My Step-Mom Life the good, the bad and the mundane

The Biological Mother

 
I have always tried to stick to a few simple rules when it comes to my stepchildren and their biological mother.  She lives in the same town as us, she has joint custody of the kids and my husband has maintained a fairly good relationship with her when it comes to the children.  These rules have helped me to keep my sanity over the years.
 
 
1.        NEVER talk about their mother negatively in front of the kids.  This one is a hard one to follow but is the most important rule in my opinion.  Regardless of the circumstances they are not going to want to hear me put down their mother.  This will automatically put them on the defensive and feel that they have to stick up for her, even if she is in the wrong.  What I have learned is when the kids come to me with a problem they are having with their mother is to listen to them, let them get their frustration out.  Then I tell them that I am sorry that they feel that way or that the situation happened and that I can see how it would upset them.  I follow with, “Is there something that you would like for me or your father to do to help with the situation?”  If they say no then I have to let it go, if they say yes we then discuss what the best option would be for my husband and I to get involved.
 
2.       Never fight with the biological mother.  This one is very hard to follow at times, especially when we are in a tense conversation.  I refuse to fight with her though.  She is the mother of the children, she deserves respect from me, even if I do not agree with her position on the situation.  I try to keep the contact between her and I to a minimum as well, this help to avoid finding myself in a situation where I could get in an argument.  Whenever possible my husband is the person that handles all communication with his ex. 
 
3.       Show Respect.  This goes along with rule #2.  This rule also pertains to the children themselves regarding their mother.  I do not let them disrespect their mother in our house.  They may get mad and vent about the other household but we do not allow them to call the other parents names, to lie to them or show any other kind of disrespect.  I feel this is important especially for us as the adults in the house to do because it shows the kids that we are treating the members of the other household with respect and that they should too. 
 
These rules are hard to follow at times and Lord knows I have bitten my tongue literally at times to keep from speaking up.  But by doing so it has kept an open line of communication between the 2 households when it comes to the children.  We have been able to work together to resolve issues that have arisen over the years and attend events for the children while keeping the drama to a minimum. 

Lily Makes A Friend

Lily & Lulu
 

Last weekend we dog sat for the first time for my brother.  Lily has always been a spoiled dog, she never played well with other dogs because ALL toys are hers and ALL bones are hers.  End of discussion in her mind.  Lulu (my brother’s dog) is still a puppy, all she wants to do is play…with Lily.  This was entertaining for Lily for the first few hours…after that not so much.

 

Then it became a fight over everything…everything.  Even as to which couch they would lay on.  The weekend reminded me of watching a couple of 3 years olds that missed their nap.

Teenagers and Chores

 

I remember when I was a teenager and my parents would leave us each a list of chores we were to have done by the end of the day.  When we were on a break from school this list was substantially longer than during the school week but there were chores to be done daily.  We did them without complaint, well without complaint within earshot of my parents, because we knew that was just the way it was.  If we complained we were going to be in trouble and given more to do.  It was easier to just suck it up and do what was expected of us.  My how the times have changed…

 

I discovered just how much times have changed when I tried to get the teenagers in my house to help out more last week.  When told to wash dishes my stepdaughter informed me that just because I had a bad day doesn’t mean I can randomly tell her to wash the dishes.  This remark was followed by the inevitable, “Oh my God” and “They will still be there 2 minutes from now, I don’t need to do them right this second.”  Me, “Yes you do, because I told you to do them now.”  When I asked my stepson about the mess he left on the floor I was told, “You took the broom out so I left it there for you to sweep.”  To which I had to explain that I took the broom out for HIM to clean HIS mess.

 

Later we had a discussion about how everyone is going to stat helping more, that they live here so they can help to keep the place clean, it is not my sole responsibility.  This was met with, “Or you could just get on medication” (my stepdaughter) and “You don’t have to clean everyday, YOU could clean every other day” (my stepson).   After our long discussion my stepdaughter showed just how much she was listening by yelling at me, “Oh my God why aren’t my leggings I wore Monday washed yet?!?”

 

How do parents survive teenagers without losing their minds?  I think I lost mine a long time ago.  You have to laugh or else you will scream.  This night there was more screaming than laughing I am afraid.

 

Things are changing in this household though.  Gone are the  days where they sit and play video games or sit on Facebook while I clean the house.  The new rule, “Everyone cleans something EVERYDAY no exceptions.  You live here you help keep it clean.”  Just in case they “forget” about the rule change it is written on the dry erase board on the fridge for the them to see everyday.  Surprisingly we have not met too much resistance regarding the chores changes.  We have gotten the “I hate you glare” but the whining has been kept to a minimum.  Which makes me wonder why I didn’t implement this before?  If I had perhaps things wouldn’t have gotten to where it is now with the back talk and lack of responsibility.

 

It’s never too late to make a change though.  Plus with all this free time I have now with people helping me clean I have time to write and paint again!

 

The Friends Are Moving in Too?

