Blending

There are challenges having a boyfriend with kids.

  • What is my role? I’m not their parent, not their friend. I’m the one that kisses their dad, but am not their parent, but tells them what to do if their dad is not there, if we’re in a hurry or if they’re getting on my goat.
  • No one appreciates my authoritative participation. The kids resent having me involved, the dad wants to do it on his own, other family members feel like I’m not entitled to have a say.
  • No one appreciates my behind-the-scenes participation. Washing the kids’ clothes, putting away their toys and clothes, making sure their sheets and towels are laundered regularly, cleaning the house before their arrival, those small things like checking they have toothpaste and hair bands… virtually unnoticed.
  • No one wants to hear my opinions and ideas about behaviours, activities, bedtimes, and other things. It’s soooooooo frustrating to be ignored or not allowed to input at all.
  • I don’t get consulted much, I’m more likely to get told what the plans are for the weekend. As a result, it’s hard to make plans unless they’re only for me. And arranging holidays is a nightmare.
  • If I was to exit their life, no one would grieve for me. They’d be a little sad for a little while but ultimately, the kids wouldn’t care too much.

There are positives to having a boyfriend with kids.

  • I receive cards, drawings, cuddles, help, chats and more just because I’m there.
  • I get to see them grow, attempt, achieve and develop into young ladies.
  • Children are incredibly entertaining. Whenever they’re around, the house is full of giggles and happiness.
  • Having kids around encourages me to be more adult, to face challenges, to learn from all situations and be a role model for them.
  • However, it’s an excuse to be silly and have lots of fun. I tend to join in at playgrounds, riding bikes and scooters, walks and any physical play as I enjoy being a kid at heart.
  • More people to love.

I just found this article about being a stepmom that’s real, helpful and insightful. Seems it’s a challenge for lots of people.

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Posted in Dating, Inner World, Life, Me Me Me!, My Family, My Partner, Personal Growth

Ire

I head out for a walk on a pleasant spring evening. I purposefully leave behind my phone and Mp3 player but do wear a FitBit – always trying to count steps….

The air is filled with pollens, the gardens green and colourful. I feel light of body but realise soon enough that I am impatient. My head is filled with previous conversations, repetitious thoughts and frustrations and I feel revved-up. Distance passes swiftly, momentum gained with each internal scowl.

I continue my bothersome journey, enjoying the walking, trying to figure out a solution or argue my point. I feel a lack of passion, wishing I knew what-to-do to ease my discomfort. I wish I could feel passion for something. Anything. I breathe in for 4 steps, out for 8. I am still holding my breath so I breathe in for 4 steps, out for 10. Now I’ve let out all of my breath and go back to 4-8.

I reach my destination – to water a plant that I had planted in a garden recently. I turn on the hose and am aware of guests wandering around the garden. They don’t notice me. The water sprays my plant and it hits me – I am angry. I am in awe of the simplicity and purity of my diagnosis. Anger. I feel anger.

Me to a T (image sourced from http://projectlosssheep.blogspot.com.au/)

I feel it. I feel what anger feels like. I am angry at the cigarette butt someone has carelessly thrown in my planted garden. I am angry that my mattress is terrible and I wake with a sore back every morning. I am angry that I forgot to make a few phone calls today. I am angry that housework issues linger without resolution. I am angry that I feel undervalued by my boss, my dad, my partner and many others. I am angry that I have so little time in my day to sort my shit out. I am angry that I am slightly good at many things, terrible at others. I am angry that I balk and fear so many challenges. I am angry at the injustices of women. I am angry at politicians and world leaders. I am angry at dishonesty. I am angry that I feel so powerless to help any cause, that my efforts seem so futile.

I am calm in my anger. I start watering other plants, noticing the quiet raging in my heart and body.

The walk home is not so enlightening but I enjoy my new awareness. I have shied away from anger. I haven’t had healthy dealings with it, tending to repress or very occasionally fly off the rails. This experience of anger feels safe. No distress, no confrontation, just sensation.

I’m hoping I continue to explore anger as the need arises, to feel and express this emotion in healthy creative ways.

And I found some passion to write. Win-win.

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Posted in Inner World, Life, Me Me Me!, Spirituality

Remembering MoMo

Five days ago I wrote the following in a journal:

“MoMo is not well, I’m sitting with him while I write my new moon wishes.

1. I ask that Mo is comforted and given the best care till the end of his days. May he feel loved and find small joys and comforts until he’s ready to depart this world. I love you Mo.”

He left this lifetime three days later and I believe my wish was fulfilled. We nursed him through those final days and nights and did as much as we could to ease his suffering.

He was such an amazing little dog and a privilege to know. So strong and brave, never complaining even when he was pushed to the limit. He had congestive heart disease and tolerated being exercised and me always asking him to walk a little bit more. All he required was a pat in return and some hope that we could go back to the car soon.

Such a foodie, he endured limited rations and a restricted diet. We discovered that limiting salt, carbohydrates and processed foods greatly relieved his symptoms. He never seemed to begrudge us for his boring dinners.

