Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Tomorrow is the first day of October and that does not even seem possible. I find myself in a new season of my life as we enter this fall season. I have two teenage boys (one of which is driving) and I have a toddler. I'm pretty sure they could not be any more different to parent! Even the boys are like day and night from each other yet they are so similar in many different ways.

Clearly being a stepmom means that I am not their mother and I have only been in their lives for almost 4 of their 14 and 16 years, therefore, I still don't know all there is to know about each of them. I find myself struggling with this often. Now when I say struggling, I really mean more like learning and observing, because the boys are FAR from a struggle and mothering them (even as a stepmother) is FAR from struggling. It's learning them and understanding them. Yes, I was a teenager once...not really that long ago...but I was not ever a teenage boy (obviously!) and I find myself sometimes stuck between being a "mother" and being a "friend."

When Gene and I first got together and before I ever even met the boys I told myself that I would not come into their lives as another "mother" but as a "friend." I didn't want them to resent me or their father and think that I was supposed to somehow replace their mother. I had absolutely no intentions of that whatsoever and quite honestly I think as far as that goes I've done a pretty good job. The boys and I have a wonderful relationship and because I am technically closer in age to them than their father (no comments!) we get along because I can relate to them. This fact actually helps things when they get frustrated with Gene for being their father and getting on to them or acting like a parent. They will vent to me about it and I have to tread lightly in letting them know that I am on his side because we are parents together but also help them understand that they are still kids and that they need guidance and discipline and that it's his/our job to hand those things down.

I have grounded the boys once and it was because they hadn't done their chores like they were supposed to. They were told that if they didn't they would be grounded for one week with no phone, computer or going anywhere. I got up with them the next morning and told them both to bring me their phones and that they were grounded for a week because they didn't do what they were supposed to. They did as they were told, no arguments.

This is where the struggle comes in that I'm talking about. By the end of the day I felt bad for grounding them because 1) I'm not their mother 2) they are NEVER in trouble and had done their chores wonderfully up until this one time and 3) I felt somehow like it wasn't my place. Gene backed me 100% and was perfectly ok with me punishing them. That afternoon when they got home from school I gave their phones back, told them that I would cut them a break since they'd done so great up until that point and warned them that next time it happened it would most definitely be for the full week. It never happened again. I told you....great kids.

Now they are older and we are all moving through a new season. Some of it together as a family and some of it as individuals. Either way I'm trying my best to figure it out as we go, which I guess is what every parent does, step or not, it just seems hard sometimes. No, I take that back, parenting is tough and probably the hardest thing I've ever done! In the same respect, it's also the most wonderful and rewarding thing I've ever done! I love it when Colt calls me because he wants to tell me how great his grades are (which really are great by the way and he's taking almost all pre-AP or AP classes) or that he's learning a new song on the piano and when Corey calls me Tay-Tay (which is all the time because he never calls me Taylor!) and he says he wants to go run with me and asks me to make a butterfinger cake or chicken enchiladas because those are his favorites and he knows I'll do it!

I love being a mother of 3, even if I only birthed one of them, and I love doing it with my husband. I get very impatient and upset sometimes but I remind myself that it's nothing that other parents haven't gone through and that it's just part of it.

As hard as it is being stepmom to the boys, it may even be more difficult being mommy to this 2 and a half year old little girl! Oh. My. Word. We have had quite a time this last month or so. She has discovered that she has a will, a very strong will, and that she doesn't agree with us most of the time and that she thinks she is entitled to say so! Who knew toddlers could be so dramatic and demanding. She is going through her terrible two's in a very real way and my patience, as well as her daddy's, have certainly been tested! I must say that Gene is much better at it most of the time because he's so much more patient with her. He's been there and done this twice before with the boys so he has a better understanding and what to expect with this particular season of Miss Grace's life. I, on the other hand, am going through this for the first time and I just get absolutely frustrated and upset. It's one of the those times I am somewhat thankful that Gene was married once before and has experienced the terrible two's because he can help guide and ground me when I get upset! He helps me realize that it's a part of life and that yes it is hard but we have to endure it. At least he's suffering through it with me!!

I honestly love that man more and more each day because of it and I thank God that he brought him into my life! I love my little girl so much and have finally come to an understanding that she will eventually outgrow this little phase she is growing through and we will all be fine! I can tell you right now that we don't have to worry about her being a wallflower and not having any friends. I'm pretty sure it will be just the opposite and we are going to have our hands full from here on out! Which is ok with me, she's a beautiful mix of her momma's personality and her daddy's personality and she gets along with everyone!
As hard as change is, it is also a great thing and being a parent is so neat getting to watch those changes happen and knowing that you are a part of that person's legacy!
I have had some struggles this past month and I think that it's mostly due to a changing of the seasons in the Johnson household. So, as we move into fall and all the wonderful things that come with it (amazing weather, leaves changing, hot cider, cuddling up under warm blankets and football!) we also move into this new season of our lives and I feel like now we have a better grasp on what is going on and things will begin to flow more smoothly!
What seasons are you going through? I'd love to hear from others who have, or are, going through similar situations! I would like to better get to know the folks who read my blog!!


Katie said...

Tayor, you are a wonderful mother. I love your insight!

I can't believe tomorrow is October, either.

Laurie said...

YES! The patch is open 10-5. It is in Centerton on Main street. You will LOVE it!