There are things that change when you go from being a “weekend” stepmom to an “almost all the time” stepmom. Here are a few that I’ve noticed:
- My stepkid knows where things are and how to get what he needs in our house. Before I had to pull things down off of shelves for him; now he pulls up a chair and does it himself. I don’t know if it was because he felt like a guest in our home before, or if he just wasn’t sure where everything was – what I do know is that I’m not the only one bringing my husband toilet paper when the roll runs out anymore.
- We get to see him in reasonably nice-looking clothes on a regular basis. I noticed a trend had developed – we would send him home to his mom in a new pair of jeans, new shoes and a nice shirt, and the next time he came to see us he was wearing what looked like a mismatched basketball uniform. You know, the mesh shorts and the loose shirt with no sleeves? But it was never the other way around. He was wearing his nice clothes home to wear during the week at his mom’s house, and wearing his crappy stuff back over. No more of that (so far).
- He’s not running out of clothes as quickly. Sort of in the same vein as #2, I caught him a few times wearing several layers of clothes back to his mom’s house. Now, layers are a good idea…when it’s not SUMMER. So he was basically trying to smuggle his favorite clothes over to his full-time house. We sat him down and talked him through the logic: Okay, so if you wear all of your clothes home what are you going to have here that you can wear? Eventually you’ll have to run around naked! Now he actually comes back to us with extra clothes because his mom likes to shop for him but knows that he won’t wear them if they’re over at her place.
- We can assume presence instead of absence. I went from assuming that Max (name changed for his privacy) wouldn’t be around at any given moment to knowing that he probably would be.
- I’m involved with school to an extent that I really wasn’t allowed to be before. It can be a grind needing to pack his lunch every day or rushing home from work early to be there when he gets off the bus. But hanging out in the driveway to see him off in the morning, playing board games or watching him paint or draw or do whatever after school, and going to all of the random cool stuff that his school has going for parents are all things that I apparently enjoy. One of my biggest issues when Max lived with his mom was that no one would tell me when he had a big event or there was something going on at the school, and if I ever did attend it was awkward and uncomfortable. So far I have yet to see his mom there, which helps, but there’s also not this sense now that I’m butting in where I’m not wanted (maybe I still am, I’m just no longer aware of it. I can handle the ignorance, I think.).
I’ll keep thinking; I’m sure there are more of these. Let me know about your experience!