Children need it..and so do we.

 

 

There are always those painful aching parts in a movie where they touch your inner most fears or make you relive a memory that you hoped so desperately to forget. Every scene in a movie about a parents relationship with their child, gets me. It’s as if the right side of my chest is being pinched, I sweat and my toes on one foot nervously press against the toes on the other. Then before I know it, I make that god awful noise that sounds like you just released the emotion stopper and now tears are flowing  freely – but not the happy tears – the sad hurtful tears.

The relationship between a child and parent is monumental, its original, un-copied, unlimited, unedited and the most precious relationship to exist. When I see struggle within that regardless of the whose side, my heart feels every piece of that – movie or in real life.

Growing up with a un-supportive father, and an absent mother there are moments I will forever long for, knowing that they will never exist. Moments like having my father walk me down the aisle. Father /Bride dances kill me every time, and being able to say I was my Daddy’s girl and know it was true. Or,  maybe to  have been there when he passed away –  But, you know life sometimes just doesn’t work out how you plan. Take this story for instance.

My husband was born of a hateful man – a man who abused his mother and left them both when he was a baby. I’m sure my mother-in-law hoped for something better, and when my husband was two, a man entered his life. My mother-in-law said she knew he was the one  when she walked into the living room and saw them sharing a bowl of cereal with one spoon. She said from then on it was the two of them – she even took a backseat. They did everything together and he wanted to adopt my husband as his own – he wanted to be his father in every sense of the word. He had decided to adopt him even before they had plans to marry. My husbands biological father signed his rights away, and the rest was history.

Everything about my husband is his “dad” and when we talk about who his “dad” is, it’s never been the man who left his mother. Often times I think my husbands strong feelings towards respecting mothers stems from that. A couples years after his parents married, a little brother came into the picture – along with a lot of doubts. Many people thought that once he had a blood-child an actual biological child – my husband would get the backseat – be less important. They couldn’t have been more wrong. Their father loved them the same, he was just as involved, just as dedicated. My husband stayed close to his father and his brother was a mama’s boy – but the four of them were a family.

They hunted, fished, camped, boated, spent hours on end doing homework, shared the discipline and so on. The characteristics that used to irritate my mother-in-law like getting the kids all hyped up before bed – or being the life of the party that never wanted to stop – are all the things my husband is. He would stop and pick up hitch hikers, women standing in the rain, and would defend his wife in such a manner that women would die for. Sure he wasn’t perfect, I still hear stories today – and although I have never met him I still admire this man so greatly. Their family had it all.

One morning an impromptu hunting trip with my husband and some family & friends ended in a horrifying tragedy, where my husband at thirteen – heard a gunshot and his father’s voice for the last time. When I say that the loss of this father was huge, that’s an understatement – 600 people attended his funeral and I am yet to hear one person that didn’t love him. He still comes to life when we watch home videos of when the boys were younger, and my mother in law and I watched their wedding too. He had eyes that told you exactly what he was thinking, and when she walked down the aisle to him, he couldn’t have been happier.

Quite a few years later now, I entered the family with reservation because my now husband is my junior by a few years. Having two children of my own, naturally I worried about what his intentions were and as we dated more, I questioned how someone this young could know what he wanted. One night following an argument that mainly existed because of my fear of being left or hurt, and for the kids to go through that pain as well – my mother-in-law shared with me the story of her late husband.  She told me after sharing all I shared with you above, that all my husband has wanted was a family – and that family to him has never been tied by blood. In fact at this point, my MIL was re-married with a step-daughter of her own as well. My husband was well versed in “step” life.

When I see my husband with my kids – it lights up my existence and their lives. He plays with them, he gets on their level,  he does homework with them, and isn’t afraid to not be their friend. He is protective, loving, stern and a role model. Watching  T.V. at night, I can look over and find my son snuggling with him, or my daughter with her head in his lap, and his fingers running through her long blond hair. My heart melts, my hearts happy and I know it’s all because his Dad loved him.

