Welcome to Family Fusion Community!
I was married to my first husband for twelve years. When he left, I was devastated. We have two beautiful daughters from our union, now 10 and 14. Our divorce was not an easy one, but we both chose mediation over attorneys. I have never had to bite my tongue more than during those first few months. My wounds were raw, stinging from every word said, and every past mistake. Somehow, I managed not to say a negative word to my girls about their father. I put my feelings aside, and I put my girls’ future relationship with their father first. Learn more about my feelings during my divorce, check out my guest post on Kissing the Frog. That decision was one of the best decisions that I have ever made, and I am very proud of it!
My ex, Jeff is now remarried to Molly, my daughters’ step-mom. I am also remarried to Bob, my daughters’ step-dad. Jeff and Molly now have two children of their own, ages 1 and 2. Bob and I chose not to have any additional children. All four of us co-parent together. By co-parenting, I mean we make all decisions together. We have co-birthdays, and we have the same rules in each household. We sit together at events, making other nuclear families uncomfortable. Molly and I speak daily. We help one another, and we are honest with one another. Our relationship is one of the most honest, straightforward relationships I have ever had. She and I are committed to our children and to our parental unit of four. We are often judged by other parents because we do not resent one another or tear each other down. We treat each other with respect and dignity. We treat one another like we are family, because we ARE family!
Blending a family means something different to everyone. To me, it means commitment, compromise, and communication. When you are a parent you make daily decisions that reflect on your children and the rest of your family. Each decision you make ripples into the lives of each family member, whether they live under your roof or in another household. You choose daily to either commit to your family or to go against them with each choice. Think of each member as a colored pencil, and each person is a different color. Some are richer colors and tend to dominate the paper, while others are mild and soft. When you are in a blended family, you have to learn how to blend the colors together, without allowing anyone to lose their individual color.
A marriage is a commitment. A family is a commitment. A blended family has to be a commitment, in my opinion, for it to blend well. No relationship is perfect, they all take work. If you look at your blended family as optional, like if things don’t work out, you can always part ways, you are not fully committed. Do not think of your family as a temporary situation, think of it as a union of two households (or three, each family is different). You are united in your commitment to your children. You are a parental unit. Something I say often when people ask about how well I get along with my childrens’ step-mom is, you get to know your child’s teacher, their daycare provider, doctor, friends and their friends’ parents. Why wouldn’t you want to get to know the other mother in your child’s life?
This website is a safe haven for all blended families to learn and support one another, and to educate those who do not understand what it means to blend a family. So far, we have Christian writers, same-sex parents, and middle of the road parents, like me. Our diverse group of loving, open-minded writers are here as examples for other parents. We all share a dream of changing the way people see nontraditional families.
How does your family blend? We would love to hear your thoughts. We are also looking for more writers. Check out our Write for US page for details!
Check back tomorrow to meet one of the other writers!
Trish Eklund is taking a nontraditional approach to parenting children after divorce and remarriage. Raising her two daughters of ten and fourteen with her husband, ex-husband, and his wife, they consult one another on all parenting decisions. Trish has been featured on www.playground-magazine.com, and www.bigblendedfamily.com. She is a regular writer on www.herviewfromhome.com, writer and co-editor for Her View From Omaha. Follow her on Twitter: @trishiewriter, Google +, and Pinterest.