It’s Sunday morning and I’m left alone to do whatever I want. Crazy! The kids are somewhere in the house playing games. Plus, it’s quiet, there’s just some giggling coming from another room.
Yes, seriously, they are so old now that they don’t demand our full attention anymore. They are growing up faster than I realized was possible. Probably partly because I lived in some misguided world where I expected my stepchildren to ‘need’ us until they are old enough to move out.
Going from no kids to having 2 stepkids part-time was a major adjustment. With a flip of a switch, weekends were no longer just for me. My weeknights were instantly changed from do-whatever-I-want to helping with homework, cleaning crumbs off the floor and washing dirty clothes that were really not that dirty.
As I sit behind my computer one stepchild has a friend over while the other is doing whatever his heart desires. They haven’t been around me for 2 hours. 2 HOURS! (Maybe I should check on them…)
Now I sit here wondering how time could go by so fast? Plus, why the heck have I been missing out on so much?
- I’ve said no to playing Xbox/Lego/insert whatever they like because I needed to fold laundry/clean bathrooms/vacuum.
- Sorry buddy, I can’t watch a movie right now. I have to empty the dishwasher first.
- No, I can’t watch you do some tricks outside, I’m cooking.
You know what? ALL household chores can wait because the one thing that doesn’t stop is time.
Time doesn’t slow down, pause or come to a grinding halt while you’re cleaning, cooking or folding laundry. These mundane everyday tasks will ALWAYS be waiting for you (how depressing, right?). Kids? Not so much. They grow up, make friends, develop different interest and eventually move out.
For a stepparent, there is even less time to form a bond with your stepchildren. Most stepparents meet their stepchildren later in life. That parent-child bond that instantly forms during pregnancy and at birth is not what a stepparent experiences.
Stepparents need time to form a relationship which doesn’t happen overnight. It can take months or even years to develop.
So when that massive pile of clean laundry on your bed is waiting on you and your stepchild is knocking on your bedroom door asking to watch his awesome skateboard trick, don’t say I will be there in a few minutes, I just need to finish this first. Just go! That pile of clean laundry isn’t going anywhere, however, your stepchild will most likely move on to something else by the time you’ve got time to watch him.
On the flip side, saying you need a minute is totally justified if this means not burning tonight's dinner.
I know this his hard. Every inch of my body just wants to get the household chores done and dusted so I can spend time with everyone knowing the house is where it needs to be. My husband and I both enjoy a clean(-ish...) house and walking into a space with crap flung all over the floors and stuff on counters does get to us.
But that stuff can wait and it will. It’s literally not going anywhere even though I do wish that magical fairytale cleaning unicorn would show up whenever it’s summoned. Like right about... NOW!
In our home, we’ve taken things to the next level. With a handyman as a husband and an older home that needs some maintenance and updating from time to time, it’s easy to start a new DIY project.
I’m talking major projects. Building a vegetable garden, constructing a tree fort and a laundry room renovation have all been part of my husband’s Do-It-Yourself list.
Speaking from experience, when you’re plugging away at these DIY projects you’re missing out on so much. The kids days still move along. While you’re working your ass off in the garage they are playing outside in the sun, laughing away and having the time of their lives.
While you miss out.
So we’re toning it down. Many DIY projects are wants, not needs. Surely it can wait a few years until the kids are older and mostly hanging out with their friends or DIY projects can be tackled when the kids are at school or in bed.
There is really just one thing I want you to take away from this. Say NO to household chores every once in awhile and spend that time with your (step) children. Before you know it, it’s the weekend and your (step)kids are out with their friends while you wonder where the time went.