This morning I received a letter from a fan of my Facebook page named Bobbie Ann Phillips and as I read it I knew instantly this needed to be read by all of you. This is her story and its an honest account of how it feels, of what we don’t expect, our fears and our goals. Enjoy!
” I never imagined I would have to co-parent with an ex of mine, much less an ex of my new husband. I did know I would be co-parenting with my own husband. I never imagined my husband would be someone else’s ex husband. I never thought I would have to share some of “my” weekends and “my” holidays, separate, from “my” son. I never thought I would have to long for the chance to do those same things with and for a son whose dad is dead. I also never thought my deepest fear would be that my third son may someday meet the same fate of a broken home. I never thought I would be fearing completely loosing two of my children if my marriage ever did fail. I never thought most of my scheduling would revolve so much around picking up one set of kids at 6p on Friday, meeting to drop off another kid before or after that, and then meeting back on 6p Sunday for drop off of two kids and then meeting before or after that to get another kid back. I never thought I would both look forward to, and dread those weekends at the very same time. I never imagined I would explain to two of my three biological children why daddy can not be here, or does not live here and the reasons be because of such different circumstances. Circumstances that would cause as much hurt for both of “my” boys and myself as both situations do. I never even imagined my children would have different dads. I never thought I would have “other” kids ask me why my husband, their dad, is not with their mom. I never thought I would be making beds, cleaning laundry, preparing meals, buying necessities, and supporting “other” kids. I knew “my” kids may look past all I do for them and it would hurt some. I did not know having “other” kids look past those same things would hurt as much. I never thought I would have “other” kids sometimes resent me for my role in their lives. A role they only want their mom, and their dad, to have. I never thought I would feel so much hurt for them, and for my husband, because they too come from a broken home. I never thought I would love each person in “my” blended family so much that I would wish each child could have their mom, and their dad, in one home. If I had that wish though, several of my biological children would not exist, and I would never have a chance to even meet two of my “other” children. I would have never met my husband. I never thought I would have to accept that because someone I loved died, and because a different relationship failed I would find new love and create a new family. I never thought I would agree that when one life ends another begins. I feel as though I have personally lost two lives and began a new one each time. I feel I am on my third life, and feverishly pray for it to be my last.
I never thought I would be the “other” parent that another parent would resent. I am that parent whose mere presence in a child’s life causes another adult resentment, and pain. Though “her” family ended long before “mine” began, I never imagined my place with my husband would be a stark reminder of another woman’s lost place with her husband. I never imagined That my place with my step children would be a reminder of “her” time she “has” to share, with me. I never thought my loving them could hurt her as much as it would if I did not love them. I do acknowledge that my presence does cause these things, though completely unintentional. I never imagined two children who “are not mine” would have me so wrapped around their little fingers. I did not know I could love a child I did not give birth to so much that it literally hurts. I did not know I would want to fight so fiercely for my time, my bond, and my place with two children who I feel with every bone in my body are mine. I knew I would have children that would fill my life with love, joy, hope, chaos and clutter. I knew I would do everything in my power to protect, love and cherish every moment with “my” kids. I knew I would become a mom by choice to children I gave birth to. I did not know that I would have that same desire to love, protect and cherish children not born to me. I knew there would be times my children would be angry with me. I knew I would make mistakes and cause hurt. I knew I would mend the hurt, calm the anger and explain why I do what I do to “my” kids. I knew I would both reward and punish “my kids” with no remorse because that is my job as their mom. I did not know I would feel so guilty by my own presence that I would overly reward, and seldom punish the children I did not give birth to. I never knew I would feel I don’t have the right to demand and earn respect from “other” children as much as I do from “my” children. I never thought I would always worry my actions and words would favor “my” children over the “other” children so much that I actually show more favor to “other” children over mine at times. I never thought I would say I am an ex, a wife, a mom, and a step mom, All in one. I am all of those things and I am these things at the very same time. I sometimes struggle to decide which hat I am suppose to wear at which time. All of these inner struggles are real, and part of my life. I am exactly where I want to be. I realize I am exactly where God planned me to be. I do have the husband and children I did always long for. I am thankful for all the good and bad that comes with this life and these roles. Yet I have no idea how to navigate my happiness and love without someone else being hurt, or resentful, in some way because of it. I have no idea why I even care that my presence, my role, and my place effects any person other than my husband, and our children. I just know that I do care.
