How 3 Mothers Impacted My Life; Lessons from a Blended Family

BY: - 15 Sep '16 | Blended Families

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My mother and father divorced after 15 years of marriage when I was 6. They met in Thailand early in his ARMY career, fell in love and he brought her back to his small Texas hometown in the United States.

She spoke no English. They had my older brother shortly after arriving and had me six years later. Six years after that, they divorced and my brother and I chose to live with our father.

Shortly after that, my father’s new girlfriend-turned-wife and her daughter from a prior relationship moved in with us. My brother and I gained a new mother and a sister at the same time.

When that marriage eventually sizzled, my father tried the single father life for a few years before he eventually married his third and current wife, giving us another layer of motherly love and a new teenage brother at the same time.

I admit our Thanksgivings and Christmases can get interesting. Every year seems to work itself out with the majority of us getting together over the holidays. I’m thankful for the opportunity to grow richer in love and new memories to take into the upcoming year.

Through my nuclear, extended, step and in-law family tree, I’ve learned family isn’t simply a label you’re born with, but it’s a label that can be earned.

It’s earned through shared experiences and sacrifices, earned through trust (or the breaking of it) and the amends a person puts themselves through to earn it back. No one hurts us like family, but no one lifts us like family either.

My son now enjoys love from all his grandmaternal figures—his Grandmother, Mama Goya, Grandma and Grammy. Our blended family is one of love and support—a family I’m deeply grateful for now as 30-something adult and father in my own right.

In my teens, it was another story. I made the dutiful naive vow to not break apart my family the way parents did, but I was always aware enough to know that people had their legitimate reasons for splitting their lives from loved ones.

My blended family today, like most of the relationships in my life, are family by choice. Because we still choose to check up one one another like a family should.

Your family should be meaningful with their love. In today’s Snapchat generation, some families members are lucky to even get a Facebook mention from one another.

But in my blended family, our text game needs no newsfeed. We stay in each other’s inbox. I’m grateful I’m still married to my first and only. I’m even more grateful for the fabric of love, communication and time our blended family continues to weave together. The peaks are awesome after the valleys.

BMWK, did you grow up in a blended family and/or are a part of one now? If so, how do you keep your family bond?

 

About the author

Isom Kuade wrote 69 articles on this blog.

Isom Kuade is a father and a husband, resting his head in the middle of Texas. He's doing his best to adult with purpose and sneak in some good meals along the way. He and his wife tell stories of their triumphs, failures, and biased opinions at pancakesandcider.com.

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5 Things to Start Your New Stepfamily Off on the Right Track

BY: - 16 Sep '16 | Blended Families

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I am the poster child for blended families. By the age of 13 both of my parents had remarried, causing me to go from being the only child to having three brothers and three sisters. My life dramatically changed, and it took awhile for me to catch up.

I’ve witnessed the good, bad and ugly of blended families. In retrospect, we were all just winging it because there isn’t a manual on how to blend your broken family. However, there are steps to take that can make everyone’s life a tad bit easier. Here are five things to start your new stepfamily off on the right track.

  1. Address the elephant in the room
    Instead of avoiding the obvious change that has taken place in the family dynamics, address it head on. State the facts to the children. Explain the role of future stepparents, siblings, etc. Stepfathers are exactly that, not uncles. Be transparent about everything to prohibit any confusion or false expectations.
  2. Reinforce love
    A broken family can sometimes be interpreted as broken love, especially among children. Now more than ever is the time for parents to reinforce their love to their children.
  3. Set goals
    A broken family should still have goals, especially for the children. Who will the children live with? What’s the best school choice option? Will the family trip to Disney World still happen? How much will each parent contribute to the college fund? These goals should be thoroughly discussed to ensure they’re achieved.
  4. Set boundaries
    My parents and stepparents are able to spend holidays together. I’m well aware that this isn’t the norm, especially in the beginning. Be sure to establish what you’re comfortable with and what may take time.
  5. Love the new norm
    So your family isn’t quite the Huxtables. That’s okay! Embrace the fact that your child has more adults in their life to love and care for them. You have extra help and support. Blended families can be beautiful once everyone learns to embrace and love the new norm.

Are you a member of a blended family? What did your family do to make the transition easier? Sound off below!

 

About the author

Nikki Carpenter wrote 46 articles on this blog.

Nikki Carpenter, also known as Nikki and The City, is an urban media expert from Chicago who loves to travel and report on issues that impact different cultures and communities. Nikki's work has been featured on Huff Post LIVE, Jet Magazine, and ESSENCE just to name a few.

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