Bonus Mom Belittling

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The Bible says, “Some men’s sins are clearly evident, preceding them to judgment, but those of some men follow later.  Likewise, the good works of some are clearly evident, and those that are otherwise cannot be hidden.” (1Timothy 5:24-25)

I sometimes feel like that with my bonus children; like my good works are not seen by their mothers. I don’t need them to be seen, or a fuss made over it, but it seems like there is no consideration for my position in caring for their children.

I have a truly blended family. Three households are involved. Anthony’s mom has one child.  Tanya has two.  I have four!

My family dynamic changes with each addition of each child as they come. Currently, I have Anthony and Jazmine. A few days ago, I had Scott, Anthony, and Jazmine. A few days prior to that I had Bella, Scott, Anthony, and Jazmine. Each addition or subtraction adds a new dynamic. For example, if both boys are there, they will play mostly with each other. If one son is there, he will give more attention to Jazmine.

Each woman wants her will executed in my household. I am not a babysitter.  I do my best to make sure each bonus child is cared for in the ways that are needed for them as well as collectively for our household. That in itself is an undertaking and requires very delicate hands. To then hear talk that does not take any of that into account is belittling.

Praise God that He sees me!

(Originally penned 2012)

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Something About Forgiveness

Forgiveness…freeing relief.

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Forgive them even if they are not sorry

It was a hard weekend.  We had a full house. Our Bella is a few weeks shy of being adult. We also have two teenage boys, our seven-year old, and our infant. We had a lot of life in just a few days.

Our almost grown daughter is EXACTLY like her mother except even more so. In all the ways I can not stand Tanya, Bella is her twin. It was hard interacting with someone who’s character rubs me all the wrong way.  I excise those with similar character traits from my life but I cannot excise Bella. I wanted to.  I, truth be told, even tried to, but it was not the right thing to do. I couldn’t do it.

How to deal. How to deal…

I didn’t realize just how stressed I was until they, Bella, Anthony, and Scott, left. As soon as they left, I felt a heavy weight. I felt horrible. I felt so far away from God. I longed for fellowship with Him once more but couldn’t figure out what was blocking it. So, to try to fix things, I started confessing everything.  I thought maybe I had hardened my heart to being obedient in some of my other relationships so I began telling God that I would do whatever He wanted me to. I would call and initiate talks, whatever He wanted, I would be obedient to.  I wanted to be right with Him and I was desperate to do whatever He asks of me. After confessing things that I wasn’t even sure I was wrong for, nothing happened.  I still felt far from Him.  I thought I must have gotten something wrong.

I did.  I did get something wrong.

 

But it wasn’t what I thought it was. It wasn’t unconfessed deeds I had unknowingly committed. It wasn’t being hard-hearted. My sin, what was blocking me from being in fellowship with God was unforgiveness.

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I had harbored EVERYTHING said or done by Bella, Anthony, Scott, and Tanya that was out-and-out wrong or rubbed me the wrong way.  I did not realize the weight unforgiveness carries. Immediately, I started forgiving.  I told God I forgave each person.  I went line item by line item of just plain wrongs, offenses, and perceived offensives, that I received from each person in the past five days. I said, “God, I forgive so-and-so for this specific offense. I hated that this was done towards me but I forgive them.” Heartfelt, total, complete forgiveness.

I was riding in the car at the time, my husband driving, my girls in the back seat. I’d closed my eyes and prayed, forgiving for a few miles. The peace! The sweet sweet peace! The washing refreshing of right fellowship with God. No more unseen but severely felt barrier between me and my Master. Bella, Anthony, Scott, or Tanya, I could see any one of them now and treat them with a clean slate. No mental playback. No harboring hurts.

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I AM FREE!

 

 

I Miss My Daughter…

Do not be alarmed. Jazmine is fine. She is healthy and I know exactly where she is. She is in the bedroom next to mine, sound asleep with her cousin. She went to bed clean and with a full belly.

With the exception of five days straight earlier this month, we have occupied the same space all summer long. Why then do I miss her you ask? Because she has spent every waking hour with one of her siblings. It’s been hard for me to catch a kiss, a hug, or any quality time with her since Father’s Day. I’m glad she loves her siblings and wants to be around them but I miss my baby!

