Opinions Beliefs Baggage Oh My

So this may come as a surprise, but I had no idea I am so damn opinionated. I guess being around kids must bring it out, all these hidden feelings and beliefs about how kids should be raised, how people SHOULD BE treated, how CONSEQUENCES SHOULD go, how lessons SHOULD BE learned, etc.

Obviously being so highly opinionated in a very unpredictable, sometimes dis-empowering, confusing, sometimes overwhelming situation just makes it all the more difficult.

But is the situation the problem? 

Or is it because I’ve come into the situation with all kinds of my OWN baggage and crap and beliefs and opinions and I’ve felt like it’s
my DUTY!
My JOB!
My NEED to sprinkle them along until everyone else
believes,
acts,
reacts,
and chooses the way I think they SHOULD.

Oh shit.

This feels very very yucky to write, but unfortunately it may be true.

Now, I know I can’t just allow people to take advantage of me anymore. That’s something I have definitely gotten under my belt.

And yet, I also can’t
MANDATE,
or CONTROL,
or DEMAND things to be different.

So maybe it doesn’t need to be so black and white? 

The more that I sit and meditate and concentrate on my breathing, allow myself to relax, I am finding the space within. The small whispered gap that says it doesn’t need to be either extreme.

I am not here to be hyper vigilant for everyone else, running around teaching, and validating, and predicting and researching and making sure everyone has what they need, and everything is running smoothly. All the while slowly (or freaking quickly) falling apart.

I’m also not here to hide away in my meditation closet with my fingers in my ears totally unaware of what’s going on while my power slips through the door and I’m left a shell of a human.

Wow. I just realized that BOTH EXTREMES leave me only a portion of who I really am.

Ha! How freakin’ fascinating!

With either extreme, I lose myself.

Like I’ve mentioned a zillion times before, I know I am here in this place, in this space, in this house with these humans for many reasons. But it’s not TO CHANGE THEM the way I thought it was. Oh gawd I actually did.

It’s to change me.

  • Can I allow the world to move as it will?
  • Can I allow people to make their own choices, minus me JUMPING IN TO SAVE THE DAY?
  • Can I allow life to teach the lessons it naturally teaches? And if they are learned, great. If they are not, that’s okay as well.
  • Can I still speak my truth, desires, and boundaries and make sure that I am following through with them to take care of ME in the very best way?

Because (here’s the clencher) I have a ton of my own lessons to learn, and don’t need to be so concerned with what everyone else is learning!!!

DING! DING! DING!!

It’s not my job to be LIFE’S LESSON TEACHER. ahhahahahh Sheesh. Sometimes just jotting down my feelings is the best way I can find out what is really going on.

I can learn to swing from tree to tree, trusting that life gives everyone what they (and I) need to learn.

Just stay in your own lane, Jackie, stay. in. your. own. lane.

 

 

New Leaf New Life

Over the past year I’ve written plenty of posts about stepmomming and not knowing my role, blah blah blah. I know, it’s a super uncreative heavy topic. But it’s been a huge part of my life for a long time. Every time I’ve started to feel like I’m IN CONTROL finally of the situation, something else happens and I feel back where I started.

There’s been the whole feeling that:

  1. I need to do everything. It’s my job to teach them everything their mom can’t/won’t.
  2. They have a mom, so what exactly is my role??????????????????????? Even though they are at OUR house quite often, and even though I’ve been in their lives for 6 years.
  3. I feel like a failure. The kids have developed habits and beliefs that I don’t think are healthy. I SHOULD have influenced them enough to where they are on the right track. (Obviously MY WAY is the right track. I know.I can see what’s happening as I write this all out.)

 

Ugh. Can I just say a big fat UGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH right now? None of these top 3 things feel good at all to me. In fact they make me feel pretty shitty about myself and my situation.

 

Believe it or not, I WANT to be in a place of joy and ease. 

I love them, and the more that I run around teaching, I am realizing that the absolute most important thing I can do is help them to know/feel that they are loved just as they are.

It won’t matter if I mention to them over and over again to eat vegetables, or to have compassion for others, or to remind them to be polite, or ways they can make friends. What will they really remember by the time they are adults?? The reality is, they will learn what they need to learn REGARDLESS of me constantly making

EVERY MOMENT A FREAKIN’ TEACHING MOMENT.

 

As I write that I’m realizing how crappy that sounds. Double ugh.

So… new plan.

I will love them.

 

My intention now, is to love them fully as they are. Which means: 

I will ask questions genuinely and listen and remember.

I will play with them.

I will notice parts of them that I admire.

I will tell them what I love about them.

I will ask them to help out, because I need the help. Not because I feel I need to teach them to help.

I will be present in the moment with them and have fun.

I will show up for them, because I want to, not because their mother may not.

I will still be clear about boundaries in our house.

I will laugh with them. Not to teach them to laugh, but because I like to laugh.

 

I’ve been in this better place for the past couple weeks. Meeting them where they are, and not feeling so much yucky pressure to FIX THINGS. It definitely takes practice. I can feel my stomach tying in knots still when I see or hear something I don’t love. But I’m getting better at saying to myself ‘It’s fine Jackie, just love her.’ And then my voice is full of love and my eyes are full of love. And then I feel good. I want them to know without a doubt how much they are loved for just being them.

 

 

 

 

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!

 

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