You see it doesn’t matter where the love comes from, it doesn’t matter if it’s a bio-parent or a step-parent – as long as there is a parent. Someone who gives their time, their energy, their love without any regard for a personal gain – solely to benefit the child. We all get some portion of this in life – if only for a small portion – or in our early years like my husband or in your later years like myself. Calling someone mom, was huge to me, and I never did it. Until my husbands mom acted like a mother to me, and at 31 years old I finally got the person that my husbands father was to him. A little piece of completeness.

In closing, tonight when you look at your child – look at them and see the child – not the other parent. See what needs they have, what talents they possess and can share with the world given that extra love, that extra time, that extra attention. Don’t be afraid or too busy to hug them, to discipline them, or to not be their friend. Because, inside of us all we have that small place that’s missing something? Don’t you?

See you next blog ~ Jess

She can’t be that bad – Meeting the Ex-wife

 

 

Listening to my husband explain about his ex when we were dating really went in one ear and out the other. You see, I was divorced, and I knew the dad’s side of things and my side of things. Many people disliked me because of the dad’s side which was so far from the truth that it made me disregard some of what my husband was sharing. In past posts I have written the level of hatred he has for her, and while I do not share that with him – I do feel a immense dislike! However that came over time. I have always been the kind of person who gives the benefit of the doubt to the underdog.

Granted she did not like me at first, which I expected and prepared myself for. After all, I had been in her shoes, and am not afraid to admit suffered from the fear that I too could be replaced in my kids life by their step-mom. Benefit-of -the-doubt in my eyes can mend many situations – so I tried to approach her with such. At some point the relationship between my husband and his ex-wife went downhill pretty terribly and my husband said that he wanted all communication to go through me as he couldn’t manage a normal, adult, calm conversation. She was less than thrilled and adamantly refused such an obnoxious go around and so on. After listening to her from the other side of the phone – yelling and screaming – I took the phone. Very calmly I introduced myself more clearly, informed her of my age, my children, their ages and that I was not some twenty-something girl who was gonna bail in a couple of months and that she could rest assured that I want the best for their son. You could tell she did not like my stepping in, and to be honest I can’t say I had the right to do so – but I did. For a little while following that things were better.

Then one lovely sun-shining day at our normal pickup location she was mad! And, let me clarify what mad means in our world – it includes but is not limited to getting out of her car – slamming her car door, arms folded, face grimaced, body swaying from hair to feet, and on a mission pace right to your face – yes literally into your face – with the finger-pointing and screaming to accompany it. Well, this being my first altercation and both my lack of filter and anger that she was pulling this crap in front of not only her child but my other two as well – I was less than pleased. Probably again one of those moments I should have just duct taped my mouth shut – but instead I swung open my door and very sternly but politely informed her that she can say whatever she wants to him in privacy – however in-front of the kids this will not be tolerated – and that her language wasn’t appreciated – then got back into the car.  My husband joined me and we left.

In these two instances, I learned something from this woman. First, is that since my husband was/is younger he had still been in that dating phase, and had his fair share of fun – after her of course. This created a concern as it would with any mother, that her son would create a bond with someone who wouldn’t be staying long-term. This I completely understood and sympathized with. The second was, it was clear in their relationship she wasn’t an equal – because my husband getting into the car with me, and allowing my say – put her almost in shock. She didn’t know what to say or how to do it.  Again for a little while we got a long. They needed to re-do their current parenting plan for holidays and such so, she and I went back and forth with what worked and what days she wanted, then I went with her to the court-house and even helped her file it. When she didn’t have the money to help her file it, I helped her fill out the court form that waives it. She was thankful and polite. I saw a light at the end of this dangerous, curvy tunnel.

Somewhere between March and May of the next year she decided she wanted to hate us both again and somewhere during that time, I let her. I figured I gave my best shot, I tried and now I was done. My dreams of having a home where everyone could get along, where birthdays and holidays could be shared for the sake of the kids was sadly tossed out the car window one day and that was that.

When my husband and I got back from getting married, we had to pick up my new step-son the day after we got back. I do  not believe that he mentioned we were getting married – because we agreed that we would address it when we returned. Well apparently Facebook addressed it before we could 🙂 As we pull up she is waiting with little guy on her hip and one hand on her other hip, like a mom who just found you skipped school. My husband gets out of the car and she pushes by him still with kiddo on her hip, bends over and says “I guess  I owe you an apology – I didn’t think he would actually marry you”. Looking at her in that moment I realized all those stories he had shared with me was true, and all that benefit of the doubt I prepared for her was a waste of my time. She was a young, mad at the world girl and there was nothing I could do to change that. Honestly thinking back now I don’t even remember what I said in response – if anything, maybe I just looked at her with confusion and sadness for her.

