The honest truth…

The truth I don’t treat them the same… I don’t treat my NachoKids the same as I do my son. I love them and they know it but they also know that my son is treated differently. Is it right? Is it wrong? It just is. As a NachoMom, I see what the NachoKids do wrong quicker than I see what my son does wrong. For example, if I hear the kids running down the steps. Of course I automatically think it’s the NachoKids. Why is that? I don’t know maybe it’s because there are four of them and only one of mine. So the probability is higher that it’s his kids, right? However, when I come out of the bedroom door like a bat out of Hades, and it’s my sweet baby running down the steps I don’t give him the same look as I do the others. I don’t do it intentionally but I know I do it. To contradict myself completely though, I do feel I am harder on my son and expect him to follow “house rules” and me not have to tell him something a trillion times. But, I like the hubby, don’t always want to be the drill sergeant. I find I am less strict on him right before he goes to his dad’s for every other weekend visitation or right when he comes back. It’s the worry of not wanting your child to want to live with the other parent. It can paralyze us as a parent. At the same time, it can teach your child they can do whatever they want and not have consequences. I’m sure there is a fine line and balance of the two. It’s hard to figure out where that balance is. I want my son to grow up and be an independent, self-sufficient and responsible adult. That’s not going to happen if I never teach him or require him to do chores. He is nine years old and I feel he does well with knowing how to do laundry, dishes, etc. More is expected out of him at his age then were expected out of the NachoKids at that age. I think that’s what bugs me a lot about when hubby says my son didn’t do something right. Part of me wants to reply with, “excuse me but your 13 year old didn’t know how to bag up trash!”… But I don’t… instead I remember that I don’t want my son treated the same. I want him to have more responsibility than the NachoKids did at his age. So, I let it go (most the time). I don’t expect our extended Nacho Family to treat my son the same because I know he is not the same as their “bio family” but it breaks my heart when they don’t treat him the same and his feelings get hurt. And of course I want them to treat him just like they do the others, but it doesn’t always happen. Unfortunately we can’t protect our kids from every pain or even the NachoKids (I don’t want the NachoKids to have their feelings hurt or feel left out) but what we can do is try to help them understand they will constantly experience unfair things in their lives and that doesn’t mean that person doesn’t like or love them. The best thing we can do as a blended family is make a conscious effort to not show favoritism or at least not to rub things in others faces. I try to give my son gifts when the NachoKids are with their mom. Although their mom buys them things, they still get jealous. They don’t realize my son’s father doesn’t buy him things like their mom does. It’s all about perception… I do not like “perception”… that’s a whole other story! To sum it up: Cut yourself slack if you don’t love the NachoKids like your own, truth is, they aren’t yours. You can love them in a different way… the My NachoKids way!

Nacho Grandparents – the extended Nacho Family

 

many steps

The many levels of step families – Nacho Grandparents

Of course when you get married to someone with kids, most the time their mother and father or mother and step father or step mother and father (you get the picture) are involved in some fashion. This dynamic, just as all others in blended families, can vary significantly by the age of the children, the amount of time the NachoKids spend with their grandparents, the proximity in which you live from them, just to name few.

The in-laws can have a great influence on your NachoKids and their reception to you. If the NachoKids go to their grandparents complaining about you, more than likely grandma or grandpa are going to worry about the kids and even agree with them (which is never a good thing). Grandparents spoil their grandkids. Most of them do. If the grandparents have helped your significant other with care of the kids when they were a single parent, they may look at your role as pushing them out of the way.

In the reality of NachoLife, you learn that people don’t and can’t be expected to treat everyone the same. Yes, it makes you mad and it isn’t right, but its life. My “real” grandmother spoiled the mess out of my older sister and despised me like I was a demon child. Christmas time was quite obvious she didn’t care about being fair. My sister would have a trillion things (ok maybe only 15) from her and I’d have one or two. Made me mad at that age, but I came to expect it from her and only harbor a bit of resentment towards her. Just kidding, she passed away when I was eight but honestly, she didn’t “love” me and that’s ok.

