“Lately, I have been struggling with others views about my life – marriage – family etc. How far do we let peoples opinions, advice, etc in to our homes and how do we do that, and still find a place within our little family and our spouses families at the same time. Below you will find many scenarios of things I struggle with, and some ways to help that. “
My husband teases me that I need an invite before I will just stop by someone’s home. He often times goes to his mom’s house unannounced, will help himself to food in the fridge and take the most comfy chair. Not only does this make me uncomfortable, but its something I would never do. Seriously, I am an adult – and I wouldn’t want someone just stopping by – what if they are having sex or enjoying time alone – or naked walking around the house? That happens at our house, so it is possible.
Call it being sensitive, which I know I am, or you can call it being a worry-wort which I have been since I was a child – either way I don’t want to intrude. Is it possible they want me there, sure – but it’s also possible that even though the like me, they may not feel like having to entertain company. Some will argue that family is not company, I will argue they are both. Putting this into account with other things – I sometimes feel as if I don’t know my place, I don’t always feel welcome and can grow uncomfortable easily. Not because they did, or said anything – because of me.
There are times when I don’t feel included – and when I choose to let it bother me. There were two months that grandma was in the hospital. My mother and father in law – spent the majority of the time there alone – working full-time and spending nights there. Just showing up there – isn’t something I would do, yet I couldn’t understand why when they needed help no one called us. Getting my feelings hurt, it was explained that we have kids – and that all the other people who were too busy or unavailable to help out – didn’t. I never thought about that – I just figured they didn’t want us there. The same with the service, I simply showed up. There was no helping with setting up, or getting pictures, or anything. When it was time to leave – it was my husband’s brother and sister that helped his mom carry things out, and I stood there – not knowing my place. Everyone is different – and in a blended family – this couldn’t be more true.
Take for example my husbands Grandmother that recently passed. Her hospital room welcomed visitors that were immediate family, I had never met. People that were so important to her, that she loved, and then there is me. Having been in the family for a hot minute – I worried I was taking up room for someone else, or maybe they felt it wasn’t my place to be there. Yes, I wanted to be there, both for myself and my husband. But, I would be lying if I said I didn’t struggle with it.
Today, at the Celebration of Life – the church was full of people I did not know, and very well may never see again. It is also the same church that is led by husbands ex-wife’s family. Her Uncle is the Pastor, and her Grandfather plays guitar in the band. The pastor and I have met, and they are fantastic about staying out of anything about them. The pastor even helps my husband and I as we have problems like every other blended family does. They love my husband, and for that I am thankful. But, did I feel a sense of belonging there? No, it was uncomfortable – however this day wasn’t about me, so I sucked it up. Once seated with my food after the service, I sat next to Grandpa and I never moved. Many people came to speak to him, none of which I knew – but I made my job refilling his coffee cup and that gave me a purpose. Outside of that, I didn’t speak with too many people, and when my husband would leave and visit with others, I stayed put. I didn’t want to follow him around, and literally waited for him to come get me, when he was ready to leave.
Since we had our kids there with us, that meant that my stepson would see his great-grandfather, and as they were talking and he asked him if the kids with him were his brother and sister – I knew he knew, I was the Step-Mom. Had he heard of me? Had he believed what he heard – did he think I was all the things his granddaughter said I was – or was he a genuine christian man – that appreciated the fact I loved his great-grandson? I’m not sure, but I definitely felt on edge, fearful I would say or do the wrong thing – be too friendly or not friendly enough. Should I just leave my stepson with him, and walk away, or do I wait until they are finished and continue on my way as a family, as we had started? Have you caught that I am an over-analyzer yet? Cause I am.
Although my childhood, wasn’t horrible – I do lack the general understanding and feelings of being part of a bigger picture – of being wanted. Being a daughter is foreign to me, being able to go “home” help myself to food, or a comfy seat without notice is something I never had or did. Being a mom, that I know – how I want my children to feel – that I understand but not how to receive it myself. Leaving the church, I don’t even think I said goodbye to my mother in law – I think I just wanted to be home – in my comfort zone. Allowing things to get to me, is something I struggle with. There was an attendee at the service, that always makes a point to make a big deal out of seeing my stepson – but not my two kids. It bothered me. First, he barely knows who she is, and it’s not as if she is actively involved in his life. Yet, the reason it bothers me – is inside me – which I know once I am honest with myself.
Whether it is admitted or not, there is always favoritism in some manner. Whether it be that the bio family is more important, or your spouse’s family feels that your spouse can do no wrong – or maybe even one of the step-kids is liked more. It can go every which way possible. And my favorite – it will all change tomorrow. I have had my brother-in-law and husband both say in the heat of the moment, that I am their mom’s “new” favorite – and there have been times where I swear she doesn’t like me for some reason. There are times when, following arguments – I will feel like we are not family anymore – because that is how my family worked. However, their family doesn’t work like that – they forgive and move forward. This is more than foreign to me, because I am still mad – when they are over it… I simply take things more serious – more final – and have a hard time building that bridge to get over stuff.