There were so many habits and characteristics I loved in him. Waiting by the kitchen for food even when he hadn’t any energy, his big sighs, lying down with a cheeky eye following me about, his back always against some random object, his face licks, his chin on my hand, self-consciousness, stubbornness that almost matched my own, the softness of his fur, wanting to come for walks even when he could barely walk….. The list is long.

I became so attached to him over the past year and a half. Little by little he became less my partner’s and more ours. I took on most of the walks and outings and began taking on feeding, vet visits and expenses. I became responsible for his care and wellbeing. He needed me and I needed him.

There is still his mate, Yo. He needs help adjusting and is a little lost like all of us. Our bond is different because he needs less care and is a different dog.

I am worried I will forget MoMo or forget the details. I wish I could remember everything. I’m worried that caring for MoMo may have replaced or concealed my desire to be a mum and am concerned about what may happen to my relationship now. The dogs were not the glue that brought us together, I hope I use my extra time and energy for things I wasn’t able to do.

I have to admit that I’m also feeling relieved that I don’t need to clean up wees on the carpet or take the dogs for separate walks or take time off work to go to the vet or worry about MoMo’s health and death.

The timing of his death couldn’t have been more perfect. All of his favourite people were there to say goodbye. No work, time to grieve, us owners absolutely positive that it was time. Afterwards, we placed his lifeless body on his mat so that YoYo and us would get used to him no longer being alive. Straight away, Yo jumped in behind MoMo. Our hearts broke all over again. But over the day, YoYo realised that his mate was different. As did we all. Yo would sniff MoMo’s body then move away.

The burial/funeral was lovely. We all helped dig the hole (YoYo even came to look at Mo in the grave) and finding flowers and covering him up. We placed a large rock on top. With him there was Rosemary, Lavender, Forget-me-nots, Camellias, mint bush and more scattered on top. It was a gorgeous spring day, warm and all the flowers out. MoMo was at peace.

We’ve talked about our grief. The kids have seen my tears bubble over. I feel heavy and removed but am still doing everyday things.

On the day we had Mo put to sleep, we built a tree house in the backyard. I had a big walk and talk with Miss 11 child. We deal. We move forward.

image

Goodbye handsome MoMo. I love you.

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Posted in Life, Me Me Me!, My Family, Winds of Change

Thoughts of Parenting

I tend to reflect on things and upon myself. I’m one of those types seeking to understand and improve constantly. Lately, parenting has been on my mind.

I wonder about my boyfriend’s children. They’re lovely girls receiving messages about the world from their mother, father, extended family, friends, school, media etc. And I’m in there being a role model, friend and parenting figure. Sometimes.

Mostly I see them 2 days a fortnight with some extra time in school holidays. It seems such a small amount. I love children and these two are very dear to me. I still feel a wee bit odd about our relationship and boundaries. See, as much as I love them, I’m not their mum. My connection is through their dad and feels quite flimsy.

Initially, I tried to keep a bit of distance. I wanted their dad to fill the parenting role and for me to be friendly on the side. That didn’t work too well since they saw me as a nice sweet lady and their dad as an ogre. I also didn’t want them picturing me as submissive and passive (for mine and their sakes) so I became more actively involved in parenting at our place.

It’s a strange line that gets evaluated sometimes by both the adults and kids. I worry that they see me as being bossy and cold, that I don’t show them enough affection and that it’s too obvious when I disagree with something their mum or other carers has told them.

But the thing is, I’m NOT their mum. I haven’t had practice at being patient with kids prior to this. I’m learning that regardless of how well behaved they are, their personalities are individual. Now is my practice.

But it doesn’t replace being a mother. A few days a month often feels too few. There are so many things I could help them with. Gaps in their upbringing that I could fill if there was only the time or if I was allowed to make more consequential decisions. Even their dad is the outsider with the mum calling most of the shots. That’s the way it is.

Biological Clock

Oops (Jantoo.com)

I’ve wanted to be a mother since I was a little girl and always thought I would be. Never happened with previous partners and my current boyfriend doesn’t want more. I’ve stayed because I enjoy my life and want to let things play out. But I still have biological urges and desires. I still have a deep ache and longing for a child. I sometimes wonder if I’m missing out… If I’m making a mistake…

I have only a few reproductive years left. Do I really want my own children? Enough to end a relationship? Would I feel closer to my own children? Am I looking for control (making sure my kids tick all required boxes)? Am I worthy? Am I even capable of reproducing?

I feel uneasy sometimes that I haven’t created. My boyfriend’s children, even the dogs, have come with him. Does it matter how they came to be in my life? The dogs are old and will die soon. Afterwards, I can get a dog or goldfish or tattoo if I want to create. I can’t have a baby in this relationship and I will lose all of these connections when the relationship is over.

We have an enjoyable lifestyle, both working, some holidays, socialising regularly. The dogs need extra time and care and I have taken that on wholeheartedly. I love them and they don’t mind my bossing them around. Life works, life is good.

I don’t have a conclusion. Perhaps thoughts are all I have. Perhaps that’s okay.

