Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Tick-tock, tick-tock...

For a while now, I have wanted to blog about my biological clock. Sometimes, it ticks so loud that I can't sleep. Other times, it seems to have been turned off because I am not even thinking about it. Right now is not one of the latter times.

I work in a NICU. I am around babies all the time. However, these babies don't usually affect my desire to be a mom. After all, many of them are seriously ill preemies, and we are working just to keep them alive and help them grow and get them home to their families. However, once in a while, we get one who is just a little premature, who only has to learn to eat or outgrow his tendency to have As and Bs (episodes of apnea and bradycardia that are common in preemies due to their immature nervous systems). And those are the babies that you can hold and cuddle and coo over. And those are the babies that make you think that maybe it would be okay to have one of your own...maybe, if it happens, not that you will actually be trying or anything.

Most of the time, I am happy to come home from work and go to sleep and not worry about having anyone other than my dog to take care of during the day. But sometimes, like now, when I am surrounded by pregnant people and new moms (my two best friends from high school are pregnant, as are four women I work with, and two women I work with recently had babies...and my cousin is pregnant, and my other cousin's wife just had a baby), I do feel the urge.

This is supposed to be the year in which I get my shit together...the year that I live within a budget (a budget that will require quite a bit of overtime if it is to be met) and get my weight loss on track and keep my house cleaner than I have in the past and act like an adult most of the time. Getting my shit together probably doesn't include having a baby this year. Maybe in 2009...if I have succeeded in getting said shit together. But probably not before then.

But then I think about how if I were to conceive this month, my due date would be my husband's 37th birthday. And how much older do I want us to get before we do start having kids? And do I really even want to have kids? And if I don't, will it be enough in ten years to just be a stepmom and not be a mom?

I am pretty sure it won't be.

Therefore, although I won't say we are trying now (especially since we haven't discussed it in anything more than completely nebulous terms), I will say that I would welcome it if it were to happen. Not quite ready to take steps to make it happen...but not unwilling to let it.

I think that's where I am. At least, that's where I am today.

Check with me when I get out of work tomorrow morning and want to sleep all day. I might have changed my mind...

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Teenage Years

It's an interesting phenomenon, being a stepmom. You find yourself very different from how you thought you would be some day, and while you are happy to be here, there are times that you wish you had been there for your stepchildren's entire childhood. I met my husband when the boys were 6 and 7, so I missed out on a good portion of their upbringing. I wasn't there for the hard times, when their parents were struggling to parent together without being together. By the time I came on the scene, that had pretty much been figured out. And if it had not, I probably wouldn't be on the scene right now.

However, now we have these two teenagers who are doing what teenagers do. They are testing their boundaries. They are seeing how far they can push before we push back. And they are probably doing things behind our backs that we don't even want to know about. CC#1 is certainly living life in a faster lane than I ever lived in high school (and this is only his freshman year!), and I am painfully aware of all the things that can happen to throw him off his road to the future. One decision can be life changing when you are fifteen, if it is the wrong decision. And I often worry than such a misstep will change his life.

We are lucky that they are good kids. They have respect for us adults and do well in school. They enjoy wholesome activities like playing sports and going to the movies with their friends and attending their school football games. However, we can't be with them every minute of every day, and we have to trust them to make plenty of hard decisions on their own. And we have to trust that when they are at a crossroads, and one road leads to a good place and the other to one that may not be so good, they will follow the good road.

At this rate, I will age ten years for every one of their high school years. And I can't even imagine how their mom feels...but I guess we can only navigate this together. And luckily for us, we have gotten good at that.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Expansion Plans

Before WJC and I got engaged, we had broken up. This was because I had finally realized that I was waiting for something that was probably not going to happen. After all, I had been involved for six years with a man who was pretty open about the fact that he was not wild about having more kids. And I was just as open about the fact that I was not willing not to have kids of my own. We were at an impasse, and when I finally gave up, I ended things.

Much to my surprise, several months later, WJC proposed, and the rest is history. We are now sneaking up on our first anniversary, and thoughts have turned to expansion plans. While he is still not 100% thrilled with the idea of starting over with babies in the house, he has come around and realized what a great experience it will be for us to raise a child or children in the context of a loving marriage. It's an experience that he didn't have the first time around, as he was not married and he was very young. He knows that having kids is something that is important to me, and in the land of compromise (we are big on compromise), this is an area where he gave a little more than I did (where we are living right now is an area where I had to give a little more than he did, but that is another story).

