5 Tips on How to Handle Vacationing Without your Stepkids!
I have been thinking about our upcoming holiday, and how to ensure everybody’s feelings are going to be spared when we are taking our next trip solo. No, I don’t mean solo just me, or me and the hubby. Solo in our world is without our stepkids. Travelling with our grande family includes at the minimum (if everyone is around) nine people plus, plus, plus! We cannot do several trips each year as it is just absurd. As a solution, we divide and conquer just like we do with a lot of our blended family problems.
Let’s take a look into some scenarios that may not blend your blended family:
Stepmom: “Hey we are going on a family vacation next month.”
Stepkid: “Awesome where to?”
Stepmom: “St. Maarten.”
Stepkid: “For how long?”
Stepmom: “8 days”
Stepkid: “When do we leave?”
Stepkid: “You said family trip?”
Stepmom: “Yes, your Father and me and your siblings/half siblings/step-siblings,etc.”
Stepkid: “So we are not going?”
Stepmom: “No, you are with your Mom!”
Here is another chit chat to steer away from:
Stepmom: “Did your dad tell you that we are going on a family vacation next month?”
Stepmom: “Oh too bad.”
Stepkid: “Wonder why he didn’t tell us?”
Stepmom: “Probably busy working and slipped his mind.”
Stepkid: “That’s odd?”
Stepmom: “And probably because you are with your mother at that time?”
Stepkid: “So we are not going?”
Stepmom: “No, you are with your mom, sorry that’s really too bad on the timing.”
Stepkid: “But I thought you said family trip?”
Stepmom: “Yes I did!”
Stepkid: “Aren’t we part of this family?”
Stepmom: “Aren’t you with your mother at that time!”
Stepmom: “So what’s the question?”
Believe it or not, these conversations can and do happen. There are some stepmoms out there who intend them to be mean and injurious and pretend they didn’t understand what they were doing and saying. Then there are some stepmoms who accidentally land themselves in a situation where they wish they could have done better. Just as a side note, your stepkids know which version you are.
To help you in this awkward situation here are some of my suggestions:
1. Understand it is OK to travel without your stepkids.
2. Try to book a place that your stepkids haven’t brought up or implied they wanted to go.
3. Avoid the words family vacation or if you want to use them I like to say our petite family or our grande family.
4. Be upfront and honest with the kids. Share with them that you will be disappointed that they will not be with you. That’s it. No excuses, no rambling. That’s it.
5. Tell them you look forward to picking the next trip with them together, and maybe if you have the option to let them pick some part of the trip to make it feel like they have a choice and are absolutely part of the clan.
Being a perfect stepmom is much easier said than done. In my family, this March break has been like a yoyo for us. We wanted to bring only one of our stepkids away with our girls so that we could spend some time bonding in a smaller group. We explained that since our stepkid hadn’t been away with us in a while that we thought it might be nice. This, we thought, had been initially granted to us. Our stepkid was excited to join but would have been with either parent. BioMom sent an email asking us to take another one of her kids with us. We declined because it defeated the purpose of the bonding. Then we ended up in a back and forth exercise with the parenting coordinator, and something along the lines of some confusion of dates, so our initial agreement was no longer granted. Needless to say we are solo this week of our March break even though we tried.
It isn’t easy explaining to kids that we are going away and so and so is joining and you will be going away with your mom. My bet is that they want to be with their mom, but deep down that has to seem like a bit of rejection. We try to constantly level the playing field with whatever we do, and so the kids know that if they did something special then the next turn would go to the other kid who wasn’t there.
Blended families are tricky. Going away without hurting feelings can be challenging. Think about your approach and stick to it. Social Media makes it more difficult to keep your life private so don’t forget to be sensitive to what you post and what your messages are when you do!