Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The dreaded ulcer!

Yes...ulcer. I said it. It's what I have. It's what I never thought would happen. How did this happen? I'm 31 years old. A runner (not as much as of late though), a healthy person, a person who loves to laugh and have a good time. Until lately. Lately my whole life has been revolving around everyone else. The fiance, the kids, the BM, work, my friends divorce or financial problems, planning a wedding, renting out my house because we moved to a bigger house and closer to his kids...and the list goes on and on. It's easy all of them to to say, "I don't ask you to stress about this stuff." But I do...I worry about others...apparently more than myself.

Let me tell you what a wake up call this is for me. After a trip to the hospital for doubled over pain in the middle of the night, missed days at work, and skids and a fiance who don't understand "how I could be so stressed"...I finally realized that my health is not worth being compromised. I have to find a way to not be so stressed, and with an ulcer...alcohol is out of the question :(

I told the fiance today that I can't be the one responsible for managing the schedules, and worrying about food, and if the kids have clean clothes, and feeling uncomfortable in my own home. I need some help here reducing my stress levels. From a generally very understanding guy came this out of his mouth, "so, you're saying that it gives you stress to do the kids laundry and why would you not feel just as comfortable at home when the kids are here as when they aren't?" I just looked at his confused face and knew that he just won't ever understand it. I mean, he can walk out in his boxers to get a bottle of water from the fridge. I have to be in full blown clothes because if the kids see me in anything less (even a tank top and shorts) I have the 14 year old boy checking me our or the girl asking why I'm dressed that way. Listen...I'm not dressed to go to the prom every time I walk out of my room. I can wear my glasses, have my hair in a pony, and wear sweat pants. It's allowed. Also, while being sick did either of the kids offer to get anything for me or do anything? Um, no...more like, "that sucks..have fun at the doctor". Maybe I'm just too sensitive, but my friends who have their own biokids will tell me about how when they are sick the kids will make her a card or help with something or ask at least if she's ok or be like, "I love you mommy". I'm so jealous of that... is it so sad when I don't even feel comfortable to be sick in my own house? How do I explain to my fiance that going from being single to running some kind of 1/2 way house for 2 kids and having my life and plans uprooted by the BM at any given moment is stressful? He tells me that I've had 2 years to get used to this. When am I ever going to get used to this? What if I never do????

Everyone either tells me, "you have it really good...you only have the kids 1/2 the time...I have my biokids all the time. you at least get breaks...it's a perfect arrangement". Perfect my ass. I want to ask them if they would like to have someone else's kids in their house 1/2 the time, and the kicker is that the person that calls the shots on when they are there or what's going on is their worst enemy. Having kids in your house that you care about and like you, but don't love you like a parent is not sunshine and roses. And no one on the outside treats you like a parent either. It's not the same. It will never be the same. Case and point...people who act like a step-parent shouldn't be out of work because a stepkid is sick or has school activities.

Or...I hear this, "well, you know what you got yourself into. No wonder you have an ulcer, why do you do this to yourself. There are plenty of guys out there without kids, and if you can't handle it than get out now." News flash...I don't want those guys. I want this one. Baggage and all. Try to explain that to someone who has no clue and it's like I just yelled at them, "because I'm an IDIOT and I'm into self inflicted pain." They pretty much just roll their eyes and act like you are crazy.

So, here's my problem. How do I actually reduce the stress? I am the kind of person that is always running around taking care of everything, but I do make time for myself. I go to the spa with a friend, I read, I get alone time, but I think I need to get out more with other people. Since moving across town I never see my friends. Living an hour away isn't exactly something that makes people want to drive to see you, and my friends with little kids aren't exactly trying to hang out with me and the teenagers. Who can blame them.

