To the stepmama right in the middle of her kiddos time with their mom :
I know that it sucks. I know that you miss the kids all the time. Sure it sucks because you are missing out on so much stuff with them. I know it hurts when you are hanging out with your friends that have kids. It is a slap in the face how much you want a “normal” family, and it’s a reality check that blended family life can be the pits. When you miss the first hit at the ball game, when you miss preschool graduation, when a new movie comes out that you want to take the kids to see, when a memory pops up on facebook, or any of the many times you are reminded of how much you sacrifice being in a blended family, it is so easy to get caught up in this pity party.
BUT JUST LISTEN TO ME
There are a lot of plus sides to this seasonal empty nest thing. Even if all you can think about in this moment is how bad it sucks, I’m here to shed some light on some reasons why it’s not the worst thing ever. Let’s find that silver lining and hold onto it with all we’ve got, because life is just too damn short to dwell on the negatives.
Be Honeymooners <3
Most people have to wait until they are in their 50s to experience extended periods of time without kids in the house. Take advantage of this time while the kids are with their mom. Look at the pretty good silver lining you’ve got yourself. You get all this alone time with your babe! You pretty much get to be honeymooners! This is the one time I think it is okay to accept it when someone says,
“Just wait until you have kids.”
Because it means you get all this alone time when you share custody that would otherwise be impossible. Once you do have an “ours baby” (if that’s something you’re planning on) then you can pretty much kiss all of that one-on-one time with your beau goodbye for about 18 years. For now embrace that alone time! Go on dates all the time! Cuddle on the couch! Be super mushy and affectionate all the time! Be excited about it, because heck you have opportunity to do a lot of things that are not exactly possible with little ones running around… lol
I don’t know if you have tried traveling with little ones, but it is not always the most relaxing experience… to put it gently. Lol Don’t get me wrong here. I absolutely LOVE taking the littles with us on beach vacations, little family getaways, or amusement park adventures! There is nothing more enjoyable than watching your kiddos run around radiating pure joy from new experiences. It is the best thing ever. However, sometimes you want to find a new city, relax with some drinks, stay up late/sleep in, or travel without worrying about sharing an itinerary and/or continuous updates with the kids mom. Take this opportunity to go. Go wherever and whenever you heart desires (and your wallet allows! lol). Travel is so good for the soul.
Find Hobbies You Love
So many mothers get lost in the day-to-day of motherhood. They lose themselves somewhere between the diapers, homework, sports schedules, string cheese, Jo-Jo Siwa, and constant giving of herself. So many mamas give and give and give from their own cup until they are empty. This extended time away from your kids is a reminder to find yourself again. I am so bad about this myself. I drop everything when the kids get here. I know I have told y’all before, but I always feel like I have to make up for lost time. Those few short summer months don’t feel like enough time to get in all the snuggles, chocolate chip pancakes, silly dance moves, and tickle fights to make up for the months we miss. I put everything I have on hold. I skip the gym, I don’t craft, I barely read, and I sacrifice my beloved bath time for these babes. I am trying to get better at this, but I definitely make sure that I use the time they are with their mom to come back to myself. I dive back into my hobbies. Keeping busy with things I enjoy is also a good way to keep my mind off missing my sweet babes.
I know that not all stepmoms are in their twenties, but the majority that I know are still pretty young. Being thrown headfirst into the deep-end of parenthood can make you feel decades older than you actually are. You sometimes feel like you are missing out on your youth. I know that I went from bar-hopping to potty training in just a few short months. It was an adjustment for sure, but something I definitely wouldn’t change for the world! I absolutely love being a stepmom and all the motherly duties that come with that title! However, an advantage of being a long distance blended family is that during the time the kids are with their mom, Dan and I get to act our age. We get to enjoy being young. We get to go out and stay out late if we want. We get to be adventurous and spontaneous. We get this advantage that most parents don’t.
So stepmama, don’t sulk too much in your babies absence. Embrace the time with your SO. Use this time to reconnect, and grow your love. Use this time to do adult things and have fun! Most importantly, use this time to build a happier relationship and a happier you. Find new hobbies or dive back into old ones. I’m not trying to downplay what we miss out on because of our long distance blended family. Believe me, I know as well as anyone how much we lose because of this dynamic. I cry and I can get so upset about it all that it consumes me. So for those of you in the same boat, this post was for you. To help you. So that instead of focusing on what you are missing during this time, you can try to realize what you are gaining from having this little double life we lead as long distance stepmamas.
Love your family, love yourself, and live your happiest life.
xo – jessicanicole.