Dear Step Son, You’re Right, Today You’re an “Equal”

Being a “step” parent is rough. Today, after reading a dissertation of a text from my 18-year-old step son last night, I realized that I don’t treat him as an “equal” to my own kids. Today, everything will change, for him, and I hope he’s happy that he’ll actually finally have to follow rules for the first time in his life.

matt cozumel

Dear 18-year-old step son,

I’m sorry. I read your 500-word text to your dad last night (yes, he showed me, you knew he would) and I can’t say I disagree with you. You’re right. We do NOT treat you as an equal to our “real” kids. You live by different rules. You are treated differently. In fact, you are treated way differently. Thanks for pointing it out so that I don’t have to anymore. You did us all a favor and, thanks to you, your life will change today and you’ll finally be “equal”.

You see, my “real” kids have a lot of rules. They live on a budget (yes, a budget, we’re not made of money). That’s why we have stuff. We work hard, I budget our money, we get stuff. Like that cruise you just went on? Yea, that didn’t pay for itself. I did. With my budgeted savings. You’re welcome, even though you never said thank you.

But back to the inequality.

You aren’t treated as an equal. You’re treated way better than them in fact. You’re treated like a king, actually, and I’m sorry you felt the need to point that out because it’s about to change, for you, today. You’re welcome. I do listen to you even though you think I don’t.

You see, my “real” kids are expected to come home from school daily, right after school, and do their homework, eat dinner when it’s put on the table between 5:00 and 6:00 every night, then to sit as a family before bedtime. You don’t have to do that, right? Sorry, I should have required that of you instead of allowing you to skip school, not do your homework, let you go to the skate park, then come home at whatever time you’d like and eat dinner before (or after) I put it up. I should have put my foot down, as I would have with my “real” children before I allowed you to mess up the kitchen after I cleaned it up. I should have put my foot down when you took those 45 minute showers, twice a day, when I politely asked you not to. I should have, I could have, I will, starting today because I want you to be “equal”.

My “real” kids get exactly three drinks per day. One with breakfast, one with lunch, one with dinner. Sorry the open fountain will be closed for you starting today too, but it’s all in the name of equality. You’re welcome.

And speaking of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, that’s about to be equal too. I did the math, and I spend exactly $3.00 on both of the babies for breakfast and lunch daily, combined. That’s right, a total of $3.00, that’s $1.50 each. They eat breakfast at home (because I make them get up early enough to do that), a Pop Tart or a bowl of cereal. That’s 50 cents a piece. They bring their lunch. Literally, $1.00 each per day for lunch. You’re smart, do the math.

How much do you spend?

FORTY DOLLARS PER WEEK…on breakfast and lunch. Way more than your dad and I spend weekly, together. Sorry we’ve been so unfair to you.

A breakfast burrito costs $2.50. Your coffee costs $1.00. Your double lunch costs $4.oo. Your extra cookies cost $1.00. That’s $8.50 per day. That’s $42.50 per week. Then there’s dinner. That dinner I cook from scratch. All day, every day. I’m sorry we’ve been so unfair. I’m sorry “our” kids have it so much better than you.

I’m here to rectify that. Starting tomorrow, well really Monday morning, you have exactly $20 going into your school account per week. That’s way more than “my” kids get, more than double their combined daily allowance in fact. Consider yourself lucky and thank you for pointing out “your” inequalities. I feel like I’m winning. Anything you want beyond your double lunch, get a JOB.

You can eat breakfast at home like they do. Get up on time. It’s all about equality.

You don’t need coffee and cookies. If you do want them, get a JOB. We’re all equals here…now.

Oh, and the lying. That won’t fly anymore either. If “my” kids lie, they get punished. The end. You do not. You’ve skipped school a total of 23 periods this year (I have letters from the school…stop lying). Kylee wouldn’t be allowed out of her room if she’d done that. I’m sorry I was so unfair to you (her) by fussing at you about that and thinking that perhaps you should be grounded. Shame on me for being so unfair.

Speaking of that job, everyone on the island is hiring. Everyone. Always. Stop coming home (5 months after you were told to get a job – that you were required to have when you lived at “home”) saying no one is hiring. I could get a new job tomorrow morning. So can you. This time, all sarcasm aside, I’m sorry I’ve been so lenient and haven’t held you to the standards that I hold “my” children to. GET A JOB.

So, in summation, we’re finally all “equal”. You get $20 for food at school this week, and every week thereafter, which is more than double what “my” kids get, combined. Use is wisely. If you don’t like that, we have breakfast at home and lunches you can bring. You’re welcome. You need to get a job for the extras. Again, jobs are plentiful here on the island. Look, you’ll see. My “real” older children were held to this standard when they lived here and they got them within two days, not six months. You’re welcome for the extra time…months…you were afforded. I’m sorry we have rules (I’m not), I’m sorry that I will now hold you to their rules (I am not).

Thank you for pointing out the inequalities around here. Thank you for telling your dad. Thanks for the money and aggravation savings. Thank you for the dissertation via text. You saved me a lot of words. I appreciate you.

