Tuesday, January 31, 2006

One Big Happy

I just wanted a picture of my "new" family of seven out here in bloggerland. My step-daughter Heather is behind me, so you can't really see her. Dave's step-son Jason is to his right, the tall one. I'm in the middle. My step-daughter Kathleen is on the far left. David and Angela are up front. I have a better picture.... somewhere! I am the forgetfulone!

Monday, January 23, 2006

lotsa drama

Oh, there's been lots of drama around our household the past 9 or 10 days. The one I spoke of in the previous post - she snuck out at 2 or 3AM to go see her "boyfriend" (and that's a saga in and of itself). He's a 90 minute drive from here. Well, the next morning, she had laryngitis. We thought it was just her cold that she's had for a week, the reason she'd already missed two days of school. Come to find out, it was from screaming and crying and fighting with this guy. Anyway, I'm still waiting to see what dear hubby does about it. So far, nothing. Even the school is doing more than we are. She has community service for missing too many classes in the morning. That's what happens when parents let their teens parent themselves. He always says, "I trust her." Well, that's all well and good, but as parents, I believe we have to check up on our kids and be in their business so they'll stay out of trouble. He believes he laid the foundation and has to let go now, but he let go long ago.

Oh well. Enough whining and complaining. It's not as if that was the only drama this last week, either. We've had several arguments about parenting, money, the noise level in the house, as well as my being taken for granted around here. What? Do they think their clothes magically appear in their closets and drawers? This isn't Lucky Charms! I work hard! And I do more than laundry. Who cleans, cooks, takes stuff to school when the kids forget it, runs errands, grocery shops, keeps everyone on track going to the right places at the right times, helps with homework, makes the phone calls, pays the bills, and so on and so on? Me! I just want to be appreciated for what I do. Just because I'm only working part time, not full time, that shouldn't make me less valuable than anyone else. If I had to work full time, who would do all the things I do now? I'll answer that. No one! They'd be curled up in the fetal position wondering what was going on if I didn't do those things. Moms are under-appreciated.

We've been discussing ministry and service through our church and life groups the last few weeks, but I don't think it's supposed to mean just my service to my family!

I went to a class at church last weekend, and when the preacher talks about his wife, it's just the best example of love I have ever seen in my life. (They're about our age with kids the ages of our kids.) If my dear hubby loved me like that! I guess I've just felt depressed lately, and I'm not really sure why. Not lovin my life as much right now. Maybe it's a phase. Growing pains. The moon. Whatever it is, it's dampened my spirit.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Blended Families

This step-mom thing isn't easy. I imagine it's easier in some ways than if they were little kids, and I imagine the reverse is true, that it is easier for me since some of ours are older, but regardless of the age of the kids, "it ain't easy." Being careful not to overstep your boundaries is tricky. Mostly, though, I'm just resigned because there are some things that aren't going to change. Either the kids are just so ingrained in a certain way, or the spouse won't let things change, or would let things change but won't make the effort, as if I can make everything happen on my own.

Okay. None of this is making sense to anyone else! My point is it's hard to draw the line between being a loving step-mom and doing what you know is right and saying so. I have great step-kids, but there is one, in particular, who is treated as an adult though she's never lived on her own (of course not! she's not even 17 yet), never held a job (Nope, not even part time), has "her own" car, and basically tells us where she's going rather than asking. Luckily, this girl makes fairly good decisions.

But she has so much freedom, and very few boundaries. And her dad won't hassle her about anything whether it's homework (waiting till the last day of a two week project to start working on it), talking on the phone at 2AM, or not calling when she's not coming straight home from school. She makes good grades, and to him, that's all that matters since she's not a hoodlum out on the street making trouble. She's basically a good kid. But who's the adult? Apparently, she is as much one as he and I are. No, I don't believe that, but that's how he treats her. She has a car, cell phone, cash when she needs it, lots of freedom to do as she pleases, someone to pay for her clothes, gas, and insurance, someone to cook for her, someone to do her laundry (which is going to stop now), and someone to bail her out if she gets in trouble and to lean on when she's sad. Her mom is not in the picture on a regular basis, but things have been a little better between them lately; however, her mom isn't in a position to instill discipline, values, work ethic, etc.

The daughter is a procrastinator like her dad, and I worry that she's going to procrastinate so much and not get into college. She has a year and a half left of high school, true. But still... I can't do it for her, but it will come back to bite me in the butt if she doesn't get it all together in time. I will be blamed. Oh, and when something happens, it's never her fault (read this with dripping sarcasm).

Don't get me wrong. I love her. I just don't like her walking all over her dad and just assuming that all will be taken care of for her. I also don't like the example she sets for my other step-daughter and my two children. I guess a big part of my resentment, and I recognize it for what it is, is that I had to work all through high school while taking honors courses and dealing with family issues that were not normal. Her excuse for not having a job is the honors courses. It doesn't fly with me. But it does with dear hubby. I also had to ask permission to go places and report to my dad when he said to. I did my own laundry, made my own breakfast and lunch, went to school, worked, also did dance team, and so on, and she's not expected to do half what I had to do! And we are by no means rich.

We're all doing the best we can with what we have. I know I need to extend grace. She doesn't have the life experience to rely on that I have. But I wish her dad would quit treating her as if she did. This is more about him than her, I guess.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading my blog. Feel free to respond! Oh, and as I said in my profile, I'm still lovin' life!


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