September 4, 2013 § 1 Comment
If I could go back to my newly stepmommed self (step-girlfriend really, if you’re keeping score), I would tell myself to be careful what I wish for.
If I could say one thing to every stepmom who thinks that her stepkids’ mom is the worst, most alienating piece of shit for sending the crappy, too small clothes or being a control freak about phone calls, I would say be careful what you wish for.
If I could go back to every time I just felt that I KNEW what was going on with shewhomustnotbenamed but needed proof….well, yeah.
I have been trying to explain for years to family and friends who don’t understand how we don’t have full custody that there is a world of difference between a crappy mom and an unfit mom. For years I truly believed that what we’ve been dealing with this whole time is just a crappy mom who was keeping her crazy, unfitness in check just enough to be passable in society.
We’re getting a taste of what unfit mom looks like.
Now that full custody is within our grasp, is possible, maybe even likely, oh it hurts, so much. How could I have ever wanted that shewhomustnotbenamed would start showing to the world just how messed up I knew she was? Did I not realize what that meant?
Soon, I may have to explain to my stepkids how their mom is still a good person even though she is in jail. I might have to take them states away from their half-siblings. I might have to actually have to put in the work to untangle the mess she has made out of their lives and their psyches. I will actually have to dismantle everything they know in their lives. Good God, do you know how hard that will be?
I don’t mean to belittle any stepmom out there who is trying hard, but I am asking you to search your heart. Can you be working harder? Can you find a middle ground, learn to look the other way, fight with your husband’s ex a little less? Decide that maybe part of the problem is what you’re contributing and that you’re choosing to see only the bad parts?
Because if your stepkids’ mom reaches her breaking point, no matter whose fault it may be, no matter whether it was inevitable or not, to see your stepkids’ hearts breaking? To see their world fall apart? Nothing is worth that. I’m here to tell you, there is no satisfaction to be found in CPS having cause to investigate. Nothing to be gained to learn that she was throwing all your gifts away, badmouthing you to the kids, getting drunk at every turn, breaking the law, and god knows what else.
I’m a firm believer that what you put out into this world comes back to you. Even if it was never meant to be, even if it wasn’t true, I wish in those early days I had worked harder at trying, just a little bit, to believe that my stepkids’ mom was trying as hard as she knows how. Because now it turns out she’s as broken as I believed, only she’s not the one paying for it.
September 1, 2013 § Leave a comment
I found myself looking back through tweets and pictures from the last 6 months and realized that I have completely lost my spark. And while I can (and will) wax poetic about all the things that are hurting my heart, in a lot of ways, they’re nothing new. What has changed is me.
I have spent the last year and a half learning that what makes or breaks my ability to cope with this roller coaster stepmom life is how well I am taking care of my self. Not only do I have to fill my own cup before I can fill anyone else’s, but my ability to see the positive, to keep reaching, to keep putting one foot in front of the other comes from that full cup.
I haven’t been taking very good care of myself.
I think, as stepmoms, we care so much and so deeply for others, our hearts for loving our husbands and our families, that we face a constant struggle to remember to take care of ourselves first and foremost. Our families depend on us being at our best, but we can’t be at our best if we don’t make ourselves a priority.
My life very well my be flipped completely on it’s head soon. I may go from being a 3 times a year stepmom to a fulltime stepmom. Which means I need to be at my best.
So I am putting a challenge to myself and to any other stepmom who wants to join me: 30 days of self-care.
Today is September 1, the first of a month with 30 days. It’s a long weekend, with plenty of time to figure out your plan. But how hard can it be? Do one thing, every day, that fills your cup, that takes care of you.
Here are some things that fill my cup:
- Going for a walk
- Cooking a well-balanced meal
- Taking photos
- Creating art for my home
- Cleaning my house
- Going on a hike
- Doing a workout video
- Getting (or giving myself) a pedicure
- Practicing mindfulness
- Unplugging from the internet
I can do this. I can turn things around. One thing at a time. Every journey starts with that first step, right?
I’ll be tweeting about my journey under #30dayselfcare. Hope to see you there.