We Are a "Blended Family"

     I am going to break the silence on something that I usually don't discuss openly, my blended family. I am private and protective about such matters because of the precious people and shaky feelings involved. But I have been asked for advice on this topic numerous times because I am living it and so many are entering into this kind of situation. So, I am putting my heart on my sleeve because vulnerability is the only way I have found to share authentically. This is my part of our story. 

     My oldest daughter came with my husband when I married him. They were a package deal and I was in love with them both. 

     I am a stepmom with a stepdaughter. But I rarely if ever use the prefix "step" for either of us. Since my daughter does not choose to use it neither do I. Labels and names are a touchy business. At my daughter's request I became Mom to her. She has a mother already so I am not the mom just another mom.

     Even with terminology issues aside, life as a blended family has many facets. There is so much beauty in it. And there is extra heartache, extra struggle, extra anxiety, and extra frustration for everyone involved. Not everything always turns out rosy like it does for Julia Roberts in Stepmom. Sometimes your life looks and feels like any Disney story with a wicked stepmother and there is no happy ending for your character. 

     I have no wise words to make this easier. None. I make mistake after mistake so any advice from me on this topic is highly suspect. I have actually learned a lot about family. My family. And I am not the least bit stubborn (well maybe a little) so I only had to learn 99.9% of it the hard way. But my experiences are unique to my family. Your people and your experiences are different. So advice isn't what you need. You have the answers in you. And you'll find them. What I can offer is understanding and solidarity.

    The only thing I can say with a serious degree of certainty is it will be hard. It will be very hard. Your place is a tough one. You are not the parent but you will need to love like one and forgive like one. Things will be said. Things will be done. Everyone will have BIG feelings and BIG emotions. More things will be said. More things will be done. Things will feel like personal attacks, even when they really aren't, and that will magnify the tough stuff.  

     There will be unpleasentness, and hurt, and anger, and many other feelings in that spectrum. Accept that. Really, really, accept that. Realize that you are an imperfect human and that you are entering into a complex relationship with multiple other imperfect humans (even more if the other biological parent is involved because they come with all their people too). So there will be lots of people each with lots of feelings, and lots of emotions, and lots of opinions (few of which are the same). It will all overwhelm you at times and make you want to run for the hills. Feeling this way does not always mean your family is broken. It might simply be a symptom of having a family made up of real people who are still learning how to be real people together. 

     You're not the Brady Bunch and you can't expect to be. Keep showing up. Even when you don't want to. Keep loving. Let love be your only agenda and your first motivation. Because you are capable of withstanding more and giving more than you thought. And it is likely that so are the other imperfect humans you are trying to love. Maybe that's the point of it all. Being pushed beyond your known limits and finding more in yourself and more in others than you previously knew existed.

Love and hugs!


  1. i cry. keep showing up! i love your mantra lately!! xoxoxo

    1. Thank you! It is a mantra that is serving me well in all aspects of my life. Show up.


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