a Tiny description

a full time artist, stepmother, radio personality, and mom to an energetic Chug dog, tries to get through the days without committing a felonious act. My life is a rickety Zen circus.


Monday, September 18, 2006

on being a stepmother

stepmothers really get a bad rap - "wicked stepmother" and the like. i'm a stepmother to 2 teenagers (16 and 17) and although i enjoy terrorizing them from time to time, it's all in good fun. (till someone loses an eye). a few years ago, i worked at 911, and the kids were convinced i could track and monitor their every move and thought. (hmmm, wonder where they got that idea??). they stayed straight and narrow during their visits to our house. on the rare occasion that i was off work when they were there, all it took was a pointed stare and a "so. where'd you go? who were you with? what'd you do?" i never really specified the "when" part, so they'd foolishly give up all sorts of information, figuring i knew anyway. but - i never told on them. if the biggest sin in their total lives was putting pennies on the railroad tracks, i could live with that. being a stepmother is actually kind of good - if you get the right kids. first and foremost, know that the kids will always come first. you cannot fight this battle and win. just as my mother gave up the newest fashions so i could sport them, i find myself wearing clothes that just came BACK in fashion. know that they will eventually go away to school, and at least the house will be quiet. the best thing about being a stepmother is that you get to hang out with kids that you don't have to be responsible for. i mean, the usual - look both ways, stranger danger, don't EVER have sex until you're 30....that stuff. but as far as the day-to-day discipline...not my job, man. the girl child remarked that she felt like i was her second mom. since her real mom is alive & well, that seemed awkward, so we decided i'd be her cooler, older friend. (till she turned 14 and suddenly i was no longer cool - just older). i was good for rides everywhere though. i heard 2 women griping about their husband's kids the other day while i was in line at Wegmans. it seems that this woman could see right through the manipulation these kids were involved in - playing 1 parent against the other. she kept telling her husband what was going on to no avail. we had a brief trial run at that particular ski jump in our home. i figured my husband was a man - he'd never understand the intricacies of the female mind. so i went to the source - the girl child. i explained to her that she was tearing apart the very fiber of everything that strong women like Susan B. Anthony and Harriet Tubman had worked for. that by wheedling and cajoling, she would never accomplish anything. i told her that her mother was a strong proud woman and would be happy - no - proud to buy her those $79 sneakers, and that she should ask her right away when she got home. girl power. then sent her to the internet to look up Susan B. Anthony. not sure what happened at the other house, but the parental ping-pong ended abruptly. we have very few rules in our house, which is why the boy child and his girlfriend-on-birth-control like it here so much. the main rule i enforce (okay - it's the only one) is DO NOT EVER SLAM YOUR BEDROOM DOOR. ever. i hate doors slammed in anger. so the rule is - slam it and lose it. 1 week off for the 1st offense. 3 months for the 2nd. open air for life after that. imagine a 15year old boy and his hormones....rage, stomp, slam. 1 week off the hinges. yes, i know how to get a door off it's hinges all by myself. even with a 15-year old screaming and crying and begging. rule's a rule. only took 1 time. once after that, the wind blew his door shut and slammed it. he ran into the hall in a panic - "the wind blew it....the wind blew it!" i made like i was headed for the hinge, then gave him a pass. see, being a stepmother is not so bad....a "real" mom would still be arguing the point. i strike terror, then retreat. the 1st Christmas we were married, the kids stayed over Christmas eve. i worked the 3pm-11pm shift at 911. got home about 11:30. saw all the presents under the tree and COULD NOT WAIT till morning. so i made breakfast, turned the clocks around, and made my husband go wake the kids up with me. i told them it was morning. technically, it was. anytime after midnight is considered the next day. they were stumbling into the walls, but made bold efforts to make it to the tree. no one ate breakfast - they were wise enough by then to ask who'd cooked it. once they started ripping into the presents, i confessed. hey - they still talk about that night and it's been 5 years. you can't buy memories like that. ask them what they got for christmas that year.....who knows? but they'll tell you the story. so being a stepmother - not so evil. a little mischievious maybe. but who knows - maybe someday they'll be stepparents and will remember. and appreciate what i gave them from my heart. and that i never ever told when they wrecked their mom's car. L.

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