Notthebradybunch's Blog

Labor Day Weekend
September 7, 2010, 12:39 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The weekend was incredibly eventful.  My mother-in-law invited us to the beach for the weekend.  The twist was she decided to stay with some friends and let us have the house to ourselves, which was wonderful.  My MIL is a very generous woman, but is somewhat high strung and worreis about EVERYTHING, which usually makes the trips to the beach a bit of a chore.  She did stop by a few times and invited us to join her an her friends a few times.  Other than her open snubs of me, and my having to deal with the ramifications of her subversive efforts (that I am hoping are finally at an end) I did not have any major issues with her.  She was courteous if not friendly.  The issues I had this weekend were again focused on my step-sons belief that if he courts his grandmother she will give him everything he desires.  This is not to say he is not correct, but it does make it difficult for me to get him to cooperate at the least, be friendly and respectful at the most, with myself.  I understand he has loyalty issues, and feels that when he is nice to me he is hurting his bio-mom.  However, he is one of four, and I really can’t accept behaviour from him without expecting it from the others eventually.  I do not expect him to call me Mom or anything like that.  I do not correct him when he does either.  I am trying to let him form his bonds with me at his own pace, but at the same time, respect and rule following are not an area where I am willing to be lax.  Somehow, he equates following the rules here as torture.  Honestly our rules are pretty simple.  Say Please and Thank You (he says “I’m not your servant”), no TV or Video Games till homework is done (last year homeowrk would take HOURS, this year things are off to a much better start), everyone reads for 30 minutes (this is STUPID according to him), no caffeine after 6pm, and in bed by 8pm.  Here’s my thing, his younger borther does not give me ANY issues with the rules, and while occasionally he can have a smart mouth, I think it is generally him being a kid, the older one wants to fight me on EVERYTHING.  I keep doing research on how to get this child on board with our new little family.  I know he is still adjusting, and it will take time.  It does not help that his bio-mom continues to encourage his toxic attitude towards me.  It does not help that my husband will cave into this child, or that my MIL has the boys believing I pick on the older of the two.  Our rules apply equally to all the children in the house, not just mine, not just his, and out of the 4 there is only 1 who has a problem with them.

The new school year approacheth….
August 23, 2010, 2:54 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , ,

Ahhh school days are quickly to be upon us.  These days are bittersweet.  Trying to get the kids all on a school appropriate sleep schedule is like trying to herd cats.  The kids are excited about the new school year one minute and dreading it the next.  This year we got them on schedule a few days early (had to wait for them to return from their summer vacation time with the ex’s) and tomorrow I am going to run them around all day, so hopefully tomorrow night they will all just crash as soon as their little heads hit the pillow.

It’s rather amusing the start of the new school year.  My husband and I spend hours talking about how things are going to be in “order” this year.  Lets just say we are true optimists.  Kids are kids, and that is as it should be. 

Tomorrow we have “Open House” at the schools.  The funny thing is we actually have to race to the school to beat his ex to the paperwork.  It’s a little sad actually, but she thinks the school is where she tries to focus her game playing.  If she gets there before us she snatches up the paperwork that needs to filled out and holds it ransom.  Some kind of power trip.  One year she filled it out and only included her information.  My husband has primary physical custody.  She doesn’t live in our county and did not have a vehicle at the time.  By filling in only her information, when the kids got sick the school was forced to call her instead of my husband, and she couldn’t even pick them up. 

I get that she wants to be a part of their lives.  We try to include her, but she is a major drama queen.  Last summer the youngest had tonsilitis.  She pasted on Facebook that he had cancer.  We invited her and her husband to go trick or treating with the boys at our house in our neighborhood, she refused to come in the house, sat outside the whole time, and while trick or treating ridiculed everyone she saw and the town that we live in. 

I wish she would just grow up, put some big girl panties on, and be happy that her kids have a great place to live, a good school district to attend, and cooperate with us.

This ain’t the Brady Bunch

So I have just passed the one year mark in my second marriage.  A BLENDED second marriage.  I brought two kids into this marriage and my husband brought two.  We have four kids ages, 13, 9, 8, and 7, three boys and one girl (9).  The 13 year old and the 8 year old (my oldest and his oldest) are ADHD.  We also have a dog, a big dog, an American Bulldog (like the one from Cheaper by the Dozen with Steve Martin).  Our lives are full of comedy and drama, but definitely not the Brady Bunch.  The Brady bunch did not have to deal with ex-spouses (mine lives two blocks away, yay me…), “out-laws” i.e., the ex’s parents, and you never met the new “in-laws”.   And we definitely don’t have a maid, I would love a maid, but no maid appears in our story (sniffle).  I see these reality shows about moms with 8 kids, 19 kids, divorcing parents, and I think if people are interested in different family situations, mine should be right up their alley.

One of the major difficulties they don’t really share with you when you are doing research on how to prepare for being part of a blended family is all the outside interference.  Inside of our house, the six of us, are trying to gel into a cohesive unit.  So far our kids have been part of 3 different families.  First, the family formed by their biological parents.  My ex and I were together for 10 years (my oldest was 9 at the time of our divorce which took all of 4 months to complete), my husband and his ex were together just a shade under 5 years(his oldest was only 3, however his divorce took a while longer).  The second was with a single parent home.  My husband was a single Dad for more than 2 years when we met, I had been a single Mom for a year. We were engaged for over a year (part of which I spent in Iraq, training Iraqi’s). And third, as part of our family, first shacking up, followed by marriage.  My husband lived in my house for a year before we got married.  Family rules did not really come into play until we got married and I came home from Iraq.  I have been home from Iraq just over a year now, and this year has been full of surprises. 

Having been through a first marriage and knowing how difficult it can be to twine to people together to create a new family, arguments about discipline styles, furniture taste, job options, money, etc… I thought I would be prepared for a second marriage.  HA! It is no longer just about him and I, it is about a whole freaking village.  I have to run every decision we make (my husband and I) through what feels like getting a bill passed by congress and the senate.  Take for instance our “house rules” we developed before school started last year.  My husband and I sat down and discussed what issues needed to be addressed to get the kids working together and recognizing their new family unit and the responsibilities we all had to each other.  Lets just say that took weeks.  Then we sat the kids and discussed it with them.  So far so good.  Then we sent this to the people who interrelate with kids on a regular basis. My ex had issues, his ex had issues, his mother had issues….  Arggghhhh! The rules were simple, keep your room clean, we had chores assigned by age and ability for monetary reward, homework was a priority with no TV or Video Games until completion, bedtime routines.  None of the children had issues, it was the adults who wanted to rebel.  The bad part was the ex’s who complained vociferously, failed to offer any suggestions as to how they would like to see the rules changed, even when asked.  They just failed to comply, making us out as the bad guys.  His mother did have some good suggestions, which we included in changes after a few months, but in the end she became part of the problem also.  What will follow in my blog will be snippets of what life is like in a blended family, what all the websites the I researched in preparation did not tell me.