Best Step-Mom Ever


“I have an idea,” I said to my oldest and youngest step-sons. We were all sitting in the bleachers with my husband and father-in-law watching our middle son play baseball. Well, we were at least sitting in the bleachers at the game. Watching was optional. My two boys were each finishing up their nachos, trying to negotiate for more money for the concession stand.

“If the two of you combined your money, you could buy a pretzel without cheese to share, and use the leftover cheese from your nachos,” I told them, trying to quash the heavy-handed extortions they were attempting in order to add to the 50 cents in change they each had left. The thought of sharing was so abhorrent, however, that the idea of splitting a pretzel died a quick death.

I turned my attention back to the game.

Usually, we let pork burgers and nachos or hotdogs and chips be “dinner” on one or two game nights a week. It’s not ideal, but neither is cooking a meal at 7:30 or 8 at night. Since this was a three-game week, however, I had done all of the prep-work ahead of time so that we could quickly cook and eat dinner at home when the game was finished. Not expecting the boys to fill up from the concession stand that night, each son had just a $2 budget for snacks.

A few minutes later, after the boys realized no more money was coming their way and that more food was worth the price of sharing, the pretzel idea was resurrected.

“Ok, let’s combine our money,” the oldest conceded. The two of them headed off together to the concession stand.

Within minutes, they were back with a pretzel. Serving as mediator, my husband divided the warm dough evenly, the leftover nacho cheese arranged deftly between them.

“That was a great idea I had, wasn’t it?” I said, patting myself on the back a little. “Years from now, you’ll look back on this evening and think, we have the best, smartest step mom ever!”

The boys both stopped mid-pretzel bite and glared at me.

“Like that’s ever going to happen,” the oldest said.

“We probably won’t even remember this evening,” the youngest added.

“Well, you should write it down so you will,” I said, feeling a little slighted. “Maybe you should blog about it. . . . Or maybe I should blog about it.”

They resumed eating, ignoring me as I continued talking.

“I’m just kidding,” I said kind of quietly, to whomever may have overheard.

“Or maybe not . . .” I added, an idea forming.

As they used the last bits of dough to sop up the cheese stuck in the corners of the plastic nacho tub, I sat on the bleachers and smiled.

Photo by jonseidman1988, used with permission via Flickr under the Creative Commons License.


Charity Singleton Craig

Charity Singleton Craig is a writer, author, and speaker, helping readers grow in their faith and experience true hope in the middle of life’s joys and sorrows. She is the author of My Year in Words: what I learned from choosing one word a week for one year and coauthor of On Being a Writer: 12 Simple Habits for a Writing Life That Lasts.

  • Megan Willome ,

    Few things make me happier than reading about you as a mom.

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      Charity Singleton Craig ,

      Thanks, Megan. I’m not sure it makes for good reading, but I’m having a hard time writing about much else these days. It captures a great deal of my attention.

    • Deidra ,

      I love watching you do the family thing, Charity! You are not alone, and neither are the rest of us. Thanks for that reminder!

    • laura ,

      Oh, boys. Something about the snack booth holds an allure that the dinner table never will. You were wise to limit their snack money, best step-mom ever. :)And just look at this fine lesson they learned. So glad it’s written down…

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        Charity Singleton Craig ,

        Laura – You are right. Food they probably would tire of at home is so much more delicious because it costs money and is in short supply! You know boys as well as anyone. You could teach me so much!

      • Sue Awes ,

        Oh, the stories we could tell! We’ve 5 kids and had ’em in 2 batches – and kinda worked up to it. You just dived right in – with all your wisdom and love and humor. Keep these stories coming – Charity, you are a gift.

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          Charity Singleton Craig ,

          Sue – Yes, it was a high dive! We are finding our way, though, creating routines, learning preferences, loving each other the best ways we know how. The Lord makes us a family.

        • L.L. Barkat ,

          Oh, gosh. I love you, Charity Singleton Craig.

          For the record, non-step-moms get the same “like that’s ever going to happen” moments. And, well, they write about them too 😉

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            Charity Singleton Craig ,

            Laura – Yes, I suspect every woman who has ever “mothered” has gotten those looks and that attitude. It seems like part of the division of labor between parents and children. So glad that we can all find our commonality.

            And I love you, too! I love the stories you write about your own parenting adventures.

          • Ann Kroeker ,

            Ha! You are handling these things with humor and grace…which is wisdom indeed. You *are* brilliant and odd are they’ll remember it if only because they said they probably wouldn’t! 🙂

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              Charity Singleton Craig ,

              I wondered about that, too, Ann. If the very act of us talking about it and them insisting they would never remember might have actually sealed it in their memories. Just in case, I wrote it down for them. Now, if I can just remember to dig it out in 10 years!

            • michelle ortega ,

              Seriously. Seriously. Laughing. BEST step-mom ever!

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                Charity Singleton Craig ,

                Thanks, Michelle! I thought it was really funny, too, especially the “look” they both gave me, and how it was definitely NOT a “best step-mom” moment, giving my step-sons ideas for buying more junk food. But then seeing them talk about the plan, walk to the concession stand together, and then me convincing my youngest he should take all of the trash to the receptacle as a way to serve his older brother — I did feel a little bit redeemed. I have so much to learn, but every once in a while there is a moment when it feels sort of right. They don’t let me bask in it for long, though.

                • Steven Craig ,

                  It was really a good idea as they do not seem to work together very often for anything. Seeing them act together was a joy to behold! Papaw does like your blog too!