I do not co-parent with my ex’s new wife or serious girlfriend, not yet anyway. I do know that the day will come when I will. At least, I pray it does. I do want “my” son to have another parent love him. I do want him to have someone else he can learn from, respect, love and cherish. I so want him to know I am okay with him loving some “other” parent. I want her to know that while her presence may cause some stinging, I’m happy to share “my” son with her. I want her to know that he’s “our” son, and that “our” will include her. I know that during my time as a step mom I have learned many things to do, and not to do both with “my” son and towards the “other” parent. I hope I will remember to respect her, and to honestly cherish her. I hope I will remember I should view any person my son loves as an extension of himself. I love “my” son, and so I will love those he loves and that love him. I hope I can remember I should love “my kids” mom because they love her and she is an extension of them. For the love of a child even the most difficult situations on all ends I am involved in will be handled with love and care, by me, for them regardless of how the opposing end on either side of these blended families are behaving. That is my goal anyway. I know I pray daily that God shows me the way to do all these things with Grace in each of the roles I am fulfilling.
~ Bobbie Ann Phillips
Being a mom means more than having given birth to a child. Its loving and knowing a soul before you even see it. It’s carrying, and caring for a life completely depending on you for survival. It’s giving air to the lungs that grew with-in you, and sight to the eyes that will never see you as anything but mommy. Its sleepless nights, its nursing scratches and scrapes, its being stern and protective. It’s teaching them to talk, to walk and to eventually run. It’s learning to hand your child to a stranger to let them teach what you cannot at times. It’s bracing them for a fall, and dusting them off after they do. It’s seeing them cry, and not knowing how to fix it, so you sit on the floor and hold them and cry right along beside them. It’s teaching them, that they are smart, capable, funny and giving them the security to do great things. Its building their self-esteem, supporting their dreams and loving them unconditionally. Its letting them go, letting them fail, and teaching them how to get back up. It’s going without, so that they don’t have to, and being okay with it.
Being a Mother, is a gift that is unimaginable to any woman who does not have a child in their life. It’s a connection that is unmatched and insurmountable in any form or other relationship. It’s a love that grows continually, a love that always wants more and better. It’s being terrified that you can’t prevent pain, injustice, heartbreak, and at times even death. It’s laughing at jokes that aren’t even funny, but the way they say it,makes its hilarious. Its listening to stories, that go on and on without a point. It’s always being available for the “mommy watch ME’s” and “mommy I need you”. It’s drowning out the word MOM repeated over and over, in attempts to get your attention. Its songs sang out of tune, and settling squabbles with siblings. It’s being mean, and teaching hard lessons, that hurt you inside so deep you want to cry, but you must stand strong with resolve. It’s being strong for them, when you are weak. It’s smiling when you want to cry, and crying when you’re smiling with pride.
It’s looking through photographs and feeling your heart swell with love and happiness when you see the beauty, the happiness and life in your child’s smile and eyes. Its confusion, mistakes, uncharted territory and blind folded guessing. It’s snuggling on the couch watching a movie, braiding hair till your fingers hurt, it’s being woken up early on Saturday morning because they want to crawl in bed and be close to your heart. It’s having the worst day, and having them hug you and tell you ”mommy I love you”, and needing nothing more.
It’s a blessing, a gift, a relationship that never ends, and a love that never dies. It’s the best thing I have ever become, the greatest love I have ever felt and the best part about being me.
Okay, so it is hard… it really is. And, honestly if you haven’t thought to yourself “What the hell am I doing here, or dealing with this for?” at least once, you aren’t doing it right. Stepping into, or welcoming someone into a blended family – is much more than just another pound of ground beef for taco night. They do not call it blended for lack of a better term. Yes some days it can be blissfully blended, and some days the switch is left on puree/chop and you find yourself hiding in your room, scarfing down reese’s peanut butter cups like they are going out of style!
I’ve been told a number of times by step moms that being a stepparent is the hardest job – and I agree…but why is that?
Too much credit, not enough effort
Broken homes, broken children
All the responsibility, none of the say
You’re an extra – sometimes you take a backseat
Struggle with finding your place
While all those are true, and validated I feel like it can go a little deeper. Stepparents carry along a stigma, and with any statistic, any stereotype and biased opinion – strong individuals like myself feel the need to stand up for, rally against, and prove the nay-sayers wrong. Some stepparents walk around as if the world owes them a favor, for taking on the role. However, those people are who create the stereotype, not negate it. If you are a good stepparent, it is because you are a good person. Because you have strong work ethics, strong resolve and most likely a good sense of self. We don’t get a badge of honor because we stepped into a role, we earn that honor, from the relationship and time taken to honor your spouse, by loving and caring for their child.
Think of it like this: take all your experience about parenting, life, and your opinions about religion and so on and throw it in a bag, every trick you have used to raise your children, and toss it all in there. Then add in every emotion, confusion, frustration, love, doubt, etc. that you have felt as a parent or human being – and shake that bag with all your might. Now take out all the experience, and opinions – and leave the feelings…that is being a stepparent. You have a bag of all these tools, ideas, and ways that worked for your children, or the desire of something to try, but ultimately you can’t always parent the way you want or see fit, because your role isn’t always to implement; sometimes it is solely to support.
