See that picture above? Looks like a perfect life, huh? I have a handsome husband, three beautiful & healthy children, and one on the way! I have a good full-time job for a large company in corporate America. I have another job for a beauty company that I LOVE and truly feel like I am making a difference in the world of safer skincare. I love food, wine, brunch (which is really a combo of food and wine, right?), and the idea of exercising and being healthy. All of my posts on social media show how perfect my life is. But, if you look behind the curtain, my life is imperfect, and I am ok with that. I am blissfully happy because I do things my own way.
For example, having three kids with one on the way means that my kids eat things like Kraft Mac ‘n Cheese…regularly! Gasp! We also go to McDonald’s, eat ice cream, and eat fruit snacks! Is every meal a hodgepodge of what the perfect moms of the world deem as junk? No, but sometimes you do what you gotta do and you get your kids fed. Before I had kids, I thought I’d make my own baby food purees, serve three well balanced organic meals a day with two snacks that each included a protein and a vegetable. Only the best for my babies! Ha, then I realized I live in the real world and unless you want to make your life stressful as hell, you need to do what works best for you. And, I think I’m a happier mom because I get to spend more quality time with my kids than slaving in the kitchen.
Another example, I work a full time job AND I have my own business selling safer skincare (beautycounter.com/veronicacowen). Yes, I have a full time job, 3.5 kids, and my own business. Want to know how I do it? I do not stress over little things, which also means that most of the stuff I do is imperfect. My house is clean, but not organized. I have a Roomba that vacuums once a day while I am gone, my husband and I only do laundry on the weekends (which means it piles up during the week), and I only actually clean and dust on the weekends (sometimes every other weekend). I am fine with that. My house looks and smells fine, my time is spent where it matters, and things are not always perfect, but I am happy.
Want to know another secret to my imperfect life? Ready? I am a stepmom. No, not an evil stepmom, but a loving, hard working, trying my best stepmom. I tell everyone I have 3 kids, and I do. MK is my daughter even if it isn’t by blood. She lives with us about 50% of the time. She has her own bedroom. She has her own dresser and closet full of clothes. She has her own toys, books, hair brush, favorite snacks in the pantry, etc. I have known her since she was 19 months old. She is one of my kids. But, I have no decision rights. I have no say in her schooling, her schedule, or how others see me. I have to always walk on egg shells to not be seen as a stepmom. If I discipline her, I feel like I always need to explain that I will treat my firstborn the same if/when she makes the same choice and I did not react like I did because MK is my stepdaughter.
I did not grow up dreaming of marrying a divorced man with a child. I did not dream of having a blended family and never having the perfect nuclear family. I did not dream of having to plan my life around an ex-wife that can be quite difficult sometimes. I did not dream of having to sacrifice my time & money, my biological kids’ time, my husband’s time, and my perfect family on what another woman (the 1st woman) wants at any time. Yes, my husband should stand up to her more, but sometimes things don’t play out that way. Sometimes things are imperfect.
And you know what? Imperfect is ok! I am truly blessed to have 3 kids and one on the way! I love being a stepmom for many more reasons than I hate the loss of what I thought would be my perfect life. I have a bonus child, and seeing the love my husband has for his daughter is one of the reasons I fell in love with him. Everything happens for a reason, and I would not change things.
And to add to all the craziness, I am pregnant with my FOURTH child. Some call me crazy for having a fourth child, but I relish in the chaos and love that surrounds my life. Co-workers ask how the heck I am going to manage four kids when they are trying to figure out if they will be able to manage having two. My advice is always to just go with the flow. Do not expect perfection. There is no such thing as a perfect mom, perfect stepmom, perfect coworker, perfect wife. Life is about living. Life is about being happy however you define that. For me, happiness isn’t perfection. I find happiness in my crazy, go with the flow, imperfect life…and I am perfectly happy with that.