Tuesday, June 30, 2009
I'm soooooooo looking forward to this time with him and want to saturate myself with as much couple time as I can get. I'm self-banning any non-essential to-do's for the next week.
Basically, I'm going to have to quit you -- for a week.
I (or this blog) is taking a blogcation until July 6. I know I have been light on my posting the past few days but I promise to come back with a vengeance.
Wish me lucky and fun ladies! My husband awaits...
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
These are harsh and unhealthy words to dish out and I try to keep them to myself. If this past year has taught me anything, it's that we are so much more than how we look on the outside.
Despite being proud of what I've done in this life so far, I practically disowned it this past Saturday when I wasn't able to do an invert in my pole dancing class.
You see, I haven't been able to do an invert for the past 6 weeks. And I know the reason why: I've gained back 20 pounds and my body doesn't have the strength it takes to hoist itself upside down.
Nevermind that I can climb the same 10-foot pole and spin tricks around it. The fact that I can't invert has me beating myself up.
I never realized what an emotional eater I was until this year. I'm drowning feelings of loneliness and exhaustion with ice cream sandwiches and Kashi bars.
Many people have recommended I lose the sweets and throw more low-fat fare into my pantry, but all I'm going to tell you is that I can't for reasons which I won't get into on this blog. In fact, my pantry has to be filled with full-fat everything just in case the kids need to have dinner, make lunch, etc. at my house some night.
Despite all of the good things in my life right now, all of this alone time has left me feeling lonely. I'm filling the loneliness with food because it's available to hang out with me whenever I need it unlike a lot of my friends who have husbands, pets, kids and lives that need their attention.
I'm trying to seek out new friendships and to have more of a life outside of the house, but it's difficult when you're constantly "on call" to pick up the kids from camp or keep them for dinner a few nights in a row.
I miss my husband. I miss the emotional connection we've had when he crawls into bed and tells me he loves me before going to sleep.
I plan on talking about this during my next therapy session, but I'm curious -- are you an emotional eater and how do you manage to keep your eating in check when you need that emotional connection?
Saturday, June 20, 2009
I've only met with him once and am practically scheduling my next appointment as I type, but in the one meeting we had, I feel like I unlocked an enlightening door to my brain -- sort of the opposite of Pandora's box.
When we did our obligatory introductions, I almost felt a little too, what's the word...proud? "I'm this and that and I do this, this and this, and I also take part in this, this and this..."
When I regurgitate my personal resume, I myself sometimes wonder how I have time to fit it all of in. I get a lot of people asking me the same thing. My response is somewhat canned, "Caffeine and lots of it."
Time management aside, I have found myself pondering the reasons behind why I feel hell-bent on keeping myself so busy. You could argue that with my husband not here and the kids with their mom most nights, I have a lot of time to fill, but that's not it. Because it's just me, I'm acting sort of like a single parent. So it's on me to get dinner ready, the house cleaned up, mail sorted and paid, etc.
I actually know one of the biggest reasons why I keep myself so busy: I couldn't succeed at one thing. Child creation is supposed to be inherent to a woman's body and I couldn't do it so I've spent the last year chasing after other things to make up for it.
I always felt like there was a word for that feeling and my therapist gave it to me: Validation.
I never realized how strong an urge Validation was until I really examined my feelings and motives behind so much of what I do:
- I created Stepchicks because I wanted to validate my feelings of helpfulness to other stepmoms.
- I co-created The Stepfamily Letter Project because I wanted to further that feeling of helpfulness by letting people get things off their chests.
- I do pole dancing and karate to validate that I'm not scared to try interesting things.
- I do a lot for my stepkids because I want the validation from myself and others that I really am a good parent.
- I help my kids' mom out because I want that extra validation that I'm a good friend.
There's a lot more that I do that is validation-seeking but in a nutshell, I do things because I want to feel needed.
I'm attracted to situations where people or situations need a person like me -- organized, genuine, practical, a good leader. If any potential future employers are reading this, I'm a great catch!
Understanding my own need for validation has gotten me to think about a lot of what other stepmoms do in their own families and why they might get so frustrated:
- Do you plan parties or outings for the family even though no one wants to go?
- Do you make nice with the ex even if you don't want to?
- Do you bite your tongue when the kids say something rude?
- Do you pick up after everyone even though they made the mess?
- Do you ever find yourself resenting everyone -- including yourself?