Now if you are like me, you are an implementer, we always know the best way – the RIGHT way. Therefore, when we see struggle, you want to rush in and save the day – but you can’t. Can’t isn’t addressing your ability, it is addressing your position. And, that sucks…nothing is harder than having a motherly urge to fix a situation, and then realizing that it is not yours to fix. Trust me, I am fixer…I can fix an-y-thing! However, this is where being Dad’s #1 support comes in. Behind closed doors, discuss with him some options, opinions, etc that he can implement as he see’s fit. Then stand behind him and support him. There is of course, a sticky downside, you can’t get upset when he doesn’t agree or want to implement what you see as fit. And, although you may be muttering a smart ass remark under your breath – you will learn to smile, breath and try again tomorrow 😉
Will you love your stepchild right away, or will they love you? NO! In fact, I liked my boyfriends son more at first, before I started dating him, when he was purely my son’s friend. Then we started dating, and his son and I just butted heads at times. We still do, there are times where I am the frustrated, wicked step mom, and there are times when he loves me. It is expected that both you and your step child will have hard times, a child is a wonderful blessing yes, but as with your biological children, you will get frustrated, irritated and disappointed. The difference is the bond being built at birth, verses being built following the break of another. I’m sure you have heard the saying “It takes a strong man to step up to the plate another man left at the table” but what about the child whose plate was served by one person, and cleaned up by another? That is a monumental life change. Its an act of getting to know each other, likes, dislikes, building a foundation. I am sure there are times where I am seen as the evil step mom, and there are times where I just don’t get him; but at the end of the day – we keep trying. And eventually, it will make more sense, it will be less effort and more natural.
Ahh Blended…lives, homes, beliefs, families, parenting, rituals, traditions etc… that is a whole hell of a lot to blend; does that even all fit into a blender? No wonder, the top blows off and you have an explosion in your kitchen at some points. But, we learn to enjoy the mess it makes, when the lid is off.
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 love being freely given. 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. A little piece of completeness.
When you look at your child/stepchild – 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 your love, your time, and your 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?
One of the most vital parts of being a parent is making mistakes. Mistakes are what causes growth and results in lessons and ultimately change. On a daily basis I make mistakes and there are times I lay awake at night reviewing those, and how I made them, why I made them – and how to not make that same mistake again. Quite possibly I am about to give you more credit than deserved, because I am hopeful you lay awake at night and feel some sort of anything for the abandonment of your child. You do feel bad right? Maybe cry when no one is around because you make the same mistake day in and day out. You get angry at yourself for not calling, writing, asking for photographs, or knowing how his day is, right? You do realize the irreparable damage you have caused your child, right?
We have never been introduced, which is difficult, given the lack of involvement you have in your child’s life. I’ve seen you at one baseball game, when you moved back for a month, ten months ago, only to abandon your child, again. Since that time you called at Christmas, and not since. There are times; I desire nothing more than to shake some sense into you, and ask if you realize what you are doing, what you are losing? This is your child, my god! However, I feel as though that would fall upon deaf ears, and a cold heart. I’m not nice like everyone else, I don’t give you credit for being a good friend, or continue to bite my tongue for the sake of graciousness. You are messing up, you are wrong, and lack in any accountability what-so-over. But, my opinion won’t change you, will it?
Instead I want to let you know something’s you don’t know about your child, and his life. Since you left again, he had his first school dance, where he didn’t dance at all, but had a blast. He loves dress shirts and ties, and really wants a three piece suit. He played football, and basketball for the first time. The other day he started baseball; and is showing strength in pitching. At practice the other day, he got hit in the head with a ball; don’t worry though his dad was there. He is terrified of getting hit with the ball by the way. He is having a nerf birthday party, which he is very excited about. There will be a nerf battle, and we ordered this great nerf gun cake, and his friends and family will be there, all of his family but you of course. Do you even know that tomorrow is his birthday? That he is turning nine? Will you even call him? Well, in case you don’t we are taking him to see the Oregon Ducks play a baseball game, he has no idea – and will be ecstatic! He even gets to meet the players, how awesome is that?
See, I may be just dad’s girlfriend, but I have to wonder if I worry more about this little boy than you do. Sure, I have only been in his life for a year, the shortest amount of anyone but I can tell you this, in a years’ time he already asked me three times, if he can call me mom…because he doesn’t have one. In fact he is making this board for his room right now, one of those tri-fold poster boards that you use for science projects – you know? Any how, he is putting pictures of his family on it, and he said “I’m going to put my dad and you in the middle and then us kids under that and on both sides.” Doesn’t that break your heart? Where is he putting a picture of you? Or, did the role of mom – not create a picture of you in his mind? That breaks my heart as a parent. We share a home, a life, and are building a relationship every day, and there are hard days, mainly due to you. But, I don’t give up, and move away because when he moved into this home, he became my child too, and he moved into my heart. When he comes home from school, we help him with his spelling words, his multiplication facts – which he struggles with, and I try to show him I am woman he can trust, that won’t just leave one day. I grew up without a mother, and it something no child should experience.