It is not mature of me to act on my feelings by carving out a space for just the two of us during the weeks the big kids are here. The child is with me 24/7 365. I occupy most of her time. This is an exciting change of pace for her regardless of how I look forward to our normal routine. I can grow through this but I miss my baby!

I can only assume that this is what Anthony’s mother felt like. Last year, the boy stayed two weeks. Two whole stinking weeks and that chick had to come see him after 7 days. I was through. She bought him food (a pan of fried chicken and some pears, I kid you not) and tennis shoes to try on. I kept thinking ‘chick, get over it’. The boy was 12 years old at the time and it was only 14 days of the ENTIRE summer! 

I now find myself repeating that same phrase to me, only louder.

Step-Mom Misses Another Milestone

Bella went to prom yesterday. 

She called her father, my husband, about two months ago to tell him she had been asked to go. Things started out pretty standard. Calls to go dress shopping so he could $ee the dresses. Calls to grandparent to pay for other accessories. Calls to pick up and take to appointments to get ready for prom. Same old same old. We are hip to the game. Not surprised at all.

I had decided in my mind those months ago that I would not attend. Tanya and I don’t like each other and this her her only daughter’s prom. It’s her day too. I would have only stayed in the car as it is. 

Prom night came. My husband not only supported, but expected my decision to stay away. He reminded me that no, this is not what we wanted nor what environment we set out to create but, it takes all parties to make something beautiful and those parties never came to the table. It is what it is. 

It was settled. 

Then, I understood that all other occupants of the house would be headed down to see her off which would make it painfully obvious who wasn’t there (me). I got a little nervous. I felt like her sixteenth birthday all over again. I didn’t want to choose unwisely again. A significant part of me felt it right to go. The other part reaffirmed that my presence would bridge no gaps thereby not being productive at all. 

I choose to stay behind. What lessened the blow was that three of the five others going decided to stay behind as well. Their reasons were not based on me but of their own volition.

Blended families require work, bend, and stretch. My decision was not for everyone else but it was right for us. 

I just found out that Family Life now has a blended families focus. I know I will be visiting. Familylifeblended.com

To Come Out Of Witness Protection

(DRAT!  I could have sworn I set this to publish this past Monday.  I am sorry this is so late)  

There are some major changes coming to this blog. For one thing, I am debating on whether or not I should come out of hiding. The other major change is the name. Apparently, if you Google Wifommy, wifom comes up. What is wifom you ask? I had to look it up myself. One definition says it has something to do with a psychological game. Other Google hits say that it is an acronym for Wine In Front Of Me. Neither definition has ANYTHING to do with being a wife and mother.

I feel like I have to find my identity all over again. Ever since I entered the witness protection service for bloggers (also called anonymity) it’s been hard for me to regain my blogging edge. My current name does not represent who I am as much as my original name. On one hand, now that I see that Wifom is commonly known to stand for something else, I would like to make my Wifommy stamp to make the term synomomous for my meaning. It’s not like Wifom is a trademark so I am not infringing. On the other hand, I’d rather go back to who I was because I felt I really owned it; it wasn’t something I had to pick out under duress.

Ever since I let go of being a bonus mom and have religated myself to being a step mom, I see no need to hide. Who am I protecting really? I thought I would be protecting my big kids from my adult thoughts but, as it turns out, they are WELL informed of real an perceived adult thought as it is.

If I change my name, I would more than likely hyphenate it with my original name pairing it with some synoptic phrase of who I am and I would have to change my twitter and Facebook presence. Now let’s be real. Xara don’t tweet. I barely Facebook. I’ll have to change one way or another in that regard.

Im getting bored with the graphics also and am considering owning my domain which is really putting the pressure on whether or not the name would be changed to reflect me publicly. Ugh. I don’t know what I’m going to do yet. I am torn between still wanting to protect my little chickadees and walking out the reality of it all. Ah well, either way it falls, you have been warned 🙂

Love Tank

I didn’t understand why Gary Chapman’s “love tank” had to be filled on a daily basis.  I thought a consistent pouring would be enough, so says me who was filling the tank.  Now, I am purposefully on the receiving end of that and I get it.

