At Peace

As I lay here next to my husband, listening to him breathe as he sleeps, I’m finally at peace. The last couple of months have been exhausting.

Back in April, I started a new job that I ended up hating. Well, it wasn’t the job itself, but was the culture in the office. I was surrounded by constant negativity and it was draining. The only good thing that came out of that place was meeting a woman who quickly became a very close friend. I ended up quitting with no notice, per the suggestions of a confidant. That made way for dialogues to open up about the culture and to hopefully make some lasting changes there. Thankfully, I start training at a new job tomorrow that I could see myself retiring from. I can’t wait!! The pay won’t be as good, but at least I’ll enjoy the position and the company.

Two weeks ago, my husband and I travelled a couple hours north. Why? Because I landed as a permanent resident of Canada! Everything went by fairly quick and was relatively painless. This past week I received my PR card in the mail, which will make travels easier. Though I had no concerns about our applications, I feel relieved. After almost 2 years of a long distance relationship, it’s comforting that I don’t have to ever be apart from my husband unless we are traveling by choice. Everything feels finalized and in order, like the puzzle pieces have fit together.

And finally, we had my stepchildren for almost two weeks straight for part of their summer break. It, for the most part, was amazing. But any time they saw or talked to their mother, the chaos reset and the kids spent that day (and sometimes part of the next) fighting with each other. I have no idea why it causes it, but I wish it wouldn’t happen or cause so much disruption. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to travel like we originally planned, but I feel like it was a blessing in disguise. The kids have otherwise been shuffled around from camp to camp, traveled, and have been extremely busy. They hadn’t really had time to just wind down and relax. So that’s exactly what we did outside of local family trips to the park and lake. We planned lots of fun things at home like board games, painting sessions, and did things as a family. We even did a theater night at home that they absolutely loved! My oldest stepson did not want to leave, which broke my heart. Every time he has to go, he grows more and more bitter about it. So many things with him remind me of myself when I was his age, navigating my own parent’s divorce. I don’t want that for him. It’ll lead to resentment when he’s older, and I truly don’t want that for his mother either. He’s a smart kid and even though he’s a few months shy of 8, he’s already figured so many things out about the dynamics of what’s going on. And I have no idea how to protect him from being bitter. I just try to do what my step mom did and just be loving and supportive. I listen. I think that’s the biggest thing… I listen.

I look forward to having the time to blog again. And I’m thankful for being able to feel like I can breathe again.

Super Dad

Y’all.

My head has been pounding most of the day. It’s been an exhausting weekend. I’m not sure if they’re feeling off or if something happened before they were dropped off to us, but the kids have been in a crabby and erratic mood most of the weekend. It’s abnormal. Like the twilight zone. Like night and day. It’s been rough.

Somehow my husband has been magically hanging in there keeping the household ship afloat whilst I’m trying to take a nap. It’s not working great because the youngest is still squealing, but at least it’s a giggly squealing now. He’s been in that phase recently where if he doesn’t get what he wants or isn’t picked up, he just starts screaming. According to the other two kids, their mother just gives into it and gives him what he wants to make him quiet down. I hope that isn’t the case, as I really don’t want him to grow up thinking if he throws a fit he will get what ever he wants.

Anywho back to Super Dad! I’m a bit of a control freak when it comes to our household. I do the meal planning, budgeting, scheduling and all that. He just sits back and enjoys the ride since he’s been the one who had to do all of that on his own for years. I needed a break today to ride out this headache before it turns into a full on migraine. I know I struggle with just doing things myself and not asking for help. But he’s gone above and beyond to do all the things I would normally do. And without a single complaint. He’s got board games and story time going, keeping everyone relatively occupied and happy….and without the use of screens! It’s been good for the kids to have one on one time with Dad too. He’s been able to pick up the ball that I usually roll and is keeping it going no differently than how I would.

And ya know. That’s something I feel like every couple should be able to do. Give and take. But it’s not always 50/50. Sometimes its gotta be 60/40, 80/20, hell sometimes even 98/2. Thanks for being my better half today my dear.

Super Dad to the rescue!!

