Taking One for the Team

It took us almost four years to get to this point, but here we are. I’m not going to lie – it’s not easy, but it’s necessary. Sometimes you just have to give up your pride, hurt, or whatever is holding you back, and take one for the team. I’m talking about the divorced parents who get along and make the most of their blended families.

Now, obviously, there’s a reason why parents divorce and none of them are easy. And with divorce comes pain, hurt, regret, sorrow, sadness, and a plethora of other emotions. Everyone has their own way of feeling and grieving. And obviously, that’s going to take time to get over that, if you even can get over it. It’s not easy, but it’s necessary.

My children’s father and I separated and subsequently divorced almost four years ago. I won’t go into the whole saga and drama of the divorce and how things played out for the kids. That’s not the point of this. I think we can all agree that divorce is not an easy situation for anyone involved, especially for the children. This is how you should react down the road – whether it’s one year, five years, or ten. Regardless the timeframe, I think the best (and smartest) thing to do, is to work on making peace and getting along.

Again, it’s not easy, but it’s necessary. Being a child of divorce is never a fun game to play. At the beginning, inevitably, there is going to be fighting. It’s best to keep that out of the earshot of your children, but we’re human, and we fail. Miserably at times. There were many times where my ex and I fought over some of the simplest things (looking back now). We wasted so much time dwelling on those things. I realize that it was my pride and resentment clouding my vision.

When it was time for my children’s now step-mother to meet my boys, I was anxious. Yes, I KNOW I can never be replaced, but it’s hard seeing them interact with another woman that is a mother-figure to them. That’s not easy to see, not one bit. I was bitter and petty. It was all I could do to not have one or two words of conversation and get the heck out of there! I didn’t want to like anyone that my ex was dating or bringing around my children. These kids are mine and no one else is going to come into their life…at least that was my stubborn way of thinking then.

Over time, I realized that things weren’t going to change or become better if I didn’t change my attitude. Sure, there’s always going to be some sort of disagreement when it comes to discipline or rules that will be different for each household. There are split holidays, and there are hurt feelings if one of the kids accidentally call his stepmother “mom.” And of course, I will miss them when they are on vacation with their “other family.”

And this is what I have to tell myself all the time: “Suck it up, Buttercup!”

For the sake of the kids, push your pride aside and work on getting along with each other. Find a middle ground, talk about things when issues arise (don’t yell or argue) and work it out. Sometimes this is painful and it’s frustrating, but it’s necessary. If you want to create a united front for your children and work together as a team, you have to let go of some pain and hurt and disappointment. I live for my kids. If this means I have to take a back seat to my hurt and anger and move past that for the sake of my children, then so be it. I’m going to take one for the team, and move past it.

My boys and their step-sisters at Ethan’s birthday party

It took us almost four years to get to this point, but we’re finally here. We’ve put aside our differences, and have come together, as a blended family, to do what’s best for our children. The boys have gained 2 step-sisters who are great girls. I can’t imagine them not being in their lives now that they’ve blended together so well.

So now, we all attend family activities together. If one of my boys has a school function, we all attend and sit together. Extended families on each side can come together, with a common bond – my children – and make the most of the situation. I joked that at my son’s 1st grade Christmas program we should have had a selfie-stick to take a blended family picture! In one row sitting together, there was me and my boyfriend, my older son, my ex and his wife, her two daughters, her parents and her aunt. We all talked and got along and there was no uneasy awkwardness.

It takes effort, but our actions over the past few years have shown how far we have come…

  • When I didn’t have a dryer in my new house for a few months, my ex and his wife let me use their dryer. They even let me leave the laundry at their house and they brought it to me the next day.
  • We all attended my son’s baptism together and sent each other pictures. Extended family and all.
  • I took my son’s step-sisters to a birthday event for my son. Their step-mother didn’t go, just me and my kids and their stepsisters.
  • When I sliced my finger and had to go to the ER, my ex brought me there since my boyfriend was on the other side of town working and couldn’t get to me right away.
  • The boys’ step-aunt is taking them for swim lessons this summer.
 

You may think I’m crazy, and sure, I might agree with you to a point. But when it comes to my boys, I’ll do what I have to so that they are happy, well-adjusted and loved. On Mother’s Day, I even texted their step-mom to thank her for loving my boys as her own and for being a great “bonus mom” for them. Believe me, that relationship didn’t happen overnight. But, we do what we have to. We can put aside our differences and let down our guard. It’s truly not about “us” anymore, it’s all about our kids. We become a united front and take one for the team, our blended family team.

 

, , ,

2 Responses to Taking One for the Team

  1. Evy Becker September 6, 2017 at 10:16 pm #

    As the step-mom referenced in the article, I have to say, Abby’s right; we have this figured out!! We’ve worked at it for a few years, and we’ve gotten this blended-family thing down!! I’m so proud of our relationship! I cried reading this article because I am just so thankful!

    I have tried to cultivate this type of relationship with my daughters’ step-mom. At this point she isn’t open to that type of relationship. It comes down to what Abby said. We have to CHOOSE to put our differences aside. We have to choose to get along. After awhile it becomes a habit and becomes easy and natural. It makes me sad that their stepmom isn’t open to a relationship like this because it truly is a beautiful thing! However, that just makes me even more thankful for the relationship that Abby and I have.

    The other night Abby stopped by to drop something off, and she and I stood out on the driveway and watched the kids play. We had a natural, easy conversation. I’m thankful!!

  2. Abby Turner September 6, 2017 at 10:21 pm #

    Thank you Evy….now I’m the one crying! Lol It means a lot to me that you said this and knowing that the boys have you as their bonus mom is definitely an added blessing!

Leave a Reply