Blended Family Hell on Earth | Learning to Live in the Flames
We are the modern day Brady Bunch. We met and married in 2010 when our children were ages 5, 8, 10, 12, 15 and 18 and we have been riding this rollercoaster called life – or blended family life – ever since. Like many families, we are living a whirlwind life juggling to balance marriage, careers, child raising, homework. Let’s not do it alone. Let’s learn how to walk on hot coals baby.
I keep seeing this topic over and over and over. Do you let your stepkids call you Mom? Were you flattered when they asked, etc?
Every blended family is different so my opinion is that only. My own opinion from the view of our own blended family.
Hubs’ youngest child asked me if he could call me Mom when he was in first grade. My response was “you would need to ask your mom if that’s ok with her because that might hurt her feelings. You already have a Mom”. He asked her over the phone. She said no. He cried and cried and was so upset. Then he was fine the next day and got over it completely.
My personal belief is that maybe he was a little jealous of my bio kids at the time. They called me mom. Half of their friends called me mom. I think he felt excluded. But once we talked about it, he did understand WHY I didn’t let him call me mom and that helped.
When I was growing up, I called my stepdad Dad. But I lived with him full time starting at the age of 2 or 3 and I rarely if ever saw my bio Dad. In my mind, my stepdad was my Dad and I really did not know otherwise until I was in school and discovered that I was the only person in my house with a different last name. Oops.
In our situation, my last name is the same as my husband and my stepkids so it’s really my bio kids that feel a bit out of place on occasion (not anymore but when they were young). I had the last name initial of Hubs and I on a wreath on our front door but my bio kids didn’t have that last name initial. That doesn’t make them any less my kids or any less a member of our home. It’s just a name.
Titles are only titles y’all. They do NOT define you. It’s ok to just be you. You don’t HAVE to be called mom. And frankly it shouldn’t hurt your feelings if they don’t. We are individuals. Not the roles (stepparent, wife, employee) that we play.
Also, I don’t see many men struggle with this. I don’t think my husband has ever lost a nights sleep because my kids have always called him by his first name rather than call him Dad. Women tend to be more sensitive, and more easily hurt, but it kills me to see so many women’s feelings hurt over something so minor.
So, have your coffee, go for your workout, enjoy your life and don’t worry about the titles kids assign you. It’s all going to be ok.
I created a stepparent blog and Stepmom small group about 2 years ago after getting so much positive feedback about my stepmom blogs from 5-6 years ago. Firmly believing that I needed to stay a student and be a part of bigger groups, I joined fellow Texan, Emili Wadkins group, The Unapologetic Stepmom. A few months ago she shared her “Unapologetic Mantra” and I shared it with my small group. Y’all, it had feedback for days. So many women found it so helpful and so freeing. So, I’m going to share it here and save it for future reference as needed. Emili said:
“When I started this group, I chose the name for very specific reasons and often get asked about it. I have learned in the last year that where I stand as a stepmom is either met with very strong aversion or very strong agreement. I think I often say what so many stepmoms feel but dare not mutter out loud because of ridiculous societal expectations.
*I unapologetically do not let my family revolve around my stepkids. My husband and I make decisions based on what is best for our whole family.
*I unapologetically do not stop my girls’ lives simply because my stepkids are at their other home. We go on about life as usual and do fun things with or without them. I do not plan 100% of my girls’ lives for 50% of the time.
*I unapologetically do not love my stepkids like I love my daughters and they are my first priority. God gave them to me to be their mother and I take that very seriously.
*I unapologetically do not force my family to have a personal relationship with my stepkids. I do not adhere to the philosophy of “You take them all or take none.” I chose to marry a man with children, my family did not. I would never tolerate rudeness or disrespect, but I do not expect my family to do for my stepkids what they do for my girls.
*I unapologetically do not put myself on the back burner. I am not a stepmom martyr.