My older sister is my half sister but my dad adopted her before I was born, so she had her “bio grandparents”. They were the best! They loved me and I knew it. They didn’t have to, they wanted to! They weren’t my grandparents, they were “hers”. All of us grandkids were their favorites! So, it can happen, but it rarely does. My “bio” grandmother didn’t treat my older sister the same as she did me. But, I do have to say of all the grandkids, I was her favorite. So, my point is, regardless of whether family is blood or not, you can still have those that don’t treat the kids equal.

My son came to me one night and was upset because he was left out of an activity and felt like it was because he wasn’t “really her grandkid”. He is really close with my husband’s parents – they live down the road from us. His other grandparents do not see him but a few times a year. Due to my in-laws living so close to us, he spends a lot of time with them and around them. Anyway, he was upset and proceeded to tell me things that he felt justified his feelings of not being a part of the “family”. He doesn’t see pictures of him in the in-laws house. The password or codes they use on things the kids also use are related to the “bio” kids and not him. It broke my heart for him but I am not going to sugar coat life for him. I told him that MuMaw and PuPaw are his “Nacho Grandparents” and I think they do a good job keeping him involved and trying to be equal with gifts, etc. but the reality is he isn’t theirs. I told him the pictures they had were older and we could get her some new pictures with all of the kids in them. I told him that even MuMaw has her favorites with her real bio grandkids. Just because we are human, we can’t love everyone the same, but that doesn’t mean they don’t love him. I truly believe they do love him but there is a difference.

I can’t make my son’s life perfect no matter how much I would like. He is part of a blended family and is having to realize at a young age that life isn’t fair. People can’t always bond the same with others and the best thing we can do is focus on the good things that his Nacho Grandparents do for him because they do love him and they aren’t bound by “family blood” to do anything.

 

 

NachoKids theory is almost better than…

Hot and now

Nacho Kids theory – almost better than Krispy Kreme Doughnuts!

 

Some do as I did when they hear “NachoKids” is not a derogatory theory…  It is actually almost better than Krispy Kreme HOT & NOW donuts, but not quite.   Great, now  I’m craving those.  UGH!  Have you tried their apple fritters?… They are so awesome!!

 

Anyway, before I go ride to Krispy Kreme Happiness Land, I’d like to talk about a different view of the NachoKids theory.  Think of it.  You are riding down the road one day and you hear “You aren’t my dad!  I don’t have to listen to you!”  First of all, we know this is disrespectful and needs to be addressed but guess what, they are right.  On one major point anyway, you are NOT their dad!  The other part of the comment is more concerning.  Yes, they do have to listen to you.  Respect of the NachoKids to the NachoParent is an absolute must!  First of all, they are an adult.  Secondly, the NachoParent is actually an extension of the Bio-parent and should be treated as an authoritative figure to a degree.

As we were riding down the road the other day a conversation was held regarding things we shouldn’t do because we still have kids to raise… You know like, bungee jump, dragon slay, etc.  Apparently after an accident of a close friend, the Nacho Parent made a comment that we had said we would do the “dangerous” stuff after the kids were grown.  Well, I do recall this being said; however my mentality has changed since then.  First of all, if something happens to one of the Nacho-parents, odds are you won’t have any type of custody or visitation with the NachoKids.  How sad that is in many cases.  Especially in cases where I know the NachoKids have stated they would rather stay with the Nacho-parent if something happens to the Bio-parent because they love the Nacho-parent and can appreciate the love they are given as well.  Anyway, back to the “dangerous stuff”.  The Nacho-parent said “I’m not worried about the NachoKids because they aren’t my concern.”  At first I thought, “Ooh that sounded kinda mean”.    Then the more I thought, why add the stress to yourself to raise someone else’s kids.  If you have a child you can set the standard by which you want your child to behave; but you can’t set the standard for the NachoKids.  Do you know why?…  come on, guess… Yep, they are NACHOKIDS!