We have officially been "not preventing" for about a year now, as I went off The Pill a couple of months before the wedding to get it out of my system. Well, I am pretty sure it is out of my system now, but still I am not pregnant. To be fair, we haven't been trying all that hard. First of all, I work night shift, and when I work a string of days, I see WJC not at all. Secondly, it took us a little while to get settled into this whole married life thing. It is not all sunshine and roses. On those nights when you just want to be alone and not have to see have this other person living in your house and breathing your air. It's a touch one to adjust to.

I also am living in the Land of the Overweight. I have been overweight for just about my entire adult life. I have lost weight at various times, but it has always come back on. I am currently on Weight Watchers, and I am doing well, but I have a long way to go before I will be a healthy weight. However, even just the twenty pounds that I have lost have made a big difference in the way my plumbing is working. When I first went off The Pill, I could count on cycles of anywhere from 21 to 36 days in length. It's hard to aim for a fertile time when you are so irregular. I also, through the wonder of charting, figured out that I seemed to have a short luteal phase, which was something that could cause a problem. However, I realized a few weeks ago that since starting Weight Watchers, I am in a consistent 28-29 day pattern. And my luteal phase this month was a perfectly acceptable thirteen days. Eureka! Perhaps this is the magic that I have been looking for!

This month, I thought we had gotten it all right. I had a nice chunk of nights off work in a row. We had a lot around the middle of my cycle. This could be it! But early this morning, I learned it was not so. Like clockwork, on day 29, I find myself, once again, not pregnant.

The difference now is that I feel like it is an achievable goal. Charting my cycles no longer makes me think that I am defective merchandise that won't ever get working. I know that we have what it takes to become parents.

And until I get that second pink line, I guess I will keep on working at Weight Watchers and keep paying attention to what finally seems to be going right with this body, and I will look forward to the day that I can share some good news with WJC. And I will try not to think about how "everyone" around me is getting pregnant, and I am not one of them yet.

Because someday soon, I will be.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


I have been spending some time hanging out on stepparenting boards, and I am finding out that there are plenty of issues out there facing stepmoms. I am fortunate that I don't have to deal with most of these issues (although being a stepmom to two teenage boys is an issue in itself), but it is still interesting to hear about what is going on out there.

A lot of the posts on these boards deal with the BM, which stands for BioMom (although in my slightly narrow NICU world, it also stands for bowel movement). I am amazed at the number of people out there who just don't have good relationships with the mother of their stepkids. I know I am lucky because the BM in my life (that's the former version of BM, not the latter) does not seem to have it in for me. We have been able to coparent quite successfully. However, there are a lot of crazy stories out there. Women who use their children as pawns in the whole power struggle that seems to exist between them and their exes. Women who send their children to visit their father for the weekend with dirty clothes that don't fit. Women who call at the last minute and ask their children's father to take the kids for an extra weekend...or week...or two. Reading these accounts, you can't help but feel for the noncustodial fathers and the women they have married. I don't know how I would feel if my life ran that way. I am happy that I have not had to find out.

And then, there is the other side of the story. Being with someone in a long relationship that may include marriage and obviously includes children, only to separate or divorce and have to learn to live on your own again, must be an awful experience. When I think of the relationship I have with my husband and how intertwined our lives are, even after only six months of marriage, I can't imagine what it would be like not to be married to him someday. I can't imagine what it would be like not to have him be my husband. And I certainly can't imagine what it would be like to sit by and watch him share our children with another woman who somehow came to take my place. I know that, in our extended family, I am the lucky one. I am the one spending my life with a wonderful man who I love. But I also have to share him...and usually, I am happy to do that too.

It's an interesting dynamic we have, especially as we spend time traveling to my stepsons various sporting events, sitting on the sidelines together, cheering our teams on to victory (or supporting them in their defeat). And it will be interesting someday when we sit in an auditorium or a gym, watching these boys graduate from high school and from college. And it will be interesting someday when we watch a woman walk down the aisle, on the arm of her father, to meet each of these boys at the altar to begin a married life together. And I will always remember the first time I saw them, back in June of 2006, a six-year-old and a seven-year-old, playing in the yard in the late afternoon summer sun.