 
 I always joke that it seems like we have adopted some of my stepdaughter’s teenage friends because they spend so much time at our house.  This is especially true of her friend that lives down the street.  She spends nearly every day at our house until curfew.  Now though I am starting to fear that she thinks we truly have adopted her.  I wash her clothes, she tells me when she needs her jacket cleaned, I fix her clothes when there is a tear or a button comes off, and recently I found that she is now keeping a toothbrush and a makeup bag in our downstairs bathroom.  She even has a pet fish in my stepdaughter’s bedroom…
 
Sometimes I feel as if we are being invaded by teenagers… 
 

A Better eBay Experience

 
I’ve had a few bad experiences with eBay in the past (see My eBay Experience & eBay Part 2).  In the last few weeks though a friend of mine convinced me to try selling items on eBay one last time.  We have been talking of ways to earn extra money and eBay seemed a logical place to start.  I was nervous listing my items to sell and I avoided electronical items all together due to my prior experiences.  A few days later I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had people bidding on the items that I had listed.  Who know that someone would pay over $60 for an old purse I had sitting in my closet for almost 6 months not being used?  After that first sale I was addicted.  I have to check eBay throughout the day to see if anymore bids have been placed and when an auction of mine is getting close to ending I am constantly checking the status since this is when the most people bid. 
Over the last 2 weeks I have made nearly $150 selling some unused items I had laying in my closet.   True there are fees to remember, eBay charges 9% of the sale and if you use PayPal to accept payments (which I highly recommend) there is also a small fee (2.9% and $0.30 per transaction) but this is the fastest, safest way to get paid.  The fees I know seem like a lot you are looking at nearly 12% total of your sale but as long as you are aware of these fees before you get started you won’t have any surprises after you sell something. 
I for one have a completely different attitude towards eBay now.  I am going to continue to list unused items that we have lying around our house and things I pick up at garage sales and flea markets over the summer.  eBay has become a part of my getting out of debt plan and I have all ready surpassed my selling goal for the month.  Does anyone have any success stories of using eBay to help pay off debt they would like to share?

Kenny vs Lily

 
 Last weekend I had my 7-year-old nephew spend the night at my house.  All was well until I was playing with Lily in the living room while Kenny was in the music room.  After a few minutes I went in to see what he was getting into.  I found him sitting in a chair staring at the floor.
Me:  What’s the matter honey?
Him:  You forgot about me (dramatic sigh)
Me:  What are you talking about?  How could I forget about you?  You are right here.
Him:  You always play with Lily, never with me.  You never see me anymore (another dramatic sigh)
Me:  Are you being serious?  We have been playing all day. 
Him:  You always forget about me.
At age 7 he has got the guilt card down to a science.  Awesome.

She’s Moving In

 
Followers may have noticed that blog contents lately have been more about my 15 year-old-stepdaughter than my stepson.  This is due to the fact that my stepdaughter is now living with her father and I.  This change occurred over the summer and seems to be sticking.  It has been a challenge at times for me to go from being a “part-time” mom to a full-time mom for her.  Her mother is still part of her life but I am now the one dealing with the day to day aspects of raising a teenage girl. 
While at times this experience has been….we will call it challenging…overall it has been going very well for us.  I feel like for the first time since she was in elementary school we have a good, strong relationship.  We can now talk without it always turning into a fight and are even able to talk out our disagreements most of the time.   As a result there is a lot more laughter in our household and a lot less yelling.  I am loving it and praying that we can keep going on this good path we are on.  I know there will be setbacks…she will be 16 and driving very soon…but I think we are ready to face them head on. 
But I am going to stock up on wine though…just in case… 

Glow Sticks

 

My stepdaughter’s Facebook post:  broke open glow sticks and splattered them all over my room, it looks sick. lol.

 

Me:  You did what?

 

Her:  We didn’t really break them open, I was talking about the packages.

 

Me:  You are lying to me.

 

Her:  No you can check my room.

 

Me:  Ok.   Then why do you walls have glowing spots on them?

 

Her:  Oh…well…It would have been gone by tomorrow and then you never would have known.

 

I think she forgets that we are Facebook friends…

Driving Soon…Maybe?

 

In less than 2 months my stepdaughter will be 16 and she cannot wait to drive.  I remember being 16 and how excited I was about driving but I have reservations about her getting behind the wheel of a car.

1.  Her phone has become a permanent attachment to her hand.  I think her fingers have formed around it and cannot straighten anymore.

2.  Last week when I took her shopping she stomped her foot like a 3-year-old when I said no to getting a pair of pants.  Literally stomped her foot…in the middle of the store…

3.  She cannot go anywhere without at least one or two friends.  This will distract her while driving, which leads to…

4.  She gets distracted very easily.

5.  If something happened to her….well all parents fear this one.

 

I know that this is a right of passage for her.  I just don’t know if we are ready for it.

Any thoughts from those who have teenagers driving or on the verge of driving?

Wet Pants

 

 

Recently at my nephews birthday party his little brother decided it would be funny to once again get his aunt.  This is the same nephew that shit on me at Thanksgiving dinner.  (see Poo) This time though while I was bent over cleaning up cake (his cake too) off the carpet of the bowling alley he decided it would be funny to pour water down his aunt’s pants.  Yep..down the back of my pants.  Luckily he is only 5 and most got on the floor rather than down my pants but enough definitely made it in there.

 

I don’t know if he does this stuff to me because he loves me more than the others or because he dislikes me the most.  I am going to go with he loves me…yeah…that’s it.

 

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