All tagged LLife as a Step-Mom

Twenty years ago I became a Mother for the first time. It was nine months in the making.  Nine months with an up close and personal relationship with my shiny white toilet bowl. Many nights I wondered as I hugged the toilet bowl for dear life - what genius had coined the term morning sickness anyway? How dare they give an expectant mother a false sense of hope that it would magically stop when the clock struck noon. Try the stroke of Midnight with an emotionally spent expectant mother sobbing on the bathroom floor in complete darkness.  

I remember the day Raylan's Ex Wife (one of them) said I feel like Lisa has totally REPLACED me - Raylan and I were not married, nor living together. It had come on the heels of Raylan telling Greta how happy we were to be taking the next step - living together.

With one brush Greta had tagged me as Raylan's Replacement Wife. A woman stepping into her shoes; the ones she no longer wanted to wear, but didn't want anyone else to wear either. Only to me, I didn't feel like I had replaced her, nor Raylan's other Ex Wife - I had brought my own pair of shoes to wear to my own party. People from her life were apart of the new life Raylan and I had created - I was not apart of the life she had chosen to leave behind.  

As an Ex Wife myself - divorced from my Ex Husband 17 years now - I don't recall feeling like Dick's Wife had replaced me. It didn't mean I wasn't innocent in discounting her role.

Every New Years Day I make a resolution; THIS is THE YEAR I'm going to lose my extra 10 pounds! Only to find myself every New Years Eve still holding out hope that those ten pounds will magically disappear at the stroke of midnight! Then there's my 7 resolutions I make as a Wife, Mom and StepMom that bears repeating year after year.  Following them religiously makes my life as a Blended Wife and Mama a much happier one. 

1. Give your StepKids a break when they screw up from time to time. 

My third Mother's Day, my Ex Husband Dick was living with his girlfriend(now former wife) who he had bestowed upon her the title of MOM to our daughter.  I had unceremoniously been demoted to the Lisa (The Pesky Bio Mom he tolerated thanks to the legal system).  That particular Mother Day's fell on my Ex Husband's weekend. Which made me all the more adamant that I would get MY time with My daughter on that one Sunday in May if it killed me. 

I've-been-lucky-to-be-apart-of-raising-three-kids. One Bio - Two Step. Hers-His-And-Ours.

I was laser focused on proving to myself  - to my Ex Husband - to his Wife and anyone that would listen really that I was in fact THE MOM. What better way to do that than on the one day designed specifically for Mom's - Mother's Day! Showcase my Momness while the world is watching. 

I hate to admit it, but I've been watching Mrs. Eastwood and Company.  It started out of flat out curiosity (Dirty Harry's wife after all) and, well, my secret love/addiction to reality TV. That initial curiosity quickly turned into a real love of the show in large part because I immediately identified with Dina Eastwood.  

Dina is married to a older man with children from prior marriages/relationships. Although,  Dina is a Step Mom to six kids, with a wide age difference - her blended family and child rearing has included one of Step Daughter - Francesca - a few years older than her own daughter she shares with Clint.  

Dina and Clint have raised the two youngest girls as a family. Both Dina and Francesca are quick to point out that Francesca is close and spends time with her Mom. Right there the show had me - you can raise a close knit family and your kids can still have a healthy - positive relationship with the other parent! 

Mrs. Eastwood and Company on E!

While I identified with Dina the real connection came when she said essentially - Francesca is my Step Daughter, but feels like my daughter in every way and one of my favorite people in this world!  And there it was - I was totally hooked! I would absolutely say the exact thing about Little Hart. 

When I agreed to marry Raylan, we had been living together for six months - attempting to blend our three youngest on a 50/50 schedule.  Halle and John lived in an apartment nearby. Chris lived with his Mom an hour away - spending the occasional weekend.  I thought I knew exactly what I was getting into when I agreed to marry my Hubby. Then life took over and I realized I knew nothing about the life I had chosen. 

When I shared with my Hubby the "that should be interesting" comment he shot back "I hope it's interesting in a positive way!"  There's a positive and a negative interesting? Didn't know.

It wasn't an uncomfortable, akward silence nor was it a relaxed atmosphere either. We had a rhythm as our Team/Family of Five and Jax, Little Hart and Greta had their Family/Team rhythm. Jax and Little Hart were caught in between - am I this kid or that kid.  It would take a few for all of us to adjust to the different makeup and find a new one - all it's own for this temporary scenario.

Things started to loosen up with the commencement of the the Hartman Family Game aka the Yellow Car Game.  Everyone except me was playing including Greta. I stopped playing years ago to referee who belt out the Ye first.  It's a game my Hubby says "we're always playing!" Don't enter vehicle unless you can handle the pressure. Raylan happens to be just a tad bit competitive or is that Jax or maybe it's Little Hart?  Gee I wonder where they get that from????

A few hours in something interesting happened! We had stopped for lunch and to fill up our gas guzzler - Raylan and I had rented a Yukon XL to transport all of us and our baggage for the trip. It was a big mother. Eventually, we were back on the road maybe 5 minutes, when the car swayed just ever so slightly. The girls yelled out a loud, sharp "Dad!!"  It's not uncommon thing for Raylan to mess around.  

Raylan: I'm seriously not doing anything!  

Girls(indignant): Sure Dad.  

Raylan: Um --- we have a tire problem

Ten seconds later our right rear tire completely blew apart -  we were driving on the hub cap. Scary!