Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thank you Pinterest for making me look smart

I have a Pinterest bord on parenting / stepmom humour. This past weekend, however, I actually used this one

 On Friday night, I got up around midnight and as I always do, I checked on the kids while I was up.

When I looked in the boys' room, I was furious to find them with the TV on playing video games. They had actually woken up, turned on the TV, and muted it so we wouldn't hear and were playing. When I busted them they jumped about two feet, and turned everything off and went to bed without saying a word. We thought we had it covered by bringing their remote and Nintendo DS with us to bed, and making sure they were asleep before going to bed ourselves. They had outsmarted us, for the moment.

The next day I talked it over with my BF. What to do? The TV in their room is 40'', so too big to take it out. They had apparently found the buttons behind the TV so keeping the remote was useless, and there were just too many things hooked up to make taking anything out of the room an option.

Then it hit me, I looked at my board and thought, hey, it's worth a shot. That day I stopped by a dollar store and picked up a luggage lock and that night when we put them to bed, we unplugged the TV and put the lock through the plug. At first I don't think they quite understood what we were doing, but when we left the room we listened at the door. We couldn't help chuckling to ourselves when it dawned on them, without the key, they couldn't plug the TV in, and no TV, no games.

The next morning, the oldest asked why we did that, we told him that it was to make sure they couldn't get up and play video games in the middle of the night. He conceded that it was a pretty smart idea. I didn't tell him I saw it anywhere, we figure it will be better off if he just thinks we're that much smarter than them.

Inspired by Mama Kat's writer's workshop : You saw it on Pinterest…does it really work?

Mama’s Losin’ It

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Today is the day

There have been so many little moments that I felt like I was really becoming a parent, but I think today it really hit me.  Today I realized that I was a parent, no matter what happens in the future, even if one day I am not with my BF anymore, my life and my perspective is forever changed.

I can say with absolute certainty, that the past two weeks have been the hardest of my entire life.  From someone with a past of abuse and suicide attempts, that is saying a lot.  In the past two weeks, my BF went to court to fight for his kids, then we had the maddening waiting, then I got fired.  I have no job, and I have no idea what my life will look like tomorrow let alone next week.

More than once, I have sat and thought of myself ''why haven't I cracked?''.  Far less pressure has pushed me over the edge in the past. 

Last night, we had a hard decision to make, in a very delicate situation, with a lot on the line.  One false move and the effects on our family could be irreparable.  We have suspected for a while that something was happening to his youngest at their mom's, something that happened before and last night we got to a point where we had to act.  We waited until the boys were asleep and bundled her up to go to the emergency room.  My sister in law came over with her baby and sat with the sleeping boys.

We waited for the social workers, and her mom was called, I went home to wait and see.  That is the most maddening part, the fact that in the most serious situations, I can do nothing, I just have to wait and trust that everything will work out.  When they came back from the hospital, my SD came and snuggle in next to me in our bed and fell immediately asleep.

Later in the wee hours of the morning, their mom finally got her message and came over upset and my BF explained everything, well more like he angrily told her.  I said that everyone should just calm down and that she should come back the next day.  She left, and we attempted to sleep.  I went to bed thinking to myself, ''this is it, I'm gonna wake up and I'm not gonna be able to get out of bed''.  I don't know how I managed to fall asleep.
I woke up, got out of bed, and took care of the kids.  I made lunch and waited with my BF for the kids' mom to come over.  When she got here with her best friend the three of them went to talk to my SD.  When they came out, they were visibly shaken.  My SD told her mom what happened, and she looked terrible.  I told her that we will make it through this, and that we will put aside all of our differences and do what is right for the kids.  She thanked me and the three of them left for the police station to file the report.

After they left, I called a friend, and fellow step mom, to talk.  I told her how I don't know how I am dealing with this, and then it hit me.  I am dealing with this because I no longer have a choice.  I thought about the last time when I stopped myself before an attempt, it was the first time I asked for help, and it was because I had my family here, I thought about them, I had a responsibility to them.

This time I think something inside me realized that I can't even allow myself to get to that point, this time I have a spouse and kids.  I am more scared than ever before, I have more to lose than ever before, and apparently I am stronger than ever before.

Today I understand what it means to truly be a parent and put your family first.

Friday, November 15, 2013

I am thankful

This week I am thankful for the people around me. 

I am thankful for my godson who was cool with me doing his birthday thing with him a week early because we were going to be in court on his actual birthday.

For my cousin who went shopping with me to get my mind off everything for just a few hours.

For the friend who is also a stepmom and who knows exactly what I was going through who helped me feel normal and let me vent my feelings without me having to try and explain why I felt that way.

For all the people who kept our spirits up telling us that we were doing the right thing and that i twill all work out.

For the guy at the court who smiled at me every time he walked past me sitting alone on my bench, he knew that it was my BF in there and would tell me not to worry he was doing fine.

For the judge, who stayed until 6pm to make sure he heard all of the case and that nothing was rushed, I know he was fair.

For my coworkers and boss who were very understanding with my absences and my general stressed out sate of mind.

For my BF, who helped me stay strong by being strong himself.

I am thankful for everyone around me who knows that waiting for the verdict is much more hellish on us than on them and not pestering me every day to know if the verdict is in.  They actually believe me that when I have news, they will.

