How (Lack of) Co-Parenting Affects Teachers

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My husband recently attended a parent teacher conference for his son.  He had to schedule his own separate conference date because, as per usual, my stepson’s mother did not notify my husband of the conference date.  This unfortunately is nothing new for our family.

When my stepson entered Kindergarten, his Mom did all of the enrolling and registering.  We trusted that she would follow the court order and that my husband’s information would be on all of the paper work.  By the middle of the school year, we started noticing how little we see.  There was never any school work sent home.  We never received any kind of information from his teacher or from the school.  The only thing that we saw for the first half of his Kindergarten year was his report card (probably because she knew we would really be suspicious if she didn’t even show that.)  It was at that point that my husband and I decided to go into the school office (court papers in tow) and ask to see my stepson’s record.  We quickly found out my husband’s information was not on anything.  His name was not listed as the father.  His phone number was not saved in case of an emergency.  His email was not saved to receive notifications from the school.  My husband basically did not exist to the school for the first half of my stepson’s Kindergarten year.  The school of course updated the records for us, but we were still so frustrated.  Even when my stepson’s mother is being nice or decent with us, she is always scheming.  She would smile telling us how well he is doing at school and say things when we would ask like “oh, I don’t think they do parent teacher conferences in Kindergarten yet,” while knowing darn well that they do (because she attended!)

We contacted my stepson’s teacher and requested a meeting.  We informed her of what his mother had done to exclude my husband from his schooling and education and that up until this point we had missed any and all communications regarding his schooling.  While the front office was handling the communications that go out from the school (which was an easy fix just by adding my husband’s email address to the record), what we needed from his teacher was much more.  We told his teacher that we do not see anything that is sent home.  We had to ask her to start sending home copies of anything that came home from the classroom and had to ask her if she would be willing to communicate weekly with us on how he was doing and what was sent home so we could make sure we saw what we needed to see.  She was a brand new teacher and very sweet.  She understood our concerns and was very willing to help.  The rest of the school year went by without us missing anything.  And the conversation with her set a precedence for the conversation we would have to have with each of his teachers to come.  For the most part, all of his teachers thus far have been very understanding and have done their best to communicate with us and make sure we receive information as well.

Recently, I was talking to my cousin who is a teacher.  I was telling her this exact story and how amazing the school and all of the teachers have been in trying to include us and helping us stay informed since they understand his mother does everything she can to keep us uninformed.  I told her how we speak to the teachers in the beginning of the year, how they make two copies of everything so that we see everything, how they email us on a weekly or bi-weekly basis regarding his progress.  And then I asked her, as a teacher, what she thinks when she has parents in these situations.  While of course she is understanding and wants all parents to be a part of the educational journey of a child’s life, she did have some frustrations as a teacher.

Here were some of her frustrations:

1.) She becomes a part of the co-parenting process.  Co-parenting should be between the parents. A teacher should not have to be a “middle-man” because the two parents can not find a way to co-parent and simply share information with one another.

2.) Overworked and underpaid.  Teachers really are! They have 20-30 kids in their classroom, have to take their student’s work home to grade most of the time, and then are also supposed to remember to make copies and send emails for the student in her classroom whose parents can’s get along well enough for the sake of the CHILD to do what they are supposed to do.

3.) Parent-Teacher Conferences.  There are only so many time slots teachers have to schedule parent teacher conferences.  Parents who cannot stand to even be in the same room to hear about how their own common denominator – their CHILD is doing frustrate teachers.  If the teacher cares about your child’s well-being, why as parents is it so hard to sit next to each other, united for your child, and co-parent?

4.) The child suffers.  She said this is the hardest part of any situation where parents do not co-parent well when it comes to the child’s schooling.  The child is the one who ends up suffering.  Not the parents.  When the child has to make sure to get two copies of everything, bring two signed copies back, etc.  It makes things more difficult for the child, and can also be embarrassing for the child.  When the majority of the classroom has parents who are either still together or can co-parent enough not to have things made harder in the classroom, the child who needs to turn in two signed copies of everything and reminded to take two copies of everything suffers.

