Blending a family together is no easy feat. For those of you in the trenches of it, can I get an Amen?
I can list off a slew of struggles that I feel I experience daily in my dual role of mom and step-mom. While it is easy to keep my focus there, we all know what happens when we focus solely on struggles and it isn’t pretty.
So when blended family life starts to get me down, I shift my focus to the 2 P’s:
There is a popular quote by Wayne Dyer that states, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” What a nugget of truth. I put my all into making my blended family of seven function as seamlessly as possible. My family is my world. Sometimes my efforts go unnoticed and unappreciated. When that happens, it is only natural to want to go into pity-party mode. Instead, what I really need is a big dose of perspective.
I have to make a conscious effort each and every day to remember that there are five children in my household with their own unique personalities, needs and concerns. Not only that, but they have all had their worlds rocked by divorce. They have hurts that haven’t fully healed, questions that may never be fully answered and a deep-seated need to feel unconditionally loved.
When attitudes flare and disrespect begins to rear its ugly head, I need to take a moment to see the child behind the behavior. Before I scold, I need to ask myself; “What does my child need from me right now? Is there a reason for the misbehavior? How can I respond in love?”
When my husband and I wed in 2012, and our families became one, I pictured one big happy Brady Bunch family. The reality was much different. My husband and I struggled to merge our two very different parenting styles together and our children found it a challenge to bond with their new siblings. There was a lot of conflict, tears and chaos.
Thankfully we have come a long way. My husband and I have discovered the routines that work best and our kids have grown much closer.
On our bad blending days, when our family seems less like a unit and more like enemies, I like to look back on how far we’ve come. It is a testament to how a little bit of time and a whole lot of love can change things.
I can’t expect my blended family to have a perfect bond overnight, but I can watch as our family grows into something incredible.
I need to have patience in the process.
What about you? What struggles are you facing on your blended family journey? How can perspective and patience help you?