Today I am writing about families, because our munchkins have more than one family. Almost 6 years ago, everyone’s lives changed. Little man was 2 and Little Miss was 18 months old. I was walking into a life that I knew little about. My parents are divorced and I have step parents, but BEING a step parent is a whole other ball game.
The munchkins mom got remarried to a man with kids from previous relationships. All together he has three kids, then lets add the munchkins, so that made five children total in a household every other weekend. Let me start off by saying, I don’t think I could handle that many children under the age of nine. THAT takes a special kind of person to balance that, and they made it work. The munchkins had instant live-in friends (step siblings) every other weekend. Their behavior started to change, and most of it wasn’t good. It was not just a big adjustment for them, but for hubby and I as well. How do we handle this new kind of craziness and tempers coming from the kids? How do we parent them at OUR house without causing issues at their mother’s house? That took a lot of communication, time, and learning to find a some what common ground. Here is what we came up with. We CANNOT control what goes on at their mom and step dad’s house. We cannot CONTROL how things are handled or said there either. What we CAN control is how WE handle things at OUR house. My husband is a professional at letting things like this go. I think it’s mostly a male thing and how they process their emotions, but damn, he just lets it all go and tells me, “They know the rules HERE, they know we love them, support them, and will hold them accountable for their actions HERE.”
A little after the munchkin’s mom was remarried, her and her husband had a baby. Holy crap, that is now SIX kids under the age of TEN. The hectic lifestyle that must be, is mind blowing to me. So now their family dynamic has changed yet again, and the adjustments aren’t too far behind. There was nothing we could do about it, but show them love, support, and hold our ground about our family rules.
Was it hard? Absolutely. Did I cry a lot because I didn’t think I could handle this anymore? Of course. Did I talk to anyone about these feelings? Nope. I held it all in, and I kept telling myself I was taking the high road. I wish I was blogging back when I had these emotions, but instead I read blogs written by other fierce and strong stepmamas.
I can honestly say we never hear the kids say, “But at MOM’S HOUSE….”, because that just doesn’t fly here. That’s awesome your mom lets you do that at her house, but keep that at HER house. We are at OUR house now and these are the rules. It was a work in progress for the first couple years, but now they are adjusted and understand the rules are different at each house. Call us strict, but it WORKS. For US it works, and having set rules and expectations give the munchkins peace in such a crazy blended life.
Our family is a little family of four plus our big ‘ol puppy dog. We will be trying to grow our family this year and I am confident that the munchkins will adjust wonderfully. Since we have a small family we can do more things together and spend more one on one time with each other. The four of us love, respect, and are grateful for each other. We are lovers, not fighters. We don’t scream, yell, or fight to solve our problems. We communicate. Of course we have our bad days, and we don’t always get along, but we never go to bed angry. We forgive. We keep our promises. We say please and thank you. These are just some of OUR family rules.
One little story I will share is when the first time Little Man had to draw a picture of his family in kindergarten. This is now almost 3 years after the blending of families. Let me just say that Little Man blew me away with his pictures. He had two drawings. One with his father, sister, and me. Then one with his mother, step dad, and step siblings. He was SO proud of his art work and wanted to share it with the world. He had TWO families, and he loved them both so much. Little Miss now is following in his footsteps. She draws the same pictures and shows them off with pride. I couldn’t be more proud of what they have learned in such a short time on this earth.
Both of our munchkin’s families are beneficial to them in so many DIFFERENT ways. They get a little bit of everything from each one of us. We may not agree in parenting styles, but I believe our core beliefs are the same. We want what is BEST for them, even if it isn’t always easy for us.
So here is to blended families everywhere! Keep up the great work! Pour yourself a cold one and pat yourself on the back for a job well done!