Reality is, they are NachoKids!

Reality is, they know it from one standpoint and will eagerly remind you of it; however, there is another side to that reality and they need to understand that side as well.  The Nacho-parents’ side.

As Nacho-parents:

You are not required to treat them as you do your own child.

It is not as easy to overlook their bad choices.

You are not required to take them places or buy them things.

You don’t have to love them but you choose to!

I will add a caveat to this though.  My child has a great relationship with his Nacho-parent and loves them as if they were his biological parent.  He was young when I married and does not remember being an only child, only a NachoKid.  Not to mention, my child lives with us 95% of the time, thankfully!  When Nacho-parent and I were going to counseling trying to figure out this blended family massacre…  I told the Nacho-parent I felt since my child was so young, their role was a little different than that of a Nacho-parent that comes into the picture when the child is older.  In a lot of ways they still are a Nacho-parent but in the most important way – Love – they are more of a real parent.

 

FREE NachoKids.org Online Conference

NachoKids.org Forums

FREE online blended family support conference with the NachoKids theory!!

Saturday, August 2 at 10:00 am EST (UTC-5:00)  – 11:00 am EST (UTC-6:00)

To receive the details of the conference, go to our website www.NachoKids.org and sign up for our mailing list.    We will send you more info and offer you a chance to participate if space is still available.

Subscribers to NachoKids.org mailing lists have first dibs on being able to actively participate in the conference through a private chat method.    

The concept behind NachoKids theory

we_can_do_it

The NachoKids theory is not saying to be mean, disrespectful, insensitive, etc. to your step kids.  It’s just the opposite.  It’s to help you learn a different approach or a different concept to disengaging.  It’s to help you not go bug your husband with everything the kids do that annoys you.  It’s to let your husband raise his kids the way he thinks they should be raised.  After all, you weren’t there when the decision to bring them into the world was made, it was his decision and it is his right and his job to raise his kids.  NachoKids is not to disrespect him or the kids.  There are situations where the NachoKids theory probably wouldn’t work but maybe parts of the theory could.  No blended family is the same, we are similar in ways, but there are so many variations and factors involved.

Like I said in our NachoKids Really?!?! blog, http://www.nachokids.org/nacho-kids-really/, I thought the counselor was crazy when he kept telling me “Not your kids”.  It took me a while to see his point.  You have to be open to the idea or it definitely won’t work.  You have to change your thought process and habits, which are not easy, but you can do it and it’s so worth it!

Here is a scenario of what the first few weeks of practicing the NachoKids theory from my viewpoint:  

I hear the kids hollering at each other and fussing.  Normally I would have gotten involved and put myself in the middle of it by asking what was going on.  Instead, I walk outside and sit there for a few minutes.  My husband hears the ruckus and goes to see what’s going on.  I’ve always said men have a 30 delay in answering questions, I think the same is true when they respond to things with the kids, but more like a 3 minute delay.  I realize his tolerance for his kids and loud noises in the house is a lot higher than mine because he’s always had four kids; but he does eventually hear it and respond.  It is normal for you to pay notice the behaviors of other’s kids quicker than your own especially if they are loud, disrespectful, etc.  So, if I sit there and it continues, I will go to my husband and say “I wonder what they are doing up there.” or “Man, they are off the chain.”  That’s his cue to calm the situation down before I get frustrated and it escalates.  LOL

Another scenario of practicing the NachoKids theory.  You walk in from work and within minutes you hear “When’s dinner?” or “What’s for dinner?”.  Some days this is not an issue but pre-NachoKids theory I would respond with, “If you are going to bug us about dinner, you fix it!”  So, pre-NachoKids, I would have responded that way.  During the start of practicing this concept, my response to this was to either say “go ask your dad” or if dad was standing there I would go take my happy butt and pile up in the bed and watch House Hunters International.  House Hunters International became my escape for the first several weeks… maybe months.  It probably still would be but I think I’ve seen every episode… every one!  

