Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Stepping back to move forward?

The New Year is the traditional time to make resolutions and try and change things for the better. It's a time for evaluating priorities and goals. My only resolution this year is "To Travel More" and "Try Harder to be Happy".

One of the joys and heart-breaks of life is the relationship you have with those around you. In 2012, I had to try and forge a relationship with OD's children. Moving into an established family home was always going to be difficult, but recent events have made things harder. Add to the mix teenage hormones, impending GCSEs, annoying boyfriends..and it was inevitable that the something was going to give.

We had a family holiday in the chalet over the festive period. It was all very pretty, but actually, being cooped up in a chalet with 4 teenagers and their very loud, seemingly ever present friends was not easy. OD's open house policy meant that we had anything between 3-7 extra teens playing computer games every evening, with the usual debris that teenagers bring. It really interrupted  the attempts to have an afternoon nap. No lie-ins either, because it's impossible for four teenagers to get up and head to the ski slopes quietly.

It was a tense time, but we managed not to have any raging arguments. I had three blissfully quiet days to myself, and they arrived back on the 7th at 6pm. Annoying boyfriend was already loitering around outside the house waiting for them ( that boy is creepy). I'd gone all Martha Stewart, and had dinner ready for them. OD was choked up with a French virus, and was off to bed at 8pm. It was SD1's turn to wash up, and as I went off to bed at ten, I gently reminded her.

The next morning, I arrived down to the breakfast bowls and dishes piled around the kitchen including some of last night's dishes. Also, annoying boyfriend was loitering around AGAIN. I was really quite pissed off. I made a sarky comment to SD1, and initially there was silence. A few minutes later, OD asked her a question, and there was an angry torrent about how "you people don't appreciate or notice anything I do......". Later that day, I felt bad, and sent her a message apologising for the argument that morning. She still hasn't responsed.

It's not great living in an environment where everyone is getting on one another's nerves. The teens are challenging and often rude to OD, and it's really not something I am used to. It still annoys me. EVERYTIME. Maybe the whole parenting thing means you have a special tolerance gene. I was very upset after SD1's outburst, and OD told me to "let it wash over you, she's just a teenager..".

But I don't know if I can.

Perhaps it's time to take a step back, move out of the family home, and allow him to have his family week with the kids alone. I certainly enjoyed my time with them better when we saw each other less frequently. And then maybe OD and I can stop arguing about the kids and start concentrating on our relationship.

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