Balancing Act

This week is sure to be another crazy balancing act in our house. Curtis and I both have extra work training to try and fit in this week, and there’s not a lot of compromise that can be done to work around it. It is what it is. But we’re communicating with each other and with my super understanding co-worker (thankfully) and I think we have it sorted out… in theory… knock on wood… standby and go…

We has to make some tough decisions about sports this week. Nolan and Reegan have baseball practice tonight and all 3 kids have soccer games. Curtis also has a baseball game and a soccer practice tomorrow. Allowing him to go to both games would require switching with his mom, but not for practices. Nolan hasn’t swung the bat once in 4 games. He’s done very well at the other aspects of his game, but he’s not swinging… he needs the practice. So does he go to both practices (ball tonight and soccer tomorrow), or is it more important to play both games (soccer tonight and ball tomorrow)? (Hard to follow? …Yeah, for me, too) Sigh… Well, he wants to play the games (what kid doesn’t?) so we had to make that tough call. We did end up deciding to let him go to the games. Reegan’s coach had said ball practice would be cancelled tonight, too. It wasn’t, but we had already told their mom, so all 3 kids will go with their mom to soccer tonight. The only good thing about this is that it will let Curtis visit his dad in the hospital. It does allow us to fit that one important thing into our week. We can’t both go, but we’ll take the wins where we can get them.

Tuesday, I have all-day training, and I have to go into work early and stay late. Both Reegan and Nolan play at 6:30 in town so Curtis might have to do that on his own. I’ll meet him there when I can. Then he has ball Tuesday night. Wednesday, more all-day training for me, same deal, and then Reegan has ball again and Curtis has training at 7 so I have to be home for that. Thursday is the last day of school and Curtis has ball. Somewhere in there, we have to pack for our trip to Ottawa on the weekend and just do regular life stuff. I’m tired already.

I’m just hoping we can stick together through all of this. It was a rough weekend. We have trouble finding the balance we need when his sister is visiting. There’s no middle ground, it seems. It all has to be his way. His sister may have the run of our house when she’s here and I am not supposed to feel uncomfortable or anxious about it because that’s how his family does things. I find the whole thing wholly unfair and that in itself makes me feel anxious and he doesn’t deal very well with my anxiety…so we argue. It’s an exhausting downward spiral. When we stick together and work together and respect each other (because I’m not devoid of blame for the arguing on the weekend), we can accomplish so much. So here’s to balance. And baseball. And family. And wine… because sometimes, wine is the answer.

I also wanted to share a moment of appreciation I had for my boys (yes, I just called them my boys). I have started walking in the evening with a neighbour and she was telling me that when her husband goes out for the evening, her step-daughter goes to her mother’s. She will never stay with my neighbour. She even chose to walk in the rain to the bus, rather than take a ride from her step-mom. My neighbour never takes her step-daughter to sports or just has one-on-one time, and that made me sad for her. She’s fine with it, she has two girls of her own to be an amazing mother to, but I still felt sad. She is one of the nicest, most generous people I know. I would be devastated if the boys did that to me (and her husband would be devastated if her girls did that to him). The boys would always choose their father, and I’m (mostly) ok with that. Even Reegan, who is usually ok with me, clung to his dad yesterday. And that’s ok. I still got to be there with the team and write the recap and be a part of their lives. That feels like a step-parenting win. So, here’s to my boys…

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Reegan’s ball team waiting for Team Pictures

 

 

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Put On Your Big Girl Panties

Our life is never dull. Never. I booked a chiropractor appointment thinking that Reegan didn’t have ball tonight. But he did. And I had exactly enough time to get there if my chiropractor was on time. So I went early to pay before. And she was late, and mildly annoyed that I had to run, and says I need a massage because my shoulders are crazy tense. Worse than usual. Sigh… who has the time…

So I get home and I had asked Curtis to leave the car seat and all Reegan’s ball stuff in the garage. I saw his ball bag and shoes (separately). No uniform, no car seat. Turns out he didn’t leave the car seat and I had to borrow one from a neighbour. Uniform was in the house. He feels really bad. I’m over it now, but I was pretty stressed. I can feel it in my newly-adjusted shoulders. 

