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As 2019 comes to a close, reflection is a must

As 2019 slowly edges it’s way to an end, I listen to the sound of the kids playing outside with their friends. Unfiltered, unedited laughter is bouncing through the air and I can’t help but think how long it’s taken for us to get to this place. If I’m being completely honest, I wondered if we ever would. A lot has happened in 2019 for our family (although nothing could be as bad as 2018 was. 2018 showed me how strong I really was.)

This year has taught me how strong our family unit can be when we need to be. The beginning of the year was exciting and unbelievably stressful all at the same time. Our wedding was in March, and as happy as I was with that day, I would have been completely fine with our original intimate ceremony. But as those with blended families know, when small children are involved, that isn’t normally an option. In our case, our kids needed to actually see the wedding take place in order to fully grasp the concept of blending our families together. To be clear, I have no biological children of my own. I am not blessed enough to be able to carry children of my own. However, that makes me no less a parent or a mother, but that’s a conversation for another day. With the wedding out of the way, we had no idea exactly what was about to be handed to us.

Having a troubled child is one of the most difficult situations to deal with. Having a troubled child that is part of a set is an entirely different ballgame all together. There is no way to prepare yourself for some of the things that we found ourselves in the middle of. One of our triplets was REALLY struggling. Now they’re 10, which is a tough age to begin with now that hormones are starting to come into play. But the issues we were having went farrrrr beyond hormones. He was angry all the time. Violently angry. He was getting in trouble at home, getting in trouble at school, stealing, lying, violent and angry outbursts at literally the drop of a hat. And as bad as it was here, it was 10 times worse when he was at his moms. We have shared custody with a 7 and 7 schedule. When I tell you that it was bad, that word is an absolute understatement. And as any parent knows, that kind of situation is hard. When you are a step parent it’s even harder because you will in some way or another always be considered an “outsider”.

We tried everything. Literally EVERYTHING. Grounding, spanking, positive re enforcement, doctors, therapists, psychiatrists, medications, a couple of in patient facilities, family therapy. You name it and we tried it. The situation got so bad that his psychiatrist decided that our best bet was to put him in a behavioral center for boys in order to get him some extensive help, therapy, and coping skills to deal with his anger problems because we were at the point of being afraid that he would hurt himself, one of his siblings, or us. So 6 months in a treatment facility about 3 hours away. I can not express to you how hard that was. Not only on him and us, but also on his siblings. Being part of a trio for literally your entire life, and then one of those being gone was an adjustment for all of them. Once he was there for about 3 months, he was able to earn day passes which evolved to night passes and then eventually weekend passes where he was able to come home for the entire weekend. In November he was released for good and if I’m being completely candid, I didn’t think he was ready. It seemed to me like he said and did what he needed to say and do in order to come home but didn’t really take anything away from the experience. But how do you have that conversation with your spouse without looking like you just don’t want the child to come home? It’s near impossible.

The first few weeks were rough, but once we settled into a routine things slowly started to get better. The rules in our household had not changed and neither had the consequences or the rewards. I think that the consistency has worked wonders for him, and I couldn’t be more thankful for that. Things are still a little tense at his mom’s but they are also working through it.

2019 was challenging to say the least and I’m not sorry to see it go. I’m hoping that 2020 brings our family peace, and love, and happiness. Most of all I hope that my little one knows and understands that we will do whatever it takes to make sure that he evolves into a functioning, respectful, contributing member of society and that we will never give up on him.

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A Little About Me

So here we are at the end of 2019, literally at the very end. As we are about to ring in the New Years, I decided that now would be as good a time as any to venture into the blogging world seeing as so many changes are coming in 2020. And yes, I’m sure that many who just read that threw up in their mouth a little because everyone always overuses the “New Year, New Me” crap. Well rest assured ladies and gentleman, this is not that kind of blog. In fact, I’m not even sure if anyone will even read this. But it gives me somewhat of an outlet to freely express myself in a somewhat uncensored way. So, if anyone is reading this….grab the beverage of your choice (mine is most definitely wine) , and prepare to dive into this crazy ride that I call my life.

My name is Heather and I live in a small town in Louisiana. I’m not going to tell you what little town because this is the internet and stalkers are everywhere. You can never be too careful. I’m married to a goofy, stubborn, big hearted man that I have known since I was little. I am the bonus mama to 4 little monsters, three of them being triplets, and a very sassy little 7 year old. And let me just say that she is literally the definition of nurture vs. nature. She was only 3 when my husband and I got together and I can say that she has got his stubbornness and my attitude which in my home is a deadly combination (hence the wine). I own my own business called Freckled Face Designs **insert shameless plug here**, that specializes in custom tumblers and home decor. I also hold a paralegal studies degree and am currently studying to take my Private Investigator exam. So in the mean time, I’m going to throw myself into this blog because with all of the craziness going on in my home, sometimes I need to do something for just me….