Yes, he has constants in his life, Grandma, Aunts, and friends that have filled a void since you left fulfilling any piece of the role of mom – but you and I both know – no one can fill that role and void but you. He will always hold out hope that one day you will pull your head from wherever it is stuffed and realize the mistake you are making. Meanwhile, tomorrow I will spend the day with your child, and every time his fathers phone rings, I will hope that you are calling and that you don’t call at the same time. I hope you call because he so desires you to remember him, and what easier day for a parent to remember their child, then the day they were born. And, a part of me hopes you don’t call because in a sense it is easier for him to not be reminded that you exist, and get hopeful you’ll call again, or maybe come for a visit – only to be left sitting on the curb – with a broken heart.
He is a sweet boy, damn it! So naive in this world still; he is funny, extremely goofy and wants nothing more than to please. While snuggling with his dad last night, his dad said “You are almost too big to snuggle” and your child responded with, “I still fit in your lap” which was true. How long has it been, since he sat in yours? You never realize what you have until it’s gone, and you are losing a connection with your son. You already lost a wonderful man, a giving man, a man who selflessly busts his ass to provide for your son, without the help emotionally, financially, morally or otherwise from you. He nurses the scrapes, attends every practice, every game, school conferences, plans birthday parties, etc…because he takes his role as a parent, seriously. When are you going to? Because, honestly every day you don’t, is a day you will regret down the road – and when your child is grown that void, will fill with questions of self-worth for himself and distaste for the woman who gave birth to him.
I think I speak for most parents when I say we are pretty damn near perfect! I mean, who are we kidding here? If we do lie, it is completely for your own good and protection… or is it?
Okay, so the truth is we do tell white lies to our children in hopes to prolong the innocence they possess and to encourage make-believe and fairy-tales. White lies about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and that minions and oompa loompas totally exist in a world of chocolate covered scientific laboratories. Or, that one day prince charming will ride up on a white horse (or black if you prefer), sweep you up and all your worries will wash drown the drain, along side some calgon…and maybe a glass of wine, when you are thirty and still living at home playing with barbies, because you will be mommy’s sweet baby princess forever...for-ev-er! Oh wait, I got swooped up in those white lies again, dang it!
The truth is we flat out tell “whoppers” and sometimes it is for our own humor and selfishness. What are we going to do when our children get old enough to know better? I am lucky in that my daughter being two years older than her brother – helps with cover-ups. Wait, that sounds bad…but it is true.
In my jewelry box you will find an assortment of items, not just jewelry. In this particular case, my son was looking for something, and pulled out a small plastic baggy filled with baby teeth. As soon as I saw him holding them, I couldn’t move…and when I heard him ask “Mom are these my teeth?” I couldn’t mutter a sound. I just stood there thinking to myself, CRAP! Now, what? and looked at him. Then, my daughter swoops in and saves the day with a whopper all of her own “No, Gage, those are moms teeth from when she was little, but she probably has yours somewhere, cause you can buy them back from the tooth fairy – for memories!” Breathing now and able to speak again, I laughed and completely lied through my teeth and the bag of the teeth she was holding, and said “Yep, what your sister said!” Should I be worried or proud that she came up with that on her own? I don’t know, but while I ponder that thought here are some whoppers, white lies and fibs that parents use to get us through, and the truths that lie behind them.
Lie: When you get grounded it hurts us more.
Truth: We enjoy the quiet, and getting to watch what we want on tv.
Lie: The ice cream is all gone.
Truth: It is just cleverly hidden in another container in the freezer.
Lie: You can get pregnant from kissing or sitting in the hot tub with a boy.
Truth: We’re not stupid!
Lie: Eating veggies will put hair on your chest.
Truth: We have no idea if you will ever get hair on your chest.
Lie: The tooth fairy is off on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Truth: Mom or Dad either forgot, didn’t have ones or they get paid on Wednesdays and Fridays.
Lie: God emails me every day, I can just go check my inbox.
Truth: I am digging for answers and hope you still fear God and will tell me the truth.
Lie: If you keep making that face it will freeze like that.
Truth: It won’t.
Lie: Boy have cooties
Truth: Scientifically, girls actually have cooties.
Lie: The park is closed
Truth: We’re tired.
Lie: “Mom, what are you eating?” Answer “diet chocolate”
Truth: It’s not diet and I am not sharing.
Lie: Maybe, We will see.
Truth: I mean no, but I’m avoiding a melt down wherever we’re at currently!
Lie: If you swallow Watermelon seeds, they will grow in your tummy.
Truth: You are gonna poop watermelons. Oh wait, that’s another lie.
