I always knew that mixing or blending families with another once I found that special someone would be a challenge. Now a year later, we are working to successfully blend two adults, three kids and two dogs with loads of success and few set backs so I wanted to share my experience and tips for this oh so scary journey.
1. Know what you want — Before you can make anyone else happy and help lead a new family unity, you have to know what you need and want out of the situation. For me, I want my kids to be in a healthy and stable household that is loving, caring and fun where we focus on our relationship and are a couple AND parents. Does that mean that every day, every situation is going to go my way? NO but I know that my compromising along with his compromises help us reach the end goal which is being a true family which is WHAT I WANT in the long run.
2. Be Flexible — Schedules and holidays and weekends are not your own. Remember that you are sharing your life with another branch of a family, which can often derail perfect plans you have in mind. This is very important to keep in mind when the other branch of the family isn't keen on blending families just yet. Remember to go with the flow, make the most of the time you do have together and try and make up for missed special days due to scheduling conflicts. In the long run, you will be glad that you took the time to enjoy your time together rather than stressing over a schedule that was broken.
3. Know your place — This one can be tough for many but it is probably the MOST important. In my situation, David's daughter has a great mom and it was my goal from the start to reinforce that I was not trying to take her place or ever overstep her. Because of this, her mom and I have gotten along really well and I will continue to help foster this positive environment in the long run because it is what is best for everyone. I don't always agree with everything that is done on the other side of the fence but ultimately I am not mom so in those situations, I keep my mouth shut and focus on the fact that most of the time mom knows best.
4. Try not to be sensitive — There will be times where your feelings will get hurt. Try not to take it personally. Many time kids can see you as an outsider or an intruder and depending on age, they can feel threatened that you are trying to take over the other parent’s role. Roll with the punches and continue to reinforce that you love and care for them regardless of how they pull back. This is not to say that you should take being disrespected by your significant other's child but remember that they are most probably trying to process a difficult situation for their little minds so cut them some slack and they will eventually open up.
5. Enjoy — This should the easiest one of all! Blending families means some challenges and difficulty along the way but it means so much more, its gaining new family and kids along the way. For me, I think I am done having kids so I am able to gain another child in my family without having to go through the whole mom thing again (no weight or stretch marks needed woohoo!) and offering my kids a healthy living environment where we are constantly coming into new adventures together opening each other's eyes to new experiences and points of view.
No matter your situation, coming together to create a new family unit can be difficult but it can also be extremely rewarding as well. But just like anything else, you only get out what you put in so do your best, and you can have the best no matter if its your second, third or fourth time around.