Blending Families

This week, after spending the weekend with me and my girls, CBG and I had a long conversation about the whole blending families/co-parenting thing.

The conversation ended in an argument. Actually, two arguments if I’m correct. Or maybe it was one long argument with a small cease-fire in the middle. I’m not even sure anymore.

In any case, things didn’t go well this week. We each got defensive about what the other person was saying. Parenting is a sensitive spot for both of us. And as I wrote about earlier this week, I am more than a little bit judgmental when it comes to other people’s parenting styles. And you know, of course I apply that judgment to CBG, too. I mean, if I do it to myself, why wouldn’t he be a target as well?

He and I have very different parenting styles. I feel his judgment, too. I can feel it emanating from him when I’m in a stressful situation with one of my girls. I do my best to remain patient, loving and understanding…and I can tell that he’s sitting there thinking that I’m being too soft with them. It’s difficult sometimes for him to give me sympathy when I’m exhausted at the end of the day when he thinks that I should have “brought the hammer down” to reign in their behaviour. But I’m just not that kind of mom.

And on top of that? I resent any sort of implication that I might not be “doing it right”. I KNOW that I’m a good mom. I KNOW that, for the most part, I am parenting my girls both well, and the way that I want to parent them. The last thing I need right now is to have someone inserting even the tiniest doubts in there.

Last weekend when we were with my girls, little things happened that irritated me. CBG handled a couple of situations differently than I wanted them to be handled. They weren’t even huge deals, and I allowed them to bother me more than they should have. He chose to apply HIS style of parenting a little more than MY style of parenting, and guess what? I judged him poorly for it. I’m sensitive when it comes to my girls, particularly because they have a very involved Dad and CBG and I will never really be in a situation where he will be a huge influence in their lives.

Our conversations this week (after we were able to move past hurt feelings and defensiveness) ended with the decision that we each need to work to respect and honour the other’s choices when it comes to parenting. I laid out some requests for CBG in terms of my girls, and he promised to work on them. I made a vow to myself to go easier on him when he makes parenting choices that I don’t always agree with, particularly when it comes to his own kids. It’s not my job to judge, it’s my job to support.

I’ll be honest and admit that I am nervous, going forward, about our ability to put our differences aside and parent effectively together. I comfort myself with the stories I’ve heard this week from others who have told me of their own relationship differences and how they’ve found ways to make things work for them. Will CBG and I be as successful in that regard? I guess only time will tell us for sure.

7 Responses

  1. Good luck. Interesting post!

  2. I want to ask if you eventually plan on living together, why won’t he be a big part of their lives? That is unfair to him, I love my step mom now as much as I love my own mom. When I was younger at my Dad and Step Mom’s if my Dad wasn’t home she had to handle it her way. You need to realize that each person parents different and that each one will bring something to your girls, some good and some bad.

    • We do plan on living together, but at this point, it’s not going to be for some time down the road. I am willing to accept that there are going to be some things that CBG does differently than I do, but I feel that because they are my girls, that he needs to be the one to bend more to how I want to see them raised.

      I’m not trying to be unreasonable, I’m just trying to put my girls first. 🙂

  3. I think at the heart of it – you both are fiercely protective of your children and I applaud that and respect that completely, and if there is one thing worth fighting about or for…it’s your children. This is why I have faith that you’ll work through this. You are both wise in how you are approaching it – talking through it all and determining how you’ll co-parent BEFORE you actually live together. I think you’re both doing great, whether you think so or not. My outside in perspective…have a great weekend!

  4. BLT and I have had some long talks and we decided right away that I’m the lead parent in regards to dealing with my girls.

    He’ll support me in my decisions regarding how I interact / discipline etc, and I’ll let him know if I want him to be involved.

    This is working really well for us. For day to day stuff he’s comfortable saying, “Sam, can you get your laptop off the kitchen table please” or “Eliza, it’s not okay to talk to your sister that way, please appologize” But he leaves any serious stuff to me.

    I have faith that you two can work this out. It’s hard, but so worth it!

  5. Great post. Thank you for sharing.

  6. […] As soon as our engagement became official and our wedding conversations were based in reality rather than fanciful dreams, I realized that while it would be fun to run off and make it all about us, there was no way that we could really do that. We’re not a young couple in love without responsibility anymore. We have four kids, and those kids are a huge part of our lives, and future going forward. CBG and I getting married is more than two people joining their lives, it is about two families blending together. […]

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