Not Cinderella's Stepmom

with Samantha

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!

Is It Appropriate To Speak Up To Your Stepchildren’s Mother?

Categories: children, coparenting, flexibility, scheduling, stepmom

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I’ve written before about being friends with my stepchildren’s mom and how it has made our lives incredibly easier. When I’m running late to pick up the kids, I don’t have to call my husband and ask him to call his children’s mother to relay the message; I just send her a quick text and bam, we’re done. Not that my husband is just the “middle man”, but when she and I are the ones doing the school runs, going to school activities together and managing most of the pick-ups, it’s easier to, y’know, cut out the middle man. (Shh… don’t tell my husband we’re cutting him out. He swears that she and I are just “a few drinks away from a slumber party”. Whatever. We like each other. It’s a good thing.)

But, of course, there are always going to be bigger issues than “Chloe got a bad note in school today” when it comes to raising kids and, no matter how close I am with the kids’ mom, I will always defer to my husband for those things. He is their father and she is their mother. There are some things in which I will not be involved.
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I’m a Stepmom and I’m Selfish With Our Kid Time

Categories: Uncategorized

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My stepchildren are really lucky to have so many people who love them in their lives. Between all four of their parents, they have nine grandparents, sixteen (that I can think of!) aunts and uncles and countless cousins. Their families are huge and I know how incredible it is that they have this enormous support system.

But, I’ll admit it, when the kids are with us every other weekend - I don’t feel like sharing.

My husband and I have pretty involved parents and our parents, Chloe and Trey’s grandparents, obviously want to spend time with them too. They want to take them to the zoo, to Chuck E. Cheese, and to McDonald’s for milkshakes. They want to play catch with them, host a tea party in thrift store hats and spend a Saturday with them in the pool. And while I’m so very grateful and appreciative of how much they love these kids, sometimes I get really angry when they expect us to give up our time.

I’m selfish when the kids are with us. I think David would say he is, too. The thing is, we don’t mind if people want to come over to our house and hang out with the kids. All of us can spend the day together at the zoo or we’ll make the trip to Nana’s for a cookout, but when someone wants “their time” with our kids? We get defensive and, unfortunately, feelings get hurt.
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Recovering From A Hard First Day of School

Categories: children, coparenting, school, stepmom

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My stepchildren have been back in school for nearly a month now, but those first few days feel like they just happened. Probably because I’m still experiencing some kind of PTSD.

Chloe was, happily, starting her first day of second grade while her little brother, Trey, was, um, not so happily starting his very first day of school. Ever. (Don’t let his smile in this picture fool you, people.)

I knew he was nervous a few days earlier, thanks to his school’s open house. He nervously pulled at his clothes, held his mama’s hand tightly and would only explore his classroom if one of us went, too. I was feeling my own bouts of anxiety because, oh my gosh. He’s starting school. And, as always, I feel like I have to preface this with “I know I didn’t birth him and I know I didn’t watch him crawl, but I so do love him.” I’ve been in my stepson’s life since he was twenty months old… we’ve gotten a little close, I’d say. And seeing him sitting in a classroom desk was breaking my heart and making it swell with pride all at the same time.

I know. Who knew hearts were made to do that? PARENTS. That’s who.

When the first day came, I woke up nervous. The kids were with their mama, but would be coming to our home that evening. I watched the clock and around 8:00, I received the text message I knew was coming. Trey’s mama told me how much it broke her heart because, y’all. He squalled. He cried and cried and, heartbreakingly, looked to his mama as she was getting ready to leave and said “Mama, you aren’t staying with me?”

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Different House, Different Schedule: Helping Your Stepkids Adjust

Categories: coparenting, flexibility, scheduling, stepmom

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When it comes to being a stepmother, there’s always a lot of adjusting and “juggling” needed to keep our life’s balance, but I truly believe that our stepchildren have the toughest job. Let’s be honest, without their needs, our job as a stepmother has no purpose. Our entire juggling act is based around the well-being of our stepchildren who are having to adjust to a lot of changes, including a different house, which often includes a different schedule. Here are a few ways you can help your stepchildren adjust and become more comfortable in your home!

1. Encourage Them To Call Home

Sometimes, the hardest part of going back and forth between parents is missing mom or dad. If your stepchildren have a tough time getting used to your house and seem irritable or upset, maybe a call to their mom is in order. I know there’s been several times where my stepchildren, who are very comfortable in our home and have adjusted beautifully, will still tell me they miss their mom, even if they’re only with us for a few days. My solution is to always pull out my phone and offer to let them call and talk to her. In fact, every time I do suggest this idea, they always say they’re okay and they don’t need to call.
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Introducing Yourself as the Stepmom

Categories: coparenting, stepmom

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I wrote last week about attending my attending my stepson’s open house and how important it was for me. I wrote that I needed to be there because I was a parent in his life and I needed to know what was going on at school.

