Sometimes I wonder what it is like to be you reading my blog. Do I present a well balanced picture of my life? I don’t think I do. I put my positive spin on everything – even the crappy personal times sound downright silver lining-ish.
I don’t want you all to think that blending our family has been plain sailing just because I never blog about our challenges and only seem to blog about the good times. We have charted many choppy waters and have plenty of stormy seas ahead, I’m sure. However, neither of us are planning on sending up flares anytime soon. I don’t blog about the specifics of the squalls and tempests because there are minor children involved and this is a very sensitive area. Navigating the sea of step parenthood and blended families is extremely tough and sensitive and oh-so-complicated.
I will say that having a positive attitude helps a ton, and that when there is mutual respect between kids and a parent / step-parent it helps the adjustment to go much more smoothly. I will also add that all the kids need to see that this new partnership between biological parent and step parent is a solid one, and that the couple need to present a united front. The worse thing is for a child to be able to play one parent off the other.
Blending families is certainly not for the faint of heart. There is much compromise involved – for all parties concerned, kids included. When there are other biological parents involved in the children’s upbringing it adds extra dimensions – rules in each house are bound to be different, mommy does things this way, daddy does things that way. We have house rules that apply to everyone, even if things are done differently in their other home. Sometimes these rules are tough to enforce, but we try to do so fairly.
I love the fact that my boys adore the KoD. They love and respect him and want to please him. This is a HUGE deal – so many step children resent the advent of a step parent, and feel they have to compete (sometimes negatively) in order to get attention. My boys, well, they tease us about making googly eyes at each other. It makes them so happy to see their Ima happy.
But still, they have had my undivided attention for years, and now, they have to share it. For me, I cannot unilaterally decide on a course of action in a specific circumstance (as I have been used to doing as a single mom) – I need to consider the KoD’s opinions and thoughts and feelings too. This is where communication is key. Sometimes I forget that the KoD cannot read my mind. We are soul-mates – so I occasionally assume he knows what I am thinking then get frustrated with him that he doesn’t. I’m working on it and I must say the KoD is the most patient man I have ever met.
Way back when they first met him, the boys made sure that KoD knew his place. They told him he would always be #5 on my list, that they would always come first. They said it more or less in jest, but there was a huge nugget of claim-staking there too. So long as each and every one of them feels that they are top of my list and not being neglected, I know I am doing something right.
It’s also important for the couple to make time for themselves as a married couple. When you become an instant family it is so easy for the couplehood to get lost in the shuffle of biological kids and step kids and visitation. Even if it is just a trip together without kids to the local grocery store to buy another 10 quarts of milk – alone time is a precious commodity but so important.
We are still finding our way, and I am sure it will take a while until all the big waves have settled into tiny imperceptible ripples – but we are all committed to making it work.
If any of you come from a blended family, or have one of your own – any tips you have to make this transition smoother for all concerned would be much appreciated.