I shared the conversation that my cousin and I had with my husband.  We both agreed with all of her frustrations as a teacher and how our issues not being able to co-parent well with my stepson’s mom when it comes to his schooling affect my stepson.  My husband is planning to have a conversation with his ex this summer before the next school year begins to see if they might be able to find a way to co-parent without involving the school or the next teacher.  While this conversation will be a hard enough battle as it is, we also need to wait until we know she is having a “good day” to discuss it (I know all of y0u stepmoms know about saving conversations for a BM’s “good day!”  After summer is over and the new school year begins, I will have to update you all with how things are going and whether or not we are co-parenting better in regards to his schooling and education.

How well (or not well) are you able to co-parent with BM regarding school-related information?  Does it come easy for your family to share information and keep it in the family? Or do you also have to include the teacher to get information?  I would love to hear your thoughts and also what has worked for you!

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Bio-Mom’s Single Mom Fantasy

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My stepson’s Mother is a real piece of work.  If you follow my Instagram page (@stepmomquotes), you kind of get a sense of some of the stuff we deal with.  She goes through waves of personalities (yes, she can occasionally be cordial with us,) but most of the time she is bitter, jealous, and angry with us about something.  This takes me back to the year we went through with her where she actually tried convincing my husband to leave his son’s life.

When my stepson was little, and crazy about his Dad, his Mom was plotting to get my husband out of his life.  My stepson has always loved his Dad and they have a true bond.  But when he was little, the excitement every time my husband picked him up was heart warming.  Still to this day, I cannot understand how Bio-Mom could see her son light up upon visits with his Dad and still want to take that away from him.

I remember listening into the conversation.  My husband and I were only about a year into our relationship.  Bio-Mom did not like that my husband had started to bring me around his son.  So she called to have a conversation with him about it.  In her scheming ways, she tried to warm him up to the conversation by asking nice questions about me.  She asked him if we were happy, what our goals were together, and other personal questions about our relationship.  He started telling her how we met, how happy we are, and that we plan to be in it for the long run.  It was then that she tried convincing him to give up his son for me so that she could raise him the way that she always dreamed of raising her children.

Yes.  She actually proposed the idea to my husband that if he gave up rights to my stepson, that he could start a life and a family with me.  She told him that it was always her dream to be a single Mom.  She wanted to raise her children on her own “just like her Mom raised her on her own.”  She told my husband how she respected how her own Mother was able to raise her and her siblings on her own and that is the life she wants for her children as well (she has another child from another Father as well.)  My husband simply told her that will never happen, ended the phone call, spent about six months without seeing his child (she revoked their verbal agreement of visitation) and we filed for custody in court (that is for another blog…)

I have learned much more about this fantasy Bio-Mom has over my years of knowing her and putting up with her.  Bio-Mom works a minimum wage job with part time hours.  She never graduated high school and has no degree.  She brags on social media about having an EBT card and other benefits from the state.  She made sure with each of her children that it was in the court orders that she be able to claim her children at tax time every single year.  Bio-Mom was taught by her own Mother how to work the system.  She is able to work part-time, making less then $10 an hour because her benefits from the state, child support, and tax returns make up the difference.  She probably makes more then I do by the time you add it all up.  It frustrates me to no end that this is a cycle she is continuing.  It frustrates me even more that she actually speaks this into existence as the life she wants to live.  She has a daughter from another father (not my husband’s child) and it breaks my heart that this cycle is going to be carried on again.  She works the system, uses and abuses the men who get her pregnant, and hurts her children in the mean time.

What kind of sick parent lives with a fantasy of being a single parent?  Why would you want to rid your child of someone they love to satisfy your own selfish desires?  I think many Bio-Moms believe when their children are small that whatever they do will not affect them when they get older. As long as the damage is done when they are small, they can be trained to be the way Bio-Mom dreamed when they get older.  This is far from the truth with my stepson.  We had to fight for months and months to get court-ordered custody and visitation of my stepson.  We still to this day have to correct things he comes to us asking about that his Mom tells him.  Her selfishness affects more then just my husband and I.  She does not, and never will realize the damage it does to my stepson.  So many people have told me “wait until he gets older and can decide for himself.”  While that does give me hope that someday my stepson will learn the truth on his own, it also worries me of what kind of effects it will have on him later in life.

