Today, I am lucky enough to have a phenomenal mommy blogger from Accidentally Mommy guest posting for me. She is a happily single mother of two, and she's got some advice on how people can raise a loving blended family.
Buzz words. We've heard many new words and phrases pop up over the last decade or so, particularly in the parenting world. "Lactivist." "Intactivist." "Babywearer." "CIO." "Bloggers." They are not all so austere sounding, though. "Baby Mama Drama." "Baby Daddy Drama."
Blended families are not a new concept. So why is there so much focus on them all of a sudden? What has changed so much to make people dub the negative that goes along with the uniting of two pre-formed halves of a home a "drama?"
There are a lot of theories. Personally, I go with the conspiracy - they're all Mel Gibson clones. From Mars. Because Pluto isn't a planet, it's a dive bar.
I kid, I kid.
Blending families together outside of the KitchenAid in today's American society is uniquely challenging.A resurgence in stay at home parenting has caused many a custody battle, based on the fact that the parent choosing to remain in the home can theoretically provide a more comprehensive and supportive home environment.
In addition to that, the internet era is a blessing and a curse. Bullying each other via email, besmirching the other half on facebook... even anonymized blog posts pointing out how the evils of the other half have hurt and damaged the family dynamic are commonplace. (I confess, the last is one I myself am guilty of.)
It's not all bad, though. Well, not in most cases.
Photographs, videos, even live feeds can be set up to provide a more united front for the children at special events. Skype enables mom or dad to read bedtime stories when they are the "off" parent.
Cellphones put the other home, including siblings, at the touch of a button without any fear of denial or disapproval from the "on" parent.
But what can be done to really BLEND families? How do we make two intricate storybooks that contain all of the best literary devices and more into one cohesive tome?
We don't know. I don't know. That is the bittersweet beauty of it all. The journey is always morphing and changing, revolving around the raw emotions of two to four (or more, for the Poly's out there,) adults, and the raw emotions of the little people we're blessed to have in our lives.
The key to surviving it all for me is a skill that I have instilled in my children since birth: adaptability and an open mind and heart. Step parents aren't always wicked, and the red-headed step child isn't always covered in cinders.
We recently took our first family vacation with all three children, and none of the ex's. Just us, the kids, and the beach. We had our hiccups and our moments of fretful worry, but I did what I've always told my children to do, and it worked. Faith, Trust, and Beach Pixie Dust made it all worthwhile and enjoyable for everyone, including Blueberry Nights.
Just remember, in times of darkness AND light: Love propagates love. No matter the drama that may exist between the adults, the love shown to the children will eventually penetrate both homes, softening the stoniest adversaries and reinforcing the already strongly bonded homes. Like raising them in general, this aspect of parenting doesn't come with a manual. The best we can do is lay down our own tracks, in directions we hope that our children would be proud to follow should they need to in their day.
You can see more of her family adventures over at Accidentally Mommy. I recommend it!
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