The Challenges Of A Blended Family

I can remember years ago when I met my husband thinking what a good looking man he was and was so excited to go out with him on our first date. After about three years we ended up getting married and started our family together. No one ever gets married with the thought in mind that they would end up in divorce.

That was probably the farthest thing from my mind but in reality things do happen. People change, times change and life seems to get in the way sometimes. I can say from personal experience that it takes a lot of work to keep a marriage together.

In my case, my marriage came with a package deal since my husband had two children from his first marriage. I happened to be his third wife so I thought I was doing pretty good keeping us together longer than anyone else had in the past. He was a great dad but when it came to being a husband unfortunately things didn’t seem to go the way I thought they should. The Step kids lived with their mom in another state so we only saw them occasionally on holidays and summer vacations. I have to say that it’s not easy trying to be a stepmother to a child that you did not raise or have any influence over when they were younger.

Sometimes I felt like I was a second-class citizen in his eyes. After a couple years, the son decided to move in because he wasn’t getting along with his mother and figured it would be easier to live with his dad. That was certainly a challenge for us because I just had a newborn baby and then had a 16-year-old move in with us. Unfortunately my husband worked full-time and traveled a lot so I was the mom that was there raising the newborn and now the new step child. Whenever something would go wrong, I was in charge of going to the high school and talking to the teachers and following up on whatever needed to be done when the stepchild got in trouble. It was difficult because it certainly drove a wedge between me and my husband because of all the constant conflict.

This was truly a challenge for me personally because I really didn’t want him moving in with us. I really wanted my newborn baby and my husband all to myself. Now I had to share them with someone else. I think that’s the hardest part when you have split families; you feel like you are being torn in two directions. You now have to share your own children with another family. Once you’re divorced your children now have second families and they spend time with them as well as with you and there can be some resentment there. I think it’s pretty normal when you get to that point and you feel like you have to share your own children and grandchildren. I know you shouldn’t feel that way but sometimes you just can’t help it.

So those are the little things in life that you have to learn to live with. You need to make adjustments for that and be happy that your children and grandchildren have an even bigger family and have so many others that love them. The best advice I can give is to learn to be flexible. To try and find ways you can maintain love and acceptance through the chaos of a blended family. Understanding who and what you can impact can help you to let go of the need to control the outcome. In the end, the only thing you can control is how you react to situations.

Life goes on and we all adjust to these changes but it takes time. It can take years. My ex-husband and I are friends now and it took a long time for that to happen but we always put our kids first and that is the most important thing you can do when you get a divorce. So many people waste so much time blaming each other when you end up in a divorce. It’s no one‘s fault, it’s certainly not your kids’ fault; you just need to recognize that you can’t get along anymore with each other and move on with your life.

Do the best for your kids and give them a good life and go forward and try to be happy. Your children love their parents unconditionally and whatever your problems were with each other are not their problems. They will find out later in life what their parents are about and will deal with those issues on their own. But it’s not up to us to influence their thinking one way or another. Life goes on – be happy!