When I separated form my first husband, I was the mother of a 3 1/2 year old son. I tried to date men who were also parents. I was not sure it was a good thing because the men still demanded time from just me, not me and my son. So back to the drawing board every time when dealing with a woman and her child was too overwhelming for them. I was OK with that because my son was the primary concern of my life and if the potential suitors didn't like it then I was better off without them.
Then one day, I met a man who was the father of a son who was 2 1/2 years younger than mine and his son lived with him! Not a weekend warrior! A man who appeared to really care about his kids. He was fine with doing activities along with my son, and not in a weird or skeevy way. My mother always had me concerned about meeting a pedophile and believe me, I think I did at least once and ran from it real fast!
The years rolled on and we decided to make it legal and we married. I am his third wife and was the only one whom he said was family oriented. I accepted his two older boys from his first wife along with their kids (I became an instant Mom-Mom) and their extended families. His youngest son from his second union was now living with his mother. We had him on weekends but there was no set schedule. Our boys got along as any stepbrothers will, with animosity and friendship seemingly interchangeable. All is well. Or so I thought . . .
Fast forward to the present, five years plus a couple months. My stepson's mother has decided to go on a vacation with her current husband. He is staying with us and it a bit complicated since I have to drive him back and forth to his school as he lives in the school district adjacent to ours. This is a two-week stint for all of us. Adjustments to a fourth person in the house takes some doing when it is more than for a long weekend. Consideration for one another takes on a whole other flavor. Schedules are changed up, especially because I am the only one who drives.
The video game is the great equalizer with the boys but the tension is so thick in the house between me and my stepson you can choke on it. He resents his mother going away yet again, and I don't like being taken for granted. He wants to do things like he does at her house, and we have rules here that he needs to understand. Yes, I know it is stricter here but by no means is this a benevolent dictatorship! I just want cooperation and good table manners and respect. He wants to go to bed when he wants, eat like a neanderthal and act like a typical teenage boy. I know I can't change the last of that, but am I really asking too much with the others?
Look, the mom exemplified as Carol Brady does not exist. There is no way on this Earth that when you throw all of us together and expect candy and roses to bloom is nonsense. Personalities alone clash constantly. And when the stepmother resents the husband's ex-wife and her lifestyle, the stepson resents the stepmother's unwelcome interaction in his life and a husband caught in the middle trying to appease everyone you have chaos! And chaos causes disasters.
I realize it is difficult for me not to criticize but I am not using a double-standard. I criticize and coach indiscriminately. Both boys get it with both barrels. After a traumatic episode yesterday, my husband pointed out that if MY son caused it he would be getting yelled at from the time he was picked up until he went to bed that night! As it was, I blew my top but I held back so that I didn't say too much I would regret.
Today, things are back to somewhat normal. I drove both kids to school, came home, had my coffee and breakfast and will take out something to cook for dinner. I will pick them up after school, at two different places at two different times and double check about their respective homework assignments and make sure they get them done. As of this writing, I am still job hunting, so it is a lucky thing I am this available.
I have no problem making a blended family. We need more than a weekend here and two weeks there or we will never have a seamless transition. Additionally, I know I can never expect it to be easy. Depending on what happens in the next few months, maybe we will have a big change in the dynamic of our household. Maybe it will be pretty much the same, with weekend warrior mentality. But I have learned a huge lesson and that is that teenage boys have raging hormones and it upsets the balance of nature and I have to learn to hold my temper in check. Being 14 is a disease cured by turning 15 which is a disease too and is cured by turning 16 and so on. As is evidenced by my older stepsons, it keeps on going into adulthood so I may as well give up and just bestow as much love as I can . . . along with plenty of my homemade cookies!
Love and hugs gang,