I remember one of the worst parts about being a stepkid was coming and going from house to house. My mom and dad lived 2 hours apart from one another which meant that I didn't get to see both of them whenever I wanted.
In 7th grade, I lived with my dad while my mom settled in to her new life with my stepdad. Every other weekend I would pack up my bags and my parents would meet half way in between and hand me off like a football.
In the summer before 8th grade, I moved up to live with my mom but the weekend trips continued only in reverse.
I did this same back-and-forth all through junior high and high school. I stopped when I was old enough to drive myself which was pretty much around the time of my 18th birthday.
Fast forward 2o years later and I'm faced with a similar frustration only I'm on the other side of the equation. I'm part of the parenting tribe that gets to shuffle the kids back and forth to our house and their mom's house (which is only a mile away).
The kids have reached a point where they enjoy both of our houses. There's no comparison to the love and comfort mom provides; however, Dad's house (our house) is also in much closer proximity to the friends, food, fashion and fun that the kids are longing to indulge in.
As I've pondered how I should take back control of my life, I've given a lot of of consideration to giving more of the parenting reins back to their mom (at least until my husband is home for longer than 36 hours at a time). Nearly every therapist, court, stepmom and biomom would tell you that's the way it should be -- that it shouldn't be me handling a lot of the end of the day child care (camp pick up, dinner, snack, etc.) and that it should be their mom.
However, if I handed back those reins, I'd also be handing away my kids' opportunities to live a somewhat normal life where they can pop over to their BFF's house without having to cross a major street. I'd be handing back the one thing I wished I could have had when I was younger -- two homes I wish I could have gone back and forth to whenever I wanted or needed.
I wish my husband's job would keep him in Chicago. I'm burned out, lonely and exhausted and have very little in-person support to lean on close to home. My attempts at trying to claim some "me" time only remind me one of the biggest things I hated about my parents' divorce: the shuffle.
What's a stepmom to do?