A recent conversation brought this to mind…
BEFORE you get into a relationship where step kids are involved, make sure you are willing to work through the issues that are going to arise. If you are quick to walk away or throw your hands up out of frustration, being involved in a “blended family” is something you may want to reconsider. You and your partner have to agree you are in a relationship and that means separating because of “blended family” struggles is not an option. Together we hope to learn from personal experience and the experiences of others on this site to brighten our journey and yours.
In the beginning… Yes, the kids are cute, yes they are fun and it’s heart warming how they react to your being in a relationship with their parent. But, do not forget, lurking in the shadows – insert creepy music – is their Biological Mother (BM). In some rare cases, the BM is not lurking and is actually easy to get along. Those cases are like winning the lottery, so be grateful you are one in 1,783,984,602! For those of us that have, let’s just say, “some issues” with the BM, here are a few tips I learned and hope will help you on your journey.
The “other parent” is usually the other parent for a good reason. Anyway, for whatever reason, the parents of Nacho Kids split, thus allowing them to become Nacho Kids. Here you come along to fill the slot of the BM that is no longer there. Not replace them, but fill the spot they once held in the house. However, the BM did not leave, they are still there, right there in front of you… see them… ah, now you do… Their eyes and ears are very present… They are just miniature versions of them, maybe not in looks but their DNA is standing right there looking at you. The BM is going to be concerned as to what is going on around their children with the “Nacho Parent”. For a parent to want to know the environment their child is in is good parenting; however, for the BM to tell the child to inform the “Nacho Parent” something in your new home was/is theirs and not to use it, that is a warning sign that should not be ignored. The BM should not relay messages to you through the Nacho Kids.. and vice versa. You can’t stop them, but you can inform the BM you find it inappropriate and it causes unnecessary stress on the kids (…In a very nice way, of course… or better yet, have your partner remind them… keeps you out of the middle a little). The BM has all rights to raise their child/children as they see fit, but they have no right to convey crazy messages through the kids. Just as, here you go, the part you are going to argue… just as you DO NOT have the right to try to raise Nacho Kids to your standard, determine how much the BM is involved in their kids lives or improve the BM’s quality of parenting.
When a family “blends”, everyone has changes to adjust to and things to work through, including the BM. I personally suggest all boundaries be covered and understood prior to cohabitation. This should include, but not be limited to, what each person expects out of the “new family”, what role the BM will or will not play in your home, what relationship do you hope to have with the BM, what is the realistic relationship you will have with the BM, etc.? Of course these expectations will change over time but you have to at least inform the others what you feel their expectations are as well. Everyone’s boundaries should be adhered to and respected by others.
Remember, it’s about teaching our kids and Nacho Kids how to work on a relationship, how to learn to adjust to changes and most of all teach them Step-parents are just extra people to love them.
– Written by Nacho Mom