I think a lot of times the mother of these children we love, isn’t the way she is because they worry we are a bad mother or good mother. In fact I don’t think it has anything to do with the kids, or us sometimes. Sometimes, it’s just them – their insecurities, inadequacies, and the reminder every time they see our husbands that they failed at making the family work. A family that we are now nurturing, raising and building together.

When you look back at the first time you met the ex – do you feel it was personal against you – or just personal for her??

Are we stepparents or are we family?

 

 

Earlier this week if you follow my Facebook page, you’ll remember my posting about some educated and experience stepmother’s in this world have very firm ideas of where the line is drawn in parenting.

In The Erin Experiment, a blog post written in 2010 she writes:

“Regardless of if the Bio-Mom is a crack head and Dad is an emotionally unavailable dork, a very important rule to remember for stepmom sanity is that you are not Mom or Dad – do your best to not act like one. “

and goes on to say in next exercise to be a more content Step-Mom that:

“As women, we’re going to trend to want to swoop in and rescue the children when life has dealt them a blow. If you’re making phone calls to the doctor’s office because Dad can’t be bothered or remember, step away from the telephone and write down what it is you’re doing and how you’re feeling. What you may start to notice is how much you’re doing for them and not for you.”

While I can appreciate her point of view and can see a validity to a certain extent – respectfully I disagree. If you are a parent to another child besides your stepchild – don’t you do these things already? Don’t you schedule appointments, make lunches, take and pickup from daycare, feed clothe and bath anyhow? Wouldn’t it seem kind of bitchy to not do for all the same?

I couldn’t imagine having my stepson come to me and need something, and for my response to be “okay sweetie, well daddy is not in at the moment, but I will write this down and when he gets home I will let him know”.  Fat chance, for three reasons. First – he is a child, and may child on our weeks, and I refuse to make him feel any less of a part of our family. Second, it’s not his fault his parents split up – he doesn’t deserve the third wheel treatment. Third, because I am an overachiever damn-it and I want to provide, support and love this little boy – who cares if I get stressed for 5 extra minutes – I’ll live!

In a home where they live by separate rules, separate families – in my opinion it does just that – Separates. Blending a family is hard enough without adding in what can and can’t be done, and by whom – its best to do your  best, love your best and treat all children the same. The kids don’t know the difference anyways – they know that in this house there is you and they know you take care of what they need and that all that matters. And, our spouses need us too – we all need help from someone at some point.

I realize life isn’t fair or easy – but when it can be – it should be.  When I took my kiddos school clothes shopping, the youngest isn’t in school yet and brother and sister were trying on shoes, he looked at me with bis big blue eyes and with his teeny squeaky little soft voice said “Mommy do I get new school shoes too”? When I said yes to him his heart damn near jumped out of his chest and he was so excited!! Now do you think that was because he got new shoes, or because he got to be involved and do what brother and sister were doing? I think it’s partly both, but more so the being involved.

How do you think he would have felt, if instead I said – “Oh honey, I’m sorry you’ll have to ask daddy when he gets home or have your mommy do it for you?”

See you next post – Jess

http://www.erinexperiment.com/2010/08/action-plan-for-being-more-content.html  blog post

http://oivindhovland.blogspot.com/2011_09_01_archive.html image used for blog.

How do they do it?

It would make me feel better if the only successful writers were over 40, because that’s when the kids are grown and gone. My life has consisted of my children and my dream, there has only been one dream and it has never died – its a nagging reminder that everyday I fail. Looking around me I see mothers of twins, mothers that home-school, stay at home moms and so on, all writing, all managing to figure it out. Can someone please tell me why I am the only one unable to do this? What mistake am I making? Do these moms not have bills to pay, inquisitive children, husbands that need them and a house to clean?

