I'm a dreamer, writer and actor obsessed with classic television, lace, baking and quoting Ace Ventura (one of these things is not like the other). I like to believe that my life is just like a Disney movie with an Alan Menken soundtrack except the stepmom's not so evil. When I married my husband, David, in October of 2012, I fell madly, deeply in love with my two stepchildren, Chloe and Trey. It's incredibly hard to balance being a stepmom every other weekend with the rest of my life, but it is 100% worth it. You can find more stories about my family at my personal blog, fairytangles!
When I was trying on my new stepmom shoes (I like to think they’re a soft, comfy suede flat with some kind of sparkle or glitter mixed in), I wasn’t sure how hard it was going to be. I knew how easy it was going to be to love my new family and to read bedtime stories every night, but I had no idea what all of the scheduling and coordinating and logistics would be like.
Simply put, it’s difficult. It’s hard to keep up with your little ones’ schedules when you’re not the one who signs them up for gymnastics. It’s hard to remember what time the Christmas program is or if you need to bake cookies for Teacher Appreciation Week. It’s hard to check on report cards, follow up on teacher notes and see the week’s spelling words when you have the kids every other weekend, you know? And asking your husband to check in? Oh goodness, I don’t know if your husband is like mine (You know, the kind that yell about not being able to find the peanut butter and it’s literally about to fall out of the cabinet?), but asking him to check on something is like reminding myself to do something. Especially if I think of ten things at once! Oh, I need to ask David to ask the kids’ mom when Chloe’s Christmas program is and if we can have them for Halloween this year and if Trey’s eye is doing better and if I need to do Chloe’s breathing treatment this week and when do we need to sign them both up for t-ball. I’ll remember!
You can see how that doesn’t work, right? It’s too much unnecessary work just to keep up with what’s going on with the kids. And yes, I may be a stepmom, but I’m an active part of our kids’ lives. For one thing, I love them beyond words and for another, I can’t imagine what they would say if I didn’t show up to their Christmas programs or baseball games. They would be crushed.
So, instead of going through my husband to ask his ex-wife something about the kids, I tried something different.
I became friends with my stepkids’ mom.
When I have a question about Chloe’s school program? I text their mom. When I’m curious how Trey’s baseball sign-ups went? I text their mom.
I know. It’s weird, isn’t it? She and I talk about that, too. I tell her that whenever I mention her name, everyone looks at me like I’m just asking for trouble. People tell me to “watch my back” and “be careful” because “who knows what she has up her sleeve.”
I know what she has up her sleeve, don’t worry. She’s putting her kids first and making all of our lives easier and sweeter by being friends with me. We both know that the kids see everything that goes on and they take notice of us being friends. It’s a good thing for them to see.
Plus, it’s good for us! I love that when I go to Chloe’s field day, I don’t have to sit by myself or bring someone along with me so it “isn’t awkward”. Instead, I can plop my chair down right next to her and together, we can cheer on Chloe. I love that instead of us separating Halloween, we all went trick-or-treating together last year and no one has to worry about scheduling a separate day to beg for Kit-Kat bars.
It has simplified my life so much. I text her when I’m running late to pick up the kids, I text her when I need to know what size shoes they wear, etc. I don’t have to worry about “stepping on toes” or waiting for my husband to answer all of my questions for me. I think of something I need to know, shoot her a text and it’s done. A simple solution for a busy life.
So try it! Instead of going through your husband or trying to dig for answers from your six-year-old, start up a friendship with your stepkids’ mom. Chances are, she’s more than willing to bridge the gap and make things easier for all of you. And if you’re as lucky as I’ve been, maybe you’ll get a new friend out of all of it, too.
Are you friends with your stepkids’ mom? Has it helped to simplify or enrich your life?
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