Successful 'blended family' stories please

(22 Posts)
wickedwitchNE Thu 29-Aug-13 20:56:40

I have typed out a post for this board so many times in the past couple of weeks, but it always ends up long or ranty, or complicated.

24w pregnant, lovely 5yo DSD. A number of things/issues (you all know how it is, never bloody simple to put it lightly!) have just meant that right now I am seriously regretting not starting a family the old-fashioned way. For one, I'd bloody love to be coming first every so often as a first-time pregnant woman, not that I'm ever allowed to say that one out loud!

So to put it simply: somebody please tell me that having a baby as a step-mum can be lovely. Tell me it is worth it in the end. All the angst, insecurity and guilt, ex issues, and of course the constant overriding need to make sure DSC are never ever left out in any way - they are all insignificant in the long run aren't they?! Blended families aren't all bad? Please reassure me, I know I'm over-thinking everything with another 4 months still to go, but reading some of the threads on here has made me need some success stories to get me through this until December.

onlysettleforbutterflies Thu 29-Aug-13 21:03:39

I have 2 dsd and although there are problems, I am so glad they are in my ds life. They all adore each other and he misses them so much when they're not here, as do I sometimes, they teach him so much and play great together. As your baby gets older you will hopefully find having a ready made play mate makes your life easier too. Keep dsd involved with the baby and give her lots of little jobs to help. Good luck.

lunar1 Thu 29-Aug-13 21:59:50

When you ready the boards remind your self that the people posting are generally the ones who need help/advice.

There will be many families out there who are getting on just fine and don't need to post.

lunar1 Thu 29-Aug-13 22:00:23

When you read, not ready, sorry

ChinaCupsandSaucers Thu 29-Aug-13 22:25:19

butterflies even that isn't without risk and anxiety for a stepmum though, is it?
I have discouraged my DD from becoming too close to her DSSibs because their mum is prepared to alienate and withhold contact.

After coping with a heartbroken, sobbing DD who couldn't understand why her older DSSis had rejected her and refused to visit after calling her BFF only a few days before, it is no longer my wish that the DCs become close.

OP If there are issues now as you have alluded to, then they won't suddenly go away and you won't suddenly become a perfect blended family. Issues need to be addressed, behaviours modified and common ground reached. That not only takes time but effort and commitment from everyone involved. I wish I could be more positive.

wickedwitchNE Thu 29-Aug-13 22:31:23

Thanks both, and lunar I know I do think the boards are such good support but obviously will project a pretty negative picture of step-parenting just by their very nature. Nobody comes on here to brag about their lovely easy life! (Feel free to on this thread though so I can kid myself...)

I just don't know any step-families in rl and at the minute this site is the only place I can find any sort of reference. Plus its not really an easy thing to talk truly openly about without worrying about sounding selfish. In fact I lied, my uncle and his new wife have been in my position and were heavily criticised by our family for their parenting of new baby plus his kids! Maybe I should hunt out some books on the subject, and no doubt when I make some other parent friends there will be a few step-parents among them too.

brdgrl Thu 29-Aug-13 23:58:44

To be honest, OP, my DD is the one area of step-life that I have found lovely, most of the time. Sure, there are issues (mainly about the compromises I and my DD have had to make because of the circumstances, the biggest of which are probably that we live far away from my family, friends and career prospects in order to provide stability for the DSCs; or the financial inequalities that exist within the home). But overall, she's done more to make us feel like a 'real family' than everything else we've tried, combined.

And when I feel overwhelmed and full of regrets, she's there, and I can't regret her.

brdgrl Thu 29-Aug-13 23:59:37

And my DSCs love her, with no discernible resentment. smile

I'm 29 weeks along with my first. Things have been going pretty smoothly so far. I think DH probably deserves a medal for the balancing act he sometimes has to perform between me and DSD (age 7), but he does it well. DH's ex has been supportive and seems genuinely happy for us too - she asks how I've been getting on and AFAIK has been supportive of DSD adjusting to the upcoming changes. The extended family are excited because this DC is the first baby to come along in several years. DSD is a lonely only and seems to be looking forward to being a big sister.

