Burn Out

Updated: Sep 24, 2021

I've been silent for a while, and my apologies for that. As the title of this post says, I was burnt out! I had written a post back in May explaining that my boyfriend and I were going to follow a strict kid-schedule for my mental health. That schedule was not being adhered to.

The lesson that my boyfriend is learning is that as a step-parent, parenthood for me is not "sink or swim" like it was for him. Parenthood for me is "swim or get out of the pool when I feel like it". This is not a blanket formula for all step-parents and I do not interpret this as me being able to check out arbitrarily on the family. My boyfriend had been looking at the guidelines for our kid-schedule as a "suggestion". I was silently growing more irate because I was under the impression that our new agreement was non-negotiable. Thank God our therapist stepped back in and reinforced that our kid-schedule had to be followed because I was at my wits end. I had no patience for anything and would fly off the handle at the drop of a hat.

A kid-weekend for me is not just about being a mom. I take mom duty very seriously. I believe that the universe will reciprocate any energy that you put out. Therefore, I treat my kids the way I would want another woman to treat them if they were biologically mine. So I am very present with the kids when they're with me. However, when we have the kids, it means that we also will be spending time with the rest of my boyfriend's family (including extended family). He is Mexican American. Those who are born into that culture or who have joined it through dating/marrying into it know that the family gets together almost every weekend. There's always a birthday, graduation, baby shower, etc. (In our case, it's supposed to be every other weekend so that the rest of the family gets to see my boyfriend's kids.) His family dynamic is, in a nutshell, quite chaotic. We definitely have a strong dysfunction and most of the time, I have found that my role is putting out supportive energy so that everyone can spend just one cohesive afternoon together as a sizable family unit. Since the kid-schedule wasn't being followed, we were having at least one kid every weekend, which meant that something was happening all the time. I was becoming angry, resentful and drained of all emotional and spiritual reserves that I had.

The lesson that I need to learn: I have to learn how to speak up and honestly say how I feel. I'm often scared because my boyfriend has a temper. Mind you, he has never been abusive in any capacity. It's just a very abrasive energy to have to deal with when trying to communicate. He has been made aware of it and he's working on being less aggressive when he's worked up. He's learning to understand that when I vocalize that I need space to recharge, I'm not saying that I'm rejecting him, his children or his family. I need the time to be able to recover so that I can be my best self; healthy, happy and able to support those who need it. I'm trying to figure out how much space I need, and how to say no to spending time with the family. It's not that I don't want to see them, it's just that I need space for my own self care - it's just the way that I am.

The kids are now back to a synchronized schedule and we have them every other weekend. (Thank God school has started! This for sure stops my boyfriend from arbitrarily changing the schedule. As a person who likes plans and organization, this would drive me nuts!) We all know now that this schedule is non-negotiable and if extra days have to happen, my boyfriend will parent his children at his mother's house. This is where we are ... for now. I'm sure things will evolve, hopefully with agreements from all parties this time, because there are always exceptions to the rules. Philosophy #1.

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