Blended, Not Broken: The Ups and Downs of a Blended Family

blended family

Over the years I have witnessed several different types of families. Even within my small circle of friends I have seen the different types, some good and bad. I knew no matter what my situation, I never wanted to be a part of a broken one. Whether a family is broken or blended depends a lot on the mindset of the members. Despite how others may feel I knew I would keep an open mind in my life.

blended family

I knew when my daughter was a few months old that her father and I were not going to stay together. There wasn’t any major reason why, we weren’t happy. I knew that we could get along better apart than we ever could living under one roof. When he moved out I knew that he, and his entire family would always be a part of my life. Even if I didn’t love him anymore I knew our daughter loved him very much and I would always want him to have role in her life.

 

Over our two year relationship I became very close with his family. They loved their granddaughter so much, and spent significant time with her. I would not only drop her off or pick her up, on several occasions I visited or was invited to stay for dinner. It wasn’t so easy to break the friendship I had with them, we still had my daughter in common.

blended family

I am not always saying it was easy. That’s where blended can become broken very quickly. Even though everyone got along fine with me, they didn’t with each other. To keep the peace it sometimes involved work and stress on myself. A good example of this was my daughter’s second birthday. Tensions were pretty high between my family and her father’s family. I knew I wanted to keep the peace while making sure my daughter never felt the negativity. That year I decided in everyone’s best interest to have two separate birthday parties; one for my family and one for his. That was the first and last time I did that. While it was enjoyable and fun for everyone (and my daughter, let’s face it, two birthday parties? Who wouldn’t want that?) It was too much work and not in a single mom’s budget to continue.

It was pretty easy to keep all this up for a while. I was single, her dad was single and there were no additional kids. I knew it couldn’t stay that way forever so I knew yet again, my mindset would have to change along with the situation. In a few years’ time her dad was in a relationship and I got married. I’ve heard horror stories of the “mother” being difficult to work with, making it hard on the dad and his partner when it involves the children. I knew I never wanted to be that “mother”. I made a point early on to get along with whoever my daughter’s dad was with, I knew she would be spending time with my child. Her dad has always been cordial with my husband, he knows that he has a role in her life, without trying to take his place. We are all connected to each other by one child and there shouldn’t be any reason why we can’t get along.

blended family

The last five years have blended our family even farther in what I can say is only in a positive way. I got married which not only gave me another great family but another set of grandparents to my daughter. She was accepted as one of their own and she will be the first to tell you how awesome three sets of grandparents are. We had our twins shortly after, and at that time her father was expanding his family as well. My daughter went from an only child to having four siblings within two years.

The line of communication is always open. My daughter’s father and I don’t have any kind of custody agreement. She is free to go back and forth without the stress of it being someone’s weekend or holiday. His two youngest and our twins are close in age, they play whenever they get together. The last couple years we have even attended their kids’ birthday parties. They may not be my kids, but they are my daughter’s siblings and just as important.

blended family

The biggest piece of advice I can give to anyone in a blended family is that life is too short to be spiteful. Remember that they were important to you at one time and you will always have a child in common. Even if you don’t love them anymore, your child does, and they don’t need to feel that negativity. I’m not saying you have to spend time with them, or even like them, but your child should never have to see that. Trust me, you may think you enjoy seeing them suffer, or may hate them, but your children suffer the most. It’s a lot easier to get along, and causes a lot less wrinkles.

Blended, Not Broken: The Ups and Downs of a Blended FamilyMarlana Zank is a stay-at-home mom to three kids, including an eleven year old daughter and four year old boy/girl twins. Let’s not forgot her amazing husband and Luna, the newest four legged member to the family. Her hobbies include reading, Zumba at the local Y, and a crazy obsession to “Gilmore Girls”, “Parenthood”, and “Supernatural”. Realistic hobbies include laundry, house cleaning, cooking for picky kids, and knowledge of all Disney and Nickelodeon.


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Blended, Not Broken: The Ups and Downs of a Blended Family

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