Happy “Mad Friday” Queens!
So we’re fast approaching that time of year again aren’t we, when our StepKids think;
“Oh shit, it’s not long until Christmas, I better try harder to be nicer, I don’t want to miss out on any presents…”
Now, I don’t necessarily blame them for this really, we all did it with our parents & relatives didn’t we, but it is amusing all the same!
You can pretty much guarantee that when Christmas or a Birthady is looming, our kids realise they need to go on the charm offensive quick time!
All year round, I call them, I text them, I go over and above to make an effort, with the big stuff and the small stuff, as all StepMums are obligated to do (it’s in the contract don’t you know!) with pretty much the very minimum of reciprocation.
November hits, and all off a sudden I’m getting, “Happy Friday” texts, and the little sprogs are enquiring how my week at work has been!
To be honest, I feel like saying…
“Well, work is going well enough to facilitate your lifestyle darlings, and for your Mum to successfully dodge the Jobcentre…thanks so much for asking…”
But, that’s probably not the most grown up response!
Yet, even though I know they’re doing it, I can’t deny I love the attention! So I play along, and their sneaky plan always works.
It’s probably my most favourite time of the year to be honest, as me and Charming are pretty much guaranteed our lowest ever stress levels in the run up to present buying! And their behaviour is always exemplary.
Obviously, it goes without saying, that from January 1st all bets are off…
But isn’t it nice while it lasts!
The reality is that the love, time, energy and patience that goes into building a strong relationship with them all year round, is far more valuable than any present we could buy or money we spend on them – they just don’t quite realise it yet!
It’s a little easier in our house now the kids are teenagers and no longer believe in the magic of Christmas! The presents get smaller, just more expensive the older they get…
But at least we don’t have to dick about hiding a creepy Elf around the house, or trying to explain that Santa will kindly do a double drop between their two respective houses this year, because he knows about the divorce.
“Santa’s such an incredible, magical man, best leave him an extra glass of whiskey out eh kids…”
In the early years Charming’s Ex would buy me and him a present and send a card “from the kids” which was a kind and considerate gesture, but we knocked this on the head straight away, as it just became far too tricky to navigate and of course it was an unnecessary expense for her.
Particularly when at that time it was impossible to try and maintain (despite our genuine attempts to the contrary) any kind of stable or functional relationship with his ExWife…
The last thing we were inclined to do after all the drama aimed at us during the year, was send her a bloody Christmas card!
As teenagers we started to give the kids a little bit of pocket money each week too (for doing chores) which helped with their financial independence.
And of course we give them a little bit of extra money if it doesn’t quite cover what they want to buy their Mum, that’s the mature approach…
When they were very young, we would just give the kids a small amount of money and take them out to pick a present, or better still encourage them to do some crafting and make something while they were with us instead!
Handmade cards and presents are so much better than anything they could buy, particularly when they’re little (I think I’ve kept everything they’ve ever made me!) it’s the cute writing and kind words from the StepKids that mean the absolute world. They really have no idea how much those small glittery gestures mean to us StepMums and give us the resilience to keep going!
Encouraging them to do this sort of crafting (or baking!) during your time with them for their Mum (or Step Dad) is a great idea and also demonstrates caring towards the other parent, which is so important for the kids to see.
Now ours are older we don’t even need to take them to the shops, they take themselves. We just make a point of ensuring we remind them in plenty of time to get the presents bought and wrapped.
Charming, like most men, buys all his gifts on Christmas Eve! So if a grown man needs encouragement to get it all done on time, it’s fair to expect our kids will need some coaching with this too!
So if you’re starting to feel the festive pressure, tell them all not to come into the living room tonight because you’re “wrapping their presents…”
Then go pour yourself a massive Baileys, watch whatever the fuck you want on the Telly, eat all their Christmas chocolate, and remind them that;
“A Parent is for life, not just for Christmas!”