Blended Family

When I met my now husband, all those years ago, he had already been married and he had five kids.

This was not a situation I wanted to get involved in and I didn’t plan to. I planned to travel and enjoy my life, and was nowhere near settling down. And a man with kids would change all of of that, complicate it all.

But as it turned out, I did get involved, and this is my life now, a step-parent, and my children part of a blended family.

It is crazy and busy, and unpredictable and there have been hard parts, some harder than others – but I wouldn’t change it. We have a wonderful huge family, and it is growing with four grandkids already – and it is never boring.

The reason I am sharing this now is that last week I had maintenance men in our house and they were surprised that I had four kids, and I told them my husband has nine – which shocks everyone! One of the men had twins and I said I would have loved twins in theory but reality would have been crazy, but that after I had my second child people assumed I was done having children and my reply was always “no, definitely one more, and a surprise!” but seeing as we didn’t get a surprise pregnancy on our fourth (we had to plan her!) that the surprise was going to be twins – seeing as I had always joked that his first wife had five kids, I’d have five kids too.

And the response from the guy was “oh yeh and mine will be bigger, better and stronger too”.

I was like “No, the first five are amazing”

But it caught me off guards that that was this guys automatic reaction.

There is no thoughts of competition at all about the kids, I would be so proud if my children turned out like the older kids. They are great adults, such kind people and I absolutely love them and want the very best for them. And I do not want “better” for my kids.

However there are things I do and probably will do differently, as a parent.

As a step-parent, the first thing you have to realise is that while you’re involved in these kids lives, when the big stuff happens you have to step out and let the parents work it out between them with the kids.

So I am a different mother to my children than their mother was to them. I parent differently in different ways, based on my thoughts and feelings, as simple as I don’t like allowing fizzy drinks in our house except on special occasions, whereas when my step-children were small both their parents were happy with fizzy drinks so we had fizzy drinks here in our house for them.

It is in no way to say that my parenting is going to be better than theirs was and is. As you can say, the proof is in the pudding and there is the proof in the five wonderful young adults, and I feel if we can do as well to raise four more wonderful adults, we will be delighted.

We are a blended family. We are a big busy family. We are all family. We are so lucky.

4th June!

Yesterday I focused on the joy that I got from experiences of my day. I spent time with my stepmother, my friends, and back to my stepmother and dad.

I definitely feel much better when I see people who build me up and are positive for me.

I had a nice day, even though I was running from one thing to another and had no time in between (and was late for everything!). Then last night I was thinking about the joy of the day, and was going to post my #juneisforjoy post – but I decided instead to clean up the kitchen, so that this morning I could come down to a clean kitchen instead of having to launch into cleaning first thing today, so that is why I am late posting yesterdays Joy!

Day 29 of My Month of Gratitude

This one I’m not sure how to phrase in the list… but it is one I’ve wanted to add all week. The short title would be my husband, again, but for a different reason this time…

  1. My Husband
  2. My Children
  3. My Step-Children
  4. My Step-Grandchildren
  5. My Family
  6. My Friends
  7. My Home
  8. Our Utilities
  9. Our Health
  10. Education
  11. Coffee
  12. Technology
  13. Being Alive
  14. Baby Smiles and Laughs
  15. Special Occasions
  16. Healthcare
  17. Being Irish
  18. Being a SAHM
  19. Chocolate
  20. Books
  21. Online Recipes
  22. Sunshine
  23. Online Shopping
  24. Grandparents
  25. Sleep
  26. Podcasts
  27. Support
  28. Community
  29. Handy-man Skills
  30. .

As I said the easiest would be to say my husband again. But it is actually also my dad, or myself at times too. But this week it has been my husband time and time again.

At the weekend, my husband serviced my car and changed brakes and things like that. I am thankful that he is able to do it all himself and we save on all labour costs when it comes to the car! This is something I am very grateful for.