While I feel less and less alone every time I hit “publish” on a blog post and get a world of support and encouragement in return, I wish I got that same support and encouragement more in “real life.”  So many of my stepmom journey and the drama that my stepson’s Mother brings to the table is hard to talk to my friends and family about.  It is hard to hear the opinion of someone who has never walked in the shoes I am in (and somehow everyone has an opinion.)  I also worry people might think I am crazy for still sticking around after the headaches Bio-Mom causes our family.  If they knew half of what she does, and the fact that I put up with, they might want to place me on a 5150 hold just to make sure I am sane (LOL!)

Have any of you dealt with a Bio-Mom who dreams of being a single mom?  Has your husband ever been asked to voluntarily leave his child’s life?  I would love to know your story and how you and your husband dealt with it.  Please feel free to leave me a comment.  And as always, Please click “Follow” and thank you for supporting my journey!

A Stepmom’s Road to Rio

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Many people around the globe are looking forward to the 2016 Summer Olympics this year in Rio.  I always watched the Olympics growing up.  I loved the sport of gymnastics.  I always felt it was such a graceful, powerful, and daring sport. Recently, through the amazing community, I met another stepmom who loved gymnastics and was looking forward to the summer Olympics as well.  In fact, she is currently on her “Road to Rio.”  And by “Road to Rio,” she has not booked her summer vacation.  This stepmom is chasing her dreams in the hopes of actually making it to compete in this year’s Olympic games.

Houry Gebeshian is an elite gymnast, physician assistant, coach, and stepmom.  She is aiming to make history by becoming the first female gymnast to compete at the Olympics for the Republic of Armenia. Born and raised just outside of Boston, Massachusetts, Houry’s parents divorced when she was just six years old.  She and her older sister lived with their Mother.  The family moved often, which made the gym she grew up in feel like more of a home than any house she ever lived in.

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Like many divorced families, Houry’s parents did not (and still do not, she mentions) get along.  “I remember a lot of hate and pain growing up.  However, looking back, I know that those experiences help me now as an adult.  I have a firsthand experience of what it is like to be a child of divorced parents that couldn’t get along – even for their kids,” Houry remembers.  She speaks of how the negative experiences of her childhood have helped her in working with her blended family to ensure that her stepson never has to feel the way she felt.

Houry began gymnastics at the age of five.  “I think every little gymnast has a very similar story about being an active child.  My Mother loves to tell the story of how I used to somehow wiggle myself out of my car seat,” recalls Houry.  At the time, the family lived near the Massachusetts Gymnastics Center, (which became her home gym) and she began taking gymnastics classes.  The coaches soon recognized her talent and picked her to join the competitive team.  When Houry began competing in gymnastics, the gym became her home away from home.

Growing up, I learned that you have to earn everything that you want.  Things are not just given to you.” – Houry Gebeshian

When Houry was in High School, her Father told her that gymnastics was becoming too expensive and that he was no longer going to pay for it anymore.  Her Mother also could not afford to pay for it, so she began coaching.  She would coach 20 hours per week, while also training 20 hours per week.  When she says the gym became home, it really did.  She was spending more time in the gym then she was at home.

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What Houry didn’t realize at the time, was that her hard work in the gym and the sacrifices she made, it was preparing her for her adult life.  Houry currently works as a full time physician’s assistant for the Cleveland Clinic in the Department of Surgery on the Labor and Delivery Floor.  On top of working full time as a PA, she is also training (and coaching) for the 2016 Summer Olympics.  “Unfortunately, the Armenian Gymnastics Federation is terribly underfunded and cannot support a women’s team.  This is why I coach and fund myself,” explains Houry.

Her career in gymnastics has been very successful.  In High School, she earned multiple State Championships, Regional Championships, and made National Championship appearances.  In 2007, she was recruited to compete for the University of Iowa.  “My greatest athletic accomplishment in college was becoming the 2010 Big Ten Champion on the balance beam,” Houry says proudly.  Following her collegiate career, she made her first attempt at the Olympics by attempting to qualify for the Summer 2012 games.  Sadly, due to an injury, she missed making the games by one spot.  It was then that she quit gymnastics to pursue her career in medicine, although did not stay away for long.

Her boyfriend at the time (who is now her fiance) was the one who encouraged her to pursue her dreams in gymnastics again.  After taking a three year break, she decided to give it another shot.  Returning to the sport at 25, she is considered an “old lady” (her words, not mine!) in gymnastics.  She speaks of how most girls “peak” around the age of 16 in the sport.  She is having to compete against girls a decade younger.