The truth is, that most of these are harmless and funny – which is good because I get in enough hot water for the amount of honesty and over indulging information I do share with my children. A good white lie, may be just what the kids may need these days. What are some whoppers you tell your children?
For more stories from Jessica, check out her blog at https://totallyjessifiable.wordpress.com
Laying in our overstuffed chair with my now almost eight year old son, and ten year old daughter – my mind wanders. How did they grow so tall, their legs so long, their fingers and hands so big. It seems like just yesterday, there were still protected within my belly – and now their live, loud, funny and smart people. When you hear people say “don’t blink – they’ll be grown before you know” I should have listened.
Pregnancy for me was incredible. The feeling of them moving inside of me, or getting hiccups – every little kick, drag or roll, excited me to no end. Hearing their heartbeats, planning their names, their lives – imagining who and what they would be, consumed my every waking breath. Worrying clouded by dreams at night as well. What if they are missing a finger, or are born with an incurable illness, what if they are ugly?? Yes, I worried about that – you are not normal if you never worried that your kid might be the ugly kid. Yes, we would love them anyhow, and tell they were perfect and beautiful either way – but I still worried.
Truth is, my children are beautiful, so beautiful that if I hadn’t know for a fact, and attended their own birth witnessing them come out of me – I might wonder who they came from. Their eyes are green with specs in them that I believe are awesome sprinkles. Their skin tone is one many purchase in a tanning salon – or spend countless hours baking in the sun to attempt achieving. My daughter has long golden, soft, blonde hair that drops past the middle of her back – effortlessly. My son, carries a smile that aids in avoiding or lessening punishments when he rarely misbehaves.
If you are like me, you may not have planned your pregnancy to one or possibly all your children. My daughter was planned, and my son was a blessing. With Gracie – I soaked in everything, especially once I found out she was a girl! It was all over then! Everything was PINK, girly, sparkly and frilly! She was born gorgeous, truly perfect and pink. Never in my life, have I ever felt the love you feel as you hold your child for the first time – the bond, and promise to never lose sight of what is most important.
My son, he was a different story – I found out I was pregnant with him during a hard time in my life. My husband and I were divorcing and I was in a constant state of disbelief, hurt and anger. Many times I secretly hated that I was pregnant, and questioned how I would be able to do this alone? What would people think – Who would ever love me? When I found it he was a boy, I cried and was angry more – all I knew was girls..what am I going to do with a boy? They are loud, dirty, obnoxious and unruly – what in the hell was God thinking giving me a boy to raise on my own? My delivery with him was difficult, and he had a small pallet so when he cried, he snorted – something now I wish I would have enjoyed a little more. He had a small face, and a protruding chin – he was a boy. He also became my world.
It feels almost impossible to express a mothers love for her children. With Gracie, I never thought I could love anyone as much – until Gage came to me. God was smart, knowing exactly what was given to me – one of the greatest blessings a mom could hope for… a Son. My daughter is witty, spunky, too smart for her own good, beautiful beyond measure and can make me laugh when I need it most. BUT, my son, Gage – he has the heart of an angel, his eyes can tell me he loves me, misses me, needs me, is hurting, anything without him uttering one word. His hugs don’t just wrap around me, they envelope my soul. His smile – makes me regret every day I questioned why he was being gifted to me – and makes me wish I had enjoyed him longer when we were still one.
Still, I spend moments of where I just gaze at them both and thank God they are mine. It’s hard to verbalize the pride I feel when I watch them succeed at something, or do something kind for another – or at times just how they breath. Questioning myself under my breath..I made this? Me – the most imperfect person, who has made mistake after mistake – how do I deserve such miraculously perfect children to call me mom – everyday? It’s enough to bring tears to my eyes now as I write this, and on many occasions past, present and future.
The point of this blog is for those mothers pregnant – maybe scared, worried, alone. Soak this all in, every Dr’s appt, every heartbeat, every uncomfortable elbow in your side, braxton hicks or even the fiftieth trip to the bathroom. If you lay in bed alone – remember you aren’t alone – you are becoming a mother, you are the beginning of the most important person you will ever be. Nothing will ever surpass being a mom – no love will ever touch it, and no person will ever love you back they way a child does.
Life is hard, and things don’t go as planned – and when you think you have it all figured out; you’ll find out that’s not always the case. However, one thing is planned and perfectly meant for you – and that is the child your carrying both in your belly and in your heart. Enjoy them, enjoy this moment – because you never have this again. You will wake up one day with a boy who is eight and a girl who is ten on your lap – and although they won’t be tiny – you will realize you still have the whole world at your fingertips and close to your heart.
Glancing at the clock on the computer I see it is 12:30 – holy crap, the kids will be out of school at 1:45 today – its Wednesday and early release – and I haven’t cleaned the house. Setting the computer down on the floor in front of me, I jump up in a mad rush! Looking around I realized that I had already cleaned the house for the most part – which was odd that I had forgot that – but then again the morning was pretty different considering I even worked out this morning – and I just don’t do that! Like, EVER.