Apparently, other people disagreed.

I received an email from a woman who wrote, “I get that you have a bond with them and all, but do you ever wonder how the kids’ teachers feel when two moms come in the room? They will never know which one of you is the mom and which one of you is not. They won’t know who to expect during pick-ups or who to talk to when he has had a bad day. I think it’s just confusing for everyone involved and it doesn’t make any sense.”

Well! Here’s where I act all mature and say “YOU DON’T KNOW MY LIFE.”
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I May Be a Stepmom, But I’m Still a Parent

Categories: coparenting, stepmom

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A few days ago, I read a “testimony” from a stepmom somewhere on the internet (This sea is vast, you guys. I can’t hop ship from Twitter to blog to archived posts to other blog and expect to keep up.) that made me kind of sad. A lot of stepmom stories make me sad and it’s usually for three reasons:

  1. They have no idea how important they are and try to brush off their role in their stepchildren’s lives like it’s no big deal. (Hey, it is. You’re a big deal, okay?)
  2. They have to deal with a lot of drama, a lot of anger, resentment and insecurities that make it hard to enjoy this incredible role they’re living.
  3. They, I’m sorry to say, are the drama and have a hard time remembering that their stepchildren’s mother is always going to be in their lives. End of story.
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I Need Summer Vacation to End

Categories: scheduling, summer, work-at-home

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I can hardly believe it, but here in Georgia, some schools are already filled with children for their first day back! It seems like just a week ago, I was picking up my stepdaughter from her last week of first grade and eagerly anticipating swimming pools, popsicles and movie nights.

But now both Chloe and my stepson, Trey, are getting ready to head back to school. Chloe will be a fresh new second grader while Trey will start his very first year in pre-k!

I am so excited for the both of them and, if I’m honest, kind of excited for myself. I don’t know about all of you, but this summer has done a total SPIN CYCLE on my productivity. Like, seriously. Some mornings I wake up and I have no idea what’s going on or what I’m supposed to be doing, despite my diligent efforts with a planner.
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Four Parents, One Party

Categories: birthday, coparenting, stepmom

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When it comes to planning my stepkids’ birthday parties, everything is usually straight-forward and simple. I ask the kids for their theme ideas, I take care of the cake and then I let our families know when it’s happening.

My husband? He just wants to help pick out a gift and then tell him where to show up with it.

But this year, for my stepdaughter’s seventh birthday, he got a little more involved and gave me a total surprise. After I made the invitations, he asked me if I thought we should invite my stepdaughter’s mom and stepdad to her party.

“Like a double party?” I asked him.
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Sleeping Like a Baby Means “No Sleep at All”, Right?

Categories: sleep

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Picture it: Tuesday morning, about 5:45am. My husband, David, is getting ready for work and leans down to kiss me, telling me “Happy birthday!” I have been twenty-five for nearly two hours. It’s still dark outside, the sun won’t be up for another half hour, and my bed is super warm and snuggly. I burrow down in the covers, telling myself I don’t have to get up and start working on my birthday.

David leaves the room, I give a contented sigh and close my eyes.

Two seconds later, they snap open when I hear the pitter-patter of little feet down the hall.

…did I mention it was 5:45?

I hear David’s muffled voice in the hallway and the footsteps retreat. One set goes to the bathroom, the other goes to the bedroom our kids share. David opens our bedroom door and says, “Um. I don’t know if the children are just early-risers today or um, if they never went to sleep last night.”

YAY. Happy birthday to me! *confetti*
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Work-at-home Moms, Do Your Kids Understand Your Job?

Categories: work, work-at-home

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A few weeks ago, I had a reader email me and ask for advice on becoming a freelance writer. She told me she loved writing, but also loved being a stay-at-home mom. She wrote, “My ideal is to be a mom first for my kids. I want them to be my number one priority, but I would also like something that is mine. I want to contribute financially to my family and I want to show my little girls that mommies can work just as hard as daddies do.”

Totally heartwarming, right? And reminded me so much of my own thought process when I started out on my own work-at-home career. I wanted to be there for my family first. I wanted to take care of deadlines in advance so I wasn’t working on weekends or during holidays. I wanted to be able to help my husband out with the running of our home, but still manage the laundry and dinner and mopping. I wanted to show my kids that dreams do come true, that we can all have what our heart desires if we really work for it.

And that I realized that all of that was happening, except for the proving to my kids that dreams do come true.
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