I keep thinking if I make some new friends that are in the same situation with kids or stepkids around the same age it might be a good thing. But why does it seem so hard to make friends as an adult,and most parents with kids their age are in their early 40's. Do they want to hang out with me? I'm in a job where I'm around people all day every day, but it's not like I'm asking them, "hey...you got any pre-teens/teens you want to have a play date with?" Seriously...you can't get these kids to hang out with each other half the time anyway. It's all fine and good for these new moms and their mommy and me classes and all the crap that society has for them to intermingle with each other, but what about for us? What do we do when all of our friends sort of fall away because our lives are no longer similar? How many early 30's women are out there dating men with kids as old as my fiance? Because it has to be happening, and there has to be a place other than online. Don't get me wrong. I love my online friends. They are a great comfort to me, and there are days that I totally look forward to what people are writing and who I can relate to and talk to in cyber space. But in the physical world, instead of mommy and me classes they should at least have, "I'm not a mom, but have the responsibilities of one and here's my stepkid that could care less if they are here or not" classes and have iPods and video games hooked up for them and IVs of wine hooked up for us. Should I be looking for women at the grocery store who have kids their age and be like, "hey...real mom or stepmom?" Oh sorry...real mom...yeah, you aren't going to like listening to me complain about BM so we can't be friends.

If there are so many divorces and so many stepfamilies...WHERE IS EVERYONE?????

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Why the face?

I've noticed even more since getting engaged to the love of my life that people have different reactions when I tell them I'm getting married to someone with kids. Thought I'd share a few!

Notable reactions include the following:

1.) GASP! Sad/shocked/pity face. From most reactions you would think I just told them I have cancer and have 6 months to live... Being a step-parent is NOT a death sentence! Yes, it's stressful, and unorganized, and can drive you to a breaking point at times, but your life is not over. You aren't an idiot just because you fell in love with someone that has kids and an ex wife. Considering that more than 50% of marriages end in divorce...there are more step families out there than people realize.

2.) The "ready made family", or "insta-mom" comments. I hate when people say "oh, jumping into a ready made family" or "oh, insta-mom". If you are in the same boat you know it's hardly like that. First...you don't just jump into a ready made family. It's not like you are being adopted. It's like an on the job interview that never ends. You aren't really considered to be "part of the family" by this new "family" you just "jumped" into. The stepparent is always under fire, and left with no legal rights for protection. Insta-mom? How about insta-not-my-mom. It's the first thing everyone actually points out. Case and point...I'm pretty sure if I was having a baby, my family would be over the moon to visit and meet the baby...their grandchild. Step-grandkids? Totally different! 2 years later and they still haven't met the kids I will soon be calling my stepchildren. Even your own families don't see you as a "mom".

3.) The "you're a saint". I love these people. "oh wow, you are a better woman than me to take that on!" I don't know if sainthood is achieved by being a step-parent, but thanks for thinking that! I think that people who take in foster kids, or adopt older children, or save kids from dangerous situations are saints. People who dedicate their lives to taking in sick children or mentally ill children. Those are the real saints.

4.) The "I've been there" person. My personal favorite. Men and women who are step-parents. They have the best support, the best advice, and can have a really good laugh with you. I love my online stepchicks who always make me feel better if I've had a bad day/weekend, or helping a fellow stepchick you desperately needs to vent or get advice.

All in all, it's mixed reactions. Sometimes I wish that people would just be happy for me like I'm a young girl that met the love of her life that doesn't come with a few suitcases. 95% of the time I'm happy that I'm secure enough in myself and my decisions to know that no matter what baggage the love of my life has...he's SO worth it!!

Not the parent...

So, since my last blog things have been very busy, but pretty drama free now that we've moved closer to the kids. We see them a lot more, things are more "normal" in our house, and we spend so much less time in the car going back and forth...back and forth...

Let's go back to the previously mentioned "promotion ceremony". You know...the one where we all had to take a picture together like one big happy dysfunctional family? Since we were all in the picture we don't have a picture of our own of this memorable moment. So, I contacted the woman who took the pictures to ask her for a JPEG file of 2 of them. She was nice enough, but won't give me copies because I'm not a parent. Ok, I get that...protect the kids...blah blah blah, but seriously... I'M IN THE PICTURES. So, I can't even get a copy of a picture of myself? They are ok with posting them on a WORLDWIDE website that I can't cut and paste from, but I can't get a copy? The love of my life has to request them.

It made me wonder what other things I won't have access to, and will this change when I have the same last name as the boy and girl? Hmmmmm