So if you’ll recall, the last time CBG and I had a blended family weekend with our three youngest kids, it didn’t exactly go perfectly. This is often the case when the five of us get together. For various reasons there are difficulties and tensions. After our last less-than-awesome weekend together, I told CBG that I wanted it to be “a good long while” before we did THAT again. He, however, had a different suggestion, which was that we quickly try again to have a fun family weekend together. After I thought about it I realized that he was right. Our biggest hurdle as a blended family is that we don’t get enough practice doing it.
We talked a bit about expectations before we went. I expressed some of my own fears and concerns, specifically the fact that I have difficulty relaxing. Though nervous about everything, I did my best to keep my fears in check and make the most of our precious family time together. I went into it with a loose plan. I brought my running gear, some books, and a determination to not allow my issues to spoil the weekend for everyone else.
And guess what? It worked. I made sure I went for a run every morning, to start my day off in the best possible head space. I gave the kids space to do their own thing together, even if it spent a little more time with their devices than I would have liked. We all spent time together outside — playing washer toss, going for walks. We visited with Grampy and his new wife, and visited other family on Sunday. We had a family movie night together.
I also made a point of curling up with my book as often as possible. I even squeezed in a couple of power naps in there. I know, right. For me, this is kind of huge. Maybe I don’t suck at relaxing as much as I thought.
Most importantly, I did some more thinking about this whole blended family stuff. I realized that in the past, I tried to treat these weekends together like any other weekend when it’s just my girls and I, when in fact, they are an entirely different beast altogether. When the five of us are together, it’s not just about me and my girls; there are 2 other people to consider. I need to make a bigger effort to keep this at the forefront of my mind.
An ugly truth about me is that I have difficultly compromising when it comes to parenting. I like things the way that I like them, and I’m sometimes more than a little bit judgy when it comes to other people’s choices. For the most part I overlook things when it applies to other people and their own kids, but it’s a totally different story when it comes to my own kids. I like things to be done my way. Just ask my ex. Or CBG, for that matter.
It’s important to remember that while, yes, we are a blended family, we’re not a typical blended family, because we don’t all live under the same roof. We don’t spend that much time all together. And while it’s tempting for me to try and put the same rules into effect when the three younger kids are together, in reality it’s a) just not going to happen and b) probably not a good idea anyhow.
Like all the challenges that CBG and I have faced in the past five years, I know that we’ll work through this one as well. And after this weekend, well, I feel like we’re one step closer to doing just that.