I am even thankful for his ex, for leaving me the hell alone and not speaking to me this week, thereby allowing me to mostly pretend she doesn’t exist.

This week I am thankful to be so blessed as to have all of these people in my life.

Inspired by Mama Kat's writer's workshop Something you’re thankful for this week.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Monday, November 11, 2013


I can’t think of anything more torturous for me than what I am feeling right now.

After almost a full day of changing judges and postponements, my BF has finally gone in to the courtroom for his custody hearing.  He was supposed to go in at 9 :15, it is now just past three, and I, being just the stepmom, am waiting on a hard wooden bench just outside the courtroom, waiting, not allowed in since they are not my kids.

He is trying to get shared custody, a process that he started in April, and a process that has been infuriatingly slow.   Not once since the very beginning of our relationship have I felt so much an outsider.  I have been there every step of the way, making phone calls for him, seeking out documentation, lawyer visits, the whole shebang, right up until this moment.  In this moment, I am set aside.

I doesn’t matter that my future is being decided on the other side of those double doors as much as everyone else in the room.  If he wins, I will go from being an every other weekend stepmom, to 50% of the time.  I will share in all the details and responsibilities that it entails, homework, packing lunches, school pickups, but I can’t share in this.  By supporting his decision, I have effectively committed myself to a relationship more than any other in my past, the next 15 years at least.  If he loses, I will share in his grief for the home and family that could have been.

No matter that I am as involved, I don’t get a say, I don’t even get to watch.  I get to sit here, alone, for the next few hours while the lawyers and my BF and his ex fight it out.  Waiting.

If I am honest with myself, I know that whatever happens I will adapt, that is not what worries me.  If we win, her anger at me will multiply and there will surely be even more attacks on me, and that is a burden I am willing to take on if it means I can shield the kids 50% of the time and offer them stability.  If we lose, I worry about how my BF and the kids will take it.  We have a couple of friends who lost their custody battle 5 years ago and now they are picking up the pieces of some very damaged teenagers. 

I think that is what worries me most.  If we lose, i twill reinforce the idea that she is all powerful and all deciding to the kids, and I worry they will stop standing up for themselves and give up.  I don’t want them to lose the confidence and empowerment we have worked so hard to instill in them.  I would hate for them to think that it’s not worth fighting for your family against someone like her.  I want them to see that if you fight together, as a family, you can win.

But it’s the waiting that is killing me, wondering if it’s going ok, if she’s lying, if the judge seems to believe her.  At this point I can do no more, it is up to the judge, and I know I should let go, let the proof speak for us.  All I can do is wait, hope, and who knows, maybe even pray a little.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

On being Hated

I have been disliked in the past, a lot even.  This time is different, I have never been hated, reviled even, until now.  I have never had anyone look at me with such intensity that I knew if they could make my head explode, they would.

At first I thought I could make her like me, that I would be such a great stepmom to her kids that she would thank my BF for having found such a fine woman.  Oh how deluded I was.

When I finally came to my senses about that one, I thought we could at least settle into some sort of mutual respect.  That she would at least accept the contribution I was making and put down her weapons.

Then I thought that she at the very least wanted the best for her kids and would agree to a ceasefire for their sake.  She didn't have to like me , or even respect me, just pretend politeness in front of the kids.

I was wrong on all accounts.  It has gotten to the point that the kids aren't allowed to sit with their father if I am there, and there is no option of showing me any kind of affection in front of her.  the ironic thing is that the kid who insists on showing me affection in front of his mom, no matter her reaction, is the one who in general is the least affectionate.

I think that for the other kids, they know that I am understanding and that I don't hold it against them and they will get plenty of affection from me when she isn't around.  The middle child, he is very insecure and afraid of losing the people he loves, he did lose 4 stepdads in the past two years.  So I think for him showing me affection in front of his mom is his way of saying that he doesn't care what she says, he is not losing me too.

Me, I can honestly say that it was more surprising than anything.  I didn't expect her to be the type of person to let hate take over.  I refuse to hate her because I don't want to let her take up that much space in my life, and to let that kind of negativity into my heart.

What bothers me is that the kids are so torn.  They love me, but they are made to feel as though by loving me, they are betraying their mother.  She is so focused on hating me that she actually asked for a clause that the kids had to stop calling me mom in the custody agreement.  They have never called me anything but my given name, but in her mind, I am trying to usurp her.

I have taken so many steps back to avoid conflict with her that the only step back I have left is to leave all together, and I will not do that.

The custody hearing is on Monday, we have done all that we can, gotten all of the reports and testimonys we can.  All that is left is for my wonderful BF to tell his side on the witness stand, and their mom to tell hers, and then for a judge to decide.  All the while I'll be sitting in the hall outside the courtroom, waiting and trying not to go crazy.  I'm not allowed in the room you see, I'm just the stepmom.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

I was wrong

I thought it would be different than everyone said, but it was worse.
I thought I could fix things, but I couldn’t.
I thought she would see the good I was doing and come around, but she didn’t.
I thought I could protect the kids, but I can’t.
I thought she couldn’t hurt me, but she found a way.
I didn’t think I would have to fight this hard, apparently I do.

Most importantly, I thought I wasn’t ready for all of this, but I know now that I am.

Inspired by Mama Kat's writer's workshop : Something you were wrong about

Mama’s Losin’ It