Walking into the kitchen the sink is full of dirty dishes, the one chore that takes no time really, yet I procrastinate in doing them. Dishes are now loaded and dishwasher is running, so I begin sweeping. Next to the refrigerator, there is a towel that catches the water, our freezer leaks – for whatever reason we can’t figure it out. Grabbing the huge shower towel, I toss it in the laundry and head into my room to find a more appropriate sized towel. Standing in my bathroom – I stare blankly thinking what in the hell did I just come in here for? Seriously, I must be losing it – only to focus on the laundry basket full of clean towels in front of me. Ah ha! That’s what I came in here for. Searching for a washcloth – I recall, bitching at my husband yesterday for doing the load of towels for me ( yes, I know…) because I was on a women empowerment trip and retorted with some smart ass remark like “ I don’t need your help, I can handle that all by myself – thank you very much”. Apparently, I was wrong – since they are not yet folded.
While placing the washcloth at the bottom of the freezer I notice the kitchen rug needs to be taken outside to really shake it out good and not make sweeping the kitchen a complete fail. Leaving the rug hanging over the edge of the porch, I think “Man this porch needs to be swept” and head into the kitchen for the broom. Next to my feet on the porch, is my sons football stuff, which I grab to take back to his room (as he apparently lost the ability to do so himself). Opening this door to his room, I see poop – dog poop – and do now recall him saying “We need to train the dog to poop in Gracie’s room – he always poops in mine” apparently he lost the ability to pick up dog poop also! Irritated, I head into the bathroom to get some toilet paper to pick up the poop with – and start cleaning the bathroom.
Boys’ toilets are just gross – until witnessing my stepson who is three, literally pee on his head and all up and down a wall in a restaurant bathroom, I never understood how exactly pee got to the back of the toilet. We managed to learn a pretty good tuck and weave – to avoid anymore (pee-pee /face moments). However, it seems we have not perfected it yet, because there is pee again behind the toilet. Thinking to myself – “I need bleach” I head into the kitchen – only to find the pile of dirt I had left there from my previous attempt at sweeping, before I took the rug outside. Tip-toeing around the pile, balanced on one foot, teetering, I open the cupboard and grab the bleach. Happily and almost villainous, I dump half the bottle into their toilet – there you evil pesky boy pee germs – die you suckers! Pleased with myself, and confident that this should do the trick, I move to my next task, sweeping the bathroom. Now where did I leave the broom??
Out of the corner of my eye, on the floor next to the kitchen counter – I see the boxes from yesterday’s shopping trip to Costco. I gather them up and head outside to take them to the carport– only to realize that the whole reason I came back in from the porch in the first place was to get the flipping broom to sweep the flipping porch! SO – I set the boxes by the front door and head back inside to find the now elusive stupid-stinking, broom – which I find in the kitchen, exactly where I left it! Damn –it, I now force myself to stay put and sweep the freaking kitchen and the now the stupid-stinking bathroom. The toilet still needs to soak, because the pee germs haven’t died to my liking yet – so I head to the kitchen to put the bleach back. It’s then that I notice the front door is wide open, the front porch is still un-swept, the boxes are still sitting by the door and damn-it if I still haven’t picked up the poop in the boys bedroom. AHHH! That’s it – I’m sweeping this porch NOW!!
My ninja powers are of epic proportions as I sweep not only the porch but every cob web from the house. Feeling the possibilities of spiders crawling all over me, my arms are flailing wildly and I am now getting pissed – I’m mean, how dare the freaking crap I just brushed off the house, fall on me. Never mind the fact that I was the idiot that stood under it in the first place – but why would that matter, really? “Whoa, okay stay calm, ignore the fact that you just brushed down a beehive – and nope, that was not a bee that flew right at me” I’m going to pretend that never happened.
As I continue sweeping down the stairs of the front porch, I can hear Justin Bieber on the stereo, “If I was your boyfriend – I’d never let you go” and think – what does the world really have against this kid, anyway – I think he rocks! Somehow, my mind wanders to if I had his money, I wouldn’t be sweeping this stupid-stinking crappy porch of my un-owned manufactured home, that we we’re originally going to buy – but now I’m thinking not-so-much. As, I move from sweeping the porch to sweeping the walkway – I think about whether I am considered white-trash or trailer trash, and if so I choose classy-white-trash as my title. Quickly, I realize I can’t be white trash because I have all my teeth, well, all but one – but it is in the back and you wouldn’t even know, had I not told you. Furthermore, I don’t live in a trailer, it is not metal – not that, that would matter anyhow – HELLO – Eminem grew up in 8-mile and look at him now, in his mansion, looking all sexy. I bet someone sweeps his porch, in more ways than one!
