I related to this next mama right off the bat, because we are both step moms, and like she says you can’t explain what it’s like to be a step mom until you are one. So I get it, and I live it too and even though it’s amazing you do have days it’s not easy. Some days you want to throw in the towel, but then again motherhood has those days too. Meet Mama Lauren today she was nominated by Mama Sarah, and she talks about life as a mom and stepmom, and how getting pregnant wasn’t so easy.
I still remember it perfectly, the day my life changed forever. I woke up early in the morning, ready to start my work day, just like any other day. Though this day was different. I ran into the bathroom, first thing, as always, and grabbed a home pregnancy test. One of those cheap Wondfo brands you buy off of Amazon. I had tons of them lying in my bathroom drawer. I took the test and patiently waited the 2 minutes you are supposed to wait before looking at the results. See, over the months, I had gained a sort of superstition. That if I looked at the test too early, it wouldn’t be the result I wanted. So after the two minutes was up, I peeked at it, not expecting anything but also a little scared. And there it was. The faintest little second line, but it was there. My first emotion was the relief. I thought to myself, yay my body does work! See in the prior year, when I first started trying to conceive, I was tested as having elevated testosterone levels and subsequently diagnosed with PCOS. I had been through many ups and downs during that year and I was definitely relieved knowing that I wouldn’t have to be taking my temp first thing in the morning, using OPK’s, and taking pregnancy tests like crazy anymore! My second emotion was of course excitement. I ran out of the bathroom right away and showed my husband. Who then proceeded to squint at it and say that the line was super faint, and that didn’t mean anything. But I, of course, knew exactly what a faint line meant. So just to make him happy, the next day I bought a digital pregnancy test just to prove to him that it was, in fact, positive. And it was.
Being a mother was not new to me, however. See, I have been a stepmother for basically ten years now. Which is a whole other journey in itself? There is no way anyone else can know exactly what you are feeling as a stepmother unless they are a stepmother as well. There isn’t even a way to explain it. Trust me; I’ve tried, many times. And I do get along with my husband’s ex, and we can communicate, and everyone is cordial. And my stepson is a good kid and doesn’t get into any trouble, and I love him dearly. It is still hard. In more ways than I can explain.
Ok, fast forward through a pretty easy pregnancy, labor, and delivery. My sweet son is born. The intense amount of love you are hit with right after birth is crazy. I think those emotions are there for a reason. And the more strong-willed your baby is, the stronger your emotions are. Because since the second day of his life, my son has been anything but “easy”. He has and still is what they call a “high maintenance” child. He is very demanding and has been throwing temper tantrums, so it seemed, for two weeks old. He is now two years old and still fights sleep almost every night, still doesn’t sleep all night, , throws temper tantrums several times a day/night, still nurses at night, and is a very picky eater, and his screaming/yelling can be heard from down the street. He does not like to sit and play independently, and he has a ton of energy. I wouldn’t change one little thing about him, but it is exhausting. Mix that in with a teenager going through a lot of challenging school issues and learning difficulties, and life can get hectic. Especially with a husband who works, what seems like, all the time (only four days off a month), and a crazy schedule for myself, working in the public accounting industry as an auditor, and studying for the CPA exam.
Some days, heck some weeks, I get zero downtime. I will work all day, and then go home cook/clean, and then get my two-year-old ready for bedtime. And the nights he fights sleep (which is most nights), I will lay on his bedroom floor, and sometimes pass out. And if I do stay awake, as soon as he falls asleep, I just want to go to bed by that point.
Getting pregnant wasn’t so easy for you, did you want to give up? And what helped you get through this time?
I never wanted to give up. I could never picture myself being pregnant or having a kid. But I just knew that it would eventually happen for me. I joined a ton of online support groups with women going through similar situations. It really helped me. I learned a lot not only about fertility, but also my own body. So that, I am thankful for.
Being a step parent is incredibly hard, how would you describe your relationship with your stepchild?
I have a great relationship with my stepson! I am very fortunate. We have been in each others lives since he was five, and I was 18. He is such a good kid (minus the typical teenager attitude). He has never once made me feel like an intruder or an outsider and when I moved in with him and his dad a long time ago, it was such an easy transition.
What can you confess to us as a mother that you do that you wish you didn’t do?
Lose my patience. I am not perfect, nor is anyone else. But I really wish I could be more patient. That isn’t to say I am never patient. Because sometimes I can be extremely patient. But everyone knows kids like to push buttons. And I do get frustrated at times. Luckily me and my husband usually team up and when one gets frustrated, the other takes over.
Luckily, my son is pretty good in the morning. He will sit down on the sofa watching cartoons, with a snack while I get ready for work. Once I am done getting ready I get him changed, make lunches and head out the door. I drop my stepson off at school and then take my toddler to daycare. My husband usually picks up our son from daycare after work and we all get home around 6:00. I cook dinner while my son is usually destroying something or throwing a tantrum, while my husband tries to entertain him. Then we sit down for dinner, which lasts only a few minutes since my son won’t sit still very long. We play for a little bit. Then while my husband gives him a bath, I wash dishes, clean, and vacuum. We have two dogs as well so we usually vacuum at least twice a day. Then 8:30 is bedtime for the youngest. Which usually is a fight. He typically doesn’t fall asleep until 9:30/10:00. And then my stepson’s bedtime is 10:00. After it all, I pretty much just go to bed as I am too tired for any “me time”.
I’m exhausted reading your schedule, do you have help? And how do you make it all work?
As you can see in the previous question, me and my husband do have a pretty good schedule. We juggle things around so that everything gets done. It isn’t like that every night. Sometimes I have to work late or travel, and sometimes he has to work late, but for the most part we make it work.
Now that you have told the Mother Effin Truth, who do you want to nominate to tell their story as a mother? And why?
I would like to nominate one of my best friends Lindsey. I have known her since we were just infants. We grew up together and she is an amazing woman. She has two young ones and does an amazing job. She means a lot to me! The second person I would like to nominate is another step mommy friend of mine Diana. She has a toddler and a step daughter. She is an awesome mommy and step mommy and always makes sure her kids have fun in life.