Monday, December 28, 2015

Visitation Detox

As I write this, I am laying here in my bed alone watching my favorite show, eating bon bons and am enjoying my alone time....

I'm missing my babies! 

The holidays are hard on me! When my kids go visit their dad, I'm a wreck. It's no secret that I  may suffer from a little thing called separation anxiety. Am I alone in this? Are you the type that cheers after the door shuts and the kids are on their way, or do you stress out like me?

For the first several years after my divorce, sharing custody was the bane of my existence. It stressed me out more

Monday, December 21, 2015

No Such Thing as Perfect

I ran into an old friend the other day who recently joined the ranks of The Blended Family and while standing there, with my step daughter at my side, I asked him, "so how is it for you? Being in a blended family and all..."

He said it was great and went on to explain how great it all was...

In my jaded mind, my thought was, 'yeah, just wait'.

Is that so awful of me?! If there is ANYone who can make a success of blending families, this man can. I applaud him for taking such good care of his own children and for going through all that he has and coming out the other end better for it.

After thinking about this friends experience, I began thinking about the last line of our first blog post that Deliah quoted. Even Jesus Christ had a step father. This is something that hit me as I sat in a Sunday School class with my new husband of one year (years ago) as we listened to our teacher, a lay member of the congregation, drone on about how lucky/blessed he was that he belonged to the elite club of "Traditional Mormon Unbroken Perfect Families". Okay, he didn't actually use those exact words, but he may as well have.

The more I sat and listened to him, the more I realized that I had been ever deceived growing up idealizing the "perfect family" and came to that realization more and more with every word out of that man's mouth.

There's no

Friday, December 18, 2015

Using the Holidays to Create Unity

I often struggle with the Pinocchio Complex: the perpetual need for validation that we too are a real family, traditional or not. 

There are a handful of things that trigger this somewhat neurotic response. A couple years ago my husband’s 16-year old echoed a nasty refrain—he was the oldest of four kids, not seven. Every now and then our children get swept up in reminiscing about the way things were before my husband and I married. And there are always those who question how a solid family relationship can be established when we only see each other every weekend and not every day.

Like a lot of things, my anxiety

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A different point of view....

When I met my husband to be, my son Mack was four years old, and my daughter Rory was two.  My ex husband had left us flat a year before, so neither really had any man in their life.   A few months after we had started dating, one evening it was time to settle the kids down for the night.  My little boy shouted, "I don't want YOU to tuck me in tonight mommy, I want HIM to tuck me in!" He pointed to my boyfriend, who scooped him up in his arms and took him to his bedroom.  I peeked in a few minutes later, and witnessed my son falling asleep, and the man I was falling in love with stroking his hair and reading him a story.  You would think that this sight would make me leap with joy, and pride, and I would be filled with all kinds of warm fuzzy joy, but this was NOT the case.  I began to pace the floor, with my fists clenched.  I was filled with a violent rage that I had never known before, nor could understand.  But I was feeling something, and it wasn't passion.  A few minutes passed, and my boyfriend closed the bedroom door, his feathers all fluffed, and him looking pretty proud of himself, he received a reaction that I highly doubt he was expecting.  With a steaming glare in my eyes, I pointed my angry finger in his face and said, "Look!  If you don't see a future with us, then you need to go out that door, and never come back!  I can handle my broken heart, but I cannot handle his! Do YOU understand me?"  He placed his hands on my shoulders, and as I retracted my finger he said, "Well, what I was about to say is, I hope you're planning on keeping me around, because I'm falling for them, as hard as I'm falling for you."  

And with that, I was sold.  That was that.  My children had the father I had dreamed for them to have.  And our blended family had begun, and it would be a dream come true.....


Monday, December 14, 2015

Unconditional Love

It might shock you, as it did me, to learn that nowhere in the scriptures--the holy writ--does it ever mention the phrase, "unconditional love".

That's right. Nowhere.

Nada. Zip. Zilch.

We as followers of Christ around the world sometimes use the term, unconditional love, to describe Heavenly Father's Love for all His children and therefore the same kind of love we (should) show those around us, buuuuuut, that term is just not scriptural.

I don't know who exactly coined the phrase "unconditional love". Some say it was Shakespeare, some say it was an early pioneering psychologist, some say it was the devil himself.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Christmas with My Mother-in-Law [long post alert]

I’ve done the searches, read the articles and engaged in the therapy sessions that have explained how becoming a step-grandparent isn’t easy. That just because their child has remarried doesn’t mean they’ll spontaneously love the new spouse’s children.  And I get it, because, well, the same thing applies to step-parenthood.

Not to mention all the factors that can complicate the equation. My husband’s mother was blindsided by his divorce and couldn’t wrap her head around how quickly things changed (and it wasn’t her fault that they had successfully faked a happy marriage for quite a few years). The ex moved down the block to set up house with her new husband, and I moved from out of town to test-drive our relationship locally. Within six months of coming to town, I had married her son and brought three new kids into the family.

That was a lot of change to process in not a lot of time. And like I said, while my head understood that she was experiencing understandable difficulty, my heart still

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Mars and Venus....

     I know you've heard that men are from Mars, and women are from Venus, and I don't know about you, but in my house, Mars and Venus have way to much in common to even be able to make a comparison between my husband and I.   I mean, we love one another, and I know that we have similar plans for our future, but that is about where it ends.  How we plan our budget, and spend our finances, raise our children, our food preferences, make and prepare our food, clean and maintain our home, drive, entertain ourselves, OH so many other things, we tend to be on different playing fields, or unlike Mars and Venus, Even in separate solar systems!!!

 Despite all these differences, though, one thing we can agree on, is

Monday, December 7, 2015

Got the T-Shirt

Blending a family is hard work. Who's with me?

It's kind of like running a marathon or climbing a mountain when you only took leisurely walks in the park beforehand. It's sweaty, exhausting work that you didn't expect to be so difficult.  

How can you possibly train for a mountain climbing expedition if you don't know what you're up against?

After polling many friends over the years, the general consensus is

Friday, December 4, 2015

You’re Not Alone

I don’t know if the whole blended family thing blindsided me, or if gushy love elbowed rational thought from my brain before I got hitched. It took about six months for reality to set in after the wedding, and that’s about when I realized being in a blended family is much trickier than I could have ever expected.

It was about that same time that others began to share their horror stories with us. A missionary eating dinner at our house said that he was in a blended family with slew of stepsiblings, until their fighting got so bad that the parents divorced—not the parents’ fighting, but the kids’! A sister I visit taught delayed her third marriage until her youngest had graduated from high school, just because she wanted that relationship to have a better shot than her second marriage, because of all the stepkid problems. And I could go on and on.

When my husband and I went to our first therapist for help

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Beginning!

Many years ago, I was a member of local church branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and met two wonderful women.  We became good friends, and always stayed in touch despite the fact that we all moved away from the ward.  Both ladies were married, but over the years divorced, and remarried other men, and blended their families.  I’m married to a man who had three children from a previous marriage, I had two, and together we had one child, and had suffered silently most of the time with our “His mine and ours” situation.

  I couldn’t remember when or how we reached out to each other but