Branching out the blog.

So it’s been awhile, right?  But I’ve been pondering what to do with this blog.  Although I still strongly identify with the single mamas, I have been successfully part of a blended family for about five years now.  I am a full-time stepmother of my stepson, as my husband has full physical custody and of course have full-custody of my girl.  Over the past five years, I have listened to others tell me how I need to write a book about blended families.  They have come to me with their problems and challenges and asked for advice.  Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been easy for me, but I think we’ve got a good handle on this whole dynamic and it’s taken a lot of research and compromising.  🙂  

So, are any of you interested in a blended family blog with tips, hints, stories and guest bloggers? Please comment and give me some of your super helpful feedback!  

Let’s see how far we’ve come…

I used to be all about drama.  I mean ALL about drama.

Any girl that went near my ex-husband was bait.  I didn’t want him, but I sure as hell did not want him to be with someone else.  I could…but he could not.  Selfish, yes.  Ridiculous, yes.  Irrational, yes.  Keep in mind, he was the reason our marriage ended-I was forced to make the choice I here to start reading our story.

Fast forward to the present day, I recently loaned his live-in girlfriend my set of Twilight books.  This is no small prize friends.  I love those books.  They might be the only fiction, non classic literature books I truly do love.  But she’s enjoying them.  And it opened up a door to us texting casually.  Both about my daughters love of Pandora charms and about some more personal issues going on in her life.  My daughter loves that we’re chatting a bit more.  I love that I know this person who is present in my daughters life, if only a little bit better.  And I’m starting to wonder what on earth this girl is doing with my ex-husband?  We’ve come a long way baby, when I start feeling bad for the girlfriend.

Her Dad.

BsDaddy is present in her life.  Physically.  Financially.  Not really emotionally and certainly not spiritually.  The first two being the least important of the four in my eyes.  But not necessarily in hers.  Not yet anyway.  I make sure she knows that although he isn’t buying her material items as often as Mommy does, he is giving money to Mommy which allows me that extra spending ability.  And for her to be in expensive sports and activities.  She knows we both contribute financially to her lifestyle.  And she’s grateful.  Yes, even at nine.  That’s just how my girl rolls.

So, although he isn’t what I want him to be in her life-he’s there.  It seems to be enough for her-for now.  And I’m not going to rock that boat.

Although he could have been a bit more excited about her choice yesterday to do this to her hair:

And, as I keep reiterating to NewHusband, we can’t control what goes on in the other parent’s household.  Just like we wouldn’t love if they tried telling US what to do.  (But that’s hard advice to swallow when B tells me she tried to call me Friday night because she couldn’t sleep and she was alone downstairs at Daddy’s house and she worked herself into such a frenzy she had to go be sick in the bathroom.  And I didn’t get the call because I was on the lake where service is in and out, and she didn’t leave a message.  Although now, she knows to next time-TEXT your momma silly girly!).

This is much easier now that she’s nine and understands things better, than it was when she was three.  I used to cry my eyes out when she left for her Daddy’s. 

This post reminds me of that quote:  “Just because someone doesn’t love you like you want them to, doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have”.  So maybe, he’s loving her the best he can.

Another single mama!

So I have single mom radar.  When I ws ready to sell the house that I had with BsDaddy and kept for three years post-separation, I bought a house in the nearby “city”.  Then after a while, I found NewHusband and we eventually decided to move in together, and get married.  I got a realtor who was proven to be the best in the area, with a track record miles long and top sales awards to boot.  Well, she was a single mom!  We bonded over the transaction, and now I count her as a friend.  

Today, I had a meeting with a lawyer for the “fact-finding” court date, where child support is evaluated.  I’d like to get it all done automatically, as I had never done this (trying to be nice to the ex, always my downfall).  I’ve heard this lady plays hardball and I was tired of trying to defend myself when BsDaddy always gets an attorney and I never do.  We get chatting and lo and behold, she’s a formerly single mommy too!  Of 4!  Now happily married to a man she enjoys spending time with and her kids all turned out well, graduated college, all working towards second degrees.  She was an inspiration!  Even was apparently as strict (yet loving) as I am with B!  She’s excellent.  And although I walked in prepared to pay a retainer, she gave me the un-glossed over truth.  I didn’t need to bring a lawyer in to this fact finding meeting with the support magistrate.  She also told me who the magistrate was, the type of guy he was and exactly what I should do and say.  And then she said, if it starts to go south, just say you want an adjournment until your lawyer can be present.  But she really thought it wouldn’t.  So that’s good.  She said she could take my $1500 to do this, but I could definitely do a good job on my own.  So I’m going to try that first.  

When I came to work and mentioned how great it was to connect with these single moms, this co-worker who is the second wife of a man she has two kids with, and two stepkids that are his biological girls, said “it is it’s own culture isn’t it?”, in a semi-scathing way.  Yeah, my claws are out.  It’s a culture because of women like her who refuse to believe that we got here through anyone’s fault but our own.  I wasn’t a miserable wife, I wasn’t a nagging wife, I was honest and truthful, kept a clean house and even my ex will tell you I was an excellent wife.  He cheated through no fault of mine.  He’s just a liar and a cheat.  That’s something no one can change for him.  And I left because I want my daughter to be a powerful, independent thinker who does not rely on men (or anyone else) to make her happy or make her who she needs to be.  I would not have been true to myself, if I had stayed with a man I could not trust.  I want her to have conviction and to stand up for herself and what she believes in.  I believe in monogamy.  So I stood up.  And left.  If people have a problem with that, they can keep putting the blinders on to what their husbands are doing.  If that makes them happy, then so be it.  It didn’t work for me.  I know lots of marriages where the wives turn a blind eye to that behavior.  That wasn’t me.  And I’m not bitter or depressed or even angry.  I just knew I deserved better.  I deserved MORE.  So when I meet another single mom (or single dad) who feels the way I do and parents the way I do-well yes I do connect with them on a different level.  And if you want to refer to that as our “culture”-well so be it.

