BlendStrong is a term I coined within myself – a mantra if you will – as I blend my family of six. With four daughters growing up in our blending home, the atmosphere tends to get emotional. A mantra is essential.
My husband and I met in 2014. Meeting someone who has experienced a failed marriage and is coparenting with his daughter’s “others” allowed for an unspoken understanding as I was raising two daughters of my own while coparenting with their “other”. We began dating a few months later and chose to share our designated time with our three daughters together. Married the following year, we began to blend a family under one roof. Our youngest child was born two years later, and we felt the threads of blending even stronger. I found myself saying, “blendstrong,” to myself over and over and over with each trying and glorious event. Encouraging. Celebratory.
I began sharing the term, “BlendStrong” to other blending family friends of mine. There are so many of us. I also began sharing the reference of “bonus” over “step” as step sounds so technical and lacking affection. As a bonus kid from the age of 6 to present day, I prefer the reference towards my bonus parents and receiving it as their child. Encouraging my friends to embrace the term, “others” was another tactic I initiated to offer grace within their hearts. “Others” is coined with love to reference our children’s other parents and families. Today, “your mom,” “your dad,” “your stepmom,” “your stepdad,” “your mother,” “your father,” “your stepmother,” “your stepfather,” almost sounds like a bad word when doused with negative tone and accusatory inflection. Some parents take it a step further with “your dad’s wife,” “your mother’s husband,” “your father’s wife,” “your mom’s husband.” Even worse, the bonus parent is referred to with immature references such as, “the mouth,” “that b!@&h,” “the a$$ hole,” etc. Even more heartbreaking is when those hateful terms are used in reference to a child’s mom &/or dad; it sheds guilt upon our children for the love they have for all of their parents.
There should not be guilt coupled with love in a child for their parent, biological or bonus. Saying “others” allows for an ease of comfort for everyone involved. The truth is, the “others” aren’t going away when our children turn “18 or graduate high school whichever comes first,” as the decrees tend to state. We are all going to be blending for a lifetime. We will be sharing our children beyond child support payments and obligations of the decrees. We just won’t be forced to communicate with our children’s others if we would rather not. It’s best to put on our big girl panties and our big boy trousers and accept this truth. Regardless of our children’s ages, a semblance of maturity and amiability executed towards all parents, biological & bonus, in the presence of your child is appropriate. Allow your child to love freely and unabashedly all of their parents.
Through sharing these mindsets with our friends, my husband felt people beyond our circles would benefit from my ease in acceptance of the life we chose (hey… our children didn’t get to choose this life). At the encouragement of him (he is quite persistent), I embarked on building a personal blog December 2017 surrounding the topic of not only blending your family strong but blending YOU strong as well. I chose to birth a platform to help with blending families, marriage, parenting children (infancy to adolescence is my current situation), identity, dealing with trying times, loving yourself, and the pursuit to truly live your life. My perspective is rooted in my personal experiences and those close to me sharing with me. Writing is as therapeutic for me as reading, and I hope to share insight with those choosing to blendstrong and healthy for their children, their spouse/partner, and themselves.
After all, your spouse/partner is your number one, and this season is about your kids while keeping your spouse/partner first. It’s not always about you. There is joy in this acceptance mindset. Animosity and hatred consumes your soul and steals your right to happiness. Let the anger go. Give yourself happiness.
I would love to hear what areas of your blending life you would like to read my perspective on. Visit the Reach Out page to submit your thoughts.