On Tuesday May 8th, I have been invited by the SRJC to share my experience about raising a family after a divorce, relationships after having kids, relating with "steps", and everything else that goes along with blending a family. I'd love to bring along a few of you moms or dads who are going through the same thing to share with this class.
Please comment here with your blended family story. I'll choose three other parents and let you know by April 30th whether you have been selected.
Note: You must be available to be there between 9am to noon on Tuesday May, 8th.
I look forward to hearing from you!
Do we ever?! About 8 years ago I separated from my ex-husband. Ugly experience. However, for the most part my daughter and I are unscathed. I had decided about 6 years ago, after trying to date that I just was better off focusing on my daughter, myself and work. Then.. I met Robert. Well I knew he had children, hadn't really discussed his divorce experience all that much as we grew from co-workers to friends to partners in this wacky world. Nearly 4 years ago we started dating, went rather quickly too. I suppose because we both knew what we wanted, we are more vocal about our wants and needs for ourselves and our children. Here is how our family looked when we met and moved in together: Me, 31, with my daughter, 9, him, 43, with his son 16 (who he adopted when he married his ex-wife), daughter 9, daughter 6. At first it was all new for the girls and they were excited. His son, well not so much. He had a bruised heart. It is tough being a teenager and thinking "my parents have been together for over 10 years they won't split." and suddenly they do. I think one of the biggest challenges we have faced as a blended family is dealing with the drama of kids going back and forth between homes, the manipulation if they don't get it from one parent they will try to get it from the other parent, the never-ending statement "that's not fair!", dealing with the different expectations as far as manners, household chores and contributions to the family, grades, showing up for each other and standing up for each other and selves. There have been fights (verbal), there have been tears, days when we both want to walk away, money struggles. But there have also been some amazing happy moments: vacations (disneyland, camping, backpacking, Mexico, San Diego, Santa Cruz), our eldest son has graduated from high school and bootcamp for the Marines, we have shared Robert's parents' 50th anniversary, his niece's graduation from college, her engagement and this summer her wedding. Most importantly we have added to our family. We have a 7 month old little boy who we call our glue. At first, we heard several comments "You're crazy, why would you want to add to your already too big family?" Heck, we even heard that from the eldest son. The girls were all extremely excited, still are, at times. So now we experience all the goods and bads from before and we have added sleepless nights, diapers, spitup, not too mention I recently lost my job, but we have lots of love. Because there is enough balance of good to overcome the yucky stuff. Please don't get me wrong we have a LONG journey ahead of us. Still figuring out who disciplines who and how. Still figuring out how to deal (or preferably not deal) with the Ex who lives next door with her current husband and the missing Ex in Hawaii who has no participation whatsoever. i have learned consistency is key. I have the same expectations of ALL the children. We also try to remember to set aside time for the biological parent to spend one on one time with the biological child. Of course as our children get older, friends can play a larger role and we have to balance social time with only family time. Above all trying to lead by example and teach life lessons so that our children grow up to have healthy relationships of their own, are responsible, respectful and caring. In the beginning I looked for books on how to deal with it all, realized there just aren't that many so most of the advice I seek comes from others who have also experienced similar situations. All in all we have a good life, we are pretty balanced, we laugh, we cry and we keep moving forward.
I can totally relate to this, especially knowing how to parent the kids fairly and who disciplines who! We've actually started seeing a counselor about this to help give us tips on how to blend our family - mostly regarding discipline. Thank you so much for sharing this Joelynn!