I hope you enjoyed the Co-Parenting Collaboration, Co-Parenting – Moms and Dads Sharing Their Struggles (Part 1) and Co-Parenting – Moms and Dads Sharing Their Struggles (Part 2). The varying situations of blended families are a different as they can be. Even though they have struggles you can sense how important making their blended family work is to them
Co-Parenting – Moms and Dads Sharing Their Struggles (Part 1) shared insights from Jennifer from Glossy Babe, Betsy from Betsy_Blues, Donna From Bobsy’s Mum and AnnMarie from 15acrehomestead and a Blogging Friend. Each of these Moms is facing a different situation. They’ve either lived it as a child, or lived through it as a child and now are doing it again, are raising children alone, have His, Mine and Ours, or are working with a co-parent who just doesn’t try.
Co-Parenting – Moms and Dads Sharing Their Struggles (Part 2) shared insights from Daniel from Diabolical Rantings of a Single Dad, Kate from Homebound but Hopeful, Shannon from This Mom Shit is Hard, Kelly who is a new blogger and Jessi from The Coffee Mom. We got a different perspective from a Dad who is trying his best but facing roadblocks, we had a Mom who felt like she was being outdone by the Dad, a Mother whose biggest struggle is discipline, a Mom who finds the parenting styles in her own home to be opposite each other and a Mother who has lived through a child’s side of divorce and is still dealing with it as an adult.
A Struggle for My Family
I find one of our biggest struggles isn't that we have created a blended family but that we are part of a bigger blended family and our family has multiple blended families within it . My husband’s family is a blended family and my daughter’s daughter (my granddaughter) is part of a blended family and my son-in-law’s family is blended. It makes for tricky scheduling for any big get together. Matching up schedules of who is and who isn’t available can be a nightmare. We have learned now to celebrate a lot of the holidays on different days just to be able to get everyone together. It's not about the date we celebrate, it's the fact that we celebrate together.
Here is the last group of parent’s insights:
A Mom Struggling on her own
Ramona from Not Your Ordinary Girl by Mhow
One of the struggles that I'm facing right now is raising a child all by myself. I was only 19 when I got pregnant with the man I dated for 4 years. We lived together for almost a year and he promised me that we would raise our child; he'd provide for us and be a good father. I was very sure back then that he'd fulfill his duties and responsibilities for my child because I had high hopes for him but I was wrong. I was the one working for us. I paid for my own hospital bills and even taking care of him as soon as I gave birth. By the way, none of our parents knew that we were pregnant.
Until my son was already 10 months, I was living in my parent's house because my ex's parents didn’t like me plus they didn’t provide a good place for us to stay they gave us a place to sleep with an aircon and all but the roofs were leaking. I remember one time when we slept in a damp bed because the floor was wet as well.
This February of 2017, he ended our relationship and I told his parents everything (from the time that we lived in together down to the time he was abusing me verbally and physically) now, he's denying that he was the father of my child and made stories that I had sex with another man. I was really devastated and really sad at that time. I wanted to end everything and I want to kill myself but then with God's grace, I saw my child sleeping and I cried so hard, I've never cried so hard in my life.
Right now, there were no traces of the father of my child, they kept on telling my parents that they don't have any money but I heard that they just opened a vape shop in their house. All that I wanted right now is genuine happiness and a stable job of course, how can I raise my son when I have no money, to begin with, right? I pray to God for all mothers out there. We are all strong and we are all beautiful.
A family from different cultures learns to incorporate traditions into their home
Chantel from Healthy Happy Mom of Many
Our family size grew from 3 to 7 within one year. That’s right. Within One Year I was a single mom to my 15-month-old when I met my husband. We got married almost three years later, and it was just the three of us for a little over seven years. All that changed on 2/27/14 when I had a singleton, followed by the arrival of my bonus child who came to live with us from Jamaica (hubby is Jamaican). Topping it all off I had my twins on 2/28/15.
When we combined different backgrounds, families, and even culture, we found it very difficult to find a sense of balance within our own home. There were so many wanted and unwanted outside interferences that got in the way of our house flow. (What kind of clothes should they wear? Do we NEED to buy an 11-year-old a cell phone? What kind of discipline/consequences should we have? We only drew from the influential things that could benefit our family, such as incorporating holiday traditions from our childhoods into our home, and then we started from scratch with everything else. We had to learn to build a solid foundation, to build a house made with love, understanding, discipline, mutual respect, and, most importantly, God. To say our life is perfect and great all the time would be a lie. However, our “blendedness” is a "perfect" fit for my family.
Drawing a line between stepmom and friend
Ashley from Ash Harvey
Four year ago, a golden wavy haired sweet girl came into my life. Klo’s doe eyes forever changed my heart and her joyful personality has enriched my life. In January 2015 she was born to me as daughter. Praise God, my first baby!
As excited as I am to become and be a stepmom, there are some real struggles. We have grown in our roles and relationship together. It has taken work on both sides. One great thing about becoming a stepparent is that it truly reveals your heart and what you need to work on.
The greatest co-parenting struggle for me has been the battle between being another parent figure for Klo and being the “best friend.” I want her to be able to talk with me about anything and everything. I want her to know how much I care. I let this go even at the cost of respect. I have failed several times in setting the boundaries. For example, I have allowed her to talk to me like one of her friends therefore the respect of parent has been hard to attain.