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Posted in Inner World, Life, love, Me Me Me!, My Family, My Partner, Personal Growth

Dressed down

At dinner the other night, we were talking about how we got together with our boyfriends and girlfriends. About what attracted us to the other and what we did to impress them. My story was unusual. Whilst being hopelessly attracted to Mr Connection, I had decided that he was damaged, had baggage and that it wasn’t a good idea to get involved with him. My own baggage played a role in this decision. So in those crazy weeks I did what seemed natural to me… I dressed down and tried to look less attractive. Of course, it didn’t work since he was too busy picturing me naked. Then when we started dating, I purposely did not shave legs, wear pretty undergarments or make-up. It’s what I do. But my male friend asked me (and my female friends generally agree), why wouldn’t I try to present myself in the best light? Why wouldn’t I want to give those hints that I was interested and to appear primped and eager?

This is when I get confused. I don’t exactly know. Something about appearing keen, such as dressing up for a date or wearing sexy lingerie, makes me feel vulnerable. Particularly if he notices and thinks it might be intentional. It would probably make him feel good about himself but somehow it feel I would lose power or display weakness. Whereas, if I appear to not have tried (even if I am actually trying to appear that way), then I still retain my dignity.

I have no qualms about brushing my teeth in preparation for some kissing. Hygiene is of utmost importance so I always make efforts to smell nice. BO or bad breath are the biggest turn-off.

I do feel strange reactions thinking about my dressing down. It feels sad and kind of fake. When I was a teenager, I wore lots of fun and flimsy clothes or outrageous “Emo” (we called it Gothic) clothing. Fashion was fun and I was easily able to deflect unwanted attention. In fact, I revelled in the attention. Then something changed and I became more body conscious, hiding underneath baggy clothes. Then I became older, choosing modest, bland pieces.

But I wore those outfits for me. I never had any luck with men since I was way too shy. The way I dressed never got me a boyfriend. In fact, I was rejected a couple of times. It seems that being able to hold a conversation, be interesting, answer a question, perhaps be funny… is more important than wearing a skimpy number.

Nowadays, I wear workwear much of the time (actual tradespersons workwear or uniform). Jeans and shirts outside of work. Occasionally I dress up. I don’t feel very feminine or goddess-like in my work clothes. Comfortable clothing is sensible for my outdoorsy lifestyle and for the cool weather we get here. Still, I’m aware that it affects how I feel about my femininity and miss the sense of honouring myself with clothes.

Regarding men, the ones I’ve known have never seemed to notice much about what I’ve worn. They are Australian Men, after all. If I’ve worn fancy lingerie, it’s been unnoticed. Dresses and make-up not commented on. Even whether my body is hairy or hairless doesn’t seem to warrant much attention. Certainly not enough to make an effort for a fella. It has to be for me. And I’m mostly a practical kinda gal… except when I go on holiday and suddenly express a desire to wear all those new unworn items in my wardrobe that are impractical and uncomfortable…

I guess I’ve known all along that what I do with my exterior is really mostly for me. Fitting in with society somewhat, being as groomed or as dishevelled as I choose, finding ways to be comfortable and to let my inner goddess shine forth. I just need to be comfortable with being who I am, the choices I make and being true to myself. I don’t need to make more effort, I just need to be okay with my decisions. And if I feel like a make-over or getting dolled-up, that’s okay too. I’d like to be more comfortable with rejection and not be so worried about what others think of me. I’m getting there.

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Posted in Inner World, Life, Me Me Me!

Confrontational Me?

It’s been one of those days…..

No, not that kind.

You got it – that kind.

Full of emotional drama playing in my head. A couple of issues. Then I apparently offended someone on FB, had to delete a post and apologise to a friend who defends the offended party.

My issues make me feel sad but need some working out, or at least airing out. 

It is a new moon today. It’s usually a full moon that makes me emotional and teary but somehow that’s what today is doing. I’m confrontational too. A bit strange.

I’ll get started with writing out my issues. Updates soon,

S x

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Posted in Inner World, Life, Me Me Me!, Personal Growth

Carrots

She continued to walk towards me and I glanced at my hands, wiping the dirt onto my old jeans. I became suddenly aware of my shiny reddened face, my hair all stuck to my skin and loose from my cap. I stayed kneeling, somehow feeling safer closer to the earth as her clicking heels sounded nearer.

A metre from me, a mobile phone rang out one of those catchy dancy ringtones. The footsteps stopped momentarily as she answered the call ‘Yes?’, then moved away from me in a purposeful beat.

* * *

It’s not a rare gift to be an observer. There are many individuals who like to watch. But it always feels a little devious, like peeking at Christmas presents – that somehow, with enough visual clues, I will know. I’ll know something, some thing that others miss, that’s embedded in the fold of an ear, the double-knotted laces, the brushing of hair off a shoulder. What I’ll do with this information, I have yet to decide. Can I put it into words even? A pertinent question.

And so I sit in a cafe drinking soy cappuccino and a monster piece of carrot cake (which I’ve asked to be served in a takeaway container) watching the man with headphones playing a guitar outside the window, the woman with the voluptuous backside strutting past, the school kids laughing on a bench, the waitresses giving me friendly smiles.

image

Too much cake

In a cafe I sit and write.

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Posted in Creative Writing, Inner World, nature

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