One of the things I love about my husband is that he makes me feel emotionally safe.  The moment I feel emotionally unsafe, all is lost for me.  It doesn’t matter how great of a job he did just the day before in making me feel safe, today’s emotional robbery can leave me feeling like I have never been loved before.

When my husband stands up for me, supports my decisions, agrees to my choices especially in relation to my big kids, I feel emotionally safe. He makes me feel emotionally safe in other areas as well but areas concerning my bonus children are a quick hot button.  If it’s pushed correctly, easy street.  If it’s neglected, all hell breaks loose.

Last weeks subculture creation was the lightbulb that I needed to see the importance of daily filling the love tank because I found my own tank on empty. While I prayed and shared with God my feelings and my thoughts on the subculture creation, I pulled back the many layered emotional onion and realized, only as I said it aloud, that my husband’s scheduled visit made me feel unsafe.

The potential of this subculture sent me into a self-preservation cycle. All my thoughts have been centered on taking care of me and Jazmine because I can’t trust my husband to emotionally do for me/us because I have to prepare for him to do for them. I was thinking through how I was going to have to operate as a married-single parent, which is something I NEVER EVER wanted to be, because I can no longer count on my husband to put me first as his wife.  It sent me into baton-down-the-hatches-panic mode.

I tried to stay cool but my efforts to stay cool only created a coolness between us.  I turned undemonstrative to him.  I was very distant because emotionally, I could not afford to be close when I did not feel safe. I am task oriented by nature anyway so I became even more so.  Daily chores now check marks to be completed without emotion.  There was no love in my making dinner.  My verbal response to his efforts to engage me in conversation was short and quipped. My goal wasn’t rudeness.  I was trying to protect myself but all of my efforts to remain silent  and pray through resulted in the same behaviors I used to have when I was angry with him about something that I wanted him to know about already.  Even though my motive is different, on the outside, it all looks the same.  I can’t win!

I realize that this is an automatic response for me to shut down all emotion when I feel my emotions been threatened.   I realize that is it habitual.  I have to learn how to behave outwardly while I pray my way through inwardly.  Wish I knew the answer to this one already…

Just One Day…

I’m going to get really real with you all in this post.

This is a no holds barred, nitty-gritty, bare bones honest post.  I am not dressing this up at all.

My family is beginning a subculture and I DO NOT LIKE IT AT ALL but I am at a loss for what to do about it.

We have not seen Bella or Scott in months; since May 18 in fact.  Recently, Bella has been communicating with her father, my husband, pretty consistent basis.  That’s all well and good.  I am glad my husband can hear from his child and his heart is joyful because of it.

Here is my issue. For reasons that only the residents of Tanya’s house know for certain, neither Bella nor Scott have been over but my husband is going to go down to visit them at Tanya’s house next week. I am not feeling it.  This is the beginning of a subculture within a culture and I DO NOT LIKE IT.

I am no longer disillusioned by my original goal(s) when I walked into our newly created bonus family on our wedding day.  I no longer seek what is not there.  I no longer seek a working relationship to be where I am the only one working for that relationship with my children’s mother.  I no longer try to walk to their drum.  I do see things for what they are and hear what people say they are by watching what they do.

I don’t know if Tanya is going to be home when my husband goes to visit.  I don’t know if he plans on taking the kids out when he is there or if the visit will at their house. I do know that after not seeing his child for months now, the visit will not be brief and from what I know of Tanya, I FULLY expect her to beat a path to her home while my husband is there.  I also know that if he does take the kids out, it will be yet another time of “whenever Daddy is over we get stuff”  which, to me, is not building a real relationship but more milking it for all it’s worth.

When Bella graduated from elementary and middle school, Tanya made sure she got her “family” pictures of my husband, Bella, Scott, and herself.  There was one that included Jazmine and I but that was generic because Brian was not in that one.  It was just me and the kids.  I know what that is.  Don’t use my husband to create “your family”.  I hate that!  And now, this visit is going to feed that mess.  Yes, father and daughter need to see each other.  No, it should not matter where.  But this is not just about father and daughter although it should be. I am trying to stay in my lane, not voice my displeasure because I know my husband and I trust him but this isn’t about him.  This is about a trifling woman and the manipulations a child has learned playing out and I am heated about it.

