Sometimes life throws you a curve ball and things don’t end up as you think they will. However, blended families can also be great. Here’s a bit about Tracey and her great kiwi family.
Let’s start with telling us a bit about you – what do you do and what are your interests?
I am a full time Mum. In a previous life (prior to children) I worked in Administration. I have 2 children, 6yrs and 9yrs. My 9yr old has special needs and I don’t work outside the home so I am available to support him with therapies, doctors, school etc. We also now have shared care of my husband’s children, 9yr & 7yrs and 3yrs, so being a full time Mum allows me to be available to care for my husband’s children when they are not in school. I have 3 school drop offs/pick ups and 1 preschool so my day can be very busy!
My interests are children. I love being a mum and step-Mum. I enjoy reading and writing, I have read numerous books on special needs, parenting and blended families… I love learning. I am also a secret writer and have hopes that one day my writing will turn into a book!
Tell us a bit about what makes your family great.
Our family is more than great, it’s awesome. It’s chaotic, loud and fun everyday. We all enjoy spending time together, our children are best friends and we just work together so well. We work as a “team” and encourage everyone to have a voice, we are all equal and must always respect each other as we are all important.
What your family’s favourite things to do?
We have numerous family rituals but our favourite would be family movie night. We are all together every 2nd Friday night and that is our movie night with Fish n Chips for dinner. We are very musical, so it is not unusual to find us with the music up dancing and singing around the lounge together! We also love biking, visiting the local park and going to the local pool.
Can you tell us a bit about your experiences with having a blended family?
Having a blended family is incredibly hard. There is very little support and information readily available. You have to seek it out and then work out how to make it fit into your family. Unfortunately my experience has been difficult because we have had barriers that have prevented us from just getting on with family life. When you include family court battles, life can be very stressful. It has been a long time coming but we are finally seeing some clear space for just living.
How does having a blended family affect how you live your life?
Having a blended family makes me work even harder to get it right. My marriage is number one, our relationship is vital because we have to be on the same page. We get a second chance to show all our children what a healthy loving relationship is. I also feel more judged as a parent so work harder to get it right. I challenge myself and self evaluate more than ever before. You feel watched as a step parent as there is the social stigma that step parents are wicked or evil. We also have to work harder to make sure the relationship with our own children is strong because they now have to share us.
What advice would you give other families about having a blended family?
Scheduling is the key to success. We have managed to schedule our time so we have time with just my children, time with just my step children, time with all of us together and time with just my husband and I. Our children need their bio-parents time so when it is just mine or just his, the step parent needs to step back and allow the bio-parent to be a parent. Work as a team when you are all together but the job of a step parent is to support the bio-parents relationship with their children. All the advice I have read agrees the step parent should avoid disciplining their step children and work hard to just have a “friend” relationship with them.
Anything else you want to tell us?
Starting off in a blended family is hard but once you have the right advice and scheduling, it is totally worth it.