Modern day living and a message to my teenage daughter

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for boring people to death nor am I expressing any views of anyone but myself. You have been warned.

So…..it’s been a rough weekend. I seem to have gotten a bit run down and tearful and stressing about the stupidest of things. There are things bubbling away that I have not really talked about to anyone and they have finally bubbled over.

Back in June Tony and I had a little spat (as married couples so oft do!) He went off for a drive (as he does) and I let him go to chill out (as I do). 1:30 in the morning he is not back so I ring a couple of friends to see if he is there. One of these friends calls him and he answers them and decides to come home. I somehow cop a little lecture on how unsupportive I am as a wife but I let this slide as I am concerned about where Tony is.

The next day I call my friends to speak with them and cop a massive lecture about how bad a wife I am and that Tony is leaving me. I am unsupportive and ignorant of his needs and that my eldest daughter (who is not Tony’s daughter) is out of control and that is the reason why he is thinking of leaving. Apparently my eldest daughter stays out till 2 in the morning drinking and getting off with boys!

So here’s my dilemma I believe my daughter (who by the way has been privvy to this conversation and is now absolutely distraught) but need to speak with her father to check if there is any basis of truth in this accusation. There is none. She is home by 9 and most definitely has never been drunk. She swears blind she has tried smoking (what 15 year old hasn’t!) but has never had a drink other than the ones I have allowed her to have under adult supervision. As for “getting off with boys” well if thats what you would call a few kisses then yep guilty as charged but it’s hardly unheard of with 15 year old teenage girls is it!!!

My husband walks into what can only be described as carnage. Carnage that until today I have allowed to have a massive impact upon me.

In today’s modern life being part of a step family is more and more common. It brings with it an interesting set of challenges for both blood parent and step parent. I am lucky. Imogen gets on amazingly well with Tony for the most part. He has been part of her life since she was 5 years old. He has a different perspective on raising children than I have. I am fairly permissive whilst he is quite authoritarian. Imogen plays one off against the other (not always consciously I hasten to add, but not unexpectedly as all children do this to one degree or another). The challenge is keeping all parties happy and what has been going wrong of late is that I am putting so much effort into keeping everyone happy that no one has thought about me! And now I bottom out!

Fortunately for me I have some amazing friends (not the charming ones from above !!!!) and today I have gained some perspective. Rules have been set for all of us to reduce the amount of stress I experience. This subsequently relieves everyones stress cos I am very vocal about being stressed out and under pressure, one of my coping mechanisms.

Today I realised that these so called friends who so nicely informed me of my faults are not even worth the effort of thought or consideration. They mean nothing to me or my family and as such I will no longer give them the time to think about them. I guess part of the reason for this post is to finally say out loud how I have been feeling and to say no more. I know I am less than perfect but I am learning to be a parent and I will make mistakes but generally I think I have not done too bad a job!

I have not blogged about this to restart the whole thing again either. I wish no ill will to the people I used to be friends with. I have merely written about this to illustrate how something seemingly little can escalate out of control and how people can be hurt. How something which, in other circumstances, may not have been such an issue can become major. People who are not involved in the step parent scenario literally have little or no idea about how fragile the situation can be at times and how something so small can tip a family over the edge.

Its not necessarily about “keeping everyone happy” either, more about ensuring that jobs are done that need to be done, that chores that have been allocated to a certain person are completed in a timely way and that responsibility is learned. If these daily things are completed then life is smoother for everyone and happiness follows automatically. Yes happiness is important but there is more than one way to achieve this goal.

Earlier today my 15 year old daughter and I have a chat about various things and I asked her if there was anything that was bothering her and she started to cry and said “Mum I don’t want to be a disappointment to you or Tony”.

Imogen – I could never be disappointed with you. You are a beautiful young lady, polite and responsible. You take pride in how you look and you have just achieved amazing GSCE grades of 8 grade A-C a year early. You are about to start your A Levels an year early as well. Keep up the good work, have fun, explore the world (sensibly, carefully and responsibly). You do have some faults as we all do and it would not be appropriate to list them here but for the most part you are awesome and Tony and I are lucky to have you in our lives.

I love you bubs

TTFN x

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