Almost done sweeping – when I realize that I’ve yet to take a shower, the bleach in the toilet is still soaking, the boxes are still by the front door and the stupid-stinking poop is STILL in the boys’ room. How many times have I walked in and out of this house today – and forgotten how many things – seriously? Grabbing the boxes, as if I have a personal bone to pick with them, I make my way to the carport, see a 2X4 in the grass –( I’m not even gonna ask) I grab it and both the boxes and the 2X4 get tossed against the wall in the carport. On my way back to the porch, my daughters’ bike catches my eye and I wonder why in the hell she didn’t roll the bike the extra twenty feet to where it actually goes?? If the Hubs found this, he would take it, hide it and tell her it was stolen to teach her a lesson. Leaving the bike there, I consider doing the same thing.
The walkway is swept clear to the street; I move the garbage can to the acceptable, unnoticeable side of the house – finding crap along the way throughout the yard. Apparently, the kids were enthralled in some project and forgot again how to clean up after themselves. On one side of my car there is a screw driver, I pick it up, then around the other side of the car I find a pair of socks – seriously – WTF? Placing all the crap I have picked up inside the garbage can, I see my beautiful daughters’ bike taunting me, and with the power THOR used to grab his hammer, I swoop the bike up in my one free hand, walk twenty or so feet – and chuck it beside the other bikes, scooters and skateboards. Such an incredibly hard task – I totally can see why the kids fail to manage it. NOT!!!
Looking back before I head inside, the yard looks nice – the porch is swept, no spider webs, I feel good about my work. Walking in the door, the entry way needs to be swept since I brushed the house off with the front door open and it has now fallen inside. With the broom in my hand, I sweep it up quickly – realizing that I have no clue where the dust pan is. In my attempt to locate said dust pan, I walk through the living room, where it is obvious it needs to be vacuumed. Depositing the screwdriver where it goes, toss the socks in the laundry basket – then force myself to drink something because I have been parched for over an hour.
Opening the fridge, with every intention of drinking out of carton – because I can, after all this is my carton of peach juice – which the kids are not allowed to touch. So, if they decide to sneak it, then I guess that’s their bad luck! Damn – that juice is good – definitely hits the spot. Heading over to the bathroom to see if the dust pan was left in there, I see that the bleach is still killing boy pee germs. Scrubbing as best I can, I realize that there is no amount of bleach that is fully going to clean this toilet – so I better just accept this – as clean. Stepping back, looking around I see that I have officially finished a room in the house – woofreakinghoo! Hallelujah!
Walking by the boys’ room, I see the poop, and I keep walking. Still can’t find the dust pan – CRAP, did I throw it away outside in the garbage can on accident, I ask myself. On my way out to check the garbage, peeking at the time on the phone, I notice is 1:15 pm, shit – it’s only been forty-five minutes, really?? As I hit the porch, I see the dustpan sitting there, where I flipping left it – sweep up the entryway and put the broom back beside the fridge where it belongs. While checking the time on the phone, I noticed a TMNT – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles coffee mug on the coffee table, with the coffee that I forgot to drink inside it. Rinsing it out in the sink, and leaving it there, I realize the kitchen is done now too! Yes!
Now – do I vacuum or clean up the poop in the boys’ room? Vacuum, of course.
What is with the word vacuum anyway, how the hell do you spell it – two c’s or two u’s – two of each? I mean, really, who thought up that word, and why not just call it the sucker-up-thing? Moving the sucker-up-thing to the front room, I notice my laptop is open on the floor in front of the couch where I left it; I close it – place it on the coffee table and move both the couches back so the sucker-up-thing can do its job. Which where the couches are concerned , its job is to clean up all the crumbs of the food, my wonderful children are not supposed to be eating on the furniture in the first place, but whatever. Behind the couch, I see two paper airplanes, my son’s newest infatuation – holding them I question whether they would be missed if I tossed them, and decide to keep them just in case. Seeing my phone on the coffee table, I decide to plug it in, since I hate my phone dying –
Just as I am about to push the button to the sucker-up-thing, I hear the dogs bark and wonder why I can hear them when they are outside, realizing the window is open, I walk back to close it – since the A/C is on and all! Walking by the washer & dryer, I notice its silent and decide to swap the load since I am back there now – lord knows I will forget if I don’t do it now. Cleaning out the lint trap, I subconsciously reach for the plastic bag that is clothes pinned to a basket, realizing it is not there, and is now on the ground. Picking it up – I head to the garbage to throw it away – get to the front door just as a loud knock comes from outside. “Oh shit, who is that? I can’t open the door looking like this”. Giving in, I open the door to see it is my son’s friends, mom – holding his football practice stuff, since he is walking home with my son today after school. We spend a couple minutes chatting mom talk – verify there isn’t any allergies I need to know about and then I walk her out on my way to the garbage can.
