Many of you have heard me talk about my story and having my surprise baby, Jacks. This past weekend I was flying home from a business trip with a friend who asked me to share my story with her. We were on the plane and obv had the time, so I started from the beginning. I found myself in tears, walking her through my story and remembering every detail like it was yesterday, which, has really sparked me to share with all of you...
First, don't be fooled by the title. There once was a very different version of this particular blog and it looked very different. I was in reaction mode and would act out of emotion rather than rational.
I'm a firm believer that every thing happens for a reason and what a blessing my oldest boy, Jacks, is! My story isn't perfect but it's perfectly mine! Now, married to the absolute love of my life with two more children, we still experience challenges from having a divided home.
During my single mom days, I remember crying every single night while rocking my son to sleep and praying that I would find a man who loved me well but would fall more in love with my son than he would with me. I would pray daily that I would find the dad that Jacks needed. Yes, he has a dad. But, I knew the impact that my future husband could + would have on him since Jacks would be living with us, daily.
I found my husband through a blind date and boy, did we hit the jackpot! He loves me well but I think he fell in love with my son first. Jacks is the luckiest boy in the world to have two dads. I've never heard the word step dad out of Marqs mouth. Literally, never. He has three kids. His first was Jacks.
What's interesting is, our son, who is almost 7, has no idea that it was just he and I in the beginning. Single mom life was HARD. But, Jacks doesn't remember any of that! In today's world, a divided, or blended home seems to be the norm. Statistically, the odds are high that you are or will experience this at some point in your life.
Our challenges are what you would probably imagine. The time split is the hardest. Selfishly, I don't want to give up my time with him. I don't want to split holidays and I often (still) feel guilty that he has a split home but I also know that it was out of my control and how thankful I am for the life we have! So, I wanted to voice the challenges but also, share how we make it as good as possible for everyone involved.
- Genetics don't matter. Our blended family has no idea where lines cross. We never talk "step, or half" anything on our side. In fact, it sounds weird even saying aloud.
- Never talk adult issues in front of your kids. Thanks, Dr. Phil for this gem of advice. You don't have to have a house divided to take this advise! This goes for everyone! This can be SO hard when you want to scream at the other parent. Trust me, I've been there.
- Put everything in writing. It takes all of the surprises out of the situation and both parties know expectations. Going through the whole court thing was AWFUL (legit skinniest I've ever been) but it's now made life so much easier by putting expectations in place! I don't do well with surprises so this takes care of that. Since, this has kept the confrontation minimal.
- Split parents may raise their child differently and that's ok. The only thing you can control is how you parent and what happens in your home. My sons dad and I parent very differently but, I have to trust the process.
- Never speak ugly about your child's other parent. At one point I wanted to do this often. Thankfully, I didn't. Don't let yourself go there. Your child shouldn't have to ever be put in a situation to choose love.
- Have a relationship with the other family. Jacks' family is family. Anyone who is going to have an influence on him, I want to be a part of their life.
- Allow transition time. After every return, Jacks struggles to transition. New house, new set of rules to follow and new expectations. Allow your child a transition period.
- When possible, make sure everyone is on the same page. Again, challenging but put the childs interest first.
- Get along when together. Marq, Jacks and Jacks' dad often hangout together. Its good for Jacks to see that he doesn't have two separate lives and that there is a mutual respect.
- Holidays can be difficult knowing you have to split time. This is my biggest struggle. But, don't focus on the actual day that you're missing out on. Instead, focus on the Holiday. For us, we celebrate Christmas when Jacks returns! It's not about the actual day but the time you're together that matters. I know this may change when the kids get older but for now, we wait on Jacks. As far as Thanksgiving, we do celebrate Thanksgiving on the off years that he's with his dad. Birthdays, we wait to celebrate when Jacks comes home....
Like anything else, we have our ups and downs but it's all about how you handle the situations. For us, we try hard to make sure to provide the best for Jacks and make it a positive. If you are currently experiencing the opposite, know it can turn around! Time and Communication! For more on life, click here.