With love,

Your “all about equality” step mom,

If I Could Write a Letter to 5-Year-Old Me…

How many of us would change our life’s course if we could? If you could write a letter to 5-year-old you, what would you say? Here’s my Letter to 5-Year-Old Me. If I could change some things, I would.

a letter to 5 year old me

Dear 5-Year-Old Christy,

Hi! I hope this letter finds you well. I hope you had fun on the playground today. I hope you didn’t let that little mean boy get to you today. You’re tiny for your age. So what? That won’t change by the way, so get used to it, and embrace it. He doesn’t matter. Mean people suck. You’ll learn that soon enough. Way too soon in fact. I’m sorry. I wish grown-up me were there to hold you right now. I’m not, but I’ve always been with you and I’m here with you now. If you’re reading this (you’re not), you’ll avoid the hot mess that is your life in your 40’s. It’s not all bad. In fact much of it is awesome, but things could be better. Hang on, baby, because I have some things I want you to learn at 5, and I want you to carry those lessons into your 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, and beyond. Ready?

  1. Laugh a lot, baby. Even when you feel like crying, laugh. It’ll make them wonder what you’re up to, and it’ll make you a happier person.
  2. Don’t trust too soon. Being cautious isn’t being paranoid. It’s being cautious and it could save you years of heartache.
  3. Always say no the first time if that’s what your heart tells you to do. If you’re worth it to them, no matter the situation, they’ll wait.
  4. Hand in hand with 3, always follow your heart unless your brain is so overpowering that you truly need to listen. If that happens, listen to your brain.
  5. Don’t wear your heart on your sleeve. It’s OK to show your emotions, but showing too much just brings out those bullies. They sense it, on the playground now, and the bullies don’t change.
  6. Be the change. When life or people around you suck, figure out how to change things to make the world a better place.
  7. Find your tribe. Align with people that get you. Make them make you accountable for all of the above. Make them talk you out of the stupid shit (sorry about that, you’ll have a potty mouth when you grow up, there are worse things).
  8. Don’t be a doormat. This one will be a huge challenge for you. It’s one thing to be a people pleaser, it’s another all together to be walked on.
  9. Be proud of the fact that you have a brain and know how to use it. It’s not aggression, baby, it’s assertion. Don’t you dare let them tell you otherwise.
  10. Life’s tough. Like, the struggle is real. If the bully on the playground is too much, walk away. If the job isn’t treating you right (not to be confused with you being lazy), leave. If people beat you down too much, just walk away, love. Walk away from the shit life is sure to deal. You and I will both be better off if you’re better than me and just walk away from the crap.

Your life will be amazeballs if you (unlike old you) follow this advice. AH-MAZING! Don’t hit your 40’s and wonder what the eff happened. Take charge. Beat those bullies. The ones on the playground and the ones in your future life. Let them lie to others and pretend you’re the bad guy. You know. Everyone knows in fact. Just do you, boo, and be strong. Do you, but step it up this time. Change the things that are wrong as they happen, act on your instincts, your heart, your brain. I’m in your corner. A lot of people are. Don’t forget it this time.

With love,

It’s Fall! Are Your Kids’ School Uniforms Ready?

If your kids are in need of new school uniforms for fall, don’t go from store to store looking for something in their size, visit FrenchToast.com instead. They sent my babies fall uniforms to facilitate this post and we’re hooked!

French Toast School Uniforms for Fall

School uniforms. They’re a great equalizer and I’m kind of a fan. Well, I’m a fan of equalizing the haves and have nots and the no drama morning outfit debate that I don’t have to deal with, but I’m not a fan of trying to find these uniforms at my limited local stores in the right colors, the right sizes, and the right seasonal attire. Until now. Now that I’ve found French Toast, that hopping from store to store to never find what we needed struggle (the struggle was real, y’all) is over!

French Toast School Uniforms for boys and girls

You see, my babies are tiny, and our weather is crazy on the island this time of the year. By tiny I mean, Bug just turned 9 and she wears a size 7 in clothes, but the pants are way too short, and so are the shorts, so we always get skorts with leggings. Bubby will be 7 (be still my heart) this month, and the little guy is still in a size 5…with elastic waistbands. I have no clue where they get their tiny stature from *ahem* but I hope they grow (literally) out of it one day. Until then, we deal with it. But we don’t have to deal with the endless hours of shopping for ill-fitted school uniforms that aren’t seasonal anymore.

Can I get an…

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Please and thank you?

French Toast Uniforms Benefits

French Toast gets that kids come in different sizes, they get that seasonal uniforms are hard to find since the seasons are so different across the nation, so they accommodate year round with a wide variety of school uniform choices and items that can even help my littles out. I easily found long shorts for Bug (not an easy task since she’s got an itty bitty waist and bean stalk legs) and pleated shorts for Bubby that don’t fall off since they have those adjustable waistlines that I can’t find locally. And even though we don’t need them just yet (hello Houston 90º weather in October), I was able to stock up on long sleeved uniform shirts for both because I can never find them when the cooler temps set in. All without leaving the comfort of my living room (and my laptop).

French Toast Uniforms 3 IINAO

I feel really accomplished, y’all. I’m ahead of the game this year when it comes to the babies’ preparedness and if you’ve been following along at all, you know that’s a really huge deal for me this year! We’re ready for fall (OK, not the cold weather, but everything else), are you? Get the kids school ready for fall and *e-gads* winter with the help of French Toast School Uniforms this year. My kids are ready. Are yours?