You’re a parent, step-parent, co-parent and partner who wants to be the best at all of them.
You aren’t alone on this difficult journey, there are a huge number of Blended/Step Families out there.
A Blended Family has a unique set of challenges and questions that aren’t easy to answer:
- How do you make things equal and fair when the amount of time the children spend with you is different?
- How do you maintain the relationship with your biological children and build one with your step-children?
- How do you encourage the feeling of being in a family unit to build step/half-sibling relationships without forcing it?
Above all how do you live and build a happy and healthy life together? A life where everyone feels really heard, loved, safe and secure?
If you ask yourself these questions then you are in the right place!
I share posts about the nuances of parenting in a Blended Family and how you can embark on a journey of growth. Healthy habits for the body and mind, timesaving hacks, money and budgeting and anything else that deals with parenting and Blended Families.
Why am I doing this?
You see I’m here with you in the trenches, living a blended life, pulling myself up by the bootstraps every day.
My journey started about 5 years ago.
My marriage was failing. I had a son from a previous relationship and another from my marriage. The thought of not seeing another one of my children every day was destroying me.
I was suicidal.
I don’t mean suicidal like I was unhappy or suicidal because it gives impact when I write it in this blog. I mean the thought of ending it all enabled me to sleep.
Sleeping on a mattress on the floor of my eldest sons room when he wasn’t there and on the sofa when he was. It was the lowest point in my life.
My two sons were the reason that I didn’t go any further.
Once I got out of that house and into my own space things changed for me. I promised myself that I would be the best that I could be – to myself and to my sons.
I wanted to rid myself of my anxiety, I wanted to grow.
So I started reading all I could. I learned about Stoicism (and became a massive fan) as a way to manage my emotions and thoughts and to give me a toolkit for keeping things in check. I read parenting blogs on how to be the best single father I could be. Meditation became a daily part of my life and I started to eat better (I haven’t yet managed to successfully add exercise to my daily routine but maybe this year!)
Self-reflection became an important part of my life.
It took time but I started to see a light at the end of the tunnel. The culmination of lots of little changes started to add up. I started to feel better and I felt better equipped to take what life was throwing at me (as it throws stuff at us all!).
My divorce was not pretty. Almost 5 years on it still isn’t. I have been to the family court three times.
Once after my ex-wife refused all access to my son. I needed a Solicitor and a Barrister.
The second time was for my divorce (yipee!! 😀 ). I dealt with the admin of the court myself but wanted representation by a Barrister on the day.
The final time was to ensure I had access to my son’s passport as my now ex-wife was being difficult. This time I did it all myself.
I got the access to my Son I wanted and the divorce settlement was my divorce went through in the first hearing.
I got access to my son that I wanted and the divorce was fair (almost!).
I went from not saying a word in the family court other than to confirm my name to doing it all myself. It took two years.
When I moved into my own space I decided that I would stay single for a long time. I was sick of relationships and I was enjoying being on my own.
I knew I had a long way to go and didn’t feel I was ready to be with someone new yet. Or maybe even ever.
I was going to counselling to work through things leftover from the separation but I knew I would get better and be better.
That’s when I met Nicky. As soon as I saw her I needed to know everything about her. It’s cliched but it was love at first sight. This was a month after I separated.
4 years ago we moved in together and last year we bought our first house together with our 4 children. My two boys and Nicky’s two girls.
Between them our children have:
- 5 parents (including us)
- 1 Step-parent (not including us)
- 3 Half siblings
- 5 sets of biological grandparents
On top of this, they all spend different amount of times in our house.
It’s complicated, exhausting and frustrating. It has also made me a much better person, father and partner.
I’m the happiest and most content I have ever been.
No really, why am I doing this?
To share. to talk and to listen. I have consumed so much information in the past 5 years that I know would be useful to others. What really worked and more importantly what really didn’t! I want to connect with others in my situation, what are their stories, what works and what doesn’t for them? Despite the increasing number of Blended Families, it can sometimes be quite lonely – like no-one else quite gets the extra layers of complexity.
I am still on a journey. I’m still learning and growing and so is my Blended Family. This journey has no end. If we want to live healthy, happy, safe, secure, rich, fulfilled and (insert your own positive family goal here) lives then it takes work. More second marriages end in divorce than first marriages especially when step-children and blended families are involved. By more I mean double. Yes, double. Roughly 30% of first marriages fail, 60% of second marriages fail and 70% of second marriages fail when children are involved.
I want to buck that trend and I want to help others do it too. This blog is a way of holding me to account for my actions. It (and you) are my accountability buddy.
I have spent the last 3 years saying I should push myself to do this alongside my day job and family commitments.
2020 is when I actually do it.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I really appreciate it.
If you want to get in touch please do so by using the contact page.