May 10, 2019

Balancing Stepmom & Toddler Life

In honor of Mother's Day this weekend, I wanted to talk a little bit about balancing life with two children.
Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash
It was a subject much requested during my 2019 Reader Survey, and since I discuss Bella and life with a baby and now, toddler a good amount's nice to provide an update on life with two children.
Let me start off by saying, you see less of Ethan these days because he's a typical teenager. He isn't a fan of getting his picture taken- so much so that when he sees me grab my phone he will run out of the room (I'm not kidding). Ethan doesn't always love hanging around us- he's with his friends or gaming and we're not first choice to have fun with. So, it's not as easy to share little updates on Instagram or Social Media and sometimes he does get embarrassed when I post things so I want to respect that and not spam his face all over when he doesn't enjoy it.
I'm very excited, because today he is coming to work with me for Take Your Child To Work Day- normally celebrated this year earlier, on April 25- a lot of schools in our area are in the midst of standardized testing and wanted to avoid it. So, Ethan is with me at work today hearing from Executives at my company, and shadowing a day in the life of an Underwriter. I'm so thrilled to have him with me today and hope to share more about our day at a later time-follow along on Instagram for all our fun!

I've never thought as Ethan as my Stepson, while he does have a Mom- I never wanted to treat him differently, therefore I didn't view him as anything different than a son. He is always worthy of my 100% care, attention and love. I knew things would be a bit different once Chuck and I had a baby, but I guess I wasn't expecting how hard that balance would be. When we first brought Bella home from the hospital, after her NICU stay- he had only met her once. Unfortunately, due to flu season and his age he was not allowed in the NICU, so he was there the day of Bella's birth and didn't see her again until 17 days later. It was hard on him with his Dad and I running back and forth to the hospital, working on her much focus was on this new sibling. He handled things well, but I could sense jealousy at times through comments he made and some of the ways he acted. It was hard and sad to see in some situations, but I tried my best to understand where it was coming from. For 9 years in our home together (I came in to Ethan's life when he was 4), he was the only child and this was a big change for him.
One thing that I have realized through the process of bringing another child in to our family was that I have to treat Ethan delicately during this stage. He was nervous to hold her for quite some time because of how little Bella was, and didn't interact with her as much as I would have hoped for. While we can tell that he is much more comfortable around Bella now that she's growing up- he talks with her, holds her and plays with her, picks her up and laughs with her...some things are still new and fresh with him. So, when there's new situations or exciting moments that he may not realize at first glance are a big deal- I try to explain to him why it's important to us or what is happening.
Both Chuck and I have spent one on one time with just Ethan and think that it's very important to do so. It can be hard when the weeks are busy and days fly by- but we can tell that it has a lasting positive effect on him and something he enjoys. Ethan is a comedian, he loves to make people laugh and is goofy...I love all that about him, so it's fun to see him shine on his own during that quality time.
We are big on encouraging Ethan and thanking him for helping out with Bella and all he does. It's not easy being the older sibling and your parents relying on you for more and holding you to a high standard. I try and remember to ask about things that are special to Ethan like achievements in games and things that don't always make sense to us but are a big deal to him.
Overall, I'd say that I'm still learning how to balance it all. I think as parents, Chuck and I are doing a good job- always trying our best and to stay involved with both kids. Each day is an opportunity to learn from our children and make new memories as a family.

No one has it all together all of the time, remember that every morning is a fresh start! Wishing ALL Mom's, Stepmoms, Dog Moms, Cat Moms and those who care for children and their pets (because they're family too) a wonderful Mother's Day! ENJOY!

Have a great day, thank you so much for reading!

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