Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Blended Family

I don't like the term "blended family". I use it, because I know that people understand what I mean by it. But I don't like the connotation it has for me. It makes it sound like you can just put two families together, and, if you do it correctly, it will come out smooth, like a milkshake. There is nothing smooth about putting two households of children together even IF you do all the right things. It takes an enormous amount of give and take from everyone involved.

For us, we had to come to the realization that the probability of everyone bonding together into a homogenized, preconceived notion of happy, well-adjusted, Brady Bunch bliss is zero. It's just not gonna happen. We've found that the closest you can come to happiness, which sometimes just means sanity in a household like this, is for each person to work on each relationship with each other person individually and make it the best it can be. And then, whatever it is, be content with that and just keep going.

We are fortunate in many ways. My ex-husband and I get along very well. We still disagree in major ways involving the boys, and yet, we've learned that neither one of us is going to change the other's mind or personality and so we let it go. It usually looks like this. He will call me up ranting about some thing that he's upset about concerning one of the kids. Something he knows good and well I don't agree with. It used to be that I was too lenient with the oldest in the amount of time I allowed him to be with his friends and not with the family. And he goes on and on for a while, even cussing at times, and I listen patiently. And then finally, he'll say, "I know you don't agree with any of this." And I'll say, "No, I don't. I think he's perfectly normal and doing fine." Or something like that. Sometimes I may actually agree with small parts of what he says and I'll acknowledge that. But I never fight or argue. And then, finally, he'll say, "Ok. Well, I guess I'll talk to you later." And that's the end of that.

It's never good when one of the kids is on the other end of one of these conversations but their personalities make it harder for one than the other. The oldest has a much easier time just realizing that his dad has to "vent" every now and then and that it will all blow over. He's more like me in that way. The youngest worries more and has a harder time not internalizing any sort of discord that he perceives. I used to be more like that so I think there's hope for him. :)

I'm going to stop for now even though I've got so much more to write about all this. Haven't even touched on my relationship with the other two who are actually "step" children, although you'd never know it. I'll do that later. I had a meeting away from campus today and was able to come home for lunch. woo hoo! more later...


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