Archive for the 'Parenting' Category

It’s me again…

I know it’s been a LONG while but I ebb and flow with this whole blog thing. Some days I have plenty of time to write and other days, it falls by the wayside and it becomes way too long of a break.

I’m diving back in today because I’m feeling like a fresh start is needed. I’ve been on a bit of a downward spiral these past few weeks — everything is feeling like it’s closing in on me and something needs to change NOW.

My biggest issues are my weight, my work, and money. Typical stressors in daily life (for me at least) and I can usually handle them when they come one at a time…but for the past month or so, they’ve all been hitting me hard and I’m feeling like I’m overwhelmed constantly. Not able to breath in enough air to feel like my lungs are full. Not enough money to keep afloat in the Bay Area anymore. What are my options now?!

Anyway…I’m trying to embark on a few different paths that I hope will make this stress melt away (a little bit more than it is now). I’m really interested in getting my weight under control. I’ve always been a bit overweight but after having my son ~21 months ago, it’s been a struggle to get it back to the pre-pregnancy weight. You see, I did really well right after his birth. I had only gained ~25 pounds and after a month, I was back down to my pre-pregnancy weight. It was nice to know that it wasn’t too bad and relatively easy to do but in the months after, I’ve crept back up the scale. Now I’m ~35 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight and it’s starting to really affect my daily life. I don’t want to be the overweight mom that can’t keep up with her very active 21 month old son. I want to be that active mom that smiles and runs with their child. So in order to do that, I’m going to make a concerted effort to carve out time to go to the gym Monday through Friday while at work. I rarely take lunch so hopefully carving out 30-45 minutes will be something I can do. I just need to do SOMETHING.

I’ll talk about some of the other issues as the week goes on…just want to set a benchmark of where I’m at.

Summertime.

This summer has been wonderful so far. My stepson is visiting us and we’ve accomplished many things. A quick look back via my Instagram photos:

A little Guitar Hero.

Whipping cream for strawberry shortcake.

Beach trip (even when it’s foggy)

Our fourth wedding anniversary.

Some mini golf.

And circus shaped waffles for breakfast.

Being a stepmom.

I caught this blog post from Jessica New Fuselier and I could completely identify with it. I won’t lie…it’s difficult being a stepmom.

When I started out just dating my now-husband, he was raising his three kids full time. It was a heavy task walking onto that scene while just just being a girlfriend. I remember initially not knowing how to act but I felt comfortable taking over some of the parenting roles — helping with homework and making dinner for the family. That type of parenting stuff just came naturally to me. It was easy and supportive, just what children crave.

There were days when I was so exhausted from the full day of work but I sat at the table helping my eldest stepdaughter with her math homework for three hours! It was insane but also extremely rewarding. I knew that in this simple act, I was a parent, no matter what the official label.

About three years ago, my husband and I moved out to California leaving the kids in New York City with their mother. The distance between CA and New York City is difficult. We aim to get as much face time with them as possible…Online chatting, cell phones, and email have worked wonders and even booking cheap flights for my husband to fly back for a few days and visit them. I always try to send the occasional care package with some goodies that remind them of their time with us.

Yesterday, I was wished “Happy Mother’s Day” many times by my family and friends and my youngest stepchild was chatting with me about random things and then out of the blue said, “Happy Mother’s Day!” It made my heart swell. In his ten years (and eight knowing me), he actually remembered or identified that I was instrumental in his life too.

I don’t ever want to replace their mother. EVER. But it’s nice to know that I can still be recognized for my efforts even if I don’t have the official “I have born you Mother” title.

Kids! Do I want one of my own?

Ever heard the song “Kids” in Bye Bye Birdie? Hopefully in fifteen years, I won’t be singing to that tune but Bye Bye Birdie is still one of my all-time favorite movies and I can pretty much sing all the songs by heart.

The real reason I went hunting for the song was because kids have been on my mind a lot lately. My own kid…You know, one of those snot-producing, scream at the top of their lungs, needs diapers changed kind-of kid. (Hey, even adults do the first two!) You see, when I got married a little over two and a half years ago, I inherited three beautiful stepchildren that I LOVE with all my heart. They are great kids and I definitely have never been considered the evil stepmother but since it’s a part-time gig, it’s just a totally different dynamic.

I just want a child of my own!

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. It may be partly selfish. I want there to be a little one to call me mother, mom, mommy, mama, or ma. (Any of those would do, really.) I want to be able to make the decisions about child rearing that actually stick. I want to be responsible for this young life, teach it new things and just watch the wonder of it all. I want to be able to have conversations with my child whenever I want and not worry that this other mother will come in and say the exact opposite of what I’m saying. I want to be able to create boundaries, teach manners, and explain the workings of the world.

Some of these aren’t accomplished by being a step-mother. Many of them are…but there are some crucial ones that aren’t, like calling me Mom. I would never ask my stepkids to call me anything they didn’t want to call me…and this is one of those. They just call me Sarah – simple as that – but it’s not Mom.

I’m struggling with this whole “having a kid” concept. I love the idea…but practically speaking, it’s going to be VERY difficult to financially sustain it all. I know people always say “it’s never the right time” and “you can never budget for kids”. It just happens and priorities get rearranged. Right now, it’s looking more and more dreary of a subject. If you have kids, how have you made it work?

Nancy Drew – Are you like her and does it really matter?

I remember beginning to read Nancy Drew books aloud to my stepchildren for the mysteries and her expert solving skills but as I got into reading chapter after chapter, there was one part that always made me pause. When I mentioned the housekeeper, Hannah Gruen, I always wondered what they were thinking. Did they remember why Hannah Gruen was there? Did they fully understand her familial role? Did they question why we didn’t have a housekeeper like Hannah? Could they relate to Nancy even though she had a housekeeper/mother figure?

Nicole from Ms. Mary Mack posted this morning, Reading Between the (Color) Lines which really hit home and got me thinking some more about the topic throughout the day.

Being one part of an interracial relationship and having stepchildren that are also interracial (black/hispanic), it’s always been a struggle to find books, cards, media that caters to interracial relationships — Father/child or husband/wife.

I sometimes wish I could draw because I would hook it up and go sell interracial paper stuffs on etsy or something. I remember a card that my husband had gotten for me where he had to color in the outlines of the cartoonish male so that it would look like him and me. Even our wedding invitations were picked where it wasn’t obvious one way or another. We purposely picked the most vague one where all you could really tell was that the bride and groom were tan(ner than usual…) and it worked…

But back to the book issue. I think it’s very important when children are younger to be able to physically identify with someone they read about. Otherwise, they may think the situation that the character faces doesn’t really pertain to them. I think it’s mostly regarding smaller children and they way they process things at a young age. A book with a white mother and a black father (or vice versa) with an interracial child would help fill that hole that is so glaringly obvious when looking at the publishing world today…I guess interracial relationships are still not considered mainstream and therefore, aren’t worth lots of mainstream media. Hmph, I might just have to do something about that!


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