Anonymous Post From a Client About Being a Stepmom

By | Client Posts, Co-Parenting, Unsolicited Opinions

Background: This anonymous post comes from a client’s wife who unconditionally loves her step son despite being sidelined by the system and the dynamic in which the child came into the world. Here are her unfiltered thoughts:

“What qualities make a stepmom worthy of praise and satisfaction? We have done an extreme injustice to stepmoms in this country. The boundaries of what we should and shouldn’t do are so lost. No one has an answer that feels good. Thanks to Cinderella we stepmoms have a stigma attached that may never go away. People dismiss us all the time! You’re the only one willing to sacrifice and call into work to take your sick stepson to the doctor because God forbid a man calls into work in our corporate world for a “sick kid”, and God forbid his “real” mom takes time away from her needs to do it. And no one says thanks or acknowledges a damn bit of what you do. He needs an allergist, you’re the only one who spends enough time with him to even know he needs an allergist. He needs to work on a project for school and you’re the only one who reminds him or is invested in his grades. He needs new clothes because he hit a growth spurt and you’re the only one who will spend the money or the time to take him. Better yet you’re the only one who noticed he grew out of his clothes. The “real” mom wants the dad to “supply” all his needs. Meanwhile she’s doing happy hours, pedicures, shopping, dating, etc. The dad wants his child support to “supply” his needs. Unless he spent his life savings winning custody. In that case the “real” mom has the whole world feeling sorry for her and giving her monetary handouts. Please. If you lost custody especially in the state of Texas then bet your booty you are not a good mother. Yet as a stepmom you are supposed to go above and beyond to be the most consistent, loving, patient mom of all time. This sounds like a job no one wants hu? I have a secret. I love the job! Guess what sweet child will remember who was always there for them? And for doctors visits? And traditions? And cookies at school for the winter party? And money for the book fair? And prescription refills? It’s me. While everyone else is tallying and hateful I’m making beautiful memories with a handsome young man who will always respect me and love me and trust me no matter what. You simply can’t beat that with your corporate job or your stupid meaningless words. Kids see action and they will always remember who was really there. I’m changing the life of a child and that is something no one can take away or even compete with.”

I Am Not Doing Christmas Cards

By | Unsolicited Opinions

The first step in having it all is to cross half the things you need to do off your list. Here are the things I have crossed off my list: vegetables at every dinner, birthday parties, hand towels with holiday themes, a clean car, thank you notes, gym workouts, coupon clipping, pleasure reading, facials, making things from scratch, cleaning my own house, deleting old emails, organizing my own closet, responding to all texts, and Christmas cards.

Moms do way too many things that don’t matter. Having a Christmas card doesn’t make you a better person. I promise. I read that in the Bible. No one actually cares if they got your Christmas card. Sure they enjoy seeing your “having-it-all-ness” and for a moment your card is at the top of the stack. But since when does spending a couple Saturdays picking out a card and arguing with your children about what they will wear and how many times they need to smile for the camera sound like a good use of time? Don’t even get me started with the eye-rolling husbands. The cost is pretty steep too, at least a dollar for the card and 49 cents for the stamp. I truly wonder why practically everyone sends one out. Step away from the herd people.

When your household runs like mine and rush hour starts the second you get home – its dinner, bath and brush your teeth before you have any quality time with your child. Its hard enough to have the peace of mind to throw in some time outs and green beans, check the school’s list of disorganized reminders for pajama drives, and make sure they don’t choke on their food. A pajama drive – really? I check my mail every couple of days. Usually its just BCBS denying a claim for something or a $70 ticket for getting caught on a red light camera. If I wanted to do Christmas cards, I’d have to keep track of addresses right? Bahahahaa. . . Ugh. There is just no way. Speaking of tradition, the Elf on the Shelf sounds like a horrible person.

OMG – I just got a text from my housekeeper. She fired me.

Back to my point, for those of you out there looking for an excuse to “forget to do cards”, consider yourself validated. I’m trying to start a trend here. Lower the standard people! The things we toil over are not important!

Co-Parenting Tips for the Holidays – It’s the Golden Rule, Duh.

By | Co-Parenting, Custody and Conservatorship, Divorce

Christianity: So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12.

Buddhism: Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful. Udana-Varga 5,1

Judaism: What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellowman. This is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary. Talmud, Shabbat 3id

1. Say yes and keep saying yes. “Can I bring him back late?” “Will you pack her Christmas dress?” “Can I trade days?” Say yes every time. Always know what your decree or other order requires but then always say yes. Don’t say, “yes if you will do x, y, z.” You can’t make someone else be kind. You can only make sure you are kind. Look for these opportunities because your kids are watching and will notice. Just say yes. Maybe smile a little too.

2. Buy the other parent a gift from your child. This is such a cheap and easy way to show the other parent you acknowledge and support the relationship between your child and his or her mother or father. If you want halos or you are an overachiever, also buy your co-parent’s significant other a present. Think Julia Roberts in Step Mom.

3. Follow your child’s lead on Christmas/Hanukkah. If your child wants mom to come to lunch but its not her day, invite her! If your son wants to see what his father got in his stocking, drive him by his dad’s house.

4. Include other half and step siblings in all traditions. Every child wants to be equal to their siblings and every child wants love from the mother and father, grandmother and grandfather figures in the homes they live in. All traditions should be evenly shared among the children. Tell your parents to bring a gift for your step son and to make sure if there is a family day planned to see Santa, that it’s scheduled around your step child’s visitation day. The only qualifier should be that the child is a child, not that the child belongs to so and so or doesn’t belong to so and so. Remember that halves and steps are terms and types of relationships children learn. Try to teach them that “halves” and “steps” are like “bonus” and “cool”.

5. Take a family photo. Not photo of your family. Take a photo of your child’s family. Who are important to him? Who is his mimi, her sisi, his mommy, her other mommy, his big brother…? Let that picture be his family photo he shares at school. Show him his family tree and how many people he belongs to. You have plenty of photos of your family, but does your child have one photo of everyone in HER family?

Don’t you dare – I have a protective order.

By | Domestic Violence

Look to your left and look to your right. Chances are you are looking at a victim of domestic violence. Man or woman. Don’t argue with the statistics. It’s true.

Here I sit behind the white ivory tower of my keyboard and tell those who are abused to get out of the relationship, get safe and get a protective order. I read the articles. I know trying to get out could get you killed. Stay safe but don’t lose hope.

Once a judge grants a protective order, and it is served, violations could result in a year in jail and fines. Repeat violations are 3rd degree felonies. It’s a big deal. It’s there to help you reclaim your liberty. Use it.

It’s not easy to get. The hardest part is showing a “clear and present danger with a likelihood of future family violence” per the Texas Family Code. The police, the District Attorney and your lawyer can help you with this. Pack a bag, get a temporary phone, have extra keys, have a lawyer, know where the shelters are.