Being a blended family is no easy task. I know there are lots of judgements and struggles when it comes to blended families, but in 2018 they have become more and more common. There are a lot of struggles raising kids in a same parent household but adding the factor of shuttling kids back and forth, instilling rules, chores, expectations, respect, family bonds, it all becomes so much more complicated and more of a struggle when you have multiple sources raising children with different opinions etc...
Scott and I have been married since Eleanor was 2, Cole was 6, and Jack was 4. They were all young, but they were all still affected by the change of a new family dynamic. The hardest part of raising a blended family is swallowing your pride and both parents, step and biological, still actively parenting in coalition with their ex's. Usually when you break up with someone, you don't have to interact with and see them again, but in these situations they are always going to be a part of your life in some way. Open communication and understanding is where this all begins. Understanding everyone's limitations, expectations, and comfort levels are very important. We do our best to communicate and parent together. It may not be "typical" but it is the best for the kids, who don't see fighting and spoiling and parents that are more concerned with trying to win their favor than parent. It's more important that we stay on the same side and give our kids the best side of each of us.
The role that you play as a step parent is so much more important than people realize. The ability to accept that these Bonus Children aren't yours biologically, but you CHOOSE to love them anyways is such a gift that people don't always understand. You are helping to raise them as your own, and treating them the same. The hardest part is having no expectations in return, because children need to come around to respect, love and understanding in their own time. For me, I always say to respect your mother and always told them that I was never trying to take her place. I am an extra or Bonus Mom not a replacement. This is so important for kids to know. As a Bonus Mom, taking a complete parental role with your Bonus kids is important so they feel accepted and understand that they are not outsiders to your newly formed family.
I created whats called the "Step Mother Necklace" because so often the role of a Step Mom, Bonus mom, Foster Mom goes unnoticed and expected, but they should be honored just the same. This necklace has your wedding date on it, because it is also the date you became their step mother which is also a very important part of recognizing that date. It is buildable, and has a Swarovski Crystal on a bar above the date to recognize each year that they have been your Step Mother. I love this special piece and how much it means to honor that bond. It has been a long road, but I have formed a bond with each of my Bonus kids and love them as my own.
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