From the Archives: Beginning a Blended Family Life
We did it. We finally moved.
Not only did we move, but we bought a house with my boyfriend and his kids, so we are officially a blended family. Well, without the rings, but that's a small matter for now.
Now that we are "official" it's actually been a lot more relaxed and mostly free of stress. We still have lots to do to get the new house 100% ready for our family of seven, but that will all happen in good time.
Right now all the wondering about if, when, and where has been put to rest. We're here to stay, and the kids are all happy about the new town and the new house, and even more excited about the new family. (Although if it was up to them we would get to the rings part sooner rather than later!)
One thing that hasn't changed - being a single parent. Sure, we work together as much as possible to make the household work as a whole, but for the most part the "his" and "hers" still takes precedence over the "ours", or at least when it comes to the kids. I think this is perfectly normal in blended family life, but not necessarily what everyone expects, and it can be a bit of a surprise when you're thinking that blended family bliss means working together 100% of the time.
The truth is, I have my kids and I parent them a certain way, and the same goes for him and his kids. We try to make everything blend as much as possible, and we allow lots and lots of flexibility with each other when we can, but sometimes rules are rules and parents need to respect each others opinions and adapt. Occasionally that adds a certain amount of tension, but recognizing and respecting that some things are out of your jurisdiction, and accepting that it works both ways, is a sure way to make a blended family life more peaceful.
Trying to help each other as much as possible is obviously the best way, but there are times when that just can't happen. Oh, Saturdays! Two soccer games, one 3.5 hour long gymnastics class, plus whatever boys scout activities, birthday parties, or local activities are going on for the day. It's just not always possible to be there to help your partner with carpooling on days like this. These are the days when it feels more like single parenting than joint parenting. And there are times when I need to call dad for some backup, which is perfectly fine, but mostly it's just getting through the day that can be logistically challenging.
The best thing about days like these are the end. Going to games and parties is a blast, and we do have a lot of fun. But, at the end of the day, to bring everyone back together - at home - is usually the part that everyone looks forward to. That's the part of being in a blended family that's peaceful and happy, just having time to hang out and enjoy each other. The rest is necessary, and challenging, and I do sometimes still feel like a single mom, but having the family come together at the end of the day is extremely fulfilling, and well worth the drama that the day may have brought to everyone.
So if you're in a blended family, and you're wondering if this is the way it was supposed to be? Well, from my experience it is. Not perfect, but just right.
Let me know what your experiences are and how you deal with single parenting in a blended family!