It has been awfully silent on This Unexpected Love for the past few weeks. I should feel embarrassed and guilty but I don’t.
I go through phases when I absolutely dislike all social media, my phone and computer. More often than not it feels like it sucks the life out of me, steals my valuable time and keeps me from exploring the outdoors or spending time with actual people.
To top it off my youngest stepson asked me a very intriguing question a few weeks ago.
How old is the oldest person in the world?
At first, I brushed it off, ‘I don’t know 115 maybe’
Then loudly yelled at my phone. “OKAY GOOGLE, how old is the oldest person in the world?” - (Thank you Google for invading my home and making it so much easier to use my phone all the time and have it track my every move.)
Google even reads the answer to you. It’s very convenient.
“The current holder of the organisation’s official accolade for the oldest person ever is a French woman called Jeanne Louise Calment, who died in 1997 aged 122 years and 164 days.”
122 years and 164 days
Now I don’t expect to make it to 122 years but, can you imagine what she saw throughout her life?! All the people she has loved and lost, all the ups and downs. All the arguments and disagreements she had that probably didn’t make a difference, or are remembered, 40 - 50 - 60 or 70 years later.
I said all this out loud as her age sank in. 122. And then I looked at my stepson.
The guilt washed over me.
Grown-ups are quick to joke around about how we need to get a babysitter, need a night away from the kids, how they are driving us crazy, cost us an arm and a leg and take away our freedom. But in the long run, they are totally worth it (we say in unison hoping not to offend any children).
Well, you know what? In the long run they only ‘steal’ our freedom for a short amount of time. Unless you space your kids really far apart or decide to have 11 kids. As stepmoms, most of us have even less time with our stepchildren.
5 years have already gone by for me.
I never fully understood what my husband meant when he said he could see the light at the end of the tunnel. We still had at least 13 years to go at that time. It seemed like a lifetime! Now that I’m 5 years in and 8 years away from the youngest being 18, I feel like we’re basically done. 8 years fly by.
So where was the guilt coming from?
I guess it’s that secret code that all ‘real’ moms know about when they look at each other and nod in understanding and say “oooooh yeah it’s that mom guilt, hey”?!
Whether it’s mom guilt or just plain guilt, I felt the need to slow down. To take in more time with everyone while they’re home. To enjoy those moments and leave social media, my phone and computer for what it is, things that distract me from the people who matter.
Our family is heading full speed ahead into the teenage years which includes my stepchildren spending more time with their friends and hanging out in their bedrooms. Plus, there are more responsibilities at school and eventually, they'll find part-time work, start hanging out with girls and be all grown up.
But most importantly,
We only have 8 years left and if everything goes to plan, the last kids will be off to college.
Stepmom guilt. Maybe it’s a thing, maybe it’s not. Perhaps it’s just pure guilt for living in such a fast-paced world and always being on the go.
It’s all good, I will embrace it, learn from it and tweak some things to feel less guilty and enjoy those last few kid years.