Where I most love to be…

Besides just about anywhere with my girl-is on this lake. And rowing Sullivan off to the shore so he can do his business, getting this view on the way back: And especially when he wears the lifejacket he hates so much, yet looks so cute in (you can carry him like a purse!  It’s a riot!): Doesn’t he look mad at me? But do I ever miss this little girl…she’s on vacation with her Daddy.  She just called me at work…and all I do is cry the whole time she’s gone.  I seriously need to deal with this better.  How will I ever handle college? She’s my favorite person to be with and the most enjoyable person I know.  Yikes…maybe I should have married HER!  

What message am I sending?

I feel confused lately.  I try to teach my daughter that she’s perfect and beautiful just as she is.  Every day of her life, she has heard “You are a beautiful, amazing, creative girl, and your mommy loves you very much” (followed by three kisses and a huge hug and a sniff of her glorious scent and there you have B’s bedtime ritual-in a nutshell).  Yet, I took this beautiful child:

(at three years old)

(taking a photo of herself last Saturday-this is what happens when you let her take photos at a family event such as my Dad’s birthday)

About half an hour before going to the orthodontist on Monday.  Age 8.

And outside the orthodontists office, with palate expander and braces…headgear only for night.

My point is, every night, I have to turn the key on this thing:

(not hers, just a sample photo of the one similar to what she has)

…and I feel that I’m putting her through this pain and drama all so she can have “perfect” teeth.  Am I sending the girl mixed messages or what?  The orthodontist had me convinced that it was legitimate and would be better than doing it later in life.  And B actually wanted braces, so that was ok.  She likes the actual braces (and since the most common question is “what color did she get?”, I will answer that one now, she got pink, orange, dark purple and light purple).  The headgear is a pain at night, but she sleeps fine with it, so maybe it’s not as bad as I thought it would be.  And supposedly the headgear is only for about 6 months with the palate expander.  Braces are about a year for this first phase.  Later on she could need another phase, but it will be shorter than the traditional teenage years.  

I adore this child.  I wish I didn’t have to sit here at work and worry so much that she might be in pain.  But hey, last night she ate mac and cheese and a few small bites of pizza and a yogurt!!!  And not all that much got stuck in the expander!

She’s going on vacation with her Dad and family this weekend for a week about eleven hours away and I’m so sad.  I’ll miss my girl.  Every other weekend, both kids are at their other parents and we plan all the stuff we need to get out of the way for those times.  Her Dad told her last night that he could “let her stay with Mommy” on Friday night since she’d be gone.  Um, sure wish he’d asked me.  We had made appointments and plans for the whole weekend and how can I possibly say that to B?  She’ll always choose to be with me. The funny part is, he’s home that night.  And live in girlfriend will already be headed to the vacation house.  Hmmm, wonder why he wants to be “free” that night?  Could it be he’s still the same guy he was when  our marriage fell apart?  The zebra can’t change his stripes and all that. The sad part?  B was so excited to possibly get to spend the night alone with him.  She wanted him to lay with her while she fell asleep and talk.  😦  Jerk.  My husband said, “she can come with us.  We’ll drop her off at the marina before we head to VT.”  And he’s right.  And I’m grateful he loves being around her as much as I do.  But it still makes me sad.  For my girl especially…we’ll see how it plays out.

During soccer practice…

This is what Mommy looks like!  I was supposed to be reading my current book, but hey sometimes you have to watch the practice, so you know what to help the munchkin out with later.  

This is our hectic week. The last week of May is always the culmination of a years worth of dance class, in the RECITAL.  It’s no fun for anyone but the dancers.  It’s in a piping hot auditorium, with lots of loud complaining people, none of whom want to watch anyone other than their own children.  I get it…I don’t really want to watch everyone else’s children.  Just mine and my girlfriends. But nevertheless, I’ll be there.  And guess what I’ll be missing-yes, the season finale of LOST.  Ugh.  Not good. 

I’ve got a question to ask my readers, which is where you come into play as my pseudo-counselors.  Remember how I mentioned that my ex-brother-in-law (whom I still like and who is good to B) bought a house just down the road in my development.  A little too close for comfort, even if you LIKE the ex-family member.  Nothing to do now but deal with it.  But it’s rather irritating to see them move in, and completely tear apart the house they just bought, like it’s not worth anything as is.  It’s like HGTV just came into our development and is ripping out every last shred of the house that was once there.  Why not just bulldoze it?  We aren’t talking about a house that needed the overhaul either.  This is a really upscale area and was a nice home.  It could have been worked on during the course of living there.  However, they’ve got both sides of the family, parents, aunts, friends, doing slave labor from morning til night, looking like they’ve been put through the mill when they leave, to get it “ready” to move in.  Seriously, they even are painting spare bedrooms.  I know, I’m being irritable, but it’s just so not me to tear everything apart like that.  I’m wasteful environmentally sometimes, don’t get me wrong, but this just seems like a showy, extravagant…ummm, waste.  Ok, I’m done.  And just for the record, I do like the brother-in-law.  Why is this so annoying to me (and to several others in our development)?  

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