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,

It’s Not Rocket Science: Flap Over!

So I’m not an artist and this photo isn’t great. It’s late and I’m trying to keep the lights down low so everyone can sleep. That’s right. They sleep while I work, empty the dishwasher, take out the garbage, clean toilets, fix lunches…and E-Gads…try to use the kids’ bathroom with the toilet paper flap down. Again. How many times can you politely ask? How many times can you sternly explain? What does it take to make someone understand that the things they are doing just don’t fit the mold?

Back up, this is supposed to be Wordless Wednesday but I have many words. Bare with me. The step on me daughter moved in last May. It’s been a LONG 11 months. So, so long. There have been issues that I don’t care to discuss right now. But aside from the big things, there have been major little things that have bugged the crap out of me. Seriously, if it weren’t for the BIG things (like letters threatening my well-being and silly shit like that) I wouldn’t stress so much over the little things. But this kid is 12. 

She should be held accountable for some things. She should do some chores. Something! But she does nothing (other than that sabotage thing of course…seriously shameless lying is not acceptable). And so the little things that she does that are totally opposite from what I ask of my family totally urk me. Again, she does no chores so I should be afforded my little “oddities” right?

Tonight I took a stand. I childishly labeled surfaces around the household. Apparently “parenting” doesn’t work so I’m resorting to preschool methods and I’m writing little notes. 

First, toilet paper. Flap over. Always. A year of hearing this should be enough. It wasn’t. I left a note with visual instructions. I don’t draw well but she should get the picture. One would hope anyway. 

But I didn’t stop there. This seemed like a good idea (in my head) so I moved right along to other areas that needed to be addressed. That had been addressed but ignored. I marked the pantry “Please take only one breakfast item before school” because you know, 2 Poptarts and 2 Blueberry Waffles seems a little excessive to me. 

Then I marked the bathroom mirror with “Please clean your toothpaste and hair out of the sink before leaving for school” because that sounded reasonable to me as well and shouldn’t be something I have to do on a daily basis for a 12 year old. 

Then I moved on to the dishwasher. You know, the one I never fill since I don’t use dishes since I rarely eat and all but I always empty? Yea, that dishwasher. That’s tagged with “Please wash your peanut butter knives off before putting them in here”. Seriously. She puts them in there with GLOBS of peanut butter on them, all the way to the top of the knife, every day. 

OK, so I’m being childish with the notes around the house but it is what it is. I’m tired of it. Couple all of the “violations” with eye rolling, sassy talk, disrespect, lying, and stealing and you can’t blame me. I need to break through. Her parents don’t so maybe I will. With my childishness. I’ve tried the parent route and have been shunned and laughed at. I’ve been disrespected and it’s time to take a stand. 

Maybe by “posting the rules”, I’ll get somewhere. Heaven knows I haven’t gotten anywhere with verbal words. Fingers crossed. Sorry for the rant. It’s been a long LONG year. Is school out yet?