At the weekend, my husband did some work on our “extension” thing out the back. We are building a covered patio basically, that we are putting walls on too so that we can use as a dining room for family events. I’m not sure how the room is going to be used in honesty, we both have high hopes for it – but it is a slow slow process, as we haven’t had the funds to buy the materials we need. Last week my husband got some of the timber we need, so he did some of the work starting to build the walls and we were able to put in the windows. So now we have the patio doors (that have been standing there in the middle of the concrete for about a year now!) and two windows and hollow walls! Which is wonderful progress.

It made me realise how lucky we are that my husband can do this work himself, so again we save on labour costs. I was also brought up building things and making furniture along with my dad, so I would always think of how we can build or create a piece of furniture for our spaces and I would think of making it before buying it. I am grateful for this frame of mind, and that I have the resources and the skills (between us all) to make and build what we want and need!

 

Day 27 of My Month of Gratitude

This is one that I am so grateful for time and time again!

  1. My Husband
  2. My Children
  3. My Step-Children
  4. My Step-Grandchildren
  5. My Family
  6. My Friends
  7. My Home
  8. Our Utilities
  9. Our Health
  10. Education
  11. Coffee
  12. Technology
  13. Being Alive
  14. Baby Smiles and Laughs
  15. Special Occasions
  16. Healthcare
  17. Being Irish
  18. Being a SAHM
  19. Chocolate
  20. Books
  21. Online Recipes
  22. Sunshine
  23. Online Shopping
  24. Grandparents
  25. Sleep
  26. Podcasts
  27. Support

There is a lovely feeling when you are getting ready for an event, and your family and friends realise that this is something that is important to you and your family and they offer their support in their own ways.

Tomorrow is my daughters Confirmation, a Catholic celebration where she confirms her faith in the Catholic church.

I have Atheist friends who have sent a card for my daughter and have been checking in with how all the preparations are going (on my side – as in the clothes and planning!) My step-children have all taken the day off on Thursday, a work day, so that they could be there for the day with their little sister. They have offered help with things for the day. A family member who is definitely not a fan of the Catholic church sent my daughter money, but didn’t want to buy a specific card because she didn’t want to be seen to be supporting the church but did want to support my childs choice.

I notice this support at so many different times of my life, at Christmas, at birthdays and at all events that come up. And it gives a huge warm fuzzy feeling to have so many supportive people and so much support around me. I am really thankful and grateful for the loving support that I have around me.

Day 24 of My Month of Gratitude

 

  1. My Husband
  2. My Children
  3. My Step-Children
  4. My Step-Grandchildren
  5. My Family
  6. My Friends
  7. My Home
  8. Our Utilities
  9. Our Health
  10. Education
  11. Coffee
  12. Technology
  13. Being Alive
  14. Baby Smiles and Laughs
  15. Special Occasions
  16. Healthcare
  17. Being Irish
  18. Being a SAHM
  19. Chocolate
  20. Books
  21. Online Recipes
  22. Sunshine
  23. Online Shopping
  24. Grandparents

This one could look like cheating as family is already in there, but on a Sunday morning my father comes and collects my kids for a “Grandad Adventure” and brings them off to do something for a few hours. What they do range from going for lunch and cake, to going to do some work in the workshop, to walking in the forest, finding where a river starts to collecting fruit from bushes. They love their Sunday adventure with Grandad, who they have wrapped around their fingers, and Dad loves his time with them – and I love my Sunday morning without them and usually with just my husband when we make an effort to go and get a coffee together (with the baby!).

I have always felt that grandparents are such an important addition to a childs life. I was so lucky growing up to have my Granny who was there for me always. I cherish that. And I am delighted that my children have great relationships with my mother, my father and my step-mother. My mum minded my eldest daughter when she was small, coming with me and the baby when I was working at events in different areas of the country or keeping her in her house when I was doing office work. It created a great bond between the two of them.

On my the other side, my husbands mum died 6 years ago and it is heartbreaking that they missed out on having the relationship with her. She loved the boys in particular and would have loved my son and sometimes when he is being a bit overlooked by others I wish she was here to dote on him, because she would have. She would have got great fun out of my two cheeky smaller girls because she had a wicked sense of humour and would have really had fun with them. It is such a pity that she is not around for them to have got to know her, or for her to have added another aspect to their lives.

