Do you ever feel parent guilt by doing fun things without all the kids around to experience it? I know that we have experienced that guilt in the past. We usually don’t do much of anything if we can’t all do it together. We don’t want any of the kids to miss out on family fun or feel left out.
This year we decided to visit a local Christmas spot called the Cambria Christmas Market with just my two kids. We know 100% that my step-kids will be going to the Christmas Market with their mom, so we thought it would be safe to take the other two. If my two kids don’t go with me, then they won’t be going at all.
Going to the Market as a family of four got me thinking a lot about the guilt that we sometimes put on ourselves without having the entire blended family together to do fun things.
Here are some tips on surviving parent guilt in a blended family.
•Don’t let the kids rub it into one another. I told my kids that they didn’t need to talk about us going and having a good time without the other two. I know Cole could care less about going at all to this place, but Anabelle was a little taken back that we went without her when finding out. I don’t want any hurt feelings, so I made sure that my kids didn’t make a big deal about it.
•Don’t let the guilt get you down while you’re in the moment. Try to enjoy the activity or place that you are with the ones that are there with you. Be in the moment and enjoy it. Jon decided to keep his phone in his pocket and enjoy the experience, which made me put my phone away for most of it too(I had to take some pics though). We disconnected from the world, and that made the time together that much better. We even made the 14-year-old put her phone away at a certain point in the night 🙂
•Be realistic-In any family; you are not going to be able to do everything together. All families, blended, bio, adoptive, aren’t able to do every single thing together, why do we put that pressure on us as a stepfamily?
•Now this one is more for people in a situation like mine that have their stepkids 50/50 and then have my kids 95% of the time. I know this situation is different for every family. In general, if you have a semi-thriving blended family, then don’t plan BIG trips when you can’t all go. Some things are out of your control, and family/friends will plan with not thinking about your custody schedule. Don’t go on big family trips that are in your power without your entire family. Yes, some of your kids/stepkids might be a pain in your a$$, and you don’t want to waste your time or money taking them on vacation. These are kids we are talking about, and making them feel not included in your blended family will only do more harm than good.
We are all learning as we go in the process, trying not to mess the kids up any more than we might already have. Keep doing the best that you can. Try your hardest to just love your stepkids, love the crap out of your own kids, and know that God has you in the exact place with this family for a reason.