In my post Mirror, Mirror…, I mentioned my challenges as a stepmother, and my worry that the kids might resent me for telling them what to do when I’m not their “real” mom. Thankfully, I think writing that post helped me get a lot off my chest, so here I’m listing the five ways becoming a parent has changed my life. In case you didn’t read the above post (it’s a good one), some background on my family is that my husband has primary custody of our kids, and so their birth mother is really not in the picture (by her own choice). This means that my kiddos are with me all the time, and I’m their mom. Now that this has been explained, on to the list!
They’re Always There!
- Yep! I said it! Becoming a parent means you don’t get to give them back to their real parents at the end of the day! This was my modus operandi when I was single, and would watch my friends kids or hang out with them for a couple of hours. Back then I had to have a whole lot less tolerance for kids because when they became annoying, I just gave them back, and my life settled back into its ordered state. However, I now have to accept that the kids want to be with me most of the time. While this is wonderful, it is a definite departure from how my life used to be. Thank goodness my two are easy and actually pretty fun to hang out with!
Money, Money, Money!
- Yo, kids are expensive! Knowing this intellectually is completely different from actually living with this fact. Pre kids I was living in Brooklyn, and made a very good salary that I could spend on my few bills and vacations. I like to travel. A lot! However, post kids I have had to actually think in the long-term. Sure it would be great to go to New Orleans for a quick long weekend, but it’s time to buy new Tae Kwon Do dobaks (uniforms) or winter coats or school picture packages. I also thought I was good with a budget, but I’ve had to kick myself in the butt a few times to recognize my new circumstance.
Turning Into My Mom!
- You know that thing that our parents did to us that we promise we won’t do to our own kids! Yeah, it’s a total delusion to think you won’t! I have caught myself acting like my mom more times than I can count, and don’t see it stopping any time soon! When this first happened, I actually snapped my lips shut, and stood there looking at the kids in shock for a few minutes. Once I’d recovered, I realized that my mom was right to do it to me, and that I turned out to be a pretty good person because of it.
- This one is a bit tricky to describe! While the kids would gladly send my husband and I out on a date night, I tend to feel a bit guilty that we’re not taking them with us. We’re very blessed to have my mother in law living with us, so it’s not like they’re being left with strangers when we go out, but it still feels a bit weird. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not like we’re all joined at the hip when everyone is home, but at least we’re still in the house with them. I’m hoping this will get a bit easier the older the kids get, you know when we get to the stage where they don’t even want to look at us from one day to another.
- My kids call me mom, and that was an earned title I cherish! When I first moved in with them, I told them that they did not have to call me mom, and so they called me Kimmy instead. However, as time passed, this turned from Kimmy to Mom, and is said without any trepidation. Having them say “Mom” in a room full of people without feeling self-conscious about it has been so gratifying! I take this gift very seriously, and try everyday to be the kind of mom they will appreciate. The thought that the way I treat them will one day be the way they raise their children gives me goosebumps!
As unrecognizable as my life can seem at times, I wouldn’t change any of it! These past three years have changed my life completely, and I can see now how lonely and solitary I was before meeting my husband. Having an instant family can often be extremely stressful, but when it works, it is so rewarding!