What the HELL is my role

The biggest question of my life right now,…

What is my role????

I’ve told myself I am confused about this question because

I am a stepmom.

Right away the words STEPMOM fill the room with hazy smoke, the kind where you can’t see 2 feet in front of you, and you suddenly have no idea where you even are. Just THE WORD is full of questions. 

But then for some of us, the role gets even stickier.

I’m not ‘just a stepmom.’

In fact, I am the kids main emotional support. I am the instigator, I am the listening ear, I am the one figuring things out, communicating with teachers, connecting the dotes, finding therapists, locating new schools, discussing, giving consequences, and driving all over the place.

It’s a strange dynamic because I enjoy being a part of a family. I love being relied on and knowing that they can trust me to follow through.

But,… I’m not the mom. I’m just a stepmom.

Right?

Am I only doing these extra things because their MOM can’t? No,… that’s not entirely  true. My love for them continuously grows the more I do. The more I learn about who they are and what they need, the more I want to show up.

Because I love them.

And then again there are times when I get super annoyed that their ACTUAL mom doesn’t know even a morsel about them. I get angry, and I feel taken advantage of, and I want to step down.

But what would I be stepping down from when my ROLE was never established in the first place?

What would I do if I ‘stepped down?’

Who would fill these roles if I didn’t?

So I go back and forth between feeling obligated and then really wanting to show up. Sometimes I have lots of energy for it and I feel empowered and strong. Other times I’m seething with anger and want to scream at everyone.

My feelings go back and forth, just like the hazy, muddy, slightly skewed title of ‘stepmom.’

I was thinking about this today as I was doing yoga.

MY ROLE is all over the place and nowhere and has no definition and is yet all encompassing. I was starting to get anxious just thinking about it.

But then I realized something else.

Why am I so special?

I mean, am I the ONLY one that doesn’t have a clearly DEFINED role?

I’ve been so caught up in my STEPMOM identity and what that means or doesn’t mean, that I didn’t give myself a chance to check out everyone else.

Maybe the reason this has been so confusing for me, is that we ALL seem to have some weird idea that our ROLES, any of them, should be clearly defined and explained.

We must feel like we SHOULD know exactly what it means to be a good wife, or good friend, or great sister or daughter, or excellent employee.

We SHOULD have learned what the parameters are, what is expected, what isn’t, how we can EXCEL, etc.

The more I think about it, there isn’t one single thing in life that is surrounded by clearly created black and white boundaries and definitions, right?

What if the very concept of ROLE is just bullshit?

What if it completely depends on who the person is and their intention for how they want to show up in the world? Wow. That just took a lot of pressure off my shoulders. Seriously, I felt them just fall.

What if I don’t need to do ANYTHING to perfect my ROLE. 

What if I just get to be Jackie? I can do more or less depending on what I feel, but I don’t need to have all the answers, and I certainly don’t need to FEEL like I have to do anything. I’ve just decided while writing this that my only requirement is that I’ll do everything with lots of love. Love for the kids, and my husband, and his ex-wife, and my family, and my friends,…

But most importantly, I can have a lot of love for myself, and let myself OFF THE ROLE HOOK!

 

Schedule Emotional Drains?

Wow! What a weekend! This is the first one in a long time that actually FELT like a weekend. Know what I mean?

Sometimes we have these ridiculously stressful weeks and then convince ourselves that the weekend will be the time to finally really relax, and yet it becomes just another couple of days where we are running around stressed out chasing the feeling of relief.

This has been a huge part of my life lately. My hubby and I have had some pretty stressful, exhausting things going on with the kids and his ex-wife. So we have done what any concerned, aware, loving parents would do,..

we’ve talked about it obsessively.

I think in my head, I felt that if we aren’t talking about the issues over and over and over again until they are SOLVED, then we must be:

Living under a rock

Hiding

Avoiding

Afraid.

So,.. I pushed it. All the time, with no break. Anytime we saw each other we would start talking about these extremely heavy, exhausting PROBLEMS, ISSUES.

Isn’t that what we are supposed to do? 

But they didn’t get any better. I realized that I was so drained, emotionally, mentally and physically, but

THE ISSUES STILL REMAINED. 

I started to not feel particularly close to my hubby. I didn’t feel at all at peace. I didn’t feel full of energy, and I wasn’t noticing things I am grateful for.

Once we both discussed our feelings about all of this,

something magical happened.

We got a fuckin’ BRILLIANT idea. I think it’s the best we have had all year.

If talking about certain things is exhausting, and yet to some extent we still need to do it, why not create a schedule where it’s okay to do it in?

So here’s the deal: We decided that Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 5pm -6pm is our talk time about the difficult stuff.

