Why Being a Step-Mom Takes Work

I’ve decided to write my second post mainly because the holiday season is ALMOST over. The majority of people consider the season to be over after New Year’s Day. Sigh. Well, not me. I started taking my Christmas decorations down on Christmas day. Let’s be honest here, as adults, most of us have lost the spirit of Christmas. We aren’t counting down the days because of sheer excitement. We are counting down the days to determine how many gifts we can buy before we get our next paycheck. It’s a constant struggle between making sure everyone is getting what they want, as well as making sure all the kids, in different age ranges, can’t compare if they got the same amount of gifts as Johnny.

I have six kids, and in this madness, there are five boys. Their ages are 15, 14, 10, 9 &6. Let’s break this down. The 15-year-old understands the cost of living in today’s world and just asks for a couple of things he really wants, but they are pretty pricey. I consider his list and know that he takes care of his clothes, he doesn’t expect a lot, and he appreciates the gifts when he opens them. My 14 year-old step-son, didn’t provide me a list, so he got a few random items to have something to unwrap and a “get out of jail free” gift card with a good amount of money on it.  My daughter who is 12, was the easiest. She was specific, she was made very aware what SHE would not be getting. You can call her list “MY WISH LIST IF I HAD ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD.”  I bought her some girl stuff and wrapped it all pretty and she was satisfied. 

Now, the youngest three boys is where it gets tricky. The 10 year-old is counting everyone’s gifts to make sure he is getting the same amount of gifts to unwrap, the nine-year-old is looking at everyone’s gifts wondering why he didn’t get what my 15-year-old received & in the meantime the six-year-old step-son, has a look of disappointment on his face when he opens a board game he has never heard about. Hi-Ho Cherry O!??!! WHAT? That gift was pushed to the side.  I start hearing chatter, laughter and some high fives and realize I was stressed for months, for no reason. HOW DID I GET IT RIGHT? I got it right, because I listened. Throughout the year, I would take note to things the kids would mention, say, discuss, show interest in or want. I made sure each gift was individualized. I remembered each gift they unwrapped and could explain to them why they received that specific gift. I was invested. My personal Christmas spirit may have disappeared years ago, but, I made sure I was invested in keeping my family’s Christmas spirit alive. 

Even though it was over in a flash and there was a mess to clean up, I secretly was waiting to get a gift from one of the kids. My sweet 10-year-old step-son, Carter, handed me a bag. I opened it up and at the first glance a tear streamed down my face. Face it, we all know we are going to get gifts from Santa’s Workshop from their school, where they can buy for everyone in the family for $1! I didn’t care how much this cost, or where it came from, or if it was going to fall apart, it was all I needed. Carter bought me a key chain (I know, wait for it), that said, “#1 Step-Mom.” ( Picture to come later, when I learn how to do it).  I never made a Christmas list, but somehow, I got exactly what I wanted, a little Christmas spirit filled my heart. HOW DID I GET IT RIGHT? I’m not sure, but that key chain was validating. Don’t give up. One day, someone will tell you in their own way, you’re doing it right. It’s in the smallest of ways, but it will happen.

Now, to finish taking down the Christmas decorations…




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