Rai and Ashton
Yesterday was rough. Actually to be really honest yesterday wasn’t rough it was freaking hard. My sweet Ashton was not himself. It was a day of constant whining and crying. I’d pick him up and he would cry, I’d put him down and he would cry. I’d cook food, he’d cry, put the food away and you guessed it he’d cry. I put teething oil on his gums it hopes that maybe he was fussy due to one of the many teeth he’s getting in but he still was upset. He’d have glimpses of normalcy but then something as simple as his bottle being empty or his sock still being on would send him over the edge. He took his morning nap with a fight and it wasn’t long by any means so I attempted a car ride because that usually cures both boys when they’re fussy and he instead cried the whole drive. By 4 pm I was done, I sat there crying while my baby tried to nurse but couldn’t due to the toddler pulling on him and me and I felt it bubbling up. I felt myself getting tingly with angry and I heard myself yell ‘Ashton stop crying or go to your room! I’ve had enough!’ of course Ashton being Ashton he went to his room and cried louder but I was still fuming so I tucked him into bed and in a grumpy voice told him to go to bed. It took all my energy to not slam the door behind me.
Then after I took a few deep breathes I looked on his monitor to see him cuddling his stuffed owl sound asleep. Immediately I felt guilty, ‘I should have tried harder to get him to nap again’ is the first thing I thought but the thing is I did try, I tried several times just like I tried all day to soothe him and am only human as my friend Lindsay pointed out. And I don’t know about you but the second a fellow mama tells me she’s been there or is there right next to you in the trenches of motherhood I feel a thousand times better. I realize some one will read this and think how horrible I am for yelling at my son and I’m sure I’ll get a few negative comments that I will happily delete because I’m not sharing this for you, I’m sharing this for the mom out there having a bad day just like I was. For the mom crying in her room while her kid(s) yell and cry at them or the mom circling their block for the tenth time praying for a nap. You are the reason I share my honest motherhood moments because I’m sure just like me you just need to hear you are not alone and that you are only human.
Okay I don’t know a lot of people who have NEVER taken a selfie before, the word selfie was the word of the year in 2013 so clearly a lot of people know about it and what it is. A selfie can be several different things; from ‘look at my new haircut’ to ‘#revengebody’…both I have been caught doing. I then went/tried doing a year doing no selfies but then snap chat became a thing and I ended up caving on my year long ban a little earlier than I’d like to admit. My point is I use to selfie then I had a baby and my selfies turned to mini baby photo shoots and close up of small toes and fingers. (Who doesn’t love that though?) Then the other day I was feeling cute which with a 4 month old is rare right now so I thought I’d take a photo of myself but as soon as the camera was in my face I went blank. I felt awkward, I started to think I was being vain because why would a mom take a selfie to post and share with others? Shouldn’t I be busy raising kids and cleaning the house but instead I’m taking a selfie?
When my child is in the photo with me these thoughts don’t run through my mind, neither does that thoughts of ‘my teeth are yellow’, ‘I look tired’, ‘why is my face so puffy?’, When I’m holding either of the kids for a photo I feel beautiful, I smile my biggest and most ridiculous smile possible but as soon as I put them down I forgot how to selfie. I don’t love myself any less without them there but I lose my shine, my sparkle. I think this is in part to me not knowing what type of person I am at this point and time. The pre-baby me is still here but now there is also this “mom” me and sometimes the two don’t see eye to eye. I read and heard numerous stories of moms who slowly moved out of the spot light of life as well as the camera and later regret that all their family photos don’t contain an image of them. So in an effort to make my future self happy (as well as my pre-baby self) I’m going to make sure I take lots of selfies with my kids, my significant other, friends and family as well as the occasional solo selfie because I deserve it too and when I’m old and wrinkly I know I will be happy to have these photos to show my great great great grandchildren how cool I use to be.
I’ll admit I never pictured myself as a stepmom. I come from a family where my parents are still together, happily married and in love. I’ve dated and even married someone of divorce parents. I have no feelings towards the matter, I just remember thinking how frustrating it must be never knowing where you belong. My Ex-husband struggled with this well into his early adult life. When we divorced we had no children, this made our process a little more quick and easy.
Then I met Eric, my forever partner in life, he too was from a divorced family and now his son is. Something I learned from previous relationships, my sister and her journey into being a stepmom and from friends who are stepmoms is never, EVER try to replace their mom. You simply can’t and shouldn’t. What you can do is be their number 3 person. It’s just as good as number 1 or 2, I promise.
If you are like me, and came into their world while they are young it’s very confusing for them. After he spends the weekend with us (which usually means me, due to Eric’s work schedule) he asks if I can move in with him or come over and play with him and his mom. (DO NOT make comments–no matter what you’re feelings are towards that parent. I know from personal experience how much kids pick up on this when it happens and how they begin to feel guilty for wanting to have everyone they love get along.) Remember this is the sweetest and most thoughtful thing that this innocent child can offer to you at this time in their life. He or she is wanting you to become a part of their world and be with the things they love.
Yes you can take care of them like they are your own and if you’re in a serious relationship with their parent you should. Don’t be the neglectful stepmom who makes them feel unwanted. If you are bringing a little brother or sister into their lives make sure they feel involved and understand they are not being replaced. Eric and I are bringing a little brother to him this April, something at first he did not understand but now he is excited about. (He has named him Gummi and asks us all the time if he can come out and play.)
The biggest thing is to answer their questions, their world has already been turned upside down. They are looking for support and a friend and that’s what the number 3 person can do. Listen to them, play with them, love and care for them and make sure they know they are wanted and a part of your life as well as their mom’s (or dad’s).
Any other lesson or tips from stepmoms or dads? How did you help make sure they felt like they were a part of your growing family?