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In her first competition back after her three year break, she qualified into the finals of the 2015 European Championships.  Last fall, at the 2015 World Championships, she qualified for the Olympic Test Event, which will be held in Brazil next month.  The test event serves as the final qualification round for the Summer Olympic Games.

So, here I am, one competition away from walking out at the opening ceremony of the Olympics.”  – Houry Gebeshian

While her gymnastics accomplishments are something she is (and should be) very proud of, Houry also has another rewarding role in life – “STEPMOM.”  While her husband is not quite her husband yet (she and fiance, Duane have put the wedding off until 2017 due to the Olympics), they are committed to each other in every way.  Houry and Duane believe that although they are not legally married yet, it does not change anything in terms of how they view themselves as a family.

Houry remembers the story of how she and Duane met as being very surreal.  Growing up, her idol in the sport of gymnastics was Dominique Moceanu.  At the World Gymnastics Championships in 2011 (the year of her injury), she was lucky enough to meet both Dominque and her husband.  Dominique’s husband is a physician and offered that she spend a month learning from him at his practice, as she was going to be attending physician assistant school the next year.  She took him up on the offer and rotated at his practice as a student.  One of the residents at the time was Duane.  Duane was in charge of teaching Houry everything she needed to learn in that month.  Throughout her time at the practice, things remained professional, but after she left they decided to stay in touch.  With Houry living in Winston-Salem, NC at the time and Duane living in Cleveland, OH, they engaged in a long distance relationship and saw each other once a month.

Duane has a 4-year old son.  His son lives 250 miles away with his Mother and Step Dad.  Due to the distance, Duane and Houry only get to see Duane’s son on an every-other-weekend basis.  “The most challenging and stressful part of my life isn’t my career, my athletic dreams, being my own coach, or finding the funds to pay for all of my expenses associated with getting to the Olympics.  It is trying to work with Duane’s ex-wife to create a cohesive, coexisting family that supports our 4-year old tells Houry, honestly.  Life many other stepmoms, Houry’s stepson’s Mother is not very accepting of her.  While she tries hard to always be respectful and build her up emotionally, everything still seems to be a struggle in their situation.  Houry talks about how her stepson’s Mother turns things negative, when all she is trying to do, like all of us stepmoms try to do, is be involved in our step children’s lives.

A child from divorce, Houry knows what it is like to have two parents that hate each other. She is trying hard in her own blended family to break down that barrier and have everyone be mature in the situation and more importantly, be loving parents to her stepson that deserves the love all four of his parents can offer.  After all, a child can never have too many people that love them.  Although things are not always easy, Houry is an advocate for her family and is dedicated toward working toward healthier relationships within their blended family.

With one more competition to go – The Olympic Test Event in April, which will tell whether she has earned a spot in the Olympic Games in Rio this summer, Houry stays “chugging along” – training, working, traveling, playing, and promoting her journey.

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Follow Houry on her journey to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio:

Facebook: Houry Gebeshian Armenian Gymnast

YouTube: Houry Gebeshian

Instagram: @HouryGebeshian

Twitter: @HouryGebeshian

Houry is funding herself on this incredible journey.  Stepmoms supporting stepmoms is a community that gives strength, hope and support to one another.  If you are interested in donating to help fund her journey to the Olympics, please visit: Hooting for Houry

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Spring Break Staycation

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Spring Break is creeping up on us. Can you believe it?  This school year for my stepson seems to be just flying by.  I am sure many of you feel the same.  With spring break coming up, I thought I would share some fun “Staycation” ideas with you.  You don’t have to jet off to somewhere tropical (although that would be nice) to do something fun with your kids.

I have gotten my stepson very excited this year for his “Staycation.”  He knows we are not traveling anywhere this year for Spring Break, but is excited that we have a plan for the week of exciting adventures.  Kids like to be busy.  They thrive when they are busy.  Planning fun activities daily (they don’t have to cost money) can keep your kids busy and active over the week’s break.

