Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Domestic Enemies of the StepMom

We've been waiting for this post for a while...as you know, Kate is part of a blended family, and McLovin has jumped into that icy cold water that is called StepParentHood. It's one of the hardest juggling acts in the world -- get along with the other parent, raise a couple of awesome inherited kids, but have very little power and decision making abilities for these kids.

So when Christie sent us this, we knew we had struck gold...


I'm Evil Stepmother, and I'm very new to the blogging world -- as in my blog, Confessions of an Evil Stepmother, is literally weeks old -- So, needless to say, I am thrilled to be on MommyLand, which just happens to be my favorite blog.

I'm just your typical, boring Midwestern soccer mom. With one exception. I didn't give birth to my little soccer stars. No, I inherited a ready-made family when I moved to Iowa to be with my now husband. We share 50/50 custody and live within one mile of the kids' mom, First Wife. On purpose.

My stepdaughter, Skinny Minnie, is just about to turn eleven, and is so much like me that we defy the laws of genetics. Then there's Quiz, my 5-year old stepson. He makes me laugh and exhausts me with his energy and never-ending questions.

We don't pay much attention to biology and legalities in our house. We are a family, and I am just as frustrated, tired, buried in laundry, and in love with my kids as any other mom.

So I face all the normal Domestic Enemies, along with a few others.

The Question

"When are you going to have your own kids?" I hear it All. The. Time. From family, friends, the photographer at Sears, you name it. I have lived with my 2 stepmonkeys since May 2007, so it irritates me when someone asks me when I'm going to have "my own" kids. I've been helping to raise them since they were 6 and 18 months old. How long did it take you to fall in love with your kids? Less than 4 years? More like, in an instant, right? That's what I thought. Same for me.

I go to every play/soccer game/swim lesson. I've been cried on, bled on, thrown up on. I've stayed home with them when they're sick. To me, they ARE my kids. So if you need to ask something that's none of your business, ask me when I'm going to have MORE kids.

The Schedule

We live by The Schedule. No one messes with The Schedule. I'm pretty sure Maude herself set The Schedule. But, The Schedule is also a pain in my you-know-what.Want to take the kids to the fireworks for the 4th of July? Wait, whose year is it? Did we take them last year? Let me check The Schedule. Everything we do requires coordinating, emailing, and negotiating.

The Family

These kids are loved. By a LOT of people. Given that they have two sets of parents, that means four sets of grandparents, three sets of great grandparents, and more aunts and uncles and cousins than I care to count. And they ALL want to see the kids for birthdays, holidays, special family events, Arbor Day and all summer long.

This is great, and I love that the kids have people who will literally FIGHT for them, but it reeks havoc on The Schedule. Christmas? Forget it. The poor kids spend more time in the car than they do enjoying the holiday. "Oh, I'm glad you got that Transformer you wanted, but no you can't open it because we have to get going to the next place." On Christmas, we are a traveling circus complete with frustrated, tired, and over stimulated kids.

Maybe the stepmonkeys should get a booking agent.

The Limitations

Being a Stepparent is fairly limiting. Even though I take care of these kids 50% of the time and love them 100% of the time, there are certain things about their lives that I can't control. Some things, like choosing a daycare, making medical decisions, and deciding if ten is too young for a cell phone just fall outside of my jurisdiction. And I understand why. But it is still frustrating. First Wife and I once had words because I let Minnie get a shorter haircut. Now, in my opinion, ten is old enough to decide for yourself which hairstyle to get. But I should have checked. This is a team effort, and everything is voted on by committee. Lesson learned.

The Fear

The Fear is something else to us stepmoms. Yes, I constantly worry about food poisoning, sunburns, jungle gyms set over concrete, and run away school buses, but there is something much scarier. You see, if anything ever happens to my husband (God forbid) or if we ever split up, I lose my. entire. family. I have no rights. My rights to my kids are dependent upon being married to my husband. So when he and I fight, even if I KNOW everything will eventually work out, The Fear is there. Lurking.

The Fear is big. The Fear never leaves. The Fear makes me grateful for every moment with my kids.

The Stereotypes

Damn Cinderella and her Evil Stepmother for giving us such a bad rap. Apparently, I should have been issued a Regulation Hairy Wart to wear the day I married my husband. Here's the thing. I'm (mostly) not evil, and I don't ever want to replace the stepmonkeys' mom. They love her and always will. I just want to love them too.

Hairy warts and all...

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

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