There was a time in my early 20’s that I felt strongly about having children. I felt sincere enough about it that I used it as an excuse to leave a (shitty) boyfriend and move on with my life. Since that time, I never felt that maternal “pull” again. I even connected with my now ex-husband on a dating website because both of us were living a childfree lifestyle.
Well, the marriage didn’t work and we went our separate ways. As we were ironing out the details of our divorce, I fell in love with my best friend. The funny part is that she was also married, has two kids of her own, and considered herself “straight”, while I always considered myself walking the line in between. A lot of things happened during those first few months of 2017 that, looking back now, I wonder how the hell I managed to pull through all of it. I even assisted in the handling of my now fiancée’s divorce simultaneously with my own ~ legally and emotionally.
Fast forward to going on 2 years later and we own a home together in Niskayuna. Said home housing not only us, but the two children, a dog, a cat, and two birds.
Everyone in my life, including me sometimes, be like:
Kids, man. I never thought I’d have them. I have my days where I think it’s wonderful being a stepmom, but that’s usually when I’m alone, reflecting on my life. Sometimes it’s tough to feel like I’m cut out for it when they’re bickering with each other, leaving their belongings everywhere, and not listening.
I don’t talk to too many people about my experience with parenting for a few reasons:
(1) I don’t want to sound like I am ungrateful or that I don’t love my step-children; I do.
(2) I talk to my partner about my thoughts, feelings, and concerns. I mean, she’s their parent and we are a team. I look to her for guidance because she’s been doing this longer than me.
(3) I HATE it when I do say something and someone smiles at me condescendingly, telling me that “it’s worth it”. Unhelpful. Don’t regurgitate the shit you tell yourself when you’re in your wine glass every night, KAREN. It’s okay to acknowledge that parenting is tough ~ can we just admit we’re all just trying our best and joke about it? Why can’t we all just admit that kids can be total assholes and that doesn’t mean we love them any less? Now, Karen, pass the wine. It’s been a day.
At home, we have a wall-scribbler. Maybe you have one, too. Ours is 6 and I don’t know the developmental milestones of children but I think 6 is a bit too old to still be doing that. If you ask him why he did it, he just looks at you with a blank stare and an “I don’t know.” The blank stare is him waiting for you to flip the fuck out because he knows he shouldn’t be doing it…yet, he can’t seem to control his impulses.
Every day I admit to myself that I have no idea what I’m doing besides my best (this goes for pretty much every aspect of my life). I’m sure I’m making all sorts of mistakes but, again, I’m trying. The one thing I do know I’m good at is consistency, accountability, and organization. So, the punishment for coloring on the wall (mind you, we had a talk with him last week about coloring on his bedroom wall – this was a new wall since then) is no iPad the rest of the week. He didn’t seem to care too much at the time, but oh boy. When he got home from school…
Drama! High drama! (I mean, I was at work at the time, but apparently there were a lot of tears…)
But hey, he has to know that his actions have consequences. I don’t think that 6 years old is too young to begin to understand this concept. He has other toys; he’s free to play with anything non-electronic that he wishes to, except there’s a problem: He doesn’t like his other toys. None of them.
Nope, he’s not. I think it’s a generational thing – kids his and his sister’s age (which is 9) are obsessed, completely driven, by electronics.
Before I gained two kidlets, I never really understood how parents would say they were constantly tired. I didn’t get why they had trouble committing to things – a fitness routine, dates, etc. I’ve learned differently now over the course of almost two years. Kids, man. It’s constant management and organization on top of whatever it is that you do for a full time job. It’s a lot of mental work. It leaves me like this most nights:
I can’t even imagine what it’s like to be a stay-at-home parent. I have a whole new outlook on the entire parenting thing. I feel like it’s making me a better person though. Weird, right?