Here are some fun ideas for your “Staycation:

  • Have a picnic!  Kids love going to the park.  It is great for them to get some exercise and release some energy.  It is also nice for us mamas to get outside and enjoy some fresh air as well!  Pack some sandwiches, fruit, chips, and waters and you are on your way to a fun afternoon.  (Live somewhere cold?  You can create the same idea in the comfort of your living room.  Put down a blanket in the living room, and have your picnic on the floor.  Playing games such as duck-duck-goose or Mother May I? are a lot of fun and can keep kids entertained!)
  • Go see some animals!  What kids don’t love animals?  Take your kids to your local zoo.  They will love getting out of the house looking at all of the animals.  The zoo can also provide an educational experience.  Talk to your kids while you are there.  Ask them what they have learned. ( Live somewhere cold?  Try the aquarium!  Most exhibits at an aquarium are indoors.)  Tip: Google the name of the zoo or aquarium + discounts to check for any money saving offers before you leave!
  • Trampoline Parks!  I understand some have mixed emotions about these trampoline parks.  There is a risk of injury.  But there is also a risk of injury having your child ride their bike around the neighborhood.  We can’t keep our kids in a bubble.  My stepson has a blast at our local trampoline park and it is the best exercise.  He is always wiped out after we take him.  Check on the trampoline park’s website.  They will often offer coupons to print, or a discount by paying online before you arrive.
  • Bowling!  My family loves bowling!  It is always such a fun outing.  We usually order a pizza at the bowling alley, make it a fun competition, and have fun dancing to the fun music the bowling alley by us plays.  As long as you keep the competition friendly, kids of all ages will love bowling.  And the best part about bowling, is that it does take some time.  Bowling can get you and the kids out of the house and having fun for a good two to three hours if not more.  The bowling alley by us advertises at the local grocery store.  We often times find coupons on the back of our receipt.
  • Try a Free Class!  Many fun activities that kids will love will offer your first class for free.  Call your local dance studio, gymnastics gym, karate gym, or ice skating rink to see if they offer a class for free.  If anything, you will keep your child active for an hour or so.  And who knows.  They may find their new favorite activity!
  • Hike!  I am a huge advocate on getting outdoors and exploring where we live.  Not that I am the world’s best hiker (far from it), but I do enjoy getting my family outside.  We live in California and still have so much to see in this large state.  The more we see, the more we fall in love.  Just this past year, we have explored Joshua Tree, Vasquez Rocks, Crystal Cove, Eaton Canyon, upon many others.  My stepson loves when we go places that have rocks to climb on, streams to skip, and trees to climb.  Fall in love with the outdoors!  (Be sure to google the hike before you go.  You want to make sure that the trail you pick, you are confident your kids can do it.  It is no fun being on a trail with a child demanding to be held.  Also, be sure to pack plenty of water, bring jackets even if it is warm, and snacks.  It is always better to be prepared then sorry.)
  • Library!  If your kids love reading, the library will be their best friend!  My stepson is a great reader.  I remember when we took him to the library and got his first library card.  He was so proud.  He loves when we take him to the library to check out books.  There is something about a library book that will make them read faster then any book at home.  Maybe it is knowing that you eventually have to return it, therefore you can check out more?  Who knows.  But the library is a lot of fun and keeps their minds working over the break.  Our library also offers classes, movies, and readings.  Check your local library’s website to see if they offer any special classes too.

 

What are your plans for spring break?  Do you have any other fun staycation ideas?  Please share in the comments, I would love to hear.

**Don’t forget to follow!**

 

Mom, Stepmom… What is the Big Difference?

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Have you ever wondered the difference between a Mom and Stepmom?

Let me break it down:

MOM

Cooks

Cleans

Helps with Homework

Carpools to School

Organizes Life

Shoulder to Lean On

Encourages

Worries

Attends Games and Performances

Supports her Child’s Dreams and Goals

Puts her Children Before Herself

Loves her Children More then the World

Gave Birth to Her Children

STEPMOM

Cooks

Cleans

Helps with Homework

Carpools to School

Organizes Life

Shoulder to Lean On

Encourages

Worries

Attends Games and Performances

Supports her Step-Child’s Dreams and Goals

Puts her Step-Children Before Herself

Loves her Step-Children More then the World

Did Not Give Birth to her Step-Children

Funny, right? A stepmom does EVERYTHING that a Mother does (and in my case, as well as many of you I have had the opportunity to speak to, actually pick up the slack where the Mother drops the ball) besides the physical act of actually giving birth to the child they are raising.  As step-mothers, we do these things whether the Mother does or not.  It is out of love for our step-children and husbands.  We take pride in raising our families.

