I am really excited to share today’s mom. My husband is MMB’s best critic, and one of the pieces of feedback that he shared with me recently was that he thought that it would be cool to share a step-parent. His parents divorced when he was young, and his stepfather is such an important person to my husband and our family, so I really took this feedback seriously. I was introduced (virtually, of course!) to Melanie through a friend, and thrilled that she was willing to be today’s “Real Mom”!
Here is her story:
Mom Q & A
Occupation? Communications director at a law firm
How many children do you have? What are their ages? One five-year-old stepdaughter.
Can you tell me a bit about your relationship as a stepmom: I didn’t meet my stepdaughter until we had been dating several months, in the spring of 2010 and then got married in the fall of 2011. I made a decision to marry both of them and I really wanted my stepdaughter to feel a part of that day. Our cake topper was custom made (from Etsy) – three lovebirds in a nest, two big ones and one baby one. We didn’t light a unity candle – we had a sand ceremony instead. You choose one color of sand to represent each family member. Then you pour all colors into one vessel. Once the sand is combined, it can never be separated again. It represents the bond of the family. And now that container sits on our mantle and the cake topper is in our bay window.
How many days a week/typical hours do you work? 37.5 at the office, I lose count at home!
Do your children attend school/day care? If so, what type? She attends day care. Once she starts kindergarten in the fall, she’ll still go to a wrap-around program at the same facility. (I had to clarify what this was as we have not quite hit school age in our house - A wrap around program is at her day care…parents drop off there in the morning, the child catches a bus to/from school there, and then they pick up their child at the end of the day).
Describe your typical weekday… I recently started a new job, so we’re still working out our new schedule. We share custody with my stepdaughter’s mom, just about 50-50. On the days we have my stepdaughter, we are up at 6/6:15, hoping to be out the door by 7:15, daycare drop off with my husband (luckily, we can carpool some days), 30 minute commute one way, work from 8am-4:30pm, 30 minute commute home, daycare pick up, cook, eat, clean up, play some games or have a dance party (or both), watch a show, read a bedtime story, lights out by 8 or a little after. Then it’s time for some housework, maybe some TV and hopefully some quality time with my husband before bed, which I try to be in by 11ish.
What is your biggest daily struggle? How do you cope with it? As a stepmom, the struggle is about finding my place. This little girl has a wonderful mommy and daddy – they just don’t live in the same house. So, where do I fit in? My husband seeks and values my input, but, ultimately, final decisions are made by him and her mom. And my stepdaughter is a regular five-year-old. One minute she loves me, the next minute it’s like I’m not even in the room. Some days it can be hard not to take it personal.
What is your secret for finding a healthy balance between all of your responsibilities as a mother? I struggle with making time for myself. Read a book? Go for a run? Always seems to get pushed to the bottom of the list, which isn’t that uncommon I don’t think. I’m still working on finding the solution and am open to tips! Since I’ve started my new job, I’ve been trying to carve out a little more time to read – books, my backlog of magazines, my favorite blogs – and I think even just a few minutes a day have gone a long way toward making me feel less frazzled.
What is your least favorite household “chore” and why? FLOORS! I don’t know why but I hate them. My husband jokes that I don’t even know how to use the new vacuum we got when we get married. I’m a very giving wife – if he enjoys it so much, who am I to take that away from him? (Oh Melanie – I agree – I am a really giving wife as well – I let my husband do ANY chore he wants!)
What is your favorite mommy moment? Any time I get a spontaneous “I love you.” I live for those moments. Love this…all moms live for this moment!!!
What is the one thing about your children that worries you and keeps you up at night? Am I doing enough? Am I doing it right? Am I making her feel loved and secure? Does she accept me?
What is your biggest indulgence/thing that you do for yourself? I’ve been making more time for reading and now that it is summer – PEDICURES! Sometimes, it truly is the simple things in life.
What is one piece of advice that you would pass on to other moms? Big picture advice: There’s no such thing as perfect when it comes to this. I do my best every day and that’s all I can do. It’s something I try to remember every day. And some smaller advice for step-parents: I would suggest getting a car seat or booster seat for your car. Even though I moved in almost 2 years ago, I didn’t get a booster for my car until several months ago and it has made things so much simpler. Plus, it gives us the freedom to go to the store or wherever “just us girls” go and that makes things really nice. I love this one…truly helps from a relationship building perspective and something I never would have thought about!
And for fun…
You’re stuck in an airport with a 6 hour delay by yourself with your children, what 3 things would you want to have with you? The iPad, the iPad charger and Goldfish crackers
Thank you SO much to Melanie for being today’s “Real Mom”!!! If you are interested in being featured as a “Real Mom” on Mastering Mommy Brain, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!