As people, we have moments.  Good moments, bad moments, sad moments, angry moments, etc.  I just refuse to use my moments disciplining his kids and my living up to the wicked step mother wrap.  I still have those times when I will say things to them but they are few and far between.  It’s so much better this way, I no longer feel like I’m policing his kids or causing friction trying to be a third, unwanted and unneeded parent.  I feel like cool NachoMom!

Quick Tip #1 – Choices

Your life is the sum of the choices you make.

As cliche as that may sound, few phrases are more true.

Responses are a choice

Words are a choice

Love is a choice

Reactions are a choice

Attitudes are a choice

Expectations are a choice

Trust is a choice

Success is a choice

I could go on and on and on. Every day, all day, you make hundreds… maybe thousands of choices. Each and every one of those choices, to some degree, will change the direction of your life.

You may be reading this and saying, “OMG, that is such BS!”. Maybe you are simply sitting in silence and pondering the magnitude of this truth. Either way… believe… don’t believe… it does not change the power of choice.

Stop! Think on it! That’s it… let it sink in.

Now… whether you realize it or not… you have just made a choice to continue reading.

This knowledge… this moment in time… WILL make a difference for the rest of your life.

However, the difference it makes… is your choice!

 

Oh no, I’m one of them!!!!!

OpenmouthI just realized something.  It was kind of obvious, now that I think about it, but I still can’t believe it!

I am constantly reading something about blended families.  I read Facebook group member posts, I read professional articles, books.  One thing I have noticed recently is more people posting about the BM (Biological Mother).  As I read these stories, I would think to myself “Yep, sounds just like my NachoKids mom” or “I can definitely relate to that”.

We have so many struggles (most of us) with bio-moms.  From them not parenting like we think they should to, to the way they baby their kids, to the way they deal with their exes (our significant others), to the way they look at us, you name it… they are not what we think they should be!

Recently I was reading a post by someone talking about the bio-mom’s doing this and that.  All of a sudden something weird happened.  It hit me like a lightning bolt or a spinal tap (for some reason lightning reminds me of the pain i suffered during a spinal tap years ago).  I am a bio-mom!  So, more than likely, I am being talked about by my exes current squeeze.  I don’t blame her for thinking bad of me.  Think about it, she only heard “his side” of how pleasant and wonderful I am, I mean how I am “a you know what”.  I can only imagine what that poor chick has been told about me.  No wonder she looks at me with eyes of the devil.

Yep, I can tell you I’m the one that fought for child support for my son.  Yep, I fought to have full custody of him and for his bio-dad to have standard visitation.  Yep, I fought him when he tried to hold me in contempt of court on crazy charges.  Yep, I continue to “bother him” and “ruin him financially” (as he would say) by asking him to pay his half of “his” son’s medical bills. So, all that’s true.  But if you phrase it as I am a money hungry skank that just wants to make his life miserable, then you are a bit off mark.

Yep, I’m a BM and proud of it!

It is all about perception…  I hate perception and the saying “perception is reality” drives me nuts.  I won’t go off on that tangent right now.

To all you bio-moms, remember when reading about a BM in a post on Facebook, you are a BM to someone too!  Enjoy!

The NachoKids made me lose my religion!!

 

hair pulling

This is not a bible study blog nor is it a religious blog. It is about an event. We attend a church that is approximately 45 minutes from our house. Not that our destination changes the dynamics of the ride. With five kids in the car, by the time you get to church, you definitely need some “religion” because you probably lost it at least in your mind at some point on that trip. (Losing your religion meaning – had bad thoughts got angry, pouted, complained, etc… You know the normal car ride for an extended period of time with five kids!)

