This is a continuation of my story, which starts with me leaving my life in San Diego and going home to Rural USA to start completely over in my 30s. (Start here if you want the whole story). I am writing this story in a memoir fashion, and sharing in small segments (usually once a week). I talk about unhealthy relationships, my struggles with defaulting to unhealthy coping mechanisms, marriage, becoming a step-mom, struggling with infertility, pregnancy loss, financial stress, job stress, and more. I hope that by sharing my stories of struggle with these things, that some of the lessons I have learned might offer you comfort if you’re dealing with similar things. I also wanted to note that my life is certainly not full of doom and gloom, and there are loads of fun and good things I could share, as well, even amidst these struggles. I’m simply sharing the hard stuff with this series to be transparent, to find healing for myself by finally talking about this time of my life, and hopefully this will inspire and help change at least one person’s life for the better.
Peace, love, and rock and roll,
So now that we’ve established that real relationships, even the best ones, aren’t *all* sunshine and unicorns *all* the time, let’s talk real life struggles for a bit. Almost immediately after we got back from our honeymoon, the week before school started, we unexpectedly got my husband’s daughter full-time. I won’t go into all of the story here, or share too many of the details, but let me paint the picture a bit and I’ll let you decide how that went for me.
I had dated this man for a year, been engaged for 3.5 months, and then married for 3 months at this point. Until then, we had his daughter for visits every other weekend, and we always tried to make those visits fun. Now suddenly, we didn’t have to deal with the struggles related to shared custody, but we found out pretty quickly that this was not going to be an easy adjustment for anyone. I won’t speak for anyone else, but here’s my story. I went from girlfriend to fiancé to wife to main parental figure to a 13 year old girl in what felt like a split second.
At this point, my husband worked non-stop at the office, sometimes locally, and sometimes at his office an hour away, on our “funny farm”, fixing rental units… the todo lists for this man were never-ending. He barely slept. So here’s me, never having even really been around kids before for any length of time, trying to get a stubborn teenager to clean her room, do her homework, and be helpful around the house – none of which came especially easy to her. Being the eager step-mom and always striving to do things perfectly, I immediately created chore charts, color-coded them, and plastered them on the fridge, along with a daily and weekly schedule, and then tried to establish disciplinary consequences around the completion (or lack thereof) of these assigned tasks. Desperate for help around the house and with the kid, I even assigned my husband chores. You can imagine how peaceful, loving, and gentle our house was during this time. HA!
Obviously I didn’t have enough on my plate, so I decided to open up a new business that fall, too. So now I run a completely chaotic household *and* a brand new retail store – neither of which I was prepared for in the slightest bit, or had any experience with prior to diving into these roles. Anybody ever worked retail before? I won’t get into detail about my shop quite yet, but I will say this… Running a retail store makes you really appreciate a certain kind of person, and it makes you really *not* appreciate another kind of person.
So let’s recap. I’m a newly-wed, a brand-new full-time mom to a teenage girl, a clueless business owner, and wife to a lovely man who basically runs a circus on the daily. I was full speed ahead on the Hot Mess Express.