Photo by Belle Lumiere Magazine
When two families become one, or attempt to, there can be a lot of baggage. When something major happens in a person’s life like a divorce, it can be hard to imagine that life will go on and that the world keeps on spinning as if nothing has changed. The pain and swirling emotions of an event like this is more than the average person can actually comprehend. But life does go on. Even without our permission.
Before you know it, you have a “new normal”, a new routine and new ways of doing things. You make things work because you’re the mom and that’s what you do. Or at least try to do.
And sometimes, you meet someone new and they have kids and then, suddenly (doesn’t it always feel like it happens “suddenly”?) you are working to create one family out of two.
If anyone tells you it’s easy, they’re delusional. Or mean. But most likely they’re delusional. It’s not easy. It’s not meant to be. Creating one family with one partner and your own children together isn’t easy. Why on earth would it be easy to pick up in the middle of another family’s creation and add an entirely separate wing onto it?
But it’s amazing. And wonderful. And so very worth it.
When you’re working to blend your family, you can get hung up on the little fights, the nitpicking, the fear and ultimately let it creep it into pretty much everything you’ve built so far. Needless to say the effects of this are devastating.
For anyone who is working through this process, congratulations! You are embarking on an incredibly awesome journey. Here are three things to remember as you navigate the trails and potential pitfalls of making two families into one cohesive unit:
Nothing is forever. Not the discord and not the harmony. As soon as you get comfortable with one tone or overlying emotion, it will change. That’s human nature and children of blended families have to deal with a lot more than the average person. So when things are great, enjoy it, but don’t be shocked when you suddenly hit another rough patch.
You’re going to second guess yourself. A lot. Every time you correct one of the kids, or try to have a family meeting, or lay down the law with some discipline, you’re going to step back and ask, “Did I do that right? Am I doing the right thing? Am I completely screwing this up?” That’s normal. Talking through everything with your partner will help you know if you’re truly on the right path or if you’re just being too neurotic for your own good (and I speak from personal experience here).
A positive sense of well-being is the goal. It’s not about who wins or who is right. It’s about making home a great place to be and the family to be one big group of love and encouragement. Use questions like “In five years will I be ok with this decision?” and “How will this affect the kids’ outlook on life / the world / marriage / relationships?” as your guideposts through the tricky moments. When everything you do is for the benefit and betterment of the kids, you know you’re on the right track.
Nothing worth doing is truly easy. There’s always work involved and uniting two families into one is near the top of the list in “hard stuff to do.” But remember your ultimate goals and values to keep you focused on the path ahead and the rest of the family can then follow your example.
Looking for different ways to discipline your new little ones? We’ve got some great information for you!