I'm expecting sibling rivalry after this DC is born, but I think I'd expect that even if DSD were mine and living with us all the time. I am definitely expecting some competition between the two of them for DH's attention as the baby gets older, but I think we will just have to deal with it all as it comes. DSD has been a tad more clingy with us lately - a lot more asking DH to carry her upstairs to bed, a lot more asking me to play with her - but again, I think she'd be like that even if we were a "together" family.

There are some things DSD will unfortunately be excluded from, but there are also some things the DC will unfortunately miss out on. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my family overseas will probably never happen for DC, but DSD will probably not ever join us for the December 27th plane ride to visit Grandma & Grandpa Gas.

It's not the way I would have written it, and I didn't expect quite so much emotional balancing, but I don't think my DH would be the same man without his daughter in his life. And he was the man I wanted to have a family with.

On the bright side, his experience with raising a baby and toddler is really reassuring when I've had my panic and freak out moments. He is already assigned to potty training. grin

Smugfearnleyshittingstool Mon 02-Sep-13 18:14:11

I totally understand you wishing you'd started a family the traditional way, but please be grateful that your dp was happy tom have a child with you. The man I love and adore already has his family, and despite being a fantastic step parent to my dc, and having a really good blended family situation, he is done. We will not ever have a child together, and I will never be a full time mum again, as mine have good access to their own dad. I'd love to be in your boat!

stepmooster Mon 02-Sep-13 20:44:00

Hi OP, one of the things that DH and I agreed on straight away is that we should have 2 children and not just one. DSS has 2 half siblings on his mums side and 2 on his dads. When DH was living with his ex, DSS used to get very tearful when the eldest went to their dads EOW, and DSS was never quite as close to them because they didn't have all the shared experiences.

If we had just had DD (who adores DSS) then I think she would have been more lonely, as she would have to get used to only seeing her brother every 2/14 nights.

I know that having 2 kids is not always possible but it is something we glad we did even if they have to share. so our 2 are only 14 months apart and hopefully will grow up close and not get lonely when DSS is not here.

Plus DSS has just moved further away, and as he gets older I expect contact will dwindle. This happened to my cousin and her half brother. They hardly see or contact each other now. But that had a lot to do with parental alienation. She basically grew up as an only child.

mumtobealloveragain Fri 06-Sep-13 18:44:27

I think we have a successful step family. We are me and my DP, I have 2 children who I share residency of with my ex 50/50, I have one child who lives with us 100% of the time, my DSC have 50/50 residency with us and their mother and we have a baby on the way too smile

It's not the children that either of us have any problems with it's the ex's smile

probablyjustgas

We are in a similar (ish) situation with a baby on the way. We have also discussed sibling rivalry issues that may occur when this baby is born. Apart form my eldest, this child will be the only child to live with DP and I 100% of the time. Of course they all bicker and argue and wind each other up already and we expect normal rivalry and baby jealousy etc, but we have worried how it would feel to know your mum/dad is spending all their time with their new baby and only half their time with you sad

DSS was talking about the baby the other day and said "when we go to mummy's house with the baby, where will it sleep there?" He actually thought the baby would be going with them each time they went to their mums. It was quite sweet but just bought home just how innocent and "unknowing" about all the adult issues they really are. When I explained to him that the baby has to stay with it's mummy and daddy he just said "ok, I will tell my mummy she can't have your baby" (I bet that went down well smile

mumtobealloveragain Fri 06-Sep-13 18:45:23

Oooh overuse of smilies there, sorry!

ChinaCupsandSaucers Fri 06-Sep-13 20:07:06

mumtobe I'm afraid I think that you have a very low expectations of blended family life if your situation is one you'd hold up for others to aspire to.

I know it's not the done thing to refer to other threads but you've made no secret of the issues you have; I can assure you that court action, EWO involvement and the like is not inevitable or commonplace - I think your family would certainly benefit if you aspired to something far less acrimonious!

mumtobealloveragain Fri 06-Sep-13 23:05:53

LOL! Thanks China! smile To be honest, reading other people's problems on here I do think we have a successful blended family life compared to many. I don't mind at all your referring to my other threads, we have issues of course, but we have a complicated family and therefore it was never going to be completely "easy" and issue free. We don't actually have an EWO involved (unfortunately) but that whole issue is not a blended family problem in my eyes, that's a separated parents problem. My ex taking the kids to school late is nothing to do with our blended family at home.

