I love my big, blended family and would not change this life for the world. But there are just some things that you encounter as a blended family that I was not prepared to tackle. Whether it is the looks or questions strangers ask or the emotions you feel that you are not sure that you should feel.
1. They are mine! All of them!
One question I get all too often is "are they all yours?" No, sweet cheeks, I just kidnapped a few kids and decided to test my ability to grocery shop with extra hands grabbing and extra "buy me" whines to boot. For the record, I am a grocery champion! Where's my trophy? Of course they are all mine! Even if they weren't, is that really anyone's business? No, they didn't all come from my body. But they each have my heart and that is what really counts.
2. The Case of the Ex
I did not realize that strange relationship that I would have with baby mama. It's such an uncomfortable relationship. He loved her first. It didn't work out for this reason or that. But he did love her first. I loved Ex first. I still love him just not in the same way. I actually did pick Ex over Brad 11 years ago. When Ex and I were engaged, I met Brad at a place where he worked. He flirted and I told him to take a hike! This little anecdote just got brought to recognition recently by a story we were talking about. It's fun how our paths crossed. But I digress. We both loved someone else first. I am best friends with Ex. It's awkward. It has to be. I get very protective over Brad. I hate when he has to go to Baby Mama's without me. There is a weird sense of jealousy that I just cannot rationalize.
3. My Kids are Perfect
I have the strange need to stand up for my kids, even when they are wrong. They have been through a lot since their father and I split and I will try the rest of my life to make it up to them. So naturally, I want to protect them, even when they are way out of line. I want to keep them from harm. They have a new man in their life and that is hard for them to accept. So I find myself wanting to stand up for them even when Brad is right.
4. There Are No "MY" Kids
They are our kids. We love them. You will love your added children. For some people this is an instant connection, for some it takes a long time. I know one family that the kids couldn't stand their stepmom and she tried her best to love them but it really didn't happen for them until they were adults. Now they love her through and through. I am blessed. I love DS1 and DS2 with all my heart and they love me too. In fact, I got upset that they had to leave the other day. It's really hard for Brad and I not to be under the same roof. I started crying when I was saying goodbye. When they left DS2 asked if they had done something to upset me. Brad told them no that I just hate to see them leave. DS2 said I hate when she's sad and wish I could fix it. They have my heart and I would protect them with my life.
5. Sibling Rivalry on Steroids
While our kids adore and love each other, they want to strangle each other half the time. The older ones get upset because the littles are hyper and loud. The littles get upset because the bigs won't play with them. DS1 and DS2 get upset if their dad pays more attention to DS3,4,&5 and they get upset if I pay more attention to DS1&2. It's a balancing act and assertion of dominance over the territory of the bio parent. They don't share us adults well. Sometimes, I feel like stretch Armstrong being pulled 1000 directions because the kids want me to do this with them and another is shouting look at me and another is saying they are hungry.
At the end of the day, we will survive this. We will get through this. We will grow in love and as a family. It will just take a little time to make it smooth sailing.