Just wanted to introduce myself. I'm Barbara. My ex-husband left me and our two boys back in 2008 so it was just the three of us for a while. He saw the boys every other weekend when he had nothing better to do, but it was mostly just us. Last year, I started dating a man who has three boys. Technically, he has 50/50 custody with his ex but the kids come to his house after school every day and he frequently takes them extra when she has other things to do. He does all the parenting, when the kids are with her, she basically feeds them and puts them to bed. We "fell in love" right from the start but neither of us had any desire to merge families. It just made more sense to keep our separate households. Then, in January, SURPRISE! I'm pregnant. Oops. After much soul-searching and many hours of discussing all the possibilities, we decided that it now made more sense to go ahead with the merger. So in April, we got married, in June, when school was out and my lease was up, my boys and I moved into his house with his boys and him, and in September, we welcomed our little girl to our crazy little family. Suddenly, instead of just the three of us, I'm a mother of SIX ranging in age from newborn to 12.
We knew that blending families wouldn't be easy. Some days we're surprised at how well it's going and some days, well, we have to remind ourselves that we knew it wouldn't be easy. My two boys (6 and 8) are having a much harder time adjusting than his three...probably because they left their home and friends and school and moved into his house where all the rules are different and everything is different. Also, my oldest is no longer the oldest, he's now smack in the middle. There's a lot of other stuff going on with both of our exes and that's weighing heavily on all the kids.
I wasn't great at being a single parent, but I feel like I kind of had things under control. Now, suddenly, I feel like I'm completely lost. I grew up in an "in-tact" family so the whole step-business is completely new to me. I have ideas about how it should be but apparently some of those ideas are not very realistic. My husband's parents were divorced and remarried (his dad several times) so the step/half thing is no big deal to him but he thinks some of my ideas about how things SHOULD be are pretty crazy.
We've all been living together for about 6 months now and now that school is well underway and the baby is finally here, things are sort of settling into the "new normal". We're both getting frustrated - some with each other, some with the kids, and some just with the situation as a whole - but we're communicating and working together to deal with all of it. Even when we argue or disagree about how to handle a situation with the kids, I find myself "falling" for him even more just because of how he deals with the disagreement between us and how hard he's trying to understand and respect my ways of thinking and responding.
As a single mom, I had a pretty strong network of other single parents and that really helped me keep my head on straight but now, I'm having a hard time finding someone to talk to that understands where we are and what we're going through. I hope this forum will be a place that I can ask for advice, and maybe vent sometimes, and mostly just know that I'm not alone and all these struggles really are normal. I look forward to getting to know all of you!