Am I the only one who gets frustrated at the lack of recognition?  Not that I do any of these things for credit, thanks, or recognition.  But when what I get in return is the OPPOSITE of recognition, and instead turns into blame and criticism, it is hard not to want to just cry and wonder what you ever did to deserve such disrespect.  All we have done is fall in love with someone who has children, and in turn have fallen in love with the little extensions of the man we love.  Why are we at fault for that?

I try to focus on staying positive and the fact that I under NO CIRCUMSTANCE require the approval of my stepson’s mother.  The only approval I seek is that of my husband, which he gives me often.  It is hard though at times.  I sometimes wish and pray that one morning my stepson’s mother will wake up and realize all of the good things I do and will appreciate and embrace me in his life.  I do however realize that the chances of this happening are slim to none.  So, focusing on my own life and those that do appreciate and love me, allow me to push this to the side and focus on what is really important – Family.

Do you ever feel the same way? Do you ever find yourself seeking the approval of Bio-Mom and wondering why you even care?  How do you cope with it?

Please share your comments and don’t forget to follow the blog.

5 Misconceptions About Stepmoms

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Don’t judge a book by it’s cover, and don’t judge a situation unless you have walked in those same shoes.  Those are two phrases we hear often.  Being a stepparent is hard.  We are not the biological parent, but are still very much so, still a parent.  Many who have never been in our shoes often have confused ideas of who we are, what we are here for, and why we are here.

I think the number one person in most blended family situations that is the most confused about us is the bio-parent.  They are often defensive and unwelcoming of another parent entering not only their children’s lives, but also theirs.  I have come to realize over the years, that while I know my stepson will be in my life forever, so will his mother.  So, for you, bio-mom.  Here are 5 ideas of me that you have in your mind that are far from true.

  1. “You are trying to take my role as Mom!”

I most definitely am not trying to take over your role.  You will always be Mom.  You grew him inside of your tummy, birthed him, and have spent the 50% of his life with him that he is not with his Father and I.  But I am “Stepmom.”  When I married your ex and became a wife, I also became a stepmom.  I take that role very serious.  I think about him and care about him whether he is in our home or not.  But when he is in our home, I do provide a motherly role to him.  I make sure he is fed healthy and nutritious meals.  I make sure he has a clean bed to sleep in and clean clothes to wear.  I schedule appointments for his health.  I help him with his homework.  I teach him manners and responsibility.  I am not saying that his Father does none of this.  We are a team in our home.  We share responsibilities.  But, I guess what I am trying to say is. When your son is in my home, he is loved, nurtured, and well taken care of.  Focus more on that and less on the competition.  I am trying to compete with no one.  I am happy in my role.  You should be too!

2. “Why does he like you better?”

Wrong.  He does not like me better.  He also does not like you better.  Why do you always have this idea in your mind that a child needs to choose who he likes better?  I am sure there are times he doesn’t like either of us.  That is part of parenting.  I am sure he isn’t happy with me when I have to take away video game time because he doesn’t do his homework.  And you know as well that he isn’t happy with you when he has to go to bed early because he talked back.  Parenting and discipline goes on in both homes.  As it should.  Once again, it comes down to the issue of competition.  I am in competition with no one.  We both love a child that in return also loves us both.

3. “Stop overstepping your boundaries!”

One of your all time favorite phrases is to let me know that I am overstepping my boundaries.  Then, I guess I should respectfully say, I can only be seen as “overstepping” is there is room to do so.  While I do not mean this to say that you are a bad mother, I do think that parenting is a huge job and that there is always room for help.  Also, let me remind you that he is only with you 50% of the time.  So, the other 50% of the time that he is with his Father and I, do you really expect me not to jump in and be a parent with my husband?  If I help with his homework, it is to benefit him.  If I check his planner, it is because I am supposed to (you would know this if you ever read his teacher’s notes.)  If I  make a doctors appointment, it is because he is sick.  Everything I do is in his best interest.  While I do realize that it must be hard to not have your child 100% of the time and to have someone else helping your child with these things, it does go both ways.  You seem to forget that my husband also only has his child 50% of the time.  And we both are supportive and happy that you have a stable man in your life who cares for him as a team with you while he is in your care.  Stop looking at it as overstepping boundaries.  It is just parenting and getting things done.  One day, I hope you can see that we are ALL a team.

