I’m a Rubber band

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One of my favourite books of all time is “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” This book has done wonders to my understanding the difference between Men and Women in relationships.

One of the most clarifying chapter’s I have found is titled “Men are like Rubber bands”

Essentially this chapter describes one of the emotional cycles men experience. This phase involves getting close, pulling away, and then getting close again. John Gray the author wrote “When a man loves a woman periodically, he needs to pull away before he can get closer”

So this morning while travelling to work I was thinking about what I wanted to blog about next, and then it hit me – I’m like a Rubber band when it comes to step-parenting.

I was feeling guilty. This morning’s quick 30 minute rush to work is the last time I will see my step-daughter until her next visit. I had removed her from the bathroom while I was showering telling her to play with Barbie until I was ready for us to go downstairs when usually I would let her watch me as I do my hair and makeup. Seems minor I know.

To be completely honest I was really, really looking forward to coming home today to a quiet, clean home. This afternoon will be all about kicking up my feet, pouring a glass of wine and not requiring to pester about eating dinner or be concerned about baths and bedtime.

I was ready to pull away.

Below is a summary of how John Gray explains the need for men to pull away like rubberbands.

“He may love and trust her, and then suddenly he begins to pull away. Like a stretched rubber band, he will distance himself and then come back all on his own. A man pulls away to fulfill his need for independence or autonomy. When he has fully stretched away, then instantly he will come springing back. When he has fully separated, then suddenly he will feel his need for love and intimacy again. Automatically he will be more motivated to give his love and receive the love he needs. When a man spring back, he picks up the relationship at whatever degree of intimacy it was when he stretched away. He doesn’t feel any need for a period of getting reacquainted again”

The first evening SD comes to stay with us each fortnight, I am always really excited. I plan exciting things for us to do and anticipate an enjoyable weekend. You will see from my other blog posts that I adore my SD and that my most hated notion is that of “Disengaging” so you can understand why I felt guilty this morning.

But, by the end of the weekend I am emotionally wrecked. She is 3 and can be challenging at times. Most of the time she requires continuous attention. Like, the friendly reminders to focus on eating dinner before playing, me getting woken up in the morning to a teddy bear being thrown at my head (3am), back-chatting is the new thing when we enforce rules  (For example; the most recent when being told to eat her dinner “No daddy, Mummy said I don’t need to eat my dinner, if I don’t want it I can just watch TV”) and we cannot relax on the couch without her jumping on top of us.

SD really craves attention, sometimes a crazy amount, meaning conversations between my partner and I are often interrupted by a “Look at this” (however nothing important to look at) Coming home the first thing BF talks about is Kindergarten, before I can even express how my day has been. My things get ruined (currently missing an expensive Tiffany and Co bracelet along with other things!)

I seem like a big nag, but when I am living in seclusion with my partner 70% of the time and then have to transform into a supermom it becomes overwhelming.

Bio mums are accustomed to loving their children, and they reap the rewards! Some of us SM’s are trying so hard to build a healthy relationship with these children, while also ensuring their relationships with their partner continues to flourish. For Bio Mums, more often than not the child will naturally love you.

We feel judged constantly, hoping we are doing a good job for our partners/husbands, many times we bite our tongues because we believe it “is not our place” when disciplining. Our minds are constantly flicking through what we would and wish we could do differently. And to add to this cocktail of emotions, we love our Stepchildren and feel guilty when we yearn for a break. (or maybe this is all just me?)

But for now until I see her again I need to pull away stretch out my rubber band as far as it can go. I will focus on myself and my relationship, have me-time, be the centre of my partner’s attention, have an emotional and mental break and not feel guilty. Because I am doing this silently and lovingly. I looked after and cherished my SD while she was in our care, and by the time she returns my love tank will be full again for her, and I will be able to do it all over again.

I may also need to “pull away” while she is with us, hide in my safe place, put her to bed a little earlier, shower with no disturbance, or read a book… anything. And I won’t feel bad. Because once I have pulled away I know I will spring back to the same warm, devoted place.

Sometimes all we need is a little break to save us from turning into “The Wicked Stepmum”

A love letter.

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Just in time for Valentines Day, a love letter to my StepDaughter.

 

Dear Stepdaughter,

I met you when you were a little baby, not even 2 yet!

