For most of us who are stepparents, our lives are divided- time with kids and time without kids. Whether time with kids is every other weekend, or every other 2 weeks as is my case, usually there is some type of split happening.
And, a friend gave me some sanity-retaining advice in regards to th is split. She simply said, “Find the common thread to your life whether the kids are there or not.”
How many of you can relate to the flip my world upside down sense that occurs when the kids arrive at your home? For me, it is night and day. Without kids my schedule is as follows: Quiet work at home on the weekends; small, easy to make meals; limited grocery shopping; few interrupting phone calls, basically- my attention and care is focused on me and the life I have created.
With the kids the schedule is as follows: rearrange every work morning to take care of them, arrive at work later than desired, answer 1-2 phone calls per afternoon with updates from my stepdaughter, end work early, pick up stepson, take stepson to tutoring, coordinate with stepdaughter, cook large meal, stop at grocery store 2 time per week, etc, etc. etc……
The above schedule does not even include the emotional/psychological component to raising children, such as the 50 minute conversation my stepdaughter laid on me within 1 hour of being in our home, because she “really, really needed to talk to someone” about what is happening in her Mom’s home.
As I sit in Starbucks on a Sunday morning to get out of the house and the sometimes ensuing chaos of breakfast, getting dressed, and such. I am grabbing my friend’s idea of a “common thread” to my life as if it were a lifeline. Without kids, I tend to go about my day in a quiet and introspective way. I do not feel push and pulled in several directions.
Looking towards my day today, I am holding onto that sense of my self. I do not need to accommodate everyone else’s “threads” and weave then into some beautiful tapestry of “family”. There is a time and place for that, of course. And, I have taken the last 48 hours weaving my husband’s and his two children’s two threads into my tapestry and the tapestry of family that they so desire. For the next 12 hours as least, I will be weaving my own common thread.- that part of my life I enjoy without kids, alone. because, my thread is just as essential to the weaving as those of everyone else.