Tell me about yourself.
My name is Natalie, and I am forty two years of age. In the last couple of years, my life has been turned upside, in a good way. You see, after years in an unhappy marriage, I finally made the choice to walk away, for my own happiness. I met a wonderful new man who makes me smile every day, but he didn’t come into my life on his own. He had two young boys from a previous relationship. Suddenly, and with no kids of my own, I found myself catapulted into the life of instant step-mum to two miniature terrorists. It’s certainly been a very steep learning curve, and there is most certainly never a dull moment.
Oh wow, I am sure that’s been quite an adjustment for you. Tell me about the boys.
They are like chalk and cheese. Sean is sweet, affectionate, and charismatic. He is a little Casanova, with a constant steam of little girlfriends on the go. I can’t keep up with all the ladies. Reese is cheeky, naughty, and usually up to no good. He’s a smart cookie, that one, and I just hope he doesn’t use his brains to become a successful career criminal. He has an angelic little face, and you would be forgiven for thinking butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth, but I’m here to tell you, it most certainly would.
What has been one of the hardest things to adjust to?
That’s easy. Bloody sport, sport, and wait for it…….more sport! Both boys play heaps of sport. My time has been hijacked by soccer, basketball and swim squad, just to name a few. Their father is a shift worker, so I am often the one running around from sport game to sport game, all day long, on any given Saturday. Not to mention the training sessions in the evenings during the week. I’m not a big sports fan to begin with, so watching a bunch of kids run around after a soccer ball, like a flock of seagulls after a chip, can be painfully boring.
Do you and your man get much alone time.
Luckily we do. We have the boys week on and week off, but let me tell you it’s very different when they are here. For example, I have to keep my bra on until I go to bed, I regret the fact that there is no lock on our bedroom door (I really must make a trip to Bunnings to sort that problem out), my lady parts don’t get shaved or pruned for a week (long story), and you wonder what the hell happened to me time, as it’s all about the kids, all the time.
Do you guys have any pets?
Yes we have a dog called Monty. She is not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, and I’ve almost had to take out a second mortgage to pay her vet bills. The last incident involved ingestion of a sock. We also have a cat named Jet. He is smart, cunning, and I’m sure he spends his time laughing at us all, thinking, ‘Someone get me out of here, I'm being held captive in a mad house.’
Have you had to deal with any difficult people in your new life?
Well, having to have some sort of relationship with their mother hasn’t been easy, but we make it work. I just hope she knows I care about her boys, and am doing the best I can. I love their dad like I’ve never loved anyone before, so helping him raise his kids, means the world to me.
The worst person I have had to put up with is Belinda. The biggest bitch at the school gate drop off. There is always one isn’t there?
Have there been any embarrassing moments?
Oh my god, yes. The one that comes to mind involved Sean ending up tethered to the clothes line with a pair of real handcuffs, and getting a visit from two very sexy firemen.
What has been your proudest moment so far?
Successfully pulling off my very first children's birthday party at home. A pool party, mind you. No body drowned, no kids broke out in a nasty rash or worse, from a food allergy, no injuries occurred, with all kids making it home in one piece. I consider that a win.
Thanks for talking to me today Natalie. Do you have any advice for other step parents out there, or any parent for that a matter?
Don’t compare yourself to other parents. You are doing just fine
Just be yourself, and the relationship with the kids will grow in its own time
Make sure you have thick skin, as you will feel criticised by others
Last but not least, if your kids play with Lego, never walk around the house in bare feet
A little note from me
As many of you know, ‘Crayons and Chaos’ is based on my own real life experience of leaving my 15 year marriage and meeting my wonderful boyfriend Chris. The story was inspired by my relationship with my two stepsons, Harrison and Xavier. The boys were only 9 and 5 when I met them. Xavier was only a baby. I guess I was lucky the boys were so young when I came into their life, as it made it much easier to build a positive relationship with them over the past 4 years.
It was a fun story to write, as I reflected on both challenging moments, and some great laughs with the kids. I hope my readers enjoy the story of Natalie, and her experience of wrangling two miniature terrorists.
Some of it is true, and some of it is pure fiction, I’ll leave it up to the reader to try and guess which is which.
Here are a couple of pics of us all together over the last 4 years.
Our first trip away together. A road trip to Adelaide (South Australia) from our home in Sydney. This was taken in the McLaren Vale Winery region.
Attending an NRL match between The Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks (my team) and The Parramatta Eels (Chris and the boy's team).
A recent photo taken at Wattamolla Beach in The Royal National Park in Sydney.