The only weapon I have against this attack is prayer.  It is a very powerful weapon indeed but I wish there was something I could do or say but with these sticky bonus mom situations, silent prayer is often the best way to go.

If you are wondering why I said “weapon” it is because this subculture is divide and conquer.  It is not supportive, inclusive, nor accepting of wife and family.  I am tolerated, not respected, which, personally, I could care less about but when you start to pull at my husband!!!! I crack my knuckles and get loose because now someone’s getting a beat down.

I know my role and Tanya nor my bonus children are a threat to that whatsoever.  If I ever felt that they were a threat, I would have to get my mind right first and communicate with my husband.  We deal with our stuff between us.  Every other factor can be removed or pushed back to its appropriate place.  This divide and conquer bull crap is an attempt to make something for themselves with my husband.  It’s “your single neighbor asking if your husband can come over and cut the grass for her” on steroids!  At some point that heifer is going to have to hire a professional! My husband has his own yard to worry about!

Going Public

Did you know that if you Googled “Christian bonus mom” this blog is the ONLY result listed!  There are only four results that meet that specific parameter and all four results land you to Wifommy!!! That is amazing!  Then green-eyed monster appeared because my next thought was, “why the heck isn’t the subscription and visit count huge?”

I immediately dove into the “Results for Similar Searches” below the first four results and starting clicking on any mom-herd type of blog.  You know, the mom blogs that are a blog with links to HUNDREDS of other mom blogs.  As I searched through the mom-herd results, I paid specific attention to the categories.  I did not see a section for bonus moms (or the evil term stepmom). I then searched for “Christian stepmom blogs” and BINGO! Page after page after page of results.

Why did I Google “Christian bonus mom” in the first place?  I wanted to see where I fared.  This internet thing is so vast that I wanted to see if my blog would even register with a description of what the blog was about without having to type in the exact name.

In my perusal of the similar results, I came across a Christian mom blog that listed how to network your blog.  I skimmed it.  The information was good but I really am not aiming to put that much work into getting this noticed.  Yes, I hope this blog helps other women.  Yes, I would love to see an increased readership with comments to reply to.  I’d love all the positive things that come with having a popular blog.  So why am I not being diligent about going about it?  I am more passionate about writing the posts than I am about publicizing it. I have blogged under faith that God will lead whomever He chooses to this blog.  I’ve had a poor experience with trying to build something from the ground up before.  I turned into a “just sign up and do what I say” type of person with stalker tendencies.  I was not genuine although I tried to be.  My main goal was my objective without wanting to see what the needs of others were and how something I marketed could help them with what they wanted.  I will NOT be that person again.  Because of that, I ABSOLUTELY REFUSE to  jump through hops, make fake social-networking relationships, and like/follow blogs that I wouldn’t normally read in the first place just to drive traffic here.

That is not to say that everyone who publicizes their blog isn’t genuine.  Amber is a genuine social networker.  She’s awesome and she’s awesome at it.  I am not.

Trust and believe, any blog you see on my blog roll is one that I read, like, and enjoy. No pomp and circumstance here.

(PS. CMB has a series of post on How To Take Your Blog To The Next Level. I did not read all of them.  The only link I skimmed is the link above.  Please check it out for yourself)

Keep your big girl panties on!

I used the phrase “keep your big girl panties on” in a previous post.  I love that phrase.  I think it is a very good metaphor about being mature.  However, I find myself taking off my “big girl panties” (acting immature) and streaking around the house like a toddler (going on an emotional rampage).  So, because I have recognized that in myself, I have come up with a new phrase.  Keep your big girl panties on.

Keeping your big girl panties on means that when you want to act immature (stop praying, stop reading, let people have it and say all that has been on your mind) that is when we are to still more closely to Him cling.  My mother told me recently that when you have been praying and asking God for direction and you haven’t heard anything yet, you continue to pray and seek Gods face.  You cling to God all the more.  That is how you keep your big girl panties on!