Had a great partially-disengaged day & some epiphanies!
So, yesterday I worked really hard to disengage from the SD16 drama and her first day back to HS. I ended up having an awesome day working, cooking (which I actually find enjoyable), and even found a little time for MR. ED and I to run errands together while enjoying an open air jeep ride. Good stuff.
- Last year at Back to School Time, I would've been stressing about all the things MR. ED did not do to prepare SKIDS for class and all the things SKIDS failed to communicate with MR. ED. This year...not my circus, not my monkeys. :)
- Last year at Back to School Time, I would've been all up in the clothes shopping for all SKIDS, after being asked to by MR. ED of course, and stressing over all the inappropriate and cringe-worthy clothes SD16 picked out. I would've been pointing out how she was wasting MR. ED's money on clothes she can't even wear to school while getting dirty looks and eye-rolls for pointing out the obvious. Then I would inevitably be the one who gets a text from SD16 asking to be picked up because the school says her skirt is too short, pants are too tight, or shirt shows to much. This year...GM got sucked into buying clothes for SD16 against MR. EDs wishes. As for me, SD16 can drive herself home to change or sit in the office all day for dressing inappropriately. Not my circus, not my monkeys.
- Last year, I would've spent the day feeling conflicted over how to help SD16 not completely self-destruct, how to get MR. ED to step up and get some cojones with SKIDS, and ping-ponging back and forth between Googling "Anti-social and Borderline personality disorder in teens" and alternately "How to Runaway as an Adult" (there actually is a website for that btw. lol). This year...not my circus, not my monkeys...get on with the business of the day.
No, yesterday I did all my normal stuff and even took visiting SS10 with me to the auction (I'm a f/t reseller of antiques & collectibles, so this is part of my normal workweek). As I introduced him to my "co-workers" at the auction, I had an epiphany. SKIDS have such a limited view of me. They pretty much see me in the context of my role within our household and specifically in their lives.
Recently, SD16 was texting MR. ED insisting that he kick me out and saying "everyone hates her". He knew at the time it was said that it simply isn't true and she was trying to get her misguided way and deflect from her own behavior again. But yesterday, SS10 (who is aware SD16 said this about me) got to see me out of context. He saw people I've known for years hugging me, greeting me, tell me they've missed seeing me there (didn't go last week), bring me bags of bubble wrap they've saved for me and offer us both treasures from their auction buys of the day. Mutual kindness. That's my zone where I'm in my element. That's where I'm at my best and most natural. He saw a whole other world of people who actually don't find me to be a monster. He made a comment to me on the way out how it was "not at all what he expected" and that "everyone was so nice." I only chuckled and said, "See, everyone does not hate me." :)
We just hung out without me feeling responsible for "parenting" him. SS10 was respectful, enjoyed watching his first auction, asked me questions about how I got started doing what I do, and enjoyed his chili dog and Dr. Pepper. Then, we went home, scooped up puppy, and took him to the pet store for some treats and flea preventative. Normal stuff that wasn't much different than a day spent with a babysitter or aunt. I can handle that, but only because I'm disengaging from the responsibilities and stress of all that is dysfunctional with other SKIDS. Interesting how that works. I have to stop wasting time on the negative to make room for the positive.
Fellow SPs out there...don't let your SKIDS, BMs, MILs, and even DHs define who you are. There may be some truth to who you are showing them and that may be something to work on. But that does not define you. You are more than a Stepmom or Stepdad. Remember that. I'm working on spending more time with people outside of this household...friends and "co-workers" who, gosh darnit, actually like me. Balance. Gotta have it or you'll let it all drive you nuts. Take care of you today, my friends. <3