As I read these stories of women who do not have it as good as I do, I will be grateful for the great relationship we have. But I will still read these stories and offer my support to the other stepmoms out there. After all, we are a part of the Stepmom Club, and these are our stories...

Friday, October 20, 2006


When tomorrow ends, I will officially be a stepmom. Yes, that's right...the day has come. It's my wedding day...and I can't wait!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Balancing Act

This past weekend, we had CC#1's family birthday party at our house. Party's at our house often are weird, soap opera-ish things because of the social relationship we have with CC#1's and CC#2's mom. We share many of the same friends, and we do a great job of getting along and enjoying each other's company, for the most part, and not really just for the sake of the kids. For the party on Sunday, their mom was there, along with her other two kids. And it is often that way when we have get-togethers for the kids.

However, as we move closer and closer to this marriage, I know that people are wondering if things are going to change. I usually tend to take a back burner to her, and I know people wonder if that will always be so. Here's an example...although the birthday party was at my house, she was the one who orchestrated the cutting and passing out of the cake, as well as the subsequent clean-up of dishes. Now, part of me thinks that I didn't really want to be in charge of the clean-up anyway. But another part of me thinks that this is my house, and she was really sort of playing the role of hostess in it.

I know that the actual marriage will be an adjustment for all of us. I will have to get used to sharing my money and not having sole responsibility for what I choose to spend it on. Although we have been together for a long time, WJC and I will have to get used to being married, and CC#1 and CC#2 will have to get used to having an actual stepmother, instead of their dad just having a girlfriend. And their mom will have to get used to taking a backseat sometimes in WJC's responsibilities, whereas right now he doesn't often make her do that. And when kids come along? That will be another huge adjustment as well.

I am glad that we have a good relationship as a base for what we are now building. However, I expect that the next few months will not be without growing pains as we work to get used to this new time in our lives.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Becoming the other woman...

As the date on which I will officially become a stepmother looms on the horizon, I find myself interested in finding others out there who are doing what I am doing, marrying men who were either coupled up or married before and have a child or children that they are bringing with them into their new marriage. And through some clicking of links on many of the mommy blogs that I read with the fervor of a woman who is going to pop out a child tomorrow (even though that will have to wait until at least nine months after our wedding), I have found several that I am reading and enjoying and learning from.

This is a weird transition for me because I have been a pseudo-stepmom for 6+ years now. I have made it through all of the initial stuff of meeting the kids and meeting the ex and developing a relationship with the stepkids' extended family and learning how to share holidays and picnics and communion parties and birthdays and baseball games. However, I have done this from the relative safety of my apartment, and then my parents' house. I never lived with Bill, and I never lived with CC#1 and CC#2 on the weekends.

Now, I have lived here in our home for a little over a month now, and I still haven't spent a weekend with the other three members of my household. First, CC#1 and CC#2 were off to the beach with their mom and then to various sports camps. Then, this past weekend, they were here, but I was away, visiting my sister for the weekend (and buying lots of make up and shoes). It's like we are ships passing in the night, seeing evidence of each other all around and yet never actually seeing each other.

I am one of the lucky ones. When I read the blogs of other stepmoms, I hear all sorts of stories about how their stepkids' evil moms are running and ruining their lives. I have never had this problem with Bill's ex. In fact, she and I might even get along a little too well for the comfort of many people who can't let go of that idea of what kind of relationship a mom and a stepmom should share. It's a tangled web, but it works for us. We share the same circle of friends and often find ourselves side-by-side at picnics and parties, sharing wine and conversation. When one of us has a birthday party, the other is at it. When we attend sporting events for CC#1 and CC#2 , we sit next to each other and keep up a steady stream of chatter from the first pitch to the final basket. We have, on occasion, gone out together for a night of drinks and dancing, and we have even attended dinner parties at each others' homes. We have a respect for one another that I find myself being thankful for as I read about some of the less happy relationships out there between the old wives and the new wives.

Sure, there are things that we might not agree on. However, I try to pay attention to the rules she enforces in her home and enforce the same rules in mine. I try to think about what their mom would say about something if CC#1 or CC#2 asks me for something that I know their mom would not approve of. And when I arrive at a party or picnic and see her sitting across the room, I am happy to go up and greet someone who is not just my fiance's ex-girlfriend. She's a part of my life, and I am happy that we can make the most of it.