Blending Two Households
Before We Became One
Step-parenting, a thing I promised myself I would never do again. But, you can't help who you love, right? After my first marriage as a step-mom and a bio mom, I feel I'm quite seasoned in the logistics of step-parenting. But, step-parenting is a whole different ballpark than parenting a biological child. It comes with adjustment, resentment, and sometimes a pesky ex. It's taught me that how much you can love a child that isn't yours. I'm a bonus mom to a 13 year old boy, and mom to a 7, 6, and 10 month old.
Our story started almost four years ago...
We both were freshly divorced/separated from ours ex's. So, not only were we dating (casually), but sneaking around due to the kids. We didn't make any moves on introducing the kids to each other until about six months in. I came from a very abusive marriage, so I was very weary of who I let into my life, but more importantly my kids life. From our experience, this is crucial to not throw kids into the mix right away. Be serious, but not too serious that you are moving in a week after meeting. So, we waited about a year and half before bringing up the topic of blending households with our kids. His child was an only child and mine were two peas-in-a pod.
Both our circumstances are different when it comes to co-parenting with our ex's. My ex isn't involved in my kids lives and his son is 50/50 between 2 homes.
To Blend or Not?
Starting a relationship with someone who has kids can be tough, as you can be seen as the enemy to the child. But, starting a relationship where both parties are bringing children in, can be even harder. You're taking these kids from two families and throwing them together and expecting happily ever after.
Once it comes to the point you're ready to combine households it needs to be a family decision.
Some questions to ask your significant other prior to:
- How will we parent together?
- What is your parenting style?
- Who will pay X bills?
- Will you "nacho" (nacho kids, nacho your problem)?
The biggest question is, how do the kids feel? Have you spent enough time getting to know them?
Don't expect everyone to get along right away. Think of it as building a house--you have to lay the foundation and build the walls before making it a home.
Give It Time
Don't expect once the last box is unpacked that it will be a "normal" happy home. It will take months for acclimation to happen.
The biggest tip is to check on your kids and communicate. Ask them how they're feeling about the move or if there is anything you can do to make it easier. It's not easy for the parents or kids to learn a new way of living and to have to think about the extra people in the house. Communication with your children and partner will prevent blow-ups and resentment. Make sure all the kids feel at home.
© 2019 Katie Kellerman