I have the lovely Nikki from Keeping Strong and Moving Forward talking about how she and her husband find ways to make being a “blended” family work for them. You can pop over to say Hi to Nikki on Twitter at @nikoteen87, or follow her snapshots of daily life over on Instagram (@nikoteen87).
If anyone had of told me when I was younger that at the age of 27 I would be married, stay at home mother to 4, a step mum to 2 and we would be living as a Big Beautiful Blended family. I would have probably laughed in their face.
But here I am and in all honesty I don’t think I would changed it for the world! (Well maybe I would change a few things but we will save them for another time and posts)
Let me introduce myself. I am Nikki and i have been with my Hubby for 6 years married for 2. My Hubby and I both had 2 children from pervious relationships. So when we decided we wanted to extend our family and have 2’children together it brought our total up to a family of 8.
We have my 2 boys (T&P) and our 2 daughters (E and Baby) living with us full time and my step daughter (A) live with us part of the week as part of a court order. My husband’s eldest son doesn’t live with us but he tries to see him when he gets chance around his difficult working patterns.
Bringing our families together to make one wasn’t always easy and we had some rough times but we also had some great times. My boys accepted my Hubby easily when we first got together. I think this was because they didn’t have must of a male role model in their lives before. It was when T’s dad came into his life when he was 7 that problems first started between my Hubby and T. It was then that T started to think that he didn’t have to listen to my Hubby or that if they had fun together he was some how disrespecting his Dad. This caused some upset but we managed to get it under control. That is until A came to live with us.
At first everything was fine and the kids got on well but soon as A started spending weekends with her mum’s house. T’s jealously began to cause problems. He didn’t understand why he only got to see his dad once every 4 weeks, when A got to go sleep at her mums all weekend.
These issues caused T to start acting out and being aggressive towards my Hubby. It took us a really long time and us trying lots of different parenting styles to finally get to one that seemed to work well with the whole family.
So here is what we do:
We explained our roles.
We sat down with the kids and made it clear that we weren’t there to become there second mother or father. They already had those who loved them dearly and we didn’t want to replace them. All we wanted was to be given the chance to share in their lives and all we expected for them was to treat us with the respect that we deserve.
We spent quality time.
We made sure that we spent time with our step children. For my hubby it was teaching P to ride a bike or play chess with T. In summer they would kick a ball around the garden and they all enjoying wrestling and throwing each other around on trampoline. For me it was a little bit simpler I just had girly nights with A doing her hair and painting her nails we would have girly movie nights watching the little mermaid.
We also made sure we would spend quality time together on days out with trips to cinema, museum, holidays and doing arts and crafts at home.
Talking about feelings.
Ok this is more my side things but the Hubby does try. I make sure that we take about how we feel, no matter if it’s good or bad. If the kids are constantly bickering or their really not getting a long I will make us all sit down and we have to say 1 positive about each person in the room. I try my best to give them all chance to speak and be heard. Although in a family as big as this it doesn’t always turn out that way.
Treat them all equally
This is one of the most important parts. I make sure I don’t treat my children any differently to my step children. We don’t play favourites and I try my hardest to give them all the same as well as treating them as the individuals that they are.
Doing these things doesn’t mean we all live in prefect harmony but it does help us keep the peace and prevents any major feuds starting between our kids.
Unless it on of those days when A is annoying T and P is trying to steal E’s toys which means our house looks like world war 3 broke out. One of those days where I find myself wishing for bedtime to hurry up so I can pour myself a “It’s been a hard day” size glass of wine and the Hubby is hiding away some where trying to avoid the fall out of the bickering children.
These types of days you just have to breathe and accept the extra grey hairs the kids have called.
I find reminding myself it’s not long before they all grow up and leave home, so I should enjoy the noise while I can because I will miss it when it’s gone!
Big thank you to Nikki for such a great post with some awesome tips for others in a similar situation! Are you part of a blended family? What works for you?