Stepmother’s Day

I am a childless mom and motherless. That sentence is incredibly hard to share. My own mother was a pillar of physical and mental abuse when I was a child. My step mom meant the world to me even though I didn’t get to see her as often as I’d have liked as a child. And after a multitude of miscarriages, full time motherhood was not the in cards for me. My husband did, however, share three beautiful children with me. Though I did not bring them into this world, I would do almost anything to make them happy and safe. My love for them did not begin from the womb. My love for them began by choice from the heart. It doesn’t make me any less than a mom.

My oldest step son made me a card for mother’s day, but I don’t think he knew how to get it here to his dad’s house. I can’t fault him for it and I desperately wish things could be a little more civil. I wish he felt he could be more open with the relationship he has with me instead of feeling like he has to hide. But it is what it is. It breaks my heart that he curls up in our arms in tears every time he has to go back to his mom’s, begging to be able to stay a little longer. I just tell him that I know how he feels, that daddy and I love him, and that daddy works hard to try to be able to spend as much time with him as he can. I won’t lie, sometimes it’s hard not to tell him it’s because his mother won’t work with us on scheduling and that almost every request for extra time with the kids he has made has been denied. But we can’t. We must never place blame or speak poorly, no matter how true it may be.

Despite not being able to see the kids for mother’s day (which is fine,) they made a point to make sure that I knew I was loved and appreciated. They asked their dad if they could pick out a present and card for me. They picked everything out themselves and it was beautiful. I cried. A lot. It’s amazing how tiny little hands can cradle your entire world.

And I made sure to send my step mom a card and called her as well. Because she deserved it.

So to all the stepmom’s out there, I see you. I feel you. I understand you. And your kids may not understand right now the lengths you go to be the duct tape that keeps the family wheel moving smoothly, but I know. I feel that deep in my soul. Hang in there. It gets easier. ❤️

Happy stepmother’s day

Agnostic Acceptance

I’ve been out for a bit! I took some time to recover from my first experience with the Canadian health care system. In addition to recovering, I also started a new job and am learning the ropes.

Anywho! Last weekend, I got a text from a dear friend asking if I’d like to bring my step daughter over for a small religious ceremony. I was so honored. I don’t hide that some days I’m an agnostic and some days I’m an athiest, all depending on how I feel. Despite not having any beliefs of my own, I feel that it’s an honor to be thought of by others. Spirituality is a very intimate thing. Or well… It’s supposed to be. Merry Christmas? Happy Hanukkah? Happy Kwanza? Happy whatever? Great! Thanks for being thoughtful! I don’t understand why people get so irritated and intolerable.

So I wasn’t entirely sure of the holiday or significance. My friend said she just had some prayers honoring children, and she gives out gifts. It was her son, her friend and granddaughter, then my step daughter and I. We joined in her prayer room, was fed a bite, had red thread tied around our wrists, and the kids received some gifts. After, we had lunch, which consisted of Indian bread, chick peas, something that reminded me of cream of wheat, and tea. It was a lovely time. Turns out that the red thread is a tradition of Hindu to ward off bad things. I’d always wondered! The prayers themselves were beautiful. I have no idea what my friend was saying, but she said her prayers with compassion and conviction. You could feel the energy and warmth flowing throughout the room. Plus the prayer room was ornate and full of vibrant reds and yellows. It was truly a pleasure!

I don’t understand why people get in such a tizzy about religions that aren’t theirs. So long as someone isn’t harming others, why is it any of my business what you believe in? So long as I encourage those around me to be wholesome and good, why does it matter that I don’t believe in anything?

I wish people had more tolerance for other beliefs.

Marriage First

After my post about being the second wife, I feel the need to go a step further, step on more toes, and say even more. Apparently my thoughts are taboo and controversial to many folks. Good.

Here’s another controversy for you… Brace yourselves: You kids shouldn’t always come first. DUN DUN DUN!!! Now before you go on a witch hunt and throw me to the wolves, hear me out.

First and foremost, I’d like to let it be known that if you were to ever attempt to harm my step children, I will spend the rest of my life in prison, no questions asked. My husband and I would make it work. They mean that much to me. However, they are not always #1 in our lives – we are. Does that mean we neglect them in any way, shape, or form? Absolutely not. What does that mean then?