Do you see my point? I wish I could offer advice other than to say that you are a great person. Sadly, being a great person barely helps you get out of bed in the morning. We all do things to validate that feeling of being good, kind, needed and wanted.
Take a minute this Father's Day weekend to ask yourself in what ways you seek validation and why.
Friday, June 19, 2009
Recently, my stepdaughter told me she wanted to learn French. Despite her friends' probability of taking Spanish in high school, she secretly wants to take French. I admire the girl. She likes to stick with the crowd but will often surprise you with a few revelations.
Having taken four years of French in high school and then another four years of it in college, I'd had enough elementary French rambling around in my brain (as well as a French 101 textbook) to teach her.
Her brother has hopped in to our lessons and now we try to speak as much French as we can when we see each other.
Maybe it's my own self-validation, but seeing the excitement in their eyes when they've learned a new French word feels good. I feel like I've fulfilled some sort of stepparent obligation to teach them something no one else in our family could.
And that is...tres bien avec moi.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
I've got 5 brand new copies of Stepmonster sitting on my desk as I type. And I want YOU to have a copy.
For this give-away, all you need to do is fill out the form below. It's a Google Doc Form and won't scrape your e-mail or anything vicious like that. I'm the only one that can see the results. The first five people to fill out the form will receive their own copy of Stepmonster (did I mention it was FREE?!)
I'll be keeping this open until June 26 so make sure you fill out the form soon!!
If you have trouble viewing the form, you can also click this link: Erin's Stepmonster Giveaway
Erin's Stepmom Book Reviews: Stepmonster, A New Look at Why Real Stepmothers Think, Feel, and Act the Way We Do
Whether you're a Stepmom, a Bio-Mom, a Dad, a Stepkid or just a curious sort who is wondering why stepmoms feel like they have a bone to pick with the world, I want you to consider this book your text book for understanding the Stepmom mind.
All of the other Stepmom books I've reviewed on this site have been insightful. They've offered tips and techniques for dealing with your new insta-family, his ex-wife, your new marital status, etc. They all include great tools for improving your outlook on the world Stepmotherdom.
Stepmonster, however, tells you why you probably feel angry, pissed, sad, annoyed, happy, excited, jubilant or disengaged.
You can tell Wednesday Martin (who is also a Ph.D.), has anthropology in her blood. This book doesn't just tell you that you're going to be upset so get over it. Martin has interviewed dozens of stepmoms, stepfamily coaches and therapists to dig into the reasons why you have every right to be upset.
Through research and scientific evidence, Martin has uncovered what feels like a universal stepmom truth: As a stepmom, you really are treated differently in your family. It's not just you feeling the short end of the stick. From African tribes to birds and bees, the "other mother" is often treated with less respect but more often told to get over it and be a grown up about it.
This book is blunt in a way that stepmoms (or soon-to-be stepmoms) need to hear. Martin uses her own stepfamily experiences to illustrate some of the frustrating themes. As you read about her experiences and the other stepmoms she includes, you start to get a sense that you really aren't alone in this maddening Stepmother world.
When I finished reading this book, I felt comforted; actually, more like validated. My feelings of frustration about why it always seems like I have to take the high road when everyone else gets to act like a brat were supported when I read that Martin feels equally frustrated. She spends nearly a whole chapter discussing instances like this and why, as a stepmom, you have every right to act just as "bratty" as the next kid or husband (or ex) in your brood.
Believe me ladies. You'll want to read this book. I give it a big, fat A+
Saturday, June 13, 2009
wife Pronunciation: \ˈwīf\ a female partner in a marriage
Whenever my wife/stepmom life gets me down, I tend to think of escaping it. In fact, escape fantasies are one of my defense mechanisms. I've gone days dreaming about leaving jobs I didn't like; cities that didn't agree with me; and homes that felt uncomfortable.
My first reaction to most of life's hardships is to flee which is extremely ironic because I also have serious abandonment issues, too.
However, I rarely escape the things that make me feel like I'm coming undone. I've always stuck it out because whatever I'm trying to escape is part of what defines me.
When I was contemplating quitting my life, what held me back -- or kept me from leaving -- was a sense of dedication to people who counted on me. I felt a sense of obligation to those that defined my stepmotherhood.
I like to think my stepkids need me. Not just for spending money, but for additional love. The thought of not being a stepmom actually scared me. To a lot of stepmoms, that might sound odd, but it's true -- without my stepkids I would be childless. Without children, I think I would feel lost and empty; almost as if I'd self-inflicted a hole into my heart.
