Words to live by ↓
Right here is our family, The Blended Tribe. He had two kids, and I had two kids. We turned our two separate families into one blended mess over three years ago now. There is a lot of love and a lot of heartaches that go into keeping a stepfamily together. There is a ridiculous amount of fights over kids and parenting styles. The longer we keep fighting to keep our family together, the better it seems to get.
Why am I telling you all this?!
First of all, I’m reintroducing our tribe to you all. It’s been a while since I’ve shared who we are.
We have the oldest, Cole (Jon’s kid) who just turned 14 and all of a sudden got a personality. This kid has been one of my biggest challenges to figure out. He’s a little quirky, but he has a good heart and is starting to figure out where he belongs in our family.
Then there is Gracie (my kid) who is three months younger than Cole, and you wouldn’t know it. She takes on the role of the oldest for sure. She has an attitude and a personality that I relate to because she’s my kid. She is 100% my child in every way.
AJ (my kid) is next! AJ is ten, and he’s your typical middle child. He went from being the baby to being a middle kid, and that was a hard adjustment for sure. This kid has a temper like no other. He is sick of putting up with the other kids crap, but then he has the biggest heart. He is a kind soul and has the best manners for a ten-year-old.
That brings us to the baby Miss Anabelle (Jon’s kid) who is nine. This one!!! She is loving, smart, and she is brave. She doesn’t have a lot of fear, which scares me a little for her. She is kind, but also gets pure joy out of torturing and annoying her older siblings.
The second reason is I want you all to know that this sh*t is hard! I try to keep things as positive as I can because I choose to do that. I can dwell on the negative, but that won’t get any of us anywhere. Raising kids is hard enough, helping raise stepkids in a blended family environment is a whole other level of hard, probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
Parenting other people’s kids makes parenting your own kids a walk in the park.
I’m here to listen and encourage you through it. You are going to have the shittiest of times, and then that will all go away when you have those fantastic moments together, these are the moments that make it all worth it. The reason I started this blog was to help people by sharing my struggles and experiences. I’m just trying to survive blended living. I definitely don’t have it all figured out, and NEVER will. All I know is that I’m a fighter and I want to encourage all of you to keep on fighting for your families!
♥ The Blended Tribe
To read more about us click HERE
Cole celebrated his 14th Birthday last Friday. It's hard to believe we have a 14-year-old in the house now. I get excited for the kids getting older. I know they have their entire life in front of them, and as much as I enjoy them being kids, I get excited to wonder and see what the future holds for them. Each one of them has different strengths and weaknesses, and watching them grow is a privilege. Fourteen takes me to the realization once again that we only have a matter of years left to get our kids ready for the world. Chores are extremely important, and teaching them all the life skills we can is a must. These kids will be off to college soon, and they need to be capable of taking care of themselves. The kid's on their own is something I think about a lot and know that although these kids hate the chores and responsibilities we put on them, they will learn to appreciate it when they are older. I will get a post together of our chore binder along with what is expected of each kid. I think it's so helpful to see what other parents are doing so that way you can figure out what will work for you. So, we were at the fair all last week, and Cole got to celebrate his Birthday with new friends and some fam. All in all, I think he had a great Birthday week, and I can't remember a time that I've seen him work so hard and be as social as he has with people he really didn't know all that well until now. It's crazy to say, but I've seen huge growth in the matter of a week. I've never seen him this happy and so much in his element. Spending an entire week in a pig pen was never a place I would've imagined this kid being happy😂. Who knew?!? 🤷🏼♀️ Cole's Birthday dinner of choice.....Cracker Barrel for the first time. Good times. Happy Birthday to my stepson. We don't always "get" one another, but I think we try and that's all that matters.
Now that Easter is over….next up….MOTHER’S DAY! Oh, the joy of Mother’s Day as a Stepmom. I have two kids of my own, so Mother’s Day isn’t as difficult for me as it is for some Stepmama’s out there. I have faith that at some point on Mother’s Day my stepkids thought about me, and I’m good with that in itself.