Someone is always too loud, someone is always messing with the other’s stuff, someone is always aggravating someone else, and someone is always laying on someone else as the other screams “get off me!” It’s a NachoKid all out war sometimes it seems. I know several times people have had to pass us on the road and think they saw the exorcist in the passenger side of our car… That was me, yep, I was trying not to scream at them, so with all the pressure, my head just started spinning. And then there were other passersby that saw the car yanked over on the shoulder of the road so David could threaten the kids like our parents used to do to us. Those were the good old days. NOT!

I am so glad those days are over. The rides might not be like riding on a magic carpet quite yet, but they are definitely to the point that I don’t feel like I have to stay for two church services just to cover me on the way back home for what I might think or say. LOL

What’s the most stressful part of your day with the blended family?… any car ride, extended trips, dinner time, bedtime,???

This filthy youngin’ isn’t mine!

ccstinkyWhen my son was little, every other Friday, I would always take him home from daycare, bathe him, dress him in the “daddy outfit” for the weekend and take him to his dad. He would keep him until Sunday. No, I don’t dress him in fancy clothes to go to his dad’s and he usually wears a pair of “play” shoes to his dads because most the time when I picked him up he was muddy or had been playing in the creek in the shoes, etc. Ok, he’s a kid. No big deal, so I prepare for it… Several times he has come back without his coat, rubber boots, you name it. I might be a little over the top with the clothes things sometimes but it just makes me feel bio dad is not very responsible at times.

And it always happens… the SOCKS! Funny the things that annoy us. I try to buy good socks for my son, like ones that fit and usually Hanes. Well, it never fails, he seems to come back with the no name, floppy too big socks. I try to let him wear those back to his dads when he goes back the next time; hoping I never see those socks again. They really are horrible. They are probably hand me downs… Ooh… I don’t like sock hand me downs, shoe hand me downs or underwear hand me downs. We are all about hand me downs, but when my son came home with his dad’s girlfriend’s kid’s underwear on, that was it! I can’t have my baby wearing someone else’s drawers! That’s just disgusting. I don’t care how many times you washed them. I think his dad got the point when I started sending extra underwear. Really though, why should I have to tell him those things? I’m one of those moms that sends everything I can with him. I have to make sure he has water, food, entertainment (ipod, books), etc. Yeah, I think I’m a little OCD.

It’s not just my ex. With the NachoKids (step kids), we have the same issue. They come to us wearing pants with holes in them, socks with holes in them and underwear that should be thrown away as well. So of course, we can’t send them back in those clothes because they have to wear uniforms at school, so you can’t send them with holes in their britches (or pants for those who do not know what britches are). We have five NachoKids, so replacing pants for the other parent is a bit costly. Now granted, I always do try to see the other side of things. Well, I think I do, others may disagree. So, the pants may have not had a hole in them when they left the house that morning but I promise you the holes in the socks had been there a while and the underwear had definitely hit its expiration date long before I saw it. I could understand if the kids did laundry because they wouldn’t throw them out but I know they don’t do laundry. The NachoKids actually get mad if I throw their holey socks away… I mean really mad… go figure on that one. Add it to the list of crazy things with no explanation.

I know it’s not just us that have this problem, a friend of mine’s child was wearing a size 10/12. She sends him in nice clothes because she always dresses him nicely. Anyway, the child comes back from his bio dad’s wearing size 6 shorts and a small shirt!!! Oh lawd, she was fit to be tied! I was wondering how that little boy even could get in a size 6. The picture in my mind as she is telling me this is quite funny. Almost like the style of when guys wore half shirts and those way too short shorts! Poor child probably couldn’t breathe! She still has this problem and I don’t see that changing on her end. But the good thing is, at least it’s only every other weekend the child has to be squeezed into clothes way to small for him because his dad doesn’t ask her to send clothes and he doesn’t go buy him any. Of course she wouldn’t be so willing to send clothes, because she knows she will never see them again.