On the plus side, it took my mind off the fact that I was picking up one of the kids at Kim’s for the first time. She had once said that I wasn’t allowed to pick the kids up but since then her husband has been picking up Nolan so.. well, time to put my big girl panties on. She terrifies me. I’m afraid of her volatility when I’m there, and the aftermath when I’m not. The whole thing made me really anxious, but I mostly forgot. So… take the win. 

When I got to her house, she was outside with the boys and hightailed it out of there when I got there. I guess we’re still pretending I don’t exist. Well, it’s better than her volatility. Taitum came right over and gave me a hug. That seriously made my day. He even showed me his snails. Reegan was happy enough to go to practice, although he wanted to sit in the front seat and didn’t like Tao’s seat. (Side note: I suspect they let him sit in the front, even though he’s too young (and too small). I’m not sure if I’ll tell Curtis. There’s nothing we can actually do about it and it’ll stress him out.)

So we’re at ball. And I think he’s disappointed that it’s a practice and not a game and didn’t want to wear any of his ball stuff. And that’s ok. We’re here. Without drama (that I know of… she still might take it out on Curtis). Right now, we’re not those parents who have say that they’ll only be there half the time. So if he wants to be the only kid not in uniform because it’s only a practice, that’s ok. We’re winning.


Can you spot him? 

Dealing with parental envy

I always thought it would be the boys mom that I would be jealous of. They adore her and I know I will just never be their mom. And I’m ok with that. I think I have a pretty healthy view of what my role in their life is.

Today, it’s Curtis I’m jealous of. I would never begrudge him a close relationship with his kids. I love how much his kids adore him. And he deserves it because he is a great father. I wish he could see how much they love him. 

While I think the kids all like me well enough (most of the time, anyway), I’ve really only developed a palpable bond with one of them. Reegan (7) wants me to read to him. So every night I read to him. It started because Curtis always fell asleep while reading to him but it became our little thing. Until tonight. Curtis has been asking Reegan for a little while to read to him and Reegan finally agreed. So out I go. Taitum only wants Daddy and Nolan gets both of us. I feel like he crushed the one parenting win I had. I have spent two and a half years trying to build that bond. That was our thing, and now it’s not. Not that the bond is gone, it still exists, of course. But he won, he gets to have that, too. I’m hurt and I’m sad and I’m full of envy. It’s one of those moments where it’s very apparent that I’m not a real parent.

Stepmom Wins

I am getting more involved with the kids stuff. I am (with Curtis’ help) the person who does the write-ups for Reegan’s ballgames. And so far, they’re being very well-received and we’re having fun writing them. (Here’s the link if anyone is interested in learning about how Reegan’s team played: https://mitchellminorbaseball.com/Teams/1143/). So my friend Meghan (Coach’s wife) and I were without our other halves yesterday and we drove up with the kids together to the game. At one point, the kids on the team wanted to practice hitting so I grabbed the pole for them to practice. Reegan took a while to notice and when he wanted another turn, the reason he gave that he got to go ahead of Sean was ‘that’s my mom’. Now, that’s a complicated thing… I’m actually not trying to be his mom, I don’t want anyone to think I’m trying to replace Kim. And if he calls me his mom, that must mean he calls his step-dad his dad (and that will break Curtis’ heart). That being said, my heart melted a little and I let him take an extra swing before letting Sean have his rightful turn. Because… well…

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Here’s Reegan looking very much like his dad in this picture. I always thought he looked the most like his mom, but he’s so much like his dad, it’s a little uncanny at times.

So… remember the thing about Kim taking my mother’s day present… well, on the above-mentioned topic… We got an email today asking for frames for Reegan’s class’s Father’s Day Gifts. And the teacher specifically said that if any kid has two Father’s to send two frames to school. So let’s unpack that… That means she complained. I’m not sure about what, exactly, given that she got the gift with no fight from us… but those words are almost identical to the words that Reegan used. But that also means that no one seems to be questioning the validity of me getting a Mother’s Day gift. What the what? Is Kim not questioning it because she wants a Father’s Day gift for Mike? And Reegan and the teacher… So is she recognizing that he gave it to me? All of this feels a little much for me to process… but somewhere in there is a great, big, stepmom win.