*I unapologetically disengage when I need to. I will not sacrifice my sanity trying to fix anything I didn’t break.
This is mine and my daughters’ journey and story just as much as it’s my stepkids, and I unapologetically don’t let anyone tell me what my role should be within my family or how my family should operate. Every stepfamily and their situation is unique and there is hardly ever a one size fits all rule.”
I love this y’all. As did my small group. And I hope it will give you the same peace and comfort that it has given so many others who have read it.
There is trouble in paradise again. Today’s topic. Summer Visitation. Well, that and visitation in general. Hubs’ kids are teenagers now. One of them has a summer job and is working to save money for a car and is learning how to prepare for adulthood since he will be an adult in only 2 years. Wow. So hard to believe. The younger one has one year left and then he starts high school, summer marching band lessons and traveling to varsity football games every weekend with the band. Their lives are busy. However, the non-custodial parent has said she will NOT agree to take them back and forth to events that occur during her visitation periods because of work. So far, she has also said she will not allow them to stay with their Dad so they can attend their events either. Basically, they are going to be forced to go so they can stay home alone day in and day out to accommodate the parent rather than assist the child. So, what do you do? Would you lawyer up and file yet ANOTHER contested case (there are already 3 or 4 at this point) or would you just let it go?
An acquaintance of mine recently took her ex husband back to court for a similar issue. Her daughter is involved in select softball and has tournaments several weekends per month and they practice year round or darn near year round. Her ex wasn’t paying full child support, wasn’t paying his part of the kids medical bills, and wasn’t willing to work around her daughter’s schedule. So, they went back to Court. She felt she had no other choice than to let the Judge decide what was best since her ex wouldn’t work with her at all. Guess what happened? She won her hearing on all accounts. Child support was raised. He was ordered to reimburse medical bills. And their new court order now says that Dad can have one weekend per month with the kids that does not interfere with the kids’ activities. This mom was an advocate for her kids, the Judge saw that, and she got every single thing she asked for at her hearing.
I HATE family law drama y’all. Working for attorneys for 20 years and watching people waste time, energy, emotion, and money all for a Judge to make decisions for them that they should have been able to make themselves drove me crazy. In fact, it’s why I made sure to work with my ex to reach an uncontested agreement at the time of our divorce. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for Hubs. Poor Hubs. I wish with all of my might that he and his ex could reach agreements without the requirement for lawyers and judges and court hearings but they just can’t. For whatever reason that I do not and will not ever understand, their Mom simply will not budge.
In my devotional today the first question was “how do you respond to worst case scenario conflict? Through fight or flight?” When it comes to your kids, isn’t there a natural “papa bear” tendency to put up a fight even if otherwise that’s not your nature or typical response? If anything in your life is worth fighting for, isn’t it making sure that your kids have an advocate to fight for what’s best for them? Their needs. Their schedule. Their lives. Isn’t it supposed to be about and for the kids?
I saved this a few years ago and it popped up on my memory reminders today. THIS is so applicable to blended families. Ok, in all fairness it works for all families. But the numbers game alone definitely makes it very very descriptive for families like ours.
What’s the numbers game? My friends who have only 2 kids in their traditional marriage feel like they have more than enough on their plate and their hands are full. Now, double that. For us, triple that.
The more people you have in your Blended family with individual needs, issues, drama, etc. the more often you will find yourself right back on the tunnel having been eaten by a snake.
Many people enter their Blended family so full of hope and purpose. Love, excitement of the new beginning, butterflies, hearts and roses. And then BAM, one day they are looking around with a flashlight like a mouse eaten by a reptile wondering “where am I and how the heck did I get here”? That phase often follows with feelings of how you made a big mistake or maybe you should get a divorce. Or you can simply accept the journey and where you are today because I promise it will change. Life always does. It’s dynamic, alive, and always in motion.
If you ever find yourself looking like this photo, just remember that it’s only temporary. What goes in, must come out.