Making Room for Rugrat

As CBG has already written about, his daughter, Rugrat, arrives on Sunday for the start of our family vacation together. We haven’t seen her in a year or so now, and I have to admit, that I’m nervous about the experience all over again.

It may be her age, or her personality or her upbringing (likely a combination), but last summer she was a bit of a challenge. I’m not sure that CBG and I did the best job that we could with parenting her while we were together. Though we did have some fun times together, there were also times when we were stressed, irritated, and just plain didn’t all get along.

I’m determined this year is going to be better.

I think that part of the problem with last year is that we automatically expected her to just fit right in with the rest of the kids into our “happy little family”. We didn’t take her feelings into consideration and think about how it’s gotta be awkward for her — being the “odd one out”, since she sees the rest of us infrequently. It’s gotta be tough for her to realize (if she does) that my girls see her dad more in the run of a year than she does.

There’s also the age factor. Ankle Biter is almost 5, my girls are 6 and 8. Then there’s Rugrat, 12, wanting very much to be treated like she’s a whole lot older than that. It’s gotta be a bit of a drag for her to hang out with these younger kids that, really, she doensn’t really know all that well.

As well, CBG and I just don’t parent the same way that she gets parented at home. No judgment there – it’s just different. Particularly when we’re in “vacation mode”, and we want to spend as much time together as we possibly can. When you’re 12 going on 21, hanging with the family just isn’t necessarily all that “cool”.

Add to this the fact that she’s away from home – her friends, her stuff, her natural element, and well, it’s gotta be tough. I think last year CBG and I spent too much time expecting her to accommodate us when we weren’t always willing to accommodate her.

As CBG mentioned, we’re going into vacation time this year with a bit of a plan. Part of that plan is going to be to give her some space to just do her own thing sometimes. Sure, we want to cram as much family time and togetherness in as much as possible, but we need to be respectful of the fact that she’s not always going to want to hang out with her dad, his girlfriend, and a bunch of little kids. And you know what? We’re going to be okay with that. After all, it’s her vacation too, right?

One of the things I’m learning about this blended family co-parenting thing is that a lot of compromise and understanding is required. It’s not just about what I want, how I want to do things without considering anyone else. We’re bringing six people together for a week – six people all with their own wants, needs and expectations. It’s important to be mindful and respectful of that.

I’m sure that during the week we’ll encounter plenty of bumps along the way. I don’t expect perfection here, people. My hope is just that we were able to take some valuable nuggets away from last vacation that will help make this one even better.

5 Responses

  1. I think you are going into this with a great mindset. you both are. I like the scheduled and unscheduled time together and it will be glorious for you to spend a week together as a family, with bumps of course, but still lovely to be together. Have a blast!!!

  2. Good luck and hope you all have a great time together, this year.

  3. I love that you two worked out a plan for this year. Can’t wait to see how she handles it and what you learn this time.

    Good luck!

  4. […] love to say that after Friday’s post, I spent the rest of the day feeling GREAT about my upcoming vacation with CBG and our four kids. I’d love to say it, but it wouldn’t be the […]

  5. […] last year. I learned the depths of my own strength. I loved my man through relationship blips and blended family challenges. I held him up during the most difficult moment of his life. I faced some inner demons. I found my […]

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