Friday, February 25, 2011

being real

Some folks may or may not know that this isn't my first blog rodeo. I've written a blog before. That blog was very, very personal. Tons of rants. Tons of raves. A little bit of this. A little bit of that. It was really me. Random and a little bit weird. It was gut wrenchingly private. I only let the very closest of my friends read it.

In January, I started this blog in an attempt to do something a little more "public". I wanted it to be fit for everyone's consumption. I wanted to post about crafty stuff, food, baking, family, and all the things that are considered okay to talk about. I promised myself not to curse (so much) or talk about controversial topics. I would keep more things guarded and private. But who am I kidding? That's not very "me" at all.

In fact, just this morning, a friend of mine emailed me and mentioned that the old blog was a lot more interesting to read. Of course, this person was a lot more tactful than all that, but the bottom line was clear. Where the hell have I gone in this blog? Honestly, I'm missing almost entirely.

So, I'm going to try something a little different. I'm going to be a heck of a lot more "me". I'm going to curse a little. I'm going to be more random. I'm going to talk about what I'm thinking instead of just the events of the day.

Here goes nothing.

Today is the day that I talk about how hard it is to be a step mom. I've talked about it on my previous blog, so some of my friends might want to skip this one. Or not. Up to you. :)

Background: Rhett and I have four children that live with us on a daily basis. Carter and Cole were from his previous marriage. Macey is from my previous marriage. Ella is "ours". I HATE labeling it that way, but it's the only way to truly explain how we all blend together into the family that we are today.

Rhett and I have lived together and/or been married for the last 6 years. During those years, we've tried a couple of different types of custody situations. In the end, though, the boys belonged with us. We provide a more stable home, which is the most important thing of all. Stability. Love. A place and a circumstance that they can absolutely count on.

If I had one impossible wish for myself, it would be that I could be Carter and Cole's "real" mom. Because being the step mom sucks ass. I get to do all the heavy lifting but don't get to have the same bond with them as the children that I gave birth to. I know that I'm not supposed to say that, but it's true. They will always look at their biological mom as their "real" mom. Always. Even though they haven't lived with her in years. Even though she can be irresponsible and frustrating and... did I mention irresponsible? They still remember what it was like to live with her instead of me. They remember that she's the fun mom that lets them stay up late and eat pudding for dinner. I'm the one that has a lot of rules and gets mad more often. And that I'm not cool with pudding for dinner. I will never be the "real" mom to them, no matter how old they become or how much they learn to appreciate me. And there will always be my lack of pudding cups to put up with. Oy.

For some crazy reason, I have a hard time coming to terms with the fact that they'll never think of me as their "real" mom. I accept that it's true, but I can't seem to be okay with it. It makes me sad and frustrated. It makes me mad at her. She gets to live her life without worries about their homework or chores or daily busy-ness. She gets to be the fun time mom. I get the heavy lifting. And the laundry. And the toilet cleaning. I know that life is never fair, but this all feels really, really unfair.

On the flip side, I get to really know those boys. I know almost everything there is to know. I bet she doesn't know what kind of oatmeal Carter always wants. I bet she doesn't know what size Cole's jeans are. I get to hear almost every joke. I know all the gross details about some kid throwing up in the school cafeteria last week. I feel their nervousness before a big test and see the look of sheer joy when they hand over an assignment with an A+ on it. She misses out on all those things. At best, she gets to hear about it after the fact.

I'm still not sure how to come to terms with the fact that I'll always be the #2 mom. When it all comes down to it, I just want them to love me as much as they love her. Can I live with the fact that may never happen? I dunno. That's the hard part, I guess.


  1. Jen...In my observations, moms are supposed to have rules and high expectations...they're even supposed to hold you to those expectations...damn them. To me, that's what a real mom is. My mom and, I'm pretty sure your mom, didn't become truly fun until we were well into our college years. To me, you are much more "real" than Real Mom. When push comes to shove, rules and expectations = love and trust. In the end, you will be the one they come to with "real" problems and "real" joys...because you are a "real" mom. They can be proud of you and know that you ALWAYS have their backs. Hang in there you so much!

  2. Just remember there is a REAL Mom and a Biological Mom. Sometimes they are the same, other times they are not. You are the REAL thing! Your boys know that and feel save with you. They have to love their Bio Mom, but they get to love you. Remember there are many kinds of love and what you have with the boys she will never have.

    A Mom the Love you!!!

  3. As the adoptive mom of two from Romania, I understand your feelings. Especially now in their preteen/teen years, one of mine tells me that I'm not his real mom, that he wants to live with his real mom. I tell him that I'm real, does he want to touch my skin? Nevertheless, it is a knife in the heart. Right? Fortunately mine don't have to see their bio moms, but they both long for the day they can return to Romania to meet them (yes we have the info). Meanwhile, I just enjoy each day with them, yes do a ton of work, and hope for the best. If I can give them a decent chance at life, I guess that was my reason for existing. The rest is up to them. Keep up the good work and keep telling yourself, "I'm on a mission!"

  4. I grew up living with my dad and stepmom. My stepmother has her own issues, and for most of my life, I hated her for them and for inflicting her damage onto me. Though I only saw her once a week, I held my mom up on a pedestal. When I was old enough, I went to live with my mom. The pedestal started chipping away.

    As an adult with stepchildren of my own (though I've never met them, but that's another story), I now have a decent though not very close relationship with my stepmother, and I remember a lot of the happy stuff we did as the bad stuff falls into the background.

    The boys are still young, and when they are adults, after they've had some relationships and been in the world for awhile, they'll come to realize who was there and who wasn't. They may not ever think of you as their real mom, but they will think of you when they think of their happy childhood memories.

  5. Sweetie, I'm right there with you. My stepdaughter lives with us as well. Her mother is an irresponsible, shrieking harpy. But, she will always excuse her whenever her mother fails her. Being a stepmother is hard. Hugs.


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