Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A blended family milestone, sort of?

I have to admit my patience meter is running on empty.  I sometimes shy away from voicing my blended family frustrations on this blog.  It is my bloggy therapy and somehow keeping it real, but also on the positive side helps me fill my heart with gratitude.  I really am the happiest I’ve ever been in my life. 

Just not this morning. 

I have to believe many of my frustrations are normal for any mommy who works outside the home and in the home and in the hearts and minds of their children.  I am committed to building five strong young adults and that takes work, it takes empathy, it takes words, lots of words and it takes a tank full of gas and an ATM machine.

So here is the extra dynamic that exists with blended pups, it’s caution!  I walk a fine line in my role as Step Mo.  Our life is full of silly laughs, respect and kindness but there is more unexplainable caution than I care to admit to.  With my biological children, that simply doesn’t exist.  Maybe it comes with DNA? Although the World’s Greatest Husband and I share the same values and for the most part the same parenting style, there is simply “stuff” that can’t really be defined, that defines our roles.

For example:
Can’t find something? Quick pick up the phone and call Dad and work or Mom at home.  I want to scream NO – go the distance, continue to look, find it, search.  The house isn’t that big!   When  they pick up the phone, I use caution…am I supposed to say, NO don’t call your parent? Somehow that would seem to create some sort of line that would peg me as the enemy and honestly,  I wouldn’t want my ex to ever limit talk time between me and my kids….then I worry, their mother must think our house is a disaster if they can’t find their cleats.  She must think I refuse to help them look…. Yes, it’s crazy I know.  I encourage them but the pattern is…. pick up the phone for help and in this silly example, I feel nutty.

Another quick example….
Child: I want my earrings; I forgot them at mom’s house. 
Step Mo (using caution, but going for it)  “I wish you had them, but they are only earrings, and look you are wearing a pretty pair.  You can get them tomorrow when you are back at moms and wear them here next time so I can how pretty they are.” (At this point I label this as success, I’ve encouraged flexibility, delayed instant gratification, impressed upon planning ahead)
Child: (while saying goodnight to mom on the phone) I really wanted to wear my earrings tomorrow.  Can you bring them to school?
Mom:  Yes, I’ll bring them to the office before your field trip.
Step Mo (deflated, annoyed and feeling like it doesn’t matter what sort of people I am trying to build, there are still two families trying to create from two different places with little communication.)

Two silly examples but you get the picture.  No matter what - there are multiple families, his kids, my kids, our kids, multiple parents colliding in power, rules, and love.  I think for the most part we manage well.  As a parent working in this dynamic, I think I am often super flexible, super accommodating, super loving and oh yeah, super powerless.  I am grateful for my husband’s love and am an active partner in making our life work.  Any of you who really know me are laughing say “Oh, she sure does”.  I am working hard, but as our teenagers are blossoming, our family calendar fills and our roles get even further defined, I see us at a turning point.  Our “honeymoon” is over we are blended, mixed, stirred and sometimes shaken.  My former assistant (who also blended 5 kids) once told me it will take all of two years of marriage to feel fully connected…. Well we are at 2 years and 8 months and we’ve graduated. I am at the point where we need to create a few new rules, a place where some of our old tricks no longer work and a place where I feel like taking a deep breath.  I am proud of the family we have become, I love our children and I am tired, real tired.

Tonight I will fill that gas tank.  My ex is taking the children for an unexpected overnight.  The World’s Greatest Husband’s babes are with their mom for their regular Wednesday.   I plan to breath my husband in, knowing that is the therapy that always works for me, I plan to be a new woman once again tomorrow.  Talking with him, loving and laughing with the World’s Greatest Husband is way better than Tylenol PM. 

To my blended family readers.  You get this post, I know you do.  Stay strong, feel the love and stretch…. Because flexibility is the key. Yesterday, my step daughter hugged me and said you are the best Step Mo ever and I that made me tingle with delight.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well said!!


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