End of Year Chicken

Havi Brooks does this thing on her blog called the Friday Chicken, wherein every Friday she talks about the hard and the good aspects of her week. I think it’s a great exercise, so I thought I’d give it a try as an end of year review. Turns out she did the same thing in New Year’s: The Great 2009 Chicken. I was going to call it the Year End Chicken, but I think The Great 2009 Chicken has more flair. Anyhow, on with the list…

The Hard

This year started off with me still trying to move past a miscarriage from the end of 2008. This is probably the hardest thing I dealt with this year. I cried. A lot. I sunk into depression. I tried to focus on the good things, but it just didn’t help that I felt empty and lost.

Conception still hasn’t happened for us as of now, more than a year later, which makes things even harder. In October we started seeing an infertility specialist to check for any problems. All the tests have come up “everything is great/perfect/right where it should be.” Which leaves us where? So that’s hard.

Adjusting to stepmom life
Since my husband and I married in the summer of 2008, this is my first full year as a stepmom and dealing with all the feelings of overwhelm, fear, and jealousy that go with it. There are a lot of emotions that creep up when you become a stepmom. It can be disorienting. There were times I felt misunderstood and alone. I’m growing stronger at it, though.

In-laws moved in
My in-laws moved in with us temporarily. I feel bad listing this as a hard because it certainly must be harder on them having been displaced, but it’s a huge shift to go from a three person household to a five person household. There are four adults sharing a roof, not to mention parenting efforts of a 12 year old boy. Tensions can be high.

Financial stuff
My husband and I are both self-employed and while we were able to stay afloat, there were some months where things got really tight. Thank goodness we had savings. Depleting the savings, however, is not fun.

Oh, how I hate to admit there was bickering. Alas, there was. Between me and my husband, between me and my stepson, between my husband and my stepson. We are lessening that trend and I hope we continue to work things out without being so quick to take offense.

The Good

Learning about myself as a stepmom
Learning that my feelings of overwhelm, fear, and jealousy were perfectly normal among stepmoms. Yay! I’m not crazy. I’m not a horrible person. I’m completely fine. Thank you Wednesday Martin for writing Stepmonster (and thank you, Erin, for highly recommending it). That book has completely changed my perspective and given me lots of ideas for step-family health.

Unleashing my creative side
This summer I did three things to unleash my creativity. I took a photography class, I joined a bunch of other bloggers in wrecking a journal, and I took Deb Owen’s Creative Pathways class.

As a result of all three, I saw the world in a different way. I didn’t shy away from trying new things. The experience of letting myself go without worrying about creating something perfect was extraordinary.

New respect for summer
Not since my school days have I ever really looked forward to summer. Even in my school days, I was usually content to enter Fall. This year, however, I realized I have an excitement over summer and a sadness over its end. I’m not sure if that is due to this summer’s creative burst or simply the weather. I think I finally learned how to make the most of summer.

Launching Too Many Toasters
Too Many Toasters was an idea I started conceiving over the summer. I was afraid to rush in for fear of fizzling out on it. As time passed, I was more excited about it and finally decided to jump in after realizing I can do it on my terms. I don’t have to write every day even though “ideally” blogs should have frequent new posts. Who has time to read all that anyway?

Being invited to blog on Working Mother
As a by-product of launching Too Many Toasters, I was asked to blog about stepmotherhood on Working Mother. If I can help one person out there relax in her chair and think “so I’m not crazy and it’s not just me,” then I feel that it was worth it.

All in all it was a roller coaster of a year. I’m glad to have come out, perhaps better, on the other side.

Feel free to jump in with your own hard and good list in the comments. Here’s wishing for a 2010 improperly balanced with more good than hard!


  1. jason and I have been married just over two years and we are just getting to the point where the bickering is less. The first year was ALOT of bickering. I think it's natural with any major transition. I know many more good things are in store for you!

  2. An honest and insightful recap. Perspective is always key. For, as you place memories on each side of the scale, their intrinsic value or lesson is entirely up to you. You are an amazing person, devoted wife, superb stepmom and stellar friend. Make sure those things get weighed in too. Here's to a prosperous 2010.

  3. Brandi- Thanks for letting me know it's not just us!


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