So, here we are, another battle with the BM and BD of the NachoKids and more burden/responsibility on us. You know some people would think “pick your battles”. I understand and appreciate that and diligently try to do so; however, I don’t want my NachoKids or kids looking like ragamuffins! I try not to be judgmental of people’s looks, but there is no sense in a child having poor hygiene when their parents have the means to provide showers, clothes, etc. and can afford it) nor should they be sent to school wearing pants that are 4 inches too short on them, walk around with unwashed hair and body – ooh stinky boys!!! – and come back wearing clothes the Goodwill wouldn’t accept or clothes they have been wearing for 3 days!

Ok, so I’m not stressing over the clothes thing as much anymore because my son is old enough now for me to remind him to get his clothes or text his dad to tell him he left them… plus, I’m too stressed over the fact that he’s “misplaced” three jackets at school. Lost and found is more like his personal closet at times.

The clothes issue is one of the many things that stress a lot of Nacho Moms and actually some dads as well. I hear and read about it all the time. You can’t help but wonder if the ex does it on purpose in case you have plans to take the child somewhere when you get them back on Sunday. You can’t very well take them out to eat when it looks like they just crawled out of a mud hole. Well, we have learned and the good thing is, we know not to plan anything because we never know what the kids will look like when we pick them up. I do have to point out for the most part my son takes a shower before he comes home on Sunday, but he comes back in clothes that seem dirty. Go figure. Oh wait, those are the clothes from Friday I wanted him to wear back… Thanks for sending them back this time you could have washed them. Man, they can’t ever get it right!!

 

 

 

I am not a bank!!

Piggy Bank On Pennies

I bet you thought this post was going to be money related. No, it’s going to be the bank of life

Many moons ago, I had the pleasure of working briefly at a car dealership as a PR Rep. I went through a training course on lots of stuff but one of them was “the life bank”. Apparently when salesmen deal with people, they are to make five deposits into their customer bank before withdrawing just one. Five to one is what they would always say. Basically it’s to say five things that make the person feel loved, appreciated, flattered, like they mattered, etc. then you could slap them with one tidbit of bad news, like “Ma’am I think that outfit is lovely and you are going to look so good driving this car. I am sorry your husband passed away and I can understand you wanting to buy a more economical car. I appreciate your letting me help you today. “ Whew, that was hard. There’s five deposits, so now the salesmen get to say “Your car payment is going to be $300 more a month than you had budgeted”. This is supposed to make the person not feel as bad when the “bad news” is delivered because you’ve made five deposits. You may think OK, I still have four in the bank, no you don’t. The five to one rule means your five deposits (positives) equal one withdrawal (negative).

During counseling one time, the counselor told us you should practice the five to one.  I knew instantly what he was referring to.  I was like really?!? Heck I couldn’t think of five good things to say about anybody at that exact moment. If I couldn’t say anything to the NachoKids unless I had proceeded with my five positives, I would never be able to say anything negative. I mean we got five kids!!  I mean what was I supposed to do… Say five things before I asked them to put up their dishes?  I don’t think so.  Not going to happen.

I wasn’t raised with a lot of praise but instead a lot of expectations from my parents. If I made an A- on a test, they would give me the look of “you could have done better”. I felt like I had disappointed my parents. I don’t know why I always felt that way. Now my older sister on the other hand, she could come home with barely a C- or even a D and they would be like, “Oh thank goodness you passed!” So the concept of five to one sounded crazy ridiculous to me and in some ways still does. I guess they just weren’t the kind of parents to say “you are doing a good job” or “I’m proud of you”. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not bashing my parents, I’m just saying how it was. That’s why I believe I don’t do well with schmoozing people with meaningless words.

So, with the NachoKids, I never got to the five to one and really have no desire to strive for that goal. I don’t even do five to one with my own child and he’s my baby! I think one to one is plenty because that’s what life is going to deal them at best. They will more likely get the zero to one training by real life.

I figure it’s best to let them know what reality is like than be freaked out when their boss tells them “no” one day or tells them to do something without praising them for ten minutes first.

What’s your thoughts, how do you feel about the five to one “bank of life” theory?