Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Rainy Day Ramblings

I haven't seen my stepson for the past five days. That's the way our shared custody works--five days on, two days off. Then, two days on, five days off. It's such a weird dichotomy to feel like a carefree newlywed couple for five days and then be completely kid-centric for the next five. As someone who doesn't want kids herself, it's always a tough adjustment. It's not that I don't like my stepson; it's just that I don't always enjoy all the trappings of pseudo-motherhood. And, compared to many of my stepmom peers, I have it easy. But, after five days of quiet relaxation and a clean home, I struggle with the opposite end of the spectrum. I'm sure many people enjoy the sound of "Spongebob" or endless car motor/bomb/rocket noises, but I prefer the quiet. After five days of working in a school, I need some silence. I'm a "calm activities" kind of gal. I love to read, listen to music, watch movies, take long nightly baths, go for walks. I'm solitary, a touch of a neat freak, and quixotic, which I believe, makes me a horrible candidate for motherhood. At least I figured this out before I popped out a few kids.

On the weekends and weeknights when we don't have stepson, we try to do things that are more difficult when he's here. For example, we'll grocery shop, go to the movies, and have a few nice dinners out. I watch TV and play music as loud as I want (a treat). I get to sleep in past 6 A.M., and I don't have to worry about whether or not everyone's going to like what's for dinner. And, I try to take advantage of one of the biggest things I miss about our childfree days--my ability to walk around naked or partially clothed. I'm no nudist or exhibitionist, but with a female-body crazed six year-old wandering around, I feel the need to cover all bare skin at all times.

It bothers me when people assume that I don't like kids or think that I'm selfish because I don't want children. Yes, I have some selfish tendencies (see above), but how can someone who's selfish and hates children be an effective public high school English teacher for the past ten years? I know that every school has those old hag teachers who never smile and are waiting to either die or retire, but I'm not one of them. I love my job, and the kids like me. I have oodles of affection and concern for them, and I spend every minute of my work days, from 7:45-3:15 with the nearly 200 kids I teach, for very little pay. I've won teaching awards and (sorry to brag here) have been named more than once as one of Los Angeles' most inspiring teachers. I would hardly say this describes someone full of selfishness and hatred.

I do love kids, but, I love myself more. I love that I know myself well enough to know that I would feel lost and depressed in the role of "mommy." I admire those who can do it, but with the stress and anxiety I put myself through on a daily basis, I know I couldn't be both a good mom and teacher. I know my career would suffer, and to me, being a teacher is who I am. I don't want to sacrifice my career, where I feel I make a difference in the lives of students. They would most definitely suffer if I became a mother, as I wouldn't have the time and energy necessary to be an effective teacher. Right now, I need to stay who I am.

And, now, for more important things: "Jersey Shore" and Heidi Montag. Okay, I live in L.A., so, of course, I get sucked into the entertainment machine. I'm embarrassed to admit that I was pulled into the black hole called "Jersey Shore." I'd heard so much about this mindless show, that I had to watch an episode or six this past weekend. I'll admit that I like reality TV as a mindless escape. I'll take a Kardashian or a bachelor or a Hugh Hefner centerfold or a slut from Staten Island any day. Real people (although edited and altered for TV) are so interesting to me. If you haven't been able to watch this gem, I highly recommend it, if only to see an idiot who actually nicknamed himself "The Situation."

Heidi Montag: I was never one to follow "The Hills," but her face has been plastered all over TV and magazines for a couple of years. Have you seen her lately? Whoa! She had 10 plastic surgery procedures done in one day, and she looks nothing like she did a year ago. I know this is round 2 of plastic surgery for her, but I thought she looked good after the first bout--like a subtly improved version of herself. But, now...she looks absolutely plastic. It's gross. Take a look: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/14/heidi-montags-10-plastic_n_423855.html

I'm a vain person. I spend ample amounts of time and money on my hair, cosmetics, clothes, anti-aging products, and I am not against cosmetic surgery to approve one's appearance. But, after seeing a parade of photos lately of stars who have gone under the knife, I've changed my mind. Seldom do these people look better--they just look scary. Look at Priscilla Presley, Kenny Rogers, Courtney Love. Reel in horror at pictures of Joan Van Ark (remember her?!) Be sure to scroll all the way down. http://plasticsergeant.com/celebrity/joan-van-ark-face I personally think that even Madonna looks freakish these days, although I've debated this much with my friend who thinks she looks great. I want to stay fresh and young looking, too, but I don't want to look grotesque, and I thank all these stars for paving the way for people like me who are too vain to risk looking like these ghouls. I'm going to attempt to age gracefully and see what time deals me.


Stef said...

I find it take me about a day to unwind from the child's visits and find myself again.

And you don't need to apologize for not wanting kids...

Churlita said...

Yeah. It's good that you know you don't want kids. I know plenty of people who have them because they think they're supposed to and then are miserable. My sister teaches 4th grade and has two young kids. I don't know how she does it.

Anonymous said...

I find it inspiring and hopeful to find someone like yourself who clearly cares about kids but who finds it hard to be a stepmom. I'm a brand, spankin-new stepmom and though I love it, it's really really hard sometimes. In fact... eeek...ssshh... sometimes... I don't like it. I've bookmarked your site and will happily read more!

Junkgirl said...

Stef--Thank you! I do need to stop apologizing.

Churlita--I know a lot of people like that too--people that didn't put any thought at all into what kids are really like. I see a lot of those kids at my school, too. Neglected, abandoned, abused. And, how does your sister do it? That's incredible.

stepmomof3--I'm so glad to have you as a reader, and, you are not alone! Many, many women to whom I speak dislike their stepmothering gigs ALL of the time--not just some of the time. It's completely normal. It's not an easy role! Please keep reading and sharing your thoughts.

Marcy said...

What fun I've had stumbling into your blog! I've been wandering around the step-mommy world for awhile looking for someone with any similarity to my own life. Seeing you are a child free step mom (who is from Iowa to boot) I had to stick around. I also am an Iowa girl, although I still live here. I also despise what Heidi has done to her face/body. I'm actually not a step mom yet, but plan to be one day soon.

I look forward to seeing what more life brings you!

Junkgirl said...

Thanks, Marcy! I'd love to hear more about you and your situation, too!