This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
Blended or non-blended Step families(19 Posts)
Can I ask when you have your child weekends, do you have all the kids together as one big family or do you spend time with your respective DC's separately, occasionally meeting up together.
DP thinks we should all be together, all the time. I'm not so keen, there's invariably bickering about finances, who pays for what for who, they stay at my house because I have more room, so I normally pay the lion share of the food bill, and who does the cleaning and tidying and clothes washing (always me!) disagreements on whether and how the DC's should be told off or not, disagreements between the children which inturn cause arguments between my DP and me. I also feel I want to spend time with my DC's alone and I think he should too with his. Am I wrong? We don't have to be one big happy family do we? What do you all do? (been together 18 months, 4 kids (2 each) range from 6 - 13)
I’m a big fan of variety here! You are so right. It’s nice to have a few core rituals that bind everyone, ( we had a Saturday night take away and Sunday brunch for all) - and then in between free time, and days out etc.
And know if many, often men who seem to think everyone has to do everything together all of the time. Recipe for stress!
It’s also I think because some people don’t want to go out with their kids on their own, or step kids, not sure why. My DP didn’t because he wanted to hang out at home and his kids sulked if they went anywhere. So I had to go out - often with various combinations of kids.
Holidays too, smaller days away I think with smaller units can work way better in blended families. Too much blending backfires and 18 months isn’t that long at all.
I also spent some time with my step kids one to one, which was the closest I’ve ever been to them. It’s all gone pete tong now but that was a really nice thing to do, but I had to be quite sensitive to my own kids who were a bit jealous of that.
We did a bit of a mixture when we were at that kind of stage. I think it's quite tough on kids spending extended periods of time in someone else's home. And my youngest DSS also found it hard having my DD invade his home regularly. We needed to take things slowly but actually the kids got on better once we'd moved together properly and everyone had their own space.
Finding opportunities to do stuff on neutral ground is useful I think - eg going out somewhere, or renting a holiday home together.
But it's ok to say to your DP that you are serious about the relationship and want to be with him, but also want to preserve some time with just you and your kids. Maybe help him to think of things he likes doing just with his two, so he's not sitting around being
useless lonely when you're not around.
With my DP & DSDs our weekends do match up so it tends to be one big noisy chaotic crowd. Which is 80%+ of the time a right laugh. But it can get overwhelming and I recognised everything you listed above!
I am starting to insist on more time apart from each other. My kids need it, I think his kids need it, I fucking well need it!! Neutral ground like camping is great when you can do it.
For a while DP & I we're going to move in together but we've decided not to until we are ready to buy a place together. He doesn't want to move into my space and frankly, I like being able to pack them all off somewhere else when I need my home back. I'm going away with just my 2DCs tmrw for 2nighta and I can't wait!!! And there will be far fewer squabbles and kinderpolitik and I can't frickin WAAAIT!
Although it may sound from the above that I am not a fan of my DSDs I honestly am. They're just way more work than my own
Communication is key in all of it. And perhaps a joint bank account for all things that get spent at weekends...?
Occasionally we do something all together, most of the time not though. I use the time to spend quality time with my DD and he is doing with his other kids.
You need to do what works for all of you. Not what only works for him because you’re paying, cooking, cleaning, tidying and making it happen.
How much is he motivated by what’s best for ALL DC or by what’s easiest for him and involves him not doing any of the crap work?
At 18 months you should mostly be separate as it's a new relationship and you shouldn't be risking the kids getting attached. Sounds like DP wants help with his kids. Avoid that trap!
Thank you for the responses.
Hopefully going forward this will give more independence, work on our relationship as a couple rather than as a family.
Glad I'm not the only one, and thank goodness DP seems to have come around to the idea.
Joint bank account would be a good idea for outings/meals en mass. Just worried in case that would look like we were a couple living together, in respect of my tax credits.
At 18 months you should mostly be separate as it's a new relationship
Really? By 18 months me and DP were living together and engaged I wouldn't class 18 months as a 'new' relationship.
OP I would avoid any joint finances as you are right, it could point to a cohabitation. Sounds totally reasonable that you want some balance. Even though me and DP live together, he still gets one-to-one time with his DD when she is with us. Think it's important that kids get that level of attention at times. And if he does spend time at your house with his kids, he should definitely be splitting the work 50:50 - no way should you have to do it all just because it's your house.
I hadn't considered that aspect of a joint bank account - but good point! DP & I don't live together but because when weekends fall on mine and my car fits 7 we go everywhere in MY car, usually stay at MY house, rely on MY freezer for beige tapas etc... he lives like a bachelor at his house so I feel we should share more finances or be able to stock up on stuff on a shared account before they descend.
I'd also agree that 18mo is not new at all. Life moves pretty fast!
Def. agree that 1-on-1 with all kids super important. Am getting a weekend away with just my DCs now and LOVING IT - had to break up zero fights so far, mine know exactly how to behave in pubs and I haven't had to carry anyone. Yay!! Haha happy days
I think a lot of blended families fail because the adults are hellbent on insisting on 'binding' the families and doing things togethe r, which isn't always in the best interests of the dc. OP I think you are right to be wary and I think your DP is displaying more than a few red flags.
@VikingBlonde @HollyGoLoudly - when children are involved 18 months is definitely new. Too many ppl rush into introducing kids and blending families. I had a two year relationship and the kids only met three times. That was probably too slow but I'm staggered at spending full weekends together or living together at 18 months. What's the rush? Why not enjoy spending time as a couple first? Yes, it means less time together overall but that's no bad thing, makes it more special.
At 18 months i had only just met his daughters ..i am shocked at attempts to bring all children together under one roof at that point .
But each to their own ...
however his two children are having to spend their 'dad time' at someone elses house, with two other kids they dont really know and sharing dad with his new GF.
I'd be pretty upset if i was them
My dp and I live together, he has three dcs and I have 2. We generally spend our weekend time separately, although we often watch a movie together in the evening, will occasionally go to the park or similar together. We go on holiday together in the summer and while we’re there we are probably 50/50 doing things together / separately - more than at home. It works fine for us.
@Grobagsforever, there was no rush, it's just what felt right for us. We're now 4 years down the line with our own DC on the way and I have a lovely relationship with DSD who regularly stays at our house. Would your thoughts on timescales change if it wasn't a blended family (I didn't have any DC coming into the relationship, only DP did) or do you think 18 months is too early for any relationship involving children?
What would be a more acceptable length of time to wait? Not being goady, just genuinely curious what folk think.
@HollyGoLoudly - yes, I think it's somewhat different if only one party has children, less complicated.
I'm glad it worked out for you
@Grobagsforever I'd say our kids all met earlier than felt quite right for me (I wanted to leave it for6 months really) but DP really wanted them to. So we compromised. We did have a lot of very serious chats about where we as a couple were headed before though. I would not introduce my kids to a partner I wasn't planning to build a life with and know that they felt the same. So in that sense timing was less of an issue it was more about mutual intent.
DP's XP introduces new fellas to her kids almost as soon as she has met them herself and I think this is extremely problematic- (there's quite a cast of them too, one after the other, straight on to the next with no hiatus)- so DP & I provide the stable side of the family.
DPXP worries me greatly with this behaviour but I can't do anything about it jut keep picking up the fallout from the DSDs when they feel ever more insecure and unsure of their being loved and cherished.
@Grobagsforever I should also say we all still live apart but do spend a weekend night together once or twice a month usually plus lots of individual time too. For example this weekend the weekends have all been swapped about a bit so DS has a weekend just with his dad, I have just DD, DSDs having a weekend with their daddy while their mummy has some time off. It works for us