Back inside I am sucker-upping away, and pull up the corner of the large floor rug to ensure I get whatever it was that was under the corner of it, a little excitedly I guess, because I pulled it back further than I had expected. While it’s cleaning up all crap under the rug – I notice a baseball card – I maneuver around it, then flipped the carpet right back over it – I’m not even gonna lie – it’s still there. Now that this is all done, I put the sucker-up-thing away.
Checking the phone again to see what time it is, I see a text from my son’s, friends mom from earlier, saying she is on her way to drop off her sons football stuff – little late for that now. The time on the clock says 1:45, which means the kids are now out of school – and holy crap I haven’t taken a shower yet, Gage’s friend will be here and I can’t embarrass him – and SHIT – I forgot about the shit in the boys’ room – ughhhh! Running into their room, clean up the poop, look around and realize this room is a lost cause for today, so I just close the door. Looking across the hall into my daughters’ room – I just pull that door closed as well.
Thirsty again, I sneak one more drink from the carton in the fridge before the kids come home. As I tip the carton back for a gloriously de-lish gulp, I notice the dryer door is open and must have been in the middle of doing something there at some point, though I have no clue what it was. Clothes are hanging out of it, and the wash has since been started and completed. Dumping the dirty clothes in the basket beside me on the ground, I fill the basket with the clothes from dryer. The amount this dryer is packed with my husband’s idea of a load is insane – so I stop to get the camera – in order to document and share this with Facebook! While grabbing my phone to use the camera, I see I missed my daughters’ call to let me know she is walking home – I call her back. Take the picture of the dryer load – make two trips in order to empty the dryer and add the clothes to the towels I tossed on the bed earlier in order to not forget again – since I have a point to prove to the Hubs!
Returning to the washer & dryer, I reach up to clean out the lint trap – only to realize that I had taken the bag out to the garbage. Oh ya! That’s why the dryer was open – I obviously forgot to come back after I took the bag out to the garbage while talking to my sons’ friends’ mom. Geez, I am really losing it! I finish swapping the loads, get a new one ready but don’t start it – so I can jump in the shower.
While starting the shower, I notice my daughters’ clothes on the floor of my bathroom – ughhh! Gathering it all up, I toss it all in the dirty laundry basket. On the floor beside it I see my neck massager – “NO” it is an actual neck massager – whatever – it really is! Anyhow, I toss it under the bed, only to see my husband’s shorts and underwear that were left there this morning from our “encounter” which brings a smile to my face as I gather them up and toss them into the basket as well. Undressing, I add my clothes to the same basket, which everyone else in our house seems to be unable to – and then check the time to see how close the kids are to being home. Its 2:02 – and I jump into the shower.
Twenty-five minutes, and three mild interruptions later, I exit a relaxing shower, with shaven legs, smelling of coconut-milk body wash and a clean house. Not bad for being only 2:27 pm on a Wednesday.
One day without much notice this little blonde hair baby came totting into my home. Barely able to walk on your own, you were holding your daddy’s hand. My life changed in that moment, almost the same as when you hear the words “you’re pregnant”. Except in my case, I didn’t have nine months to prepare. Didn’t spend countless hours searching for the perfect name, or daydreaming about whether you’d look like your father or me. My body never carried you; I never felt your first kick or heard your first heartbeat. The love that created you, wasn’t mine, and the air you breath and the life you were given were not from me. My heartbeat wasn’t the one you fell asleep to at night, and my voice wasn’t the one that would make you turn you head.
“There are a lot of things that I wasn’t – But listen to this instead”
Nine months of preparation was never needed with you, because you were someone I had prayed for all along. Countless hours are spent saying your name, sharing every funny little story, every sweet moment with whoever will listen to me share. Being just like your father, and having his smile and personality is all I could have ever hoped for. The first time you laid your head on my chest, and fell asleep in my arms our heartbeats were one in the same. You were not someone else’s child; you in that moment became a part of me. Your love was a gift to me, your innocence brought me youth, and your father showed me a completely new life.
You became a brother, and gained a big sister and brother. Quickly you became best friends with your brother, and your sister couldn’t go anywhere without you. They protected you, cared for you and loved you instantly, not because you were different, or special, or “extra” – instead it was because you are their brother.
Somewhere along the line, those nine months I lacked of worry and concern over how you would be or who you would be – I’ve made up tenfold. Because when your heart hurts, mine does too. That’s why I want to say these things to you
My love for you is a bond that took time to create,
It’s not one that can be easily erased;
There will be times when you may have to choose,
My promise to you is to understand if I lose.
My job as your stepmom is to understand,
I’ll always lend a helping hand;
Although my place may not be first,
I’ll be beside you through the worst.
Your mother and I do have one thing we share,
Well two I guess to be honest & fair;
We of course share you, an adorable little man,
And we share moments of being your biggest fan.