It means we have no problem asking them to color or have some quiet time so that we can unwind a little and have a moment to ourselves. It means that we don’t hide our affections. We hold hands in front of them. We dance in the living room together in front of them. We occasionally kiss in front of them. We make date plans with each other that don’t include them in front of them. We work together as a team in front of them. Why? Because they need a strong example of a good relationship, an example of a good marriage. They need to see that it takes work, love, appreciation, and communication to make relationships work. Furthermore, they’re collateral damage of divorce….they need to see something other than the negativity and strain that they’ve experienced and seen between their biological parents. They need to have hope.

So date your spouses. Put your marriages first. Because in order to be a great parent, you need to have a great foundation. (And if you’re a single parent…. Take care of yourself. Put yourself first time to time. Burnout is a thing and kids need to be introduced to self care too!)

The Second Wife

I follow a few different stepmom support sites/Instagrams/groups in order to better myself so that I can be the best stepmom to the kids. I’m normally all for empowering other women, supporting their ideas and feelings, and advocating for special types of support. But sometimes, I can’t help but to wonder what in the world is wrong with some people.

I came across a post Saturday night that went on about how some women have insecurities about being a man’s second wife. While some of the insecurities I could see being valid, some of the topics brought up were complete garbage. So here I am, ranting, calling out those insecurities, and providing a different point of view. Because after all, life is about how you deal with it.

“I’m not his first….” You shouldn’t be insecure for being a man’s second (or seventh) wife on general principle. No, you’re not his first wife, possibly not his first partner in home buying, car buying, career change, college adventures, nor his first love, first kiss, first anything. And you know what? That’s perfectly fine. Stop letting the stigma of divorce cloud your here and now. I’m glad I’m not my husband’s first wife. I’m glad I didn’t marry him at 21. I’m glad we’re not young and dumb. I’m glad he figured out what went wrong the first time around, and therefore knows exactly what he wants, how to get it, and what to do to get there. And if your husband or fiance hasn’t figured all that out, you shouldn’t be marrying him in the first place.

“My mother in law / step kids / family by marriage treat me differently and still have a high regard for her.” So? Why are you letting somebody else’s opinion sway you? And what does somebody else’s opinion about somebody else have anything to do with you?? What somebody else thinks about you is none of your damn business. You keep putting one foot in front or the other and worry about your roof, not theirs. Kids are going to have a loyalty to their mom. Mother in laws are supposed to have a reputation for being a pain in the a…. except mine. She’s actually pretty amazing. Everyone else can take their opinions and shove it. You focus on you.

“He still loves his ex.” And I’m referring to this in terms of a man who has kids and he is trying to maintain a functional relationship with his ex in order to co-parent his kids. Because yes, apparently this is an insecurity. My thoughts? Well. Duh. He’s supposed to, to a certain degree, still care. She is the mother of his children. He needs to have a certain degree of care for that woman if he wants to be able to properly care for and about his children. And you need to get over that. While yeah I think the whole “stepmother needing to know her place” thing is a crock of crap, a stepmother DOES need to extend the same degree of tolerance for a mother that she wishes a mother would have for her. Period. Get your head out of your rectum and stop being self absorbed. Even if she does treat you like garbage.

“He had kids with her, but won’t with me.” “He won’t reverse his vasectomy for me.” “[insert choice he made before his remarriage] to/for/with me.” With me. With me. With me. Blah blah blah. You know what. If your husband had a vasectomy before he married you, and you’re not okay with that, that’s on you. You shouldn’t expect him to reverse it. It’s a painful process with a possibility of it not working anyways. And if you truly feel that he’s supposed to, then I hope that you never gripe or attempt to advocate for women’s rights. A man’s choice for a vasectomy or to not have more kids or whatever is no different than a woman making a choice to go on birth control, have her tubes tied, have implants, whatever. Their choice. It doesn’t have a damn thing to do with you, and you should respect that. And if you really wanted to have kids and he didn’t, then maybe you shouldn’t have married him in the first place. Stop being selfish. Not everything is about you. Stop railing on men for choices they made before marrying you.

