Pass the wine while you’re at it Hun!
How did any parent travel any distance, or manage to have an entire conversation with another grown up, without the incredible distraction of gadgets for our kids?!
I know it’s frowned upon to ‘over use’ them, and I’m not suggesting it should replace quality time with the little sprogs…
But my God – isn’t it great when they are quiet and watching the screen for a bit! Preferably with headphones on. Total bliss.
Besides, whenever we decide to “ban the gadgets” as a family in our house, some clever little shit inevitably suggests getting Monopoly out…
And this always, without fail, ends in someone tipping over the board in a rage and having a scrap with whoever owns Mayfair.
Give me shit YouTube videos about how to make slime any fucking day of the week over that!
Our StepKids, like pretty much all other teenagers of their generation, have a mobile phone each, and this was a real game changer for us in terms of being able to communicate with the kids regularly and easily.
Previously, we had to call their house landline, which usually resulted in awkward conversations with his ExWife, that she generally delighted in using as an opportunity to find something to rant at us about…
So this platform was basically taken away once the kids each had a mobile phone, we could get straight through to them and swerve any potential BMD (Bio Mother Drama)
We could send texts to the kids telling them how much we loved them, “good luck with your exam today,” that sort of thing – so they knew we were always thinking of them, even when they weren’t with us.
It’s important to me and Charming, that they know they are the centre of our world all the time, not just for 50% of the week or for the fun weekend stuff.
It goes without saying though, and even now they’re much older, we very rarely get a text back – unless of course they want money or a lift!
But that’s what all parents are to teenagers isn’t it – cash machines and a taxi service! We all did it…
Technology is ace, and we all buy into the latest gadgets, but social media is particularly difficult to navigate and monitor with teenagers.
We discussed the idea of not allowing them Social Media access until they were much older, but it is everywhere now isn’t it! There really is no escaping it.
So Charming and I agreed that we would rather keep an eye on their use, and coach them with it, than attempt to restrict something that they will inevitably use to benefit their social and working lives in the future.
Social Media for StepMums is absolutely bonkers though isn’t it?
In the early days we suspected his ExWife might be doing a bit of online stalking, probably after a heavy night when the temptation is just a bit too much. Let’s face it, we’ve all done it haven’t we!
But no good can ever come of this! Not ever. It is pretty much a guarantee that we’ll find something that pisses us off!
It’s also really tempting to just leave any mutual friends with the Ex on your Social Media accounts too, upload new photos and profile pics with your partner, ‘check in’ to fabulous places, and think:
“I’m looking pretty good in this photo, nice downward angle, arms are thin and bronzed, I’ve only got one chin on show, so let them all stalk away!”
LET THEM SEE HOW HAPPY WE ARE!
Well, this is what I came to realise…
I do not give a single solitary fuck, what anyone outside of my closest circle think of me! Not one, never have. It also starts to look a bit obvious and tragic, as if you’ve got something to prove when everything is set to public, just in case someone is creeping on your account!
So grab a strong G&T and lock down every single social media account…
Set super strong privacy settings, know exactly what is on public viewing, and BLOCK em all!
This should also include any extended family and mutual friends, IF you’re unsure where their loyalties lie. Block it all off, job done! You don’t owe anyone an explanation.
You’re not interested in what they’re up to, and have no desire to share your lovely life with any of them either…
Harsh, but SO much healthier!
I also made the decision some time ago, that I wouldn’t have the StepKids as friends/connections on Social Media either – as there really is no need.
I’m quite sure their Mum doesn’t want to see any photos of us all, and likewise, I most certainly don’t want her mug flashing up on my timeline.
And I’ve been honest with our kids about this, in a very diplomatic way of course!
We’ve got a shared WhatsApp group instead, which has the kids grandparents and family from our side included, and this is more than enough for us to keep up with!
It also goes without saying that I would never upload a photo without first asking Charming and the kids if it was ok. I can’t bear unapproved photos of me being sent or shared anywhere either! So the same curtesy should apply to them…
I know there are some brilliant Step Families out there that all get along famously, are jolly good friends and regularly go to the pub quiz together, and believe me when I say this – you’re a real example to us all!! We salute you, and we are a bit jealous of your achievements.
Well done, that is truly amazing work – but unfortunately, this doesn’t apply to the majority of us…
For most StepMums that friendship with his Ex and extended family will forever elude us, despite our very best and genuine efforts!
And Social Media friendship politics is just another tricky obstacle for StepMums to overcome. It’s the least of our worries frankly…
Technology and Social Media are undoubtedly incredible tools, and give us access to all kinds of weird and wonderful information.
So at least by embracing it, educating our Kids on the benefits, and also the potential risks involved – we can make sure we’re all (parents included!) using it only for the power of good!