As a people pleaser at heart I desire very much to be liked and loved. Especially by people I adore. So the last thing I wanted to do was correct my stepdaughter.
It’s taken me awhile to learn what the best approach is. I believe the foundation of any relationship must be respect and then love. Every time we are together I see how much she is growing up and how our relationship is evolving with grace.
Teaching your child it’s not their fault
Jayme from Teacher Turned Mom
I've been divorced for over 10 years and happily remarried for 5. I have 3 amazing and beautiful girls. My oldest daughter is from my previous marriage and I share 50/50 custody of her with my ex. If you were to ask me my biggest struggle with co-parenting a few years ago, I would have said dealing with my crazy ex. I'm guessing that's probably a common response but as my daughter gets older my biggest struggle has changed. My biggest struggle with co-parenting is helping my daughter deal with coming from a divorced family and helping her understand that whatever happens during co-parenting decisions are not her fault. It breaks my heart when she says things like "I wish I didn't come from a divorced family or I wish I didn't have to go back and forth". Just writing this is causing me to tear up. She wants so badly to be in an extracurricular activity at school but she never joins anything because she says it's too much trouble to coordinate things between both parents or she doesn't want any drama. I have two other small children and when my oldest is with her Dad she feels left out. So, to tell you the truth I could care less about having to deal with my ex, I just want my daughter to be happy and not have to worry about these things. I think co-parenting actually affects her more than us. I guess I didn't expect that. All I can do is love her, try to help her understand it's not her fault, and try to co-parent as best I can. We can't change the past but we CAN change the future!
Stuggling to be Switzerland
April from Runny Mascara
Being a parent is hard. Being a parent with someone who hasn't been there since day one is harder. Being a parent with someone who now has their own biological children with you added to the ones that are NOT biologically theirs is hardest.
My preteen and my husband are at war with each other. AT WAR. And I'm supposed to be on one of their sides… when I'm trying so hard to just be Switzerland. But I can't be. I don't even know when/how/why it all started, but I am more of a referee than a mother and wife now. It is just exhausting.
So there I am. Stuck in the middle. I just want peace! I want conflicts to be resolved lovingly! I want to not have to choose between my husband and my daughter.
All that being said, our biggest struggle is CLEARLY communication. So many things misunderstood, misinterpreted, misread, misheard. I feel like that is a common problem amongst people in general, but when it's in a household that is already tense- get ready for war.
The second biggest struggle we have (that also fuels the first) is favoritism.
All four of the kids we have were had by me. It's just the two youngest that are my husband's biological children. There have been subtle things that have happened that I've spoken to him privately about, and there have been in-your-face-favoritism moments that have been addressed right then and there.
So the bitterness is there… growing…. and my heart is just breaking.
We conclude our group with Ramona from Not Your Ordinary Girl by Mhow who is parenting on her own, Chantel from Healthy Happy Mom of Many who is blending a family from different cultures and working in their traditions, Ashley from Ash Harvey is finding where to draw the line between Stepmom and friend, Jayne from Teacher Turned Mom wants to make sure her children understand it’s not their fault and April from Runny Mascara is struggling to be Switzerland. Again, so many different situations that play out in so many different ways.
There Will Always Be Struggles
No matter how hard you try there is likely to be something that will drive you nuts about co-parenting. It doesn’t have to be a bad thing the other parent is doing, it could be a simple as “I don’t’ see my child enough”. It can also be a difficult as hostile situations with the other parent, constant issues between your new spouse and your children, or between you and your spouse’s children, issues between step, half or adoptive siblings whatever you face only you will be able to change or work with. We can always try to be the “bigger person”, set the best examples, compromise the most, but sometimes you just want the other parent to be accountable. You may be lucky and have a fairly good situation that you can live with, or you may be pulling your hair out. The bottom line is there is a reason you and the other parent are no longer together and it’s definitely not that you thought co-parenting would be fun. Getting past your differences won’t happen for everyone. The important fact is you love your children and that’s what you stay focused on. I am fortunate that my family’s struggles are very minimal compared to others, they come from outside our home and not from within and for that we are blessed. I have found a wonderful community of all types of Blended Families through blogging and I hope to provide more information and support through my blog Blended Life Happy Wife. I hope you will continue to join me there. I thank each and every one of my guests who collaborated with me and shared a piece of their life and family with me to share with you. as part of my post Co-Parenting – Moms and Dads Sharing Their Strugges. I encourage you to check out their blogs and show them some love. They are all fantastic bloggers with wonderful and unique insights.
I hope you will take away some understanding of the difficulties facing Blended Families. Knowing what they face may help you understand when you see a Mom pulling out her hair because her stepchild just told her “you’re not the boss of me” or understand the Father who is doing everything he can to spend time with his children but is getting blocked at every step. The point is Moms and Dads want what’s best for their children and when we only have them part time it is a struggle that tears at us every minute of every day. There are also many pluses of being a blended family, the biggest being a bigger family to love you. I never expected to be a stepmom/bonus mom or have a blended family, but I thank God for them, they have made me a happier woman for sure. Whatever struggles we face, we will come out stronger on the other side. My Blended Life Makes Me a Very Happy Wife.
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