Darren and Paige decided to tackle, "should you blend these two families?" It can be a colossal mistake to blend families too quickly. (says the couple who combined very quickly) There are some essential things to know before agreeing. (Do you like camping, do you want a dog, or do you want more kids??) The need for companionship can drive you too quickly.
- 1. Unload your own baggage. Grieve the loss of your marriage. Give your children attention. Give yourself and your children time to heal. Get back on your feet emotionally, financially and into new routines. Try to gain some insights about your marriage that ended, about your needs and issues. Be ready to show up differently in the next relationship.
- 2. Prepare yourself for the relationship you want to have and being the partner you want to be. Work on your communication, listening, and conflict resolution skills. Educate yourself about relationships; skills for success and common pitfalls.
- 3. Once you are dating someone, prepare your relationship by taking time to learn about each other and focus on your partnership. Have you had fights and resolved them? Met each other's families and friends? Have you learned about triggers and vulnerabilities? Are you in agreement on the BIG things? (money, religion, values, sex)
- 4. Prepare to blend by introducing the kids to your partner. Talk with your children about their feelings. How do they feel about this new person? They don't have to feel the same way you do about this new person, that's ok. Your children have another loss to deal with, the loss of their parents never getting back together.
- 5. Challenges Ahead! Relationships in blended families will not be equally close, some get along better than others. Do not force everyone to like each other. Let it develop naturally but provide the opportunities to let this happen (picnics, bowling, hiking, movies). Clarify roles of parent, step parent, co parent when it comes to discipline, payment of child expenses, time together. Counseling can be a huge help, don't resist it, give into it.
What is Where's the Lemonade??
They say when life gives you lemons you should make lemonade. Making lemonade is not always easy or possible. For us, we found ourselves single in our 40's with kids at home and starting life over again. Luckily we found each other, online no doubt. When we began blending families, schedules, traditions, and laundry, we discovered lots of lemons. Our podcast is a reflection on how we get through the hard times and enjoy the good times on our new journey together, all with ten kids in tow. Sometimes when life gives you lemons, you make lemon squares. Lemonade might come later.