Sunday, July 13, 2014

Not exactly, is exactly what we need.

I decided to create this blog about a year ago to connect with other blended families.  I thought my story could be a resource to others in a similar situation.  I began searching for blogs like mine, but was unable to find what I was looking for. Without realizing it, I had been looking for the impossible.  I wanted to find someone in my EXACT situation.  At first I was looking for a blended family with only 2 active parents, no shared custody or summer visits with a 3rd parent.  Then I wanted to find a blended family with multiple children, each from both partners previous relationships as well as children which they conceived together.  Next I was looking for a blended family with children affected by the death of a mother, and an estranged father.  I was looking for someone in my shoes, with the same amount of wear and tear, same paths walked, same puddles splashed in, rocks tripped over and stairs climbed.  When I look back I can see that I was being irrational, yet I had this need to find it.  I wanted desperately to connect with another mom who could understand my life completely, give me advice and share stories about what the future holds. 

I have actually met several parents with 4 to 5 children, I once even had  a neighbor who had outdone me - she had 6 children.  When I meet another mother with a boatload of children, there is an instant understanding, for that moment we "click".  Like anything though, the initial spark dies out, because we realize how different we are.  She gave birth to those babies, all of them so I must not have the same bond with my children as she does or she has all boys and could not possibly imagine how difficult my 4 girls are.  These words are of course only thoughts, mostly in my own head but I would be na├»ve in thinking that those thoughts didn't cross her mind as well.   So what could of ended in friendship, turns out to be an a quittance.  We smile when we see each other at swim lessons, chat about how "busy" we are during school events and wave as we drive by one another in the neighborhood.

Another missed opportunity.  Instead of finding all the things we could have connected about, we allow the things that make us "different" from one another to wedge us apart.  Even though we both have children the same age, we both feel overwhelmed in a way that only a mother of many children would understand, we both lose our patience and feel like there is never enough time because someone always needs us, we both feel tremendous guilt that our children don't get the one on one attention that we want to give them, and we both understand the amazing joy that having a large family brings.  Maybe we cant give each other advice on some aspects of our lives.  She may not be able to tell me what to do when my daughter is crying about her mother who died, and I won't be able relate to what it will be like for her when one of her children wants to go live with their dad across the country. We can though offer advice on the things we do know, not judge one another for being different but offer up our imperfections as a way to say "we all fall down but everything will be OK".

Our lives will never be identical to anyone else's, each of our stories are uniquely ours, but many of us share similar struggles, joys, battles and victories.   As parents, we must support each other, and not assume that we can't relate or understand each other just because our lives aren't mirrored.

I haven't developed this blog into what I know it could and should be because I doubted it's purpose.  I thought step parents wouldn't feel connected to it because I use the word blended, and parents who only have biological children would see it as a closed door that they would have no interest in opening.  This blog was intended for blended families, and still is but its also for every family.  My posts will be real, about real things that blended families deal with, issues that everyone deals with.   I hope to make a connection with people, I hope that stories develop within this blog and we can create a community of similarities.   We are all parents, no matter how different our lives are, and that is enough in common for me.

Be sure to check out my question of the week and leave a comment about how it relates to your family!