Stop giving a crap if people look at you differently for not being the first wife. Over 40% of marriages in North America aren’t first marriages anyway, so stop with the stigma. Am I an advocate for divorce? Not entirely. I feel that folks need to put the work into something if they truly want to keep it long term. And if they don’t they don’t have any business making the commitment to begin with. But I feel like people highly underestimate what actually needs to go into a marriage, into a relationship, into the maintenance of compatibility in order to truly have their “happily ever after.”

So top letting stupid crap eat at you and have some confidence in yourself and your relationships.

Nutritional Consistency in Children

A year or two after I received a diagnosis of diabetes and had glucose stability issues, nutrition became a huge part of my life. At the start of my nutrition journey, I went into hardcore keto mode (I’m talking true keto, not just super low carb. I mean perfect macros, a ton of vitamina/supplements, fasting, baking soda in my water, full on anti inflammation insanity.) Why? Because it gave my pancreas time to rest. After some time, the ole girl did some significant healing and I’m much more stable than I was before. Now? Definitely not hardcore keto, but I definitely watch what I eat. I do stick to the lower end of the carbohydrate spectrum, try to eat as few processed foods as possible, and try to choke down a cup of hot tea when I remember to. I feel that just like when working in the medical field, no dietary idea is right for the same two people. Everyone is different. I feel that everyone could benefit from a gluten free, no added sugar, and minimally processed foods diet. Some folks need to follow a keto diet. Some folks need to follow Paleo. Some folks are blessed with amazing metabolism and genetics and don’t have to worry about what they put in their face holes.

But what about kids?
Specifically what about kids who bounce back and forth between more than one home? What of their diets, consistencies, and gut health?

When it comes to co-parenting, my husband had to set some boundaries due to conflicts in communication. We feel the need to live by a strict notion of “what happens in the opposing house is none of your business” (for both parties concerned.) Obviously within reason — for instance when our 7yo kid came home with a huge wound on his chin and said it was because he pulled something out of the oven and got burned, obviously some clarification will be sought out. Most other things like discipline, expectations, routine, diet, etc? None of our business, none of their mother’s business.

Despite it being none of my business, as I’m getting the kids’ room tidied up and the bathroom stocked with extra TP that they usually need, I can’t help but to wonder about the effect of the divorce on the kids’ gut health and how the dietary differences between their homes may have influence their health and well-being. If you ask my step kids about added sugars, they will tell you that at Dad’s house they only have it on special occasions and holidays. My oldest stepson constantly asks if different foods have sugar in them. I asked him why he wonders about it so much. His reply was “I want to make sure it won’t make you sick.” Be still, my beating heart. ❤️ But when the kids say that their desserts at Mom’s is usually ice cream every night, I take that with a grain of salt and chalk it up to trying to get more ice cream. (In which, HA-HAH! Joke’s on them. My husband got me an ice cream maker for Christmas so I can make my own healthy ice cream!) However when they state that a lot of their meals are from McDonald’s and Tim Horton’s, I tend to believe it since old fast food bags can be seen piled up and/or falling out when the kids get out of their mother’s SUV. Or when we are cooking together and they make comments about how they like learning how to make things and helping, that a lot of the things we make, Mom makes them from a box. It makes me cringe, but I take a deep breath and remind myself that it’s none of my business. Or is it?

At what point are dietary consistencies in children after a divorce concerning? The oldest has some attention issues, the middle child has constant UTIs and a chromosome condition in which her weight really needs to be watched. The youngest has eczema issues. And all three of my step kids have digestive issues when they come home here, starting with constipation, and ending with them being cleaned out by Saturday night. All of which could be remedied by dietary changes and consistencies. What does one do?? Do we keep introducing them to different types of whole foods and just deal with the blow outs from the fiber? Feed them probiotics? Because goodness, I don’t think I could bring myself to feed them an unhealthy diet. I’m not saying there’s not a bag of cereal in the closet just for them. Sometimes cereal is just more convenient at 6am when you’ve got to leave in 45 minutes in order to get to a hockey game nearly 3 hours away. But a diet overloaded with convenience foods?? I just can’t do it. I pride myself in meal creativity and food prep. Regardless, I just can’t seem to find much information on how kids fair with dietary inconsistencies or how to deal with them.

Time to stock up on more TP!