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Sep 17

There’s nothing ‘Brady Bunch’ about blended families

Posted on Friday, September 17, 2010 in Divorce, love, Marriage, Parenting, Relationships, Singles

There will be a lot of tears shed soon.

Nothing to do with Sean and me breaking up. These aren’t sad tears — they’re the good kind.

A blogger I’ve come to know and love — Rachel Sarah, aka Single Mom Seeking — has not only stopped seeking, but she will also no longer be a single mom. In a week give or take, she’ll be marrying Lucky Guy.

Which, by the way, he is, although can’t help thinking that perhaps they’re both lucky, not only to have found each other but because only one of them, Rachel, has a kid.

I just don’t know how about blending families happily.

I know not everyone feels the way I do and I know that it’s hardly a unique thing, but the idea of a blended family scares the crap out of me — even though I laughed along with everyone else at “The Brady Brunch” (OK, please don’t
judge me!) when I
was growing up.   

Now that I could be
the stepmom in that scenario, not the stepkid, I’m just not laughing.
(And I’m not exactly sure why the stepkids would be laughing, actually;
two parents are more than enough let alone two sets).

It’s not that I don’t think
I could love another kid or kids as much as my own — I believe I could.

It’s not that I don’t think
a stepchild could like
me, if not love me —
it’s not like I’m some
wicked stepmom out of a Grimm’s fairy-tale; what’s not to like?

It’s not that I fear my kid wouldn’t get along with step-siblings — he’s pretty open-hearted and flexible.

It’s not that I worry about having to deal with the ex — you always have to deal with the ex, even if you’re “just” a girlfriend.

And it’s not that I worry that my partner would struggle with any of the above either; if he wasn’t a guy who could handle it, I obviously wouldn’t be marrying him. A boyfriend needs to step up to the plate.

So, what the hell is my problem?

Good question.

I’m not really sure what makes me fear blending families other than having an understanding and an appreciation for how hard it is to create any sort of family, let alone a mash-up families with a past.

There’s just no way to do that without freeing yourself of expectations of what it should look like and embracing what it actually is.

And, you know, most of us don’t do that very well.

There’s a lot of that stupid abusive stepfather/mean-spirited stepmother stuff still floating around — about as much as the “Oh, it will all work out if there’s love” crap. I wish the latter were true but relying solely on love rarely makes everything OK, and it bums me out to have to say that. A majority of second marriages — many of which involve kids — end in divorce. Like 60 percent or so. So, obviously “all you need is love” is as much a fantasy as believing Wonder Bread helps build a strong body 12 ways.

And that’s why I hesitate. Or maybe shudder. Or cringe. Or want to say, “I’m just not going there.”

Because I don’t want to put my kid or myself through that again.

And yet, there are families who are doing it, and doing it well. Instead of focusing on the 60 percent, I’d like to know about the 40 percent who’re thinking, “Hey, this is even better than I expected.”

Or at least willing to hang in there.

So, if you’re a happily blended family, I’d love to hear from you.

And if you’re not quite a happily blended family — or if you thought you were — I’d like to hear from you, too.

Photo © Tatyana Gladskih – Fotolia.com