10 Things Blended Families Wish They Would Have Known
In hindsight, it’s easier to look back on some things, like blending a family, to discover what tips and tricks could have made the transition easier. However, that’s why communities exist - so that others can share their experiences and hopefully help newly blended families transition seamlessly. Here we’ve outlined some of the most widely shared tips that blended families wish they would have known. Check it out and maybe implement an idea or two!
1) Blending a family is complicated.
There’s no if, ands, or buts about it. You can’t get around it, and that’s part of the beauty of it as well! All good things take time and effort, and bringing together two families is bound to have it’s complications. Don’t let these get you down. It’s all part of the journey and you can overcome it together.
2) Your life will never “go back” to normal.
You will never have the same life that you used to. On the other hand, you'll have a whole new wonderful idea of normal, complete with new routines, traditions, and the ability to expand your love.
3) People will look at you differently, and sometimes think of you differently.
Everybody has their own opinions. They’ll have their opinions about something - whether it be the amount of children you now have, your choices or actions as a parent or stepparent, your relationship with your partner or their ex, etc. People may make their feelings known to you, but in the end it’s up to you and your partner to make choices that are right for your family - so own them!
4) Worry will be a frequent part of your life for a while.
You’ll worry about your partner, your children, and everything else that surrounds your new blended family dynamic. You’ll worry about big things like treating your children fairly and your relationship with your partner. You’ll worry about little things like juggling all of your new responsibilities and learning everybody's food preferences. Worry is normal, and in fact it shows that you care! Know that it is okay to worry, and keep these feelings in check however works best for you; going to therapy, confiding in a close friend that understands what you’re going through, sharing with your partner, journaling, physical activity, etc.
5) Sometimes you will be the the odd one out.
As uncomfortable as it can be, no matter your role in the family sometimes you’ll be the odd one out. This goes for anybody! Whether it be a child, a stepparent, a biological parent, or an ex spouse. Blending a family takes time, and everybody undoubtedly will like to do different activities, form various relationships with each other, and need more time or space than others. At some point, you or someone you love may find themselves as the odd one left out. It’s okay! Roll with it. And if it’s one of your children or stepchildren, try to make them feel comfortable, heard, and understood as soon as you realize they might be feeling left out.
6) Sometimes, life will just be awkward.
Awkwardness simply comes with the territory of blending a family. What do your kids call their new stepparents? How do you interact with exes at a baseball game? What’s the proper answer to “Are all those kids yours?”. There will be a litany of unavoidable awkward moments no matter how hard you try to avoid them. Instead, try to embrace them and understand they will pass.
7) The idea of “fair” will take on a new meaning.
When blending a family, whether co-parenting, parallel parenting or not, fair is a word that will be completely reformed or even thrown out the window as a whole. Children will be treated differently in each home, taken on different trips or to different places, bought different things - the list goes on and on. Competing with the other parent will only turn into a vicious cycle. Run your family how you normally would and try to keep things fair between your children when they are all together in your own home. The best you can do is to take control of your own family interactions.
8) Connecting with your partner may be harder than it once was.
Once you’ve decided to blend your families, so many more dynamics and growing relationships will be taking place. As parents of the household, you’ll be in charge of a whole new slew of responsibilities such as new children’s school and activity schedules, co-parenting, blending living spaces, and nurturing everybody’s emotions as best as possible. That’s a lot to take on! Your relationship may take a seat on the backburner for a while and definitely won't look like it once did when you were simply dating your spouse. As time passes, so will this feeling. Remember that all the hard work will be worth it and try to find small ways to connect with your spouse in the meantime.
9) There are no “right” ways to do things - but there are so many options!
Before blending a family, many parents think they have an idea of the right way to handle their family transition. They may have these ideas from seeing friends or family going through similar situations, seeing perceptions in the media of blended families, or simply by ideals that they have created in their own heads. However, the right way to do things does not exist. You’ll be receiving a quick wake up call that there are many ways to do things that can be equally as beneficial for your family. Embrace the options and figure out what works best for you!
10) Most importantly, you are not alone.
Blending a family may feel tiresome, confusing, and isolating at times. However, don’t forget you’re not alone. Many other families are navigating the same issues, and there are many communities that you can join to talk, get ideas, and share your story. Make sure to utilize them!