Today I want to, no I NEED to talk about blended family life. I’m just going to dive “write” in. Where are my other blended family moms and dads at? I have three kids with my ex-husband and a baby with my new husband and the waters I navigate can get pretty choppy. Hell, once in a while, the perfect storm hits and I’m looking at a 100 foot swell of, “There’s no way I’m surviving this!” And yet, here I am…
Mother’s day has come and gone and while our lives are a little bit brighter, filled with flowers or handmade cards, daily life and the responsibilities it brings, has stayed the same. I have split parenting time 50/50. While the kids may spend 50% of their nights sleeping at their dad’s house, let’s be honest; I do ALL the parenting! I do about 100% of the parenting in 50% of the time and wind up 110% exhausted.
I love my kids and being their mom defines a big portion of who I am right now. So when I find myself mom-listening, nodding without actually hearing anything the day they come home, or I feel my chest tightening when they start screaming the day they come home, I feel guilty. I should be taking in every moment that they are home, not allowing myself to get overwhelmed. I will never get to be the 100% mom I can be to my new baby with my older three. Enter more guilt; and the shame of not being a better more patient parent.
When, the baby, now 1 yr., was born, my post-partum depression was riddled with guilt over my kids’ split home life. I cried in my daughter’s bed, yearning for them to come home from their dad’s, when the baby was days old. I felt I had failed my kids and while I love my husband and my life, I couldn’t escape the guilt I felt that it was my fault I broke up my home when I divorced my ex-husband. Parenting comes with enough guilt, but this kind? No thank you!
There are a lot of moms out there who would be so glad if their kids’ father was involved and took responsibility for them. I guess I’m lucky that my ex-husband is so involved. Despite his discrepancies, he is a good dad! But be careful what you wish for. When my kids are gone, by law, I lose a lot of control. I can’t dictate what their dad and step mom do in THEIR house. I can’t control what they eat, what they watch, or where they go. How many mom’s want to lose that much control over their babies so young? AND we’ve been doing this for FOUR years! You think I’d be used to it by now…
About 15% of the time I am glad for a brake while also feeling guilty about that. 40% of the time I feel satisfied with the parenting I am able to do. The rest, falls somewhere in between. 100% of the time, I want more! More time with them, more time alone, more one on one, more, more, more.
I’m usually in and out of their lives while they are at their dad’s house for ballet or cub scouts because I hate missing time with my kids. The in between time is great, mostly, but I’ll never get used to being a fulltime mom to a baby but not the other three loves of my life. I can’t control a lot about their life like single moms and married moms. I constantly battle guilt, my own expectations of myself and my sorrows about the one thing I can never change.
I believe that every body’s life has hidden dynamics that drive who we are. These are some of mine. So I ask my audience. Where are the blended family groups, ‘cause if there aren’t any good ones, we should start our own. I know there must be A Facebook Group For That!
(It’s hard being a part of a blended family. The struggle is real. Share with a friend. Share what you feel)