It almost frustrates me to the point of saying – forget it! This is pointless. Blogging isn’t easy – its time consuming and thought provoking. Sure I can blog out some crap about why the sky is blue and how my child cant say his L’s very well – but really, who wants to hear that? It wouldn’t and doesn’t make me read other blogs about those topics. I try to make what I write about something, to have a point, to  interact, reach out and touch someone – to make them feel like they aren’t alone in the crazy world of being so many things to so many people. I am only one person – and this person is…is… see i don’t even know!

Being a wife and mother is my greatest accomplishment and joy. However, being a wife and mom sucks sometimes – I am not even going to lie. My husband can irritate the shit out of me, and push every wrong button in a ten second time frame, easily. He is not unlike any other husband I am sure – they all have that miracle in a bottle ready to spray and shoot just when it will piss you off the most.

My husband and I are so much alike that we butt heads, and the thrill of being right, or more intelligent (which is always me) is always at the surface.  Just like last night – our grass is brown – well, brown with little hopeful patches of green. In the attempt to now after – oh I don’t know – Three Months of SUMMER – my husband has decided it is time to rejuvenate it. His way of doing this is of course to turn the water on for 2 hours twice a day! My thoughts – there goes our water bill, and what a waste, it will rain in a month for how many months – the grass will come back on its own for FREE! But, he is the man – therefore he knows all. The clincher of this wonderful evening of sprinkler fun is that the sprinklers are set to the front door – so the kids think its fun and exciting to time it and make a run for it, I do not. In fact, I will not are you kidding me?? Turn off the freaking sprinklers and let me walk into the home without getting soaked or making a mad dash for it, especially when its been on for a freaking hour and a half already – COME ON!  My head hurts…

My children, wonderful, smart, loving children – are crazy. They are loud, often talking for no reason at all, accept to hear the sound of their voice. Thanks to Netflix and the series “Make it or Break It” (which for those of you who aren’t familiar with it, its about gymnastics) my front room is now a gym – where sideways tumbling, cartwheels gone mad and all furniture is arranged to accommodate their rendition of the Olympics. With the beauty and intelligence my daughter possesses – its insane to me the poor girl can’t do a cartwheel to save her life- makes her namesake fitting since her name is Grace. On the other hand Mr. Man my 7 year old can do it all – I just pray he doesn’t come out in a leotard – my husband would have a fit!

The kids know when I am doing three things: Working on the computer, Going to the bathroom, Focusing – they see this and I swear they go into a bedroom and devise a plan to hack in and invade! Actually – now that I think of it, I think my husband is on it to. In our home mommy potty time has somehow turned into family meeting time, one kid will come in with a question, which is followed by my daughter who at that time desperately needs to fix or do her hair, and then my husband who will come in and tell them all to give mom some privacy only to prop one butt cheek on the counter and start chatting. I’m screwed-

Somewhere between all this madness, school, homework (which lord don’t even get me started) dinner, football practice & softball practice I’m given how much writing time exactly?? But, my husband is always quick with “well write your book already!” ughhh – am I letting him down to? Every night while I am at my sons football practice – the laptop is my best friend. I sit back from the other moms – and try to write or fit in some research and they all look at me like – why can’t I leave my work at home – and some days I care and sometimes I don’t – but still hate the stares and the anti-Facebook moms of the world – ehh who cares! 

Like any other person with a dream I set goals, this week was to get my Facebook page noticed by more people, get more people involved etc. Except I don’t want likes – because its a contest to see who gets the most. That’s fake to me – like my page because its of worth to you in some manner – not because someone told you to, and your just going to hide it in your feed any how! So, I work – I try to get information out there, try to be supportive to the women and sometimes men that come needing or wanting help. Then when I log on and see a page that is sky rocketing in likes because all these others pages are “pimping” them out – I think, “damn- guess I don’t have what it takes”! What is it that those pages have that all the other pages like so much, why when they are doing the pimping section of the week, isn’t my page in it? Then – I think – my page is different then just any ole page – this is what I want to do with my life. This is serious – and real. Those pages maybe aren’t – maybe they are just fun for them? Who knows-  Sometimes life just is hard – sometimes things don’t make sense and sometimes people aren’t gonna like ya – and there isn’t anything you can do about it – but move on & forward!

See you next blog – Jess