4.“You took my life!”

Wrong again.  While I respect you as my stepson’s mother, I definitely do not aspire to be you.  Do we have some things in common?  Clearly, or I would not be the stepmother of your son.  We both have been in love with the same man.  We both love the same child.  But, I have not “taken over” the life you once lived.  I didn’t even know my husband when you two decided to end your relationship.  How can I in any way, shape, or form be the reason you do not have the life you always wanted?  Stop blaming me just because I am an easy target.  Do my husband and I work hard and enjoy traveling and dining out often?  Yes.  But we also work hard.  You could enjoy the same things with your new love as well.  It just takes hard work.  So when you think “this could of been me” when you are sending text messages upset that we travel too much or spend money that could be yours, remember it is not yours.  You receive child support to support your son the 50% of the time he is with you.  If you desire to have extras or the nicer things in life, you too can work hard for them.  I realize you have some envy over the life my husband and I have spent years building.  But for the love of God, please stop painting a false picture in your mind that I “took over your life” when you know well that is not true.

5. “He Isn’t Yours!”

I know.  For the billionth time.  I know.  If you are still having a hard time with this over a decade after me joining your stepsons life, I believe you should probably talk to someone.  It is not healthy to be so stuck on something.  Life is too short not to be happy.  I try my hardest to be happy and not to let any of this get to me (although for many years I did.)  I know I did not give birth to the child that you did give birth to.  I know.  But can we all do your son a favor and stop treating him as a possession?  He is not anybodies.  He belongs to no one.  Is he the son of you and my husband?  Absolutely.  Is he the stepson to myself and your new love.  Yes.  But claiming that he belongs to one of us is actually a pretty vile way to speak of a child. He grew in your belly, you gave birth, and have loved him since day one.  Although he did not grow in my belly, he did grow in my heart when i met him over a decade ago after falling in love with his Daddy and made the choice to love and care for a child I did not give birth to.  I think the common ground is that love is involved.  We all love him.  But if we can please stop treating him as though he is a “thing” that would be most beneficial to the child you birthed.

As stepparents, we tend to really get ripped apart by every little thing we do.  It often seems as though nothing we do is ever enough.  And if it is, it was never our place to do it anyways.  Often with the Bio-Mom we are in a lose-lose situation.  Our stepchildren benefit from the love and care we provide them.  Regardless of the things she will say to you, always keep that in mind.  They need us, just as much as we need them.

What things do you wish you could correct the Bio-Mom in your life on?  Have you ever actually had a conversation regarding any of it?  I would love to hear what was said and how it was handled.  Please leave a comment!  Also, if you have anything you would like me to blog about, please leave it in the comments as well.

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A Few Thoughts on Valentine’s Day

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Valentine’s Day. Such a sensitive holiday. I feel like most people have strong feelings about the day, whether it be that they love and adore it or can’t stand it. The ones that always get me are the ones who say “I don’t need to celebrate Valentine’s Day, love should be shown year round.” Obviously! Valentine’s Day is just a day to show that love and make it extra special. There is nothing wrong with a day celebrating love.

As much as I love Valentine’s Day and the idea of my husband treating me to a special day, I also cannot stand leaving the house on this day. The days of getting dressed up to wait an hour or longer for a table are over. A perfect Valentine’s Day to me is spent at home with the one I love. This year did not disappoint! Cooking brunch and watching movies all morning with my husband was exactly what the idea of Valentine’s Day should be to me. No phone calls. No errands. No schedule. Just each other.

And Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be complete without nice gifts, right? I disagree. I love homemade. It doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Just meaningful. Knowing that someone put time, effort, thought, and love into their gift for you is more meaningful then anything else given to you will ever be. My husband’s creativity and thought blew me away this year. Spending my 11th Valentine’s Day with this man makes me feel so blessed to have each others love and dedication.

If every Valentine’s Day in my future could be just like the one this year, I would be a very happy woman. I really cherish the times my husband and I get to ourself without anywhere else to be and can really be in the moment and enjoy each other. Between both of us working full time and my stepson’s every growing busy schedule, quality time spent together doesn’t happen as much as we would like. I do t take for granted a single second we do get.

How was your Valentine’s Day? Do you have thoughts about the holiday one way or another? I would love to hear in the comments!