I am so grateful that my children do still have grandparents (including a great-grandmother, my Granny!) around and actively involved in their lives, I am grateful for them and I am grateful for the support that they offer me at times, knowing that there is a safe second home they can be dropped to if I’m not around, or a lift home for them from school. It is the small things in life, and the Sunday Grandad Adventure makes me so happy and grateful.

Day 13 of My Month of Gratitude

Another one that we take for granted, that we don’t need to mention that we are grateful for because it is obvious we must be. But sometimes you need to state the obvious.

  1. My Husband
  2. My Children
  3. My Step-Children
  4. My Step-Grandchildren
  5. My Family
  6. My Friends
  7. My Home
  8. Our Utilities
  9. Our Health
  10. Education
  11. Coffee
  12. Technology
  13. Being Alive

Yesterdays date, 12th March, one year ago, I got a phonecall from my brother-In-law because he couldn’t get through to my husband and wanted to know was he with me. He sounded dreadful so I asked what was wrong. And he told me their sister was dead. A complete and utter shock. It was completely unexpected and incomprehensible. She was only 45 years old, and her youngest child was 5 years old. It literally came from nowhere, on some random Monday afternoon.

The week before my husband and his brother were in a bad crash, and to be honest they were lucky to walk away alive. I was already being so thankful that my husband came home to me that day. I know how lucky he was. How lucky we are to still have him.

So being grateful for being alive is so important, thanking every day that we get to live on this earth, mother our children, be here for our partners and family, each and every single one of those days that we are alive are special and we should realise how lucky we are to be alive, and be grateful for being alive.

Life is unexpected and unpredictable. We do not know what is around the corner, we do not know what is coming next. Every life is a rollercoaster of ups and downs, and swings and roundabouts – life doesn’t stay constant. But if we wake up alive, we are lucky and we should be thankful for being here and alive every day.

Apologies if this one is a little morbid. It wasn’t a good time for us. And this week it is bringing it all back to me, every minute of how sad that time was, and how sad it still is and always will be that my sister-in-law is gone and her kids are without their mum, her father without one of his daughters, her siblings without their sister, and for my husband without his little childhood shadow who had a heart of gold. And so what I am taking from it is to be so grateful for what we have, and for being here and alive.

Day 5 of My Month of Gratitude

Day 5, you can probably guess where this is going, you’ll notice the theme of what I am most grateful for.

  1. My Husband
  2. My Children
  3. My Step-Children
  4. My Step-Grandchildren
  5. My Family
  6. .
  7. .
  8. .

I am lucky to have a lot of extended family who love me very much. I myself grew up in a blended family, and from a very early age I had a step-mother so I have extra family there too.

I’m very lucky to know, and to have always known, how much I am loved by my father, mother and step-mother, and I am very grateful for having them in my life.  All three of them have helped to shape me into the person that I am today, and I am thankful for that. I love the relationship that they have with my children, they are loving and kind grandparents who are involved with my children. As my step-mother had children when she met my father, and then they had a child together, I ended up going from an only child to having a family which is wonderful, as the benefits stretch into nieces and nephews and sister/brother-inlaws. Often other people can find it strange that a lot of my close family aren’t blood related, but that is the way it has always been for me and family is a lot more than just blood, it is about love.

I have lots of extended family from aunts and uncles to cousins, nieces and nephews, my Granny, grand-aunts and uncles, second and third cousins, step-aunts/uncles/cousins, step-grandfather and so on. It is always around certain occasions that I get reminded of how lucky I am with so many lovely family members. A family reunion or function often, or a birthday when the messages and calls come in and always at Christmas. December is a month full of me being so grateful for so much love. We have three main family events at Christmas, where we spend time with each side of the family, and I always come away from each of them feeling so happy to have such warm and loving family around me, that warm fuzzy feeling! When people make an effort to spend time with you for a family event it really shows their love for you.

I am really grateful for all of my family, I am so lucky to have so many diverse, interesting and loving family members.