NO MORE THAN THAT. 

Can I even tell you what this has done to our lives! We have only been doing it for 5 days, and all ready I feel like a completely different person. I am lighter and happier and more joyful and so so grateful! I feel like I have my wonderful relationship back to where it was.

And I realized something else.

Before, I felt like if I WASN’T talking about the difficult stuff 24/7, then I was avoiding. But now, since there is a PLAN, a SYSTEM, I don’t feel that way at all!

I feel in control of my life.

So this situation reminded me that I am in control. It’s MY happiness, it’s MY joy, it’s MY life. I can make choices on when and who I want to discuss personal stuff with. And so far, I must say our schedule is

LIFE CHANGING.

This weekend was unbelievably connecting and fun and playful and open and I am so in love. We gave ourselves a much needed EMOTIONAL BREAK! Yesssssssssssssss!!

Sooooo grateful for intuition!!

Happy Monday! xo

Aha! Are you Fuc***g kidding me?

So,.. I mentioned a couple of posts ago that I haven’t been feeling well. Actually I’ve been in bed for nearly 2 weeks. Horrible cough, sore throat, clogged nose, you name it. There were a couple of days where it was clearing up, and I thought I was getting better. But then all of a sudden I was hit again.

Now this is odd for a couple of reasons.

First of all, I NEVER get sick. Like literally never. If I start getting slightly ‘off,’ I will just sleep a bunch and whatever it is has moved on. I have a really strong immune system.

Second of all, I have had a tendency to get sick when there is something not right emotionally in my life. I’ve lost my hearing before when I had a boyfriend that wouldn’t shut the fuck up. Like ever. I lost it for a month until we broke up. Once that happened, my ears opened up the next day.

I’ve also lost my voice or my nose has become so clogged. When I realized that I felt like I ‘literally couldn’t breathe’ in my life, everything cleared up once I used my voice and spoke up to my husband.

So this is totally normal for me. However, this time I’ve felt REALLY sick.

My mother gave me the idea to sit in the tub for 2 hours at a time with baking soda and epsom salts, and drink a gallon of water to clear out my chest. I must admit the baths have been amazing Jackie time extravaganzas, but they haven’t helped.

I did try another one this morning. Here is the pic.

20170225_090611

Anyway, I was starting to get really frustrated. I want to get on with my life! I want to BREATHE again! And sleep! And talk normally! And swallow! And create without snot dripping onto my piece. Is that asking too much??

I thought about the feelings I’ve had while being sick. I’ve felt INCAPABLE, STUCK, DISCONNECTED, UNABLE TO DO ANYTHING, a bit like a VICTIM, etc. etc. etc.

Then I thought ‘Hmmm I wonder where I’ve felt some of those feelings in my life in order to bring forth this experience.’ Yes, I believe in this kind of stuff.

In other words ‘WHY THIS, NOW?’

Suddenly, I realized that for a long time in regards to my husbands ex wife, I’ve felt very INCAPABLE (of mothering the way I want to), STUCK (in a situation where I have no power), DISCONNECTED (from being their mom and yet I take care of them emotionally and do a lot for them like a mother would), UNABLE TO DO ANYTHING about this situation (because my husband was married to her, so he should communicate with her), and a bit like a VICTIM (what the fuck am I supposed to do, I’m doing too much, I’m not doing enough, I can’t do this…)

Aha! This could be it!

So I’ve decided something. My LIFE no longer revolves around her. I did not marry her. I will contact her when I want some information, or clarification, regardless of if my husband wants/needs/cares to communicate with her. I will do this because I need to feel empowered in my situation, and sitting on the sidelines WAITING for other people to ACT the way that I THINK THEY SHOULD ACT does

NOT

EMPOWER

ME.

Also, she’s got Asperger’s and is difficult to communicate with. Thank Gawd my hubby and I are finally aware of this. We used to write cutesy emails to her and get these really cut and dry (rude, lez be honest) responses from her. So we have began mirroring our emails to her responses. Basically being very straight forward with no warmth.

However, this is not me. So in the spirit of changing,.. here goes.

I will not change my tone of voice with her face to face, or in messages. If I am changing who I am because she’s not responding to me the way that I WOULD LIKE HER TO RESPOND TO ME, then I must not be honoring who I am very well. I want to communicate to her with love, kindness, appreciation and compassion because that is what I who I am.

I want to be fully me. It is okay that she isn’t going to give me a shiny happy response. I don’t need that, I do not need acknowledgement from her.

All I need is to be ME completely.

Okay that is my rant for the day.

The sun is shining, my coffee is hot, my nose is clearing up already, and I have art to make.

Take that empowerment! 🙂

 

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