Please tell us a little about your family dynamic and how you became a blended family.
I’m Jenn, Mom to one daughter, Addison. She’s 9 going on 16, I swear! My fiancé Mark is Dad to three great kids, Justin (15), Alyssa (13), Jayden (11). We’ve been living under the same roof for a year and a half now and have most recently added another addition, a puppy named Dez. He’s a Beagle/Springer Spaniel/Labordoodle mix!
How did you and your spouse meet and how long have you been married?
Mark and I met online. Unknown to one another we both separated from our ex-spouses the same year. We both had a semi-serious dating relationship after our splits that ended at the same time, and we both joined Match.com on Thanksgiving weekend 2016! We had been living parallel lives all this time, just waiting for the right time to find each other! We moved in together the summer of 2017 and got engaged summer of 2018. We are set to marry September of this year!
Did you become an instant family?
In terms of blending together, we really couldn’t have asked for anything better. Addison was always very shy and used to having me all to herself but when she met Mark and the kids, she warmed up to them all instantly, and you’d think she’d been around them her whole life. Mark’s kids were very accepting of both Addison, and I and things have unfolded naturally for all of us, for the most part! Let’s keep it real here; it’s not a fairy tale!
What does discipline look like in your home?
Ahhh, this is one of the biggest stressors for sure! You blend two families together. Two separate households, two different parents and 4 very different children and boy oh boy is it an adventure! Mark and I luckily share very similar values, but there are things he was lax about that I had always really zoned in on with Addison so trying to compromise and not step on people’s toes has been challenging.
We agreed early on that when it comes to discipline, whatever child is needing it at the time, their bio parent would handle it.
We have both given each other full authority though to discipline if needed, and we always back each other up in front of the kids. If there’s ever something we don’t agree on, then we discuss it behind closed doors. Keeping a united front as parents is very important!
Biggest blessing in having a blended family?
More people to love and to love you in return. Getting pregnant was a struggle for me and the chances of having more children were slim to none, so it really has been a blessing to have these other 3 amazing kids as part of my family now.
The biggest challenge in having a blended family?
Having a blended family! Seriously though, there are so many aspects to blending two families together that are challenging. The biggest for me personally is letting go. There are so many things that are not in your control, schedules, finances, co-parenting with exes. Just so many factors that can be very challenging!
What does Co-parenting look like for you?
Luckily Mark and I are very much on the same page with almost everything. I’m the stricter one. Mark’s the laid back, fun dad, like dads tend to be and I’m the one running the tight ship that needs to remember to just relax and go with the flow more. Where we differ, we balance each other out, but it’s good that we always see eye to eye on the big things!
Any tips you can give other blended families?
Pick your battles. If it won’t matter in 6 months, don’t worry about it.
Compromise and communication are two of the biggest skills you will need to master.
Find support, don’t be afraid to ask for help. This life is not easy, and you’re not alone in it. There are tons of other amazing step mama’s out there, and the beautiful thing is they’re all usually very eager to help, to listen and to support! I’m one of them – Here for you any time!
Check out Jenn’s site @ http://thisisblended.com/
and be sure to follow her on IG @ thisisblended
Jenn, Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful Blended Tribe with us! I look forward to collaborating with you in the future 😉
💗 The Blended Tribe
To read about some other great blended families click HERE