I know that it’s hard for stepmoms out there that don’t have their own kids, and my heart goes out to you all ♥ You put your love, sweat, and tears into your stepkids and all you want is a little recognition. You’re expected to play mom, but not get any credit on a day that is all about mom because you didn’t give birth to them. Everything about that sucks!
I challenge you NOT to let Mother’s Day get you down this year!
Here are some ideas of how to avoid Mother’s Day gloom:
1) Focus on your Mom that day-Show your mama some love!
2) Plan a day of pampering yourself and show yourself a little love. Hey, you’re a stepmom, and you deserve to be pampered and treated special on Mother’s Day. Plan a spa day for yourself, go shopping for yourself, treat yourself. If nobody else is going to do it, then make it happen for yourself! You deserve it!
3) Do you have other stepmom friends? I think it would be fun to have a little stepmom gathering on this day and celebrate not being celebrated together:) Go to lunch together or drink a bottle (or two) of wine while supporting one another through this day. You’re not alone!
I think the most important thing is to plan it out. You know that this day is coming, and don’t expect anything. Plan for yourself and avoid any sadness or heartbreak that might be attached to this day for you. If you get down in the dumps, know that you are letting other people win and control your day. Don’t allow that to happen!
Two thousand eighteen was a good year. Am I happy to see it go…..yes! My husband told me a couple of weeks back that this was one of his best years to date. I don’t know if this was one of my best years, but it wasn’t horrible, and I ‘m glad we survived it together.
I must say that I’m excited for 2019 and what it has to offer. I do have some personal goals that I want to work on this year. My big goal is that I take the time now that I’m settled in this blended living, to make time for other people. It has been about five years since my divorce, and I feel like since that time I have become so consumed in myself, my kids, and then surviving this new life that I’ve created. I finally feel like I can breathe, and now it’s time to be there more for my friends and family outside of my little home. I need to be better about remembering Birthdays and special events; these were all things that I was good at one time in my life. It’s time to get that back! This particular thing has been on my heart for the past few months, so I’m determined to make it happen this year.
I’m excited for 2019, and I adore the tribe of people that I have around me. I’m busy, so I may take a little longer to respond to your questions and comments, but I will respond. I am so grateful for all the kind words, and encouragement I get on this journey. I also can’t tell you how much I appreciate you trusting my advice and asking for it. It’s a continual learning experience for all of us, and I’m grateful that we have one another to bounce ideas off of and to support one another.
Trying to raise kids when you have different parenting styles, discipline styles, completely different backgrounds and more differences than similarities is ridiculously hard. I feel like a big part of the time when you have kids with a person you are a little on the same track as far as parenting goes. What happens when you’re not though? Or what happens when your parenting style has changed since having to raise kids on your own and now raising kids in a larger, blended family?? What happens when one parent wants their kids to be in certain activities or sports, and the other parent doesn’t? This problem isn’t as hard when you have your kids the majority of the time, but when you share 50/50, this can be a battle. Here are a few things that I’m learning as I go:
⇒ If you’re religious at all, make sure that you take the time to pray about the situation. Make sure that you’re checking your heart and doing things with the right motive or intent. Also, make sure that you are taking the time to pray beforehand about receiving news well from your ex, and pray that you handle it with grace.
⇒ Don’t take things personally as a parent. It’s not our business to know what all is going on with schedules, behaviors, family issues, health issues in the other parent’s home. Sometimes(hopefully always) a “no” isn’t meant to be mean to the other parent. Just because one thing works out for one house, doesn’t necessarily mean that same thing is going to work out for the other house. The bottom line is, not everything is about you so don’t make it about you.
⇒ If it’s going to have an impact on the other parent’s schedule, then you always need to consult the other parent first. I’ve made this mistake in the past, and now looking back on it, it wasn’t cool, and I’ve since apologized to my ex about it (which is NEVER fun). I think we get so caught up into wanting the best and more for our kids that we don’t think about the bigger picture. Especially if they aren’t missing out on a lot of things, the bottom line is that the kids aren’t going to be able to do every little thing they want to do, and I think that even if that’s not fair, it’s part of being raised in a split family.
