Live, Love, Blend:
Pick A Side
“Who’s side are you on anyway?” This question is surely heard, or at least felt, by just about every blendie kid at one time or another. And if you’re anything like me the answer is, “it depends.”
One of the major challenges of life in a blended family is how parents present themselves to the children. You’ve surely heard the rule… you must be a UNITED FRONT. And this is true, but is it always going to happen? Not in my world. (and I’m guessing not in yours either)
Yes, for the most part my husband and I work together to enforce rules and boundaries in our home. But life gets busy, and it’s only natural for the biological bond between parent and child to come into play from time to time.
For example, my oldest “original” son is 15 and has been accepted to an intensive theatre camp in New York this summer. I am super excited about this because it’s not only a great opportunity for him, but will be a lifetime memory-making trip for me as well. I am guilty of making plans to finance this camp without running every detail by my husband. I’m not purposely working around him. Sometimes my son and I just get caught up in the moment. But what would happen if for some reason we can’t send him on this trip? He might feel betrayed by me, or blame my husband.
And in a reverse situation, my husband recently helped his 16 year old son buy a car. At first he and I talked it over and were working on a plan, and then – all of a sudden – this boy is driving the car and I have no idea what the final price was, how much of that is going to be his responsibility, or when the payments are due. And I oversee all our bills! Again, I know I wasn’t intentionally left out of the loop. It’s just that there was a stronger pull for my husband to help provide a vehicle for his son than the little voice in his head saying, “your wife may kill you.”
Do you catch yourself siding with your bio-kids more than your spouse? Give yourself a break. After all, you’ve known your kids all their lives. Building a marriage when there are already children in the home is extremely complicated. Watch for this tendency to take sides and adjust accordingly. Talk it over together and remember to do better next time. The question I ask myself when the task of blending becomes overwhelming is this, “What is the next right step you can take?” Then just take that one step.