There are moments when I feel like no one see’s my point – and no matter how many different ways you try to explain to explain it – it will not help. If you are like me you may get emotional, or feel judged because they seem one-sided. Sometime’s they are one-sided – sometimes they are right. The good thing is that either way, its is your life and you have the right to feel how you feel – even if they don’t agree. In our home, bringing up softball – will always be a lost case for me. If I complain that hubby is playing ball 3 days in a row all day long – I am the bad guy because he played ball so much more when we first got together. Therefore, I have no right to feel as though that’s excessive. To me, if you have chores, or anything that needs attention that comes first. If you are playing in a tournament that is two days and your wife says that she doesn’t want you playing a third day that is unrelated – that you shouldn’t – especially when she is at home with both his kids and hers. When does a mother get 3 days of being able to not have to be a mom? She doesn’t but because it’s a hobby that has been cut back on – we should get over it. I still think I have every right to have been upset – others disagree. The world did not end – therefore life goes on.
It’s not any different from how you parent your children. Chances are there is a good chance you parent differently than your spouse. One major difference in our home is that my husband eats anything – I am a picky eater. When my stepson eats – he eats anything – he will eat it all and whether he likes it or not. My son is picky, he doesn’t like new things and I simply refuse to force him to sit there and choke it all down. I was asked once by a family member on my husband’s side ” So, because when you were raised you were forced to eat things you didn’t like, and your dad was mean to you, you refuse to do that to your kids?” the answer I gave was yes… My answer wasn’t well received – did it bother me? yes, but they are my kids and my kids don’t have to just like my husbands. People can and will disagree with how you parent – but while advice is great – their opinion really doesn’t make a difference unless you want it to.
Discipline is the same way. My husband is far stricter and competitive than I am when it comes to the kids. He has a better follow through rate than I do – yet I remind him that I have pretty great kids – so whatever I am doing must have been working before him. He believes instilling a “general fear” the kind of fear that when you are speeding and see a cop – will make the kids behave better. He also makes it known at times that his son will be better at things, than my children – because of it. My comment is always – I guess we will see. Fear is not something I want my children to every feel when it comes to me, I would rather them worry to disappoint me, let me down or themselves down. I had a home where I couldn’t be honest and talk to a parent about what was going on with me, and when I needed help – I had no one to turn to. I refuse to let that happen to my children – Truth is, we are both good parents – although we don’t always see eye to eye. It doesn’t always mean on of us is wrong and the other is right – it’s just different.
Blended families are hard, when trying to find your place – and trying to assert your independence while showcasing what you have to offer to your spouse and your stepchildren. Many of these people have seen your spouse with the ex, many know that the children are not both of yours – and while at a grocery store or restaurant you can continue in the world of “were a family” – during family events your secret is out. How then, do you manage to be yourself and be comfortable?
First, don’t do the things I did above. Ditch the over-analyzing, don’t be sensitive, and don’t feel watched. Is it possible you are being watched, of course. However, by acting on this, you will most definitely make a mistake.
Second, be kind – initiate a conversation and allow that person to make their own decision on what they think of you. I can’t tell you how many times, I have walked away from a conversation with someone I didn’t think I liked, only to find out that I actually rather enjoyed that person.
Third, Smile, and breath. First because not breathing would lead to passing out and that would only make it worse. 🙂 There is that saying “Smile, because you never know who is falling in love with it.” Its true. Plus, smiling makes you more approachable.
Fourth, identify why you feel the way you do. Is it your head playing into it, or was there really an issue with someone who has caused this? If so, make a plan to talk with the person later, away from the event if it is someone important enough to clear the air with. If its someone who talking to, would make no difference – don’t waste your time or energy.
Fifth, Don’t take it to heart. How many times has someone said to you: “What’s wrong?” for you to say “Nothing, why do you ask?”, finding out that you had a look on your face that looked mad or sad – without even realizing it. Or better yet, how many times have you said or done something that later you realized was probably not the best way to go about it, or maybe was taken the wrong way? We all say things that we may have not meant in that manner, or that we didn’t realize we said. Give the benefit of the doubt.
These work even if you are in a home that doesn’t exactly accept you. The term “Kill them with Kindness” really works – as well as “Fake it until you make it”. Neither of which I am good at. Talking with your spouse or significant other before arriving, can provide you the opportunity to have them be more supportive, and to inform them that you may need a little helping hand here and there.
All in all, you were picked to be in this family – by a key person in the family – your spouse. Find some value in that alone, and realize you have something to add, because there is no one like you. Today, as I was standing outside, my husband was helping his grandfather to and in his truck. I had hugged him goodbye already. Then, I hear my name being called, and my husband was motioning that Grandpa wanted me to come to the truck, he told me he just wanted me to know he appreciated all I had done and that he loved me very much. At that moment, nothing else mattered – I had served a purpose and he appreciated it. He will never know – how much that meant to me either.