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family parenting stepmom

How Tight is TOO Tight?

It’s been a pretty busy couple of weeks in our household so I haven’t been around to blog the way that I have wanted to, or should I say as frequently. The triplets turned 11, and as much as some days, I wish and think that I’m ready, I most definitely am not. Where are my babies? Where are the little ones that always wanted to hold my hand or needed help getting dishes out of the cabinet because they were too short (to be fair though, I need a step stool for EVERYTHING being as I’m 32 years old and 4’10!) With them turning another year older and entering their preteen years, I can’t help but wonder am I holding on to them tight enough, and how tight is too tight?

What criteria are other parents using to determine when to let their children explore different types of independence? I feel like this is such a difficult question because every kid and every situation is different, and as we all know, what works in one household very rarely works in another. For example, all of us mamas know that babysitters are EXPENSIVE! In my state, there is no minimum age for a child to stay alone as long as they can dial 911. I think this is absolutely absurd. But in that very same breath, I trust two of my triplets to be left at home alone for small periods of time while I would never feel comfortable leaving the last of the trio alone and if we’re being completely honest, I don’t know when or if I ever will feel comfortable. The trust and confidence just isn’t there. So to those parents reading this, how do you make those decisions and what do you base those decisions on?

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stepmom

Bonus Mom Guilt?

Is that even a real thing? It has to be right? Not just bonus mom guilt, but any kind of mom guilt. Let me elaborate. In our household, and in our situation all together, I am considered the primary caregiver. With a 7 and 7 schedule, no matter who’s week it is chances are I’m doing the errands and the running around. School conferences and meetings? Check! Doctor’s appointments and shots? All me! There are a series of events that happened to put us in this place and I’m totally fine with taking on these responsibilities. I said that to say this: I am an extremely hands on parent.

Now with being such a hands on parent a strange shift happened and I’m not exactly sure when it happened but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it happened gradually. I rarely ever do anything or spend money on myself. I can go to a store and drop a buttload of money on things the kids need. Clothes, treats, taking them out for ice cream or to Cheddar’s (their favorite place to eat) when they earn it and not bat an eye. Shopping for something my husband wants or needs? I’m totally enthused about it. He works extremely hard to provide for us and without a doubt deserves it. But when it comes to myself….No way….NOT HAPPENING! Why you may ask? I have no idea. I never used to be this way before my husband and I got together. Now granted, my ex husband and I were married for 13 years and had no children. He was in the Marine Corps and gone more often than he was home. That, coupled with my fertility issues, and it just wasn’t meant to be. That being said, we had no one but ourselves to worry about supporting or caring for. Our responsibilities were to each other. That seems like a different life and I guess in a way it is. My life is completely changed now as am I. I now have 5 people that depend on me, 4 of them being adolescent children. And as we all know, as moms we don’t have the luxury of just up and going on a shopping spree. At least not the 70% middle class families like ourselves.

But today I did it. I went out and made a purchase for myself. I decided to buy myself a digital camera. It was investment that I knew needed to be made between my small business and preparing to take my private investigator’s exam (a GOOD digital camera with the ability to take long range shots is part of the necessary equipment) I decided it was time. I spoke to my husband about it, did my research and decided on a Nikon Coolpix B500. This morning the kids and I got dressed and set out to go buy it. It took me going to three different stores because the first two were out of stock (thanks Santa!) but I finally found a Target that had it. I was super excited, brought it to the counter and paid for it. With the warranty included the total came out to a whopping $284. Now look, I know that $284 for a quality brand digital camera with a 4.6 star review is not bad AT ALL. In fact it’s pretty much a steal. I grabbed my bag with the kids in tow and headed through the parking lot to my car. I didn’t even make it to the exit doors before the guilt had taken over. Did I really just spend that much money on myself? There had to have been something more important or much needed that this amount of money could have spent on. Now keep in mind all of the bills are paid with money to spare, but y’all I still felt horrible!

I called my husband to let him know that I found the one I was looking for and that I was thinking of returning it because of how much I spent, and in true Steve fashion basically said ‘of course you are and woman don’t you dare return that camera’. I got home, unboxed it, and fell completely in love with it. But in the back of my mind I still have this nagging feeling that the money could have gone to something else.

I can’t be the only person that goes through this. How do we stop it?