equals...except on those weekends we have my step kids. Then he’s *gulp* in charge.
  • 9. If we have a not-so-nice weekend, that’s the memory we’re all left with until the next scheduled weekend. Along those same lines, if we try a new policy or behavior modification technique, and it doesn’t work, we have to wait two weeks to try another one. 
  • 8. Every other weekend is a whirlwind of trying to visit everyone on our side of the family who cares about the kids because it will be at least two weeks until the next time they’ll see them. 
  • 7. We had to get a minivan to accommodate the family we have twice a month and three weeks in the summer. A minivan! 
  • 6. When I had my son, I was all basking in the glow of new motherhood while my husband was all *yawn* been there, done that, twice. 
  • 5. I’m quite sure my own kid thinks it’s OK to call me by my first name because, after all, his brother and sister do.
  • 4. We have no control over what they do when they’re with their mom, which includes things like watching TV all day, eating Butterfinger Yo Crunch (really?) for breakfast, and listening to Taylor Swift.
  • 3. We only get snippets of their “other lives” from them because they’re kids and have the memory capacity of goldfish except when it comes to Taylor Swift lyrics.
  • 2. I have to be on my best behavior on step kid weekends so I don’t somehow cause my husband to lose what custody he has.
  • 1. After only a few days with them, we have to send them back to their mom.

Top 10 Best Things About Being a StepMom
  • 10. I have these two wonderful children and I didn’t have to carry them for 9 months, birth them or breastfeed them.
  • 9. My son, who otherwise would’ve been an only child, has a brother and sister.
  • 8. Hey man, I’m just the stepmom so I am in no way responsible for any failures past, present, or future. But, I will totally take credit for any and all the successes.
  • 7. They’ve introduced me to Phineas and Ferb which is the Best. Cartoon. Ever.
  • 6. Getting them into The Grateful Dead is that much better because I know it drives their mom nuts!
  • 5. I don’t have to be all parent-y all the time with them. I can be their friend too. After all, we’re on a first name basis.
  • 4. It’s not a big deal when I miss soccer or basketball or gymnastics (which I do all. the. time.)
  • 3. I don’t have to take them clothes shopping, keep track of their homework and activities, remember their friends’ names, argue with them about why they don’t need cell phones, keep up with their laundry or fight with them about brushing their teeth. But I do anyway. Because I want to.
  • 2. I know that, because of them, I’m a better mom to my son.
  • 1. After only a few days with them, we get to send them back to their mom.
And, sometimes you hit the StepMommy jackpot, and while it may take a little time and a little patience, and maybe a little bit more t-box, you find out that your spouses ex-spouse is actually a pretty cool person. Abigail sent us this:

I was home with the step twins and my own little Monster while Daddy was out at an organized bike ride hours away. We had gone on a picnic with their grandparents and aunt and uncle and cousins when Thing 1 started complaining about not feeling well. I thought maybe it was due to playing in the heat all day so we gave him water and a cold compress. We got home and he fell asleep for a few hours. 

When he woke up he had a headache and felt a little warmer. This whole time I was texting his mom just to keep her updated. When his temp came back at 103.7 I started to panic a little bit. I was on the phone to the mommy network discussing symptoms and everyone decided he should go to the ER. Dad finally got home and I rushed out the door with Thing 1. We all thought it was appendicitis, we were just waiting for the doctor to confirm. After several hours though, I did call his Mom and ask her to take over. 

She and I had a cordial relationship but when she got to the hospital, she actually gave me a giant hug and I’ll never forget what she said to me: " When I walked in and saw you lying in the bed with him, it was exactly as I hoped. It was exactly what I would’ve done."
The whole situation has been better since then. It’s been really nice. Oh, and it wasn’t appendicitis. Bonus.

Cha-ching...see? Lottery.

Rock on (Step)Moms -- we love you lots!

xoxo, Kate and Lydia

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010

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