Your daddy had been very sneaky and invited me over for a “friendly” dinner. When I got to your house there was a married couple, another long term couple, his best friend and a new date. And your dad and I, so obviously I was your dads date that night.

We always laugh about this evening nowadays.  He was very sweet to me that night, and cooked an amazing dinner for us all. I was just wearing a black singlet dress and leather jacket, very casual. Your daddy won’t agree with me on this because he always tells me I was dressed in a sexy, tight dress. Daddy must have really liked my dress because he kept offering me martinis.

Daddy and I worked together beforehand and I had heard many stories about you. I had also seen lots of videos and photos. Daddy knew that I loved kids, especially cute ones like you.

So that night he did another sneaky thing….

Everyone was sitting around the table chatting after dinner,  he went into your bedroom to check on you while you were sleeping, and then he came back with you in his arms. He passed you straight to me for a cuddle! See, sneaky! I always pick on him for this, maybe it was you who won my heart first and not him (it probably was)

Your daddy was going through some hard times and was living with another good friend. Because daddy and I still worked together we went out for dinner and drinks after work all the time and very rarely stayed apart. I like to think that I helped him through this hard time, many of his friends have said I defiantly did. It was so good to see him realise how much of a great man he was and to see him smile.  Getting to know your smart, caring and generous dad was one of the best times of my life.

I really began to like him heaps, and then I fell in love with him. But not just him, you too!

Daddy and I eventually moved into an apartment together and you came to stay at our place on the weekends. You absolutely loved Elmo then, until you discovered Toy Story! We watched and over and over and OVER again. And you had to take your Woody, Buzz, and Jesse toys everywhere!

One of the things I cherish most was when you were just learning to talk. You couldn’t say my name properly, and all you could say was “Me”. Sometimes when you were in your room, or wanted my attention you would call out “Meeeeeeee!”. Everyone thought you were a crazy kid (especially me and daddy!)

Our first together Christmas I bought you a Hot Pink Eletric Hummer! When I was little like you I always wanted one. Daddy thinks I was trying to relive my childhood through you (maybe I was a little) and he secretly thought I was going to try to fit in it. You weren’t a very good driver to start off with, only going around and around in circles and always took your hands off the wheel. But now that your 3 you are getting really good! You do laps and laps around the table but at least now you miss the walls!

We always have heaps of fun when you come over.

Now you’re three and a half, you’re getting so tall and have daddy’s cheeky, crazy laugh. You are my little best friend. You and I have girls days at the pool (you have no fear on the slide!) and love snuggling up on the couch watching girly shows, sometimes even daddy can join us but he gets annoying when he tickles us. We play hide and seek at bathtime, I don’t know why but we make the “Jaws” theme song and then do peek-a-boo with the ducky and elephant puppets.

Daddy brought you a Star Wars light sabar like his for Christmas, and you two have pretend fights with them. You usually win. I think he is trying to make you into a little nerd like him!

We had the best day ever on Fathers Day this year, you and I took pictures for daddy. He has them framed above his computer so he can look at us when we aren’t there. We all went to Mount Mee for lunch that day and after a yummy meal the 3 of us did “rolley polleys” down the big hill. It was such a pretty place and we were all laughing so much! Daddy and I were so dizzy after but it was one of my most cherished moments ever, the 3 of us so happy in a gorgeous place!

I could go on and on with stories but for now I want to thank you for a few things.

Thank you for sharing your daddy with me, I know sometimes it might be hard but you will always be his number one, and I won’t ever interfere with that! You and Daddy are both my number one, us three together are a strong team.

Thank you for (pretending) you like my cooking

Thank you for making me feel like I have my own little family, it makes me so happy when the three of us are all cuddled up.

Thanks for having your daddy’s eyes, crazy laugh and so much of his personality. I hope you grow up with his morals and positive attitude towards life, I’m sure you will.

And, Thankyou for being you. You have taught me a new kind of love. I know I am not blood-related but my love for you is unconditional and will last forever, no matter what happens!

I promise to always smile at you and laugh with you.

To be there whenever you need me.

To try as hard as I can to keep you and your daddy happy and provide you with the care and attention you both need!

And to help teach you how to love unconditionally, to stand for what you believe, recognise your self-worth and follow your dreams.

I hope one day you see this letter and you and I can giggle about the crazy life we have shared.

Lots of love,

Your StepMum