These are the few things I’ve learned so far. The kids always have to come first, but you also have to do what’s best for your family as a whole. Don’t feel bad about saying no if it doesn’t work for you, but make sure you’re doing what’s best for that child.
To read more about co-parenting from a different point of view, read this guest post by Lauren McKinley for more co-parenting insight.
♥ The Blended Tribe
We all know some of the significant stressors in life, you know, the events that cause some kind of stress on us either good or bad.
⋅Loss of Job
So how would these events not have a significant impact on kids going through them? Right now in our house, we have all four kids dealing with huge life changes at the other parent’s house. How does this affect our kids and in turn us? It affects us by our kids having emotions, thoughts, feelings, attitudes that carry over to our house when they are with us.
Here is what I’m learning through the process….
1. As the parents, be a little more sensitive during this period with the kids. Once I was able to put two and two together, I was able to realize that the kids might need a little more love, attention, and understanding during this time. We’re not letting them get away with things, but we are trying to be a little more sensitive to their needs at this time.
2. Life goes on as usual in our house. We will be sensitive, but nothing changes in our household. We continue with our schedule, chores, and so on. Keep consistent with your normal activities and rules. Kids thrive on consistency and normalcy so keep that up when you have them.
3. Let the kids know you are available and will to talk about any feelings they might have about whats going on. Let them vent or let them express their feelings while not inputting yours. You are only a safe place for them to express what they are feeling and dealing with.
These are the few things I’ve noted so far going through this process with the kids. I will make sure to share if anything else comes up.
It’s all about learning in this crazy house, and it can be exhausting sometimes, but I think we will all turn out better for it.
I listened to a great message yesterday. It hit me hard especially after having a very revealing week. We went to our counseling session on Tuesday, and it was a doozy for me. The counselor finally asked me a little about my past marriage, and after explaining it to her, it ended in her telling me some fascinating things about my previous relationship and what I’m suffering with now as a result of it. I’ll share more about this in another post. It hit me pretty hard though, and I’ve kept quiet for a little bit after finding out the information that I did. Just need some time to reflect and wrap my head around it all.
Fast forward to church yesterday…….we had a guest speaker. He started talking about how the things that are crippling in our lives are in fact the things that we need to be most thankful about. He was basically saying that the people in our lives that have wronged us are the people that we are learning the most from. The most challenging people that we deal with are the people that are helping us grow and learn. My husband and I had to laugh out loud in church because right away we both know who challenges me the most right now and to start looking at this person as a blessing from God, isn’t the most natural thing to do right at the moment, I’m going to try though.
So, thinking about your past, you can probably quickly think about the people in your life that have wronged you, hurt you, challenged you. Instead of wishing you never would’ve come into contact with that person, be grateful that you did. For through that person you were taught something or are being taught something. It’s a complete shift in thinking. I challenge you to try it and see what happens in your life!
♥ The Blended Tribe
When your step kid talks crap about the weekend with his other parent, we tell him to stop talking badly about his other parent, and he says “it’s ok because he does the same thing about us when he’s not with us.”
What’s the problem here?!?! We’ve known all along about the crap talking, but hearing him admit it is nice I guess.
DON’T GET PLAYED BY YOUR KIDS!! If they are talking crap to you about the other parent, chances are they are talking crap about you too. Kids are going to try to use any angle they can get. The best way to deal with this situation is to stop them! They have no business being disrespectful to the other parent. You need to let them know you’re not going to tolerate it. We try to turn whatever they are saying into a positive thing. That way we are letting them vent still, but trying to make the child see the positive in what the other parent was trying to do. Or you just stop them and tell them they have no business being disrespectful to another adult, especially their parent. You choose!! Whatever you do, don’t play into it and don’t get played by your kids!