In this day and age it’s not uncommon for people to get married after having kids. While that comes with it’s own struggles, what about the ones who bring a child into the new marriage? Those are the struggles no one likes to talk about and ones I want to talk about today.
Wow, dramatic much?
If you have been reading my blog then you already know that I have a son from a previous relationship. Even though my ex and I split when my son was three, he still remains involved. So yes, I was being a bit dramatic in a sense that I wasn’t parenting alone. However, if you have ever co-parented you can understand that while the other parent is involved, there’s still parts you are going at it alone. Case in point, daily routines.
I was figuring out what my new normal was and doing it without a partner’s help. To this day I am so thankful for my parents because they were definitely a huge help. Honestly they were the biggest help from the very beginning, but I’ll save that for another day. As the saying goes, it takes a village and they were definitely my village.
Starting A New Normal
My Husband and I didn’t live together before we got married. In fact we bought and moved into our house the week of our wedding. Honestly though I didn’t want to live with anyone unless I knew it was serious and it doesn’t get more serious than marriage. The big issue for me was how much I exposed my son to. My husband was the first and only guy to meet my son after his father and I split. I was very particular and didn’t want to bring guys in and out of his life. The split was already hard on him and I didn’t want to make it worse by introducing him to anyone that wouldn’t be sticking around.
We didn’t really get the honeymoon stage that everyone talks about. Obviously we were excited to be married and all, but we were instantly parents. As great as my husband is being a new dad to my son there still was an adjustment period. I had to learn to allow another person to help me and he had to find what he was comfortable doing. We had to figure out disciplining, scheduling, and basically learning how to navigate our marriage and being parents all at the same time.
During this time I was still trying to figure out my niche with this whole co-parenting deal and now I had to figure out how to let another person help me out at home. I wanted my husband to feel comfortable in his house and in his new role as husband and father. Also relinquishing control from myself was a huge deal. Think about it, you get complacent in your routine by yourself and now you have to figure out how to let another person come in and be a part of the decision making. It’s not just what your rules are, but instead our rules.
How do we want to raise our family? What goals do we have set for our children? My son was no longer just mine or my ex’s to raise, but my husband’s as well.
So How Did We Do It?
For starters it wasn’t easy. Honestly whether you are a blended family or not, marriage is tough. The main thing that has gotten us through not only the first year of marriage, but these last seven years is communication. I don’t care if it’s you telling your spouse you saw a really cool bird outside your window; talking about each and every little thing is important. Think about it, if you aren’t comfortable mentioning little insignificant things how will you be comfortable talking about the big things. Big things like disciplining and finances.
For disciplining we had to make sure we were on the same page. We had to back each other up when there was a decision made. I may have gone in a different direction than my husband on certain situations, but that conversation needed to be had when it was just the two of us. It was important that my son saw us as a unit. He needed to know that my husband wasn’t just some guy living in our house. My husband was his step dad which means he would discipline when he needed to, but he would also be there if my son needed someone to talk to. My husband has never tried to take the place of my son’s father. He just wants to add to the already growing corner of people who love and support my son.
As for finances, it can get a little scary when you go from supporting yourself to a whole family. It’s hard being able to have the freedom to spend your money how ever you feel, to now having to discuss budgets with another person. Especially when you are now supporting a child. This has taken some getting used to and at times we still struggle with it, but finances are always the hardest obstacle to really overcome. It’s doable as long as, like I keep saying, COMMUNICATE!!!!
There are more struggles that many couples face when merging families that I didn’t touch base on. To be honest though, my struggles may not be your struggles and vice versa. It just depends on your merging family. We have been at this for seven years now and we are still far from perfect. However, we are finding what works for us and our family. I have to say, it does get easier as the years go on. The first year is always the hardest, but as long as you focus on being a team you will come out of it just fine.