We are all happy at home on a day to day basis, my DP and I have similar parenting styles, we agree on discipline of our step children and bio children, I like his children, he likes mine, we don't have "your not my mum/dad" issues or many other issues step parents face with resident step children (not yet at least, fingers crossed) that we all read about every day on here. We manage to work well as a family unit, and we are happy. To me, that's a successful blended family with regards to me, DP, his children and my children as a family unit.

Yes, we have issues with our ex partners, but my ex doesn't cause issues with our home life or blended family as such and DP's ex is as mad as a box of frogs and isn't half as bad as some of the other ex's step mums on here write about.

namechangeforaclue Tue 10-Sep-13 09:05:24

We are what I would consider sussesful so far.
All the kids love each other.
We have taken ex to court and established regular contact, one more court date coming to wrap up loose ends.
We have what I consider a happy family and long may it continue.
We have one baby that is ours and 3 each from previous marriages 2 have special needs but it works and it is lovely to have a house filled with laughter and giggles.

namechangeforaclue Tue 10-Sep-13 09:09:15

I am with china my OH's ex is a total nightmare and makes our life hell.
Doesn't mean our family life isn't great just that she would love it to be miserable.

smokinaces Tue 10-Sep-13 17:03:39

I would like to think we have a successful blend. My ex and his girlfriend have been together three years and have an 18m old. We have two boys in primary school. We've had teething problems, but now we get on well. They have the boys regularly, they treat all three children equally now when they're together, the boys adore their sister. My ex and I are friends, I contact their step mum if needed and vice versa. I've had their daughter to stay here and offer to babysit. We are unusual, but I really hope it works as well when I introuduce new man to the mix, which will be a massive first for me (and he has a son too so another big thing for me)

We have no solicitors, no courts, no arguments anymore. Everything is done amicably. We can be at each others houses, we can be at parties in the same social situations. The kids love all of us and each other. Its a lot of work, but worth it.

smokinaces Tue 10-Sep-13 17:05:49

Oh and I know their stepmum struggled with her first baby being his third. There was a fair bit of tension as each of us wanted our child/ren to come first. But my ex seemed to deal with it well - my boys spent a week there a fortnight ago and loved it, being with their dad and sister. And he keeps up things like birthday dinner just him, phoning them every night. It takes work, but im glad they have a father that understands that

Tuckshop Fri 13-Sep-13 11:26:26

I love the positivity here and totally agree that you can have massive issues going on, but within the blended family unit there isn't a problem.

I think we blended successfully. Of course there were issues, but we all loved each other and were a family.

I left xh 3 years ago and have dsd living with me. I've "blended" again as my dp has children/grandchildren and within our little unit of dp, dsd, dd and I it's probably the happiest and most settled we've all been. Dp is a wonderful male role model for dsd, does loads for her and they are really close. He's the same with dd but my point is that we are a "family" despite dd and dsd being the only two with a blood tie.

wickedwitchNE Sat 14-Sep-13 11:54:03

Thanks for all the positive posts. I think I was stuck in a negative couple of weeks and couldn't see through them. I do realise that a) I am very lucky with the situation I have, even if it is not ideal and b) there are a lot of different family models out there, none perfect.

I can't really explain all the frustrations and issues but know most contributors to this board will know all of them themselves anyway. Simply, I'm trying to shield our baby from being affected by all the crap which surrounds DSD, without detaching from DSD completely. As awful as 'crap' sounds, it is exactly how I feel about all the issues we have faced, dilemmas when discussing raising the two kids, and most of all problems with the ex. I don't see why my child and my family should be subject to the irrational whims of a woman who still refuses to acknowledge me except in bitchy comments to ILs and mutual friends. I don't see why so much effort is made to always put DSC first at the expense of all other family members. But I do see that with kids it's much simpler and they will probably settle in and be happy together if I just stop overthinking it.

Caramelia Sun 22-Sep-13 22:19:06

My SDs have a stepfather who has a son - they truly consider him a brother. Now that the kids are young adults, they'll take a drive and visit him over school holidays and his mum lets them stay over.

They like SF's son much more than they like SF, tbh!

Congrats on your pregnancy. smile

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