You know the girl, who hangs back – who doesn’t interact and is more of an observer? The one that may possibly get a little bit more involved or loud with a couple of lemon drops? That’s me! Jokingly, I’ll tell people I am not a people person – I am incapable of bullshit and can not be held responsible for whatever flies out of my mouth at any random moment – about any random topic! So, I stay back – observe and wait .
It used to be that I never liked someone the first time I met them, ever. You know the term – First impressions are everything?, well I needed two at least. Especially, if you were a woman – oh my goodness gracious can women be so catty, bitchy, and I mean down right ugly to be around. My Grandmother used to use the term “Pretty is as pretty does” and there are some ugly, ugly women out there. From reading previous posts of my mine, you may know that I am not huge on TRUST, and I’m sure that plays into that whole situation as well.
For the most part, I exist without being noticed, and I like that. I like being in the spotlight or limelight when its important, when I am standing up for something I strongly believe in, or when it is necessary – otherwise I am perfectly content in the back ground. When you see the girls that run up to their girlfriends and hug and squeal, that’s not me. When you see the girls who are always in a pack, wearing the same clothes, not me either! In fact I am so far the opposite that I will actually punish myself in order to make sure I don’t follow the others – I’m serious.
Take this for instance; I had decided to get my nose pierced which in and of itself its ridiculous because I am still traumatized from my second holes in my ear being pierced when I was twelve! But, that’s not the point. anyhow I had made the brave decision to do this and was going to go with my two closest girlfriends. They ended up going without me for whatever reason (I’m assuming it was a good one) and got theirs done. So, now – I won’t do mine. It irritated me that they did it, something I wanted to do, and now if I go do it, it’s just copying them – and I don’t copy! Pretty freaking lame, right?? I’m proving a point that hurts me? How dumb can I be, really? But that’s me –
If I have the opportunity to stay home alone, or go pal around with a friend for the day – I’ll stay home. Quiet is an amazing wonderful thing, especially having a family – I relish the unneeded, relaxing time of being alone. Just like in a car – I will drive somewhere on some days with no music on – just silence. Just me, my thoughts, and the road – which is good and bad – considering you arrive somewhere and wonder how in the hell you got there because you can’t remember the drive at all! However, in my defense I was raised by a grandfather that thought car rides were for quiet time, to reflect, and not for pointless chatter. Don’t get me wrong there are times, I blast my music loud, or chat with girlfriends – but there are also times for silence.
Part of the reason I am not a girly girl, or one that likes to hang around the same group of girls or couples is that I would rather not know them “that well”. Meaning, that I like grocery store friendships– as I call them. The kind where you smile and say hi, goochy goo to their baby, ask how they are, then go on your way. Nothing too personal, and best of all nothing too drawn out! People and their lives are much better left private in my mind. Assuming that their life is great – works for me. When you pal around with someone you learn all their demons, as they do you. You learn that their marriage isn’t perfect – which of course we all already know that – but you know what I mean. They call when all hell is breaking loose, and sooner or later you get to the point of where your involved, maybe in the middle and then BAM! just like that things are AWKWARD!
For me, if you’re doing something stupid, I am going to tell you. If you ask me something, I will be brutally honest and will not sugar coat anything – it is just not me. If you call me crying because your special someone just hit you and you don’t want him to leave you, I will give you two things. First, some sympathy because I was there before. Second, T&T – Truth and Tools and to get out. If you choose to stay, please understand why I choose to keep my distance as well. It’s not that I lack empathy or sympathy because I have gobs and gobs of it – but I know that until someone is ready to help themselves, there is no amount of sympathy that will help them. None what-so-ever~
For the most part – this is me. There are my solid life-long friendships I will always have and treasure – ones that get the good parts of me. For those I am thankful for, because I thrive in those, they fill me up and I hope I do the same for them. But, outside of that I am just the girl who stays back, who will have your back if needed and for the right reasons and is happy and used to fighting my way through being an original.
What do you think about Grocery Store Friendships?
See you next blog – Jess
Inspired by the movie: Lifted
When all feels wrong
and the road to happiness too far gone
When the load feels to heavy to bear
Know there is someone always there
When you feel alone, like no one can ever understand
and then you reach out to find, there is no helping hand
When you feel you failed at yet another of life’s tests
Know you have someone out there better than all the rest
When struggles seem to often, with no repreive in sight
and every need requires some out of reach exhausting fight
When second guessing & worrying becomes the norm
Know you have someone shielding you from the storm
When you look around and see nothing, yet feel your not alone
and you are missing someone, and reach for the phone
When you catch a glimpse of someone out of the corner of your eye
Know there’s someone near you, who never truly says goodbye
See you next blog – Jess