My stepkids are just part of what defines my stepmotherhood, though. I've almost created a brand out of being a stepmom. Stepchicks is growing at a rate I couldn't have imagined. The Stepfamily Letter Project is doing well, too. I'm working with a lot of well-known moms and stepmoms on awesome projects all related to being a stepmom.
So what would happen to me, to those relationships and to those projects if I was just a single girl who was a former stepmom?
I wasn't willing to find out because, and I'm getting repetitious here, my stepmotherhood is a large part of what defines me -- the Erin you read on this blog and the one you may meet in person some day. While I am many other things -- Karate Kid, Pole Dancer, Daughter, Wife, Sister and Friend, Stepmom is the badge I wear most proudly.
So it came down to what I am keeping me where I am.
My husband and I will figure things out, my stepkid will get healthier and everyone will grow older and wiser and here I'll be, still defining myself as a stepmom first, a wife second and an individual third.
Friday, June 12, 2009
I thought about what it would be like to be able to come home every night to just a place full of cats with whatever foods in the pantry I wanted. I thought of how wonderful it would be to be able to hit the gym on the way home or to go out with friends on a school night.
I thought about how organized my single girl pad would be (again) and how any messes would be mine.
As tempting as all of that sounded to me, what stopped me -- what has always stopped me -- is that I couldn't imagine my life not being what I am right now.
For every stress it brings me, being a Stepmom is part of who I am. It's what's prompted me to create sites like Stepchicks and the Stepfamily Letter Project which help out other stepmoms like me.
Being a stepmom has made me such a better person I'm not sure I could stand who I'd be without my stepmotherhood.
Despite their not coming out of my womb, my stepkids are my kids. If I wasn't part of their life, I would miss them terribly. I don't plan on trying to have kids again and I really, truly hope to watch these kids grow into adults.
If I quit my life, I would lose a friend in my husband's ex-wife. I would lose a person who knows what it's like to be married to my husband and whose family likes me.
If I quit my life, I would lose my wonderful in-laws whom are the best I could ask for.
If I quit my life, my husband wouldn't be in it (at least not in a good way). We have our ups and downs and our marriage is far from perfect, but we have an odd synchronicity about us that I have yet to find with anyone else. I dated a lot of guys before my husband and he's the only one who really gets my sense of humor.
If I quit my life, I wouldn't have the people in it that make it worth being who I am.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
The book had a lot of good insights into the minds of not only stepmoms, but also bio-moms.
Given I am a stepmom and do not plan on having my own children, I do not have, nor will ever have, an idea of what it feels like to be the biological mother in a step or blended family.
I'm a curious sort of person so I figured I'd turn to my friend Jennifer to answer some of my most wondered-about questions when it came to stepmom/bio-mom relationships.
You can bet your bottom dollar I'm going to share what I learn with you, but I also want to include you as well and extend some Stepmom graciousness. That's why I'll be giving away a copy of No One’s the Bitch, A Ten-Step Plan for Mothers and Stepmothers to the first three people who e-mail or leave a question in the comments section that I should ask Jennifer.
No holds barred ladies. If you want to know why biomoms may hate stepmoms, ask it! Perhaps you've wondered if bio-moms ever feel scorned in these scenarios.
Don't delay! Ask your question today. http://www.noonesthebitch.com/
Monday, June 1, 2009
Well, Izzy (and I) are at it again only this year, we're going big or going home. I'm proud -- no, actually, I'm ecstatic -- to announce La Belle Mere 2009.
Izzy and I have put our heads together to throw one heck of an impressive blow-out. We've got a logo, a location and even a few low-cut tops ready for the festivities.
We're planning to host the party in concert with the wrap-up of BlogHer 2009 in Chicago.
Considering making an appearance? Here's what you'll want to know:
What: La Belle Mere, a Stepmom Shower, basically an event where ladies are getting together to cajole and cocktail.
When: July 25, 2009, 7 p.m. to whenever
Where: Chicago's own Lucky Strike Lanes, right in the heart of the Loop.
Who: Stepmoms mostly but if you want to rock it with some hip ladies, you're welcome too!
Why: Because we should honor just how wonderful we are
Hope to see you there!!!
But never fret my lovelies! I have one exciting announcement, a review and some book give-aways to do this week.
Stay tuned. Details coming in the next 24 hours!