Three years ago this week, the boys and I officially moved in with Mick.
We were already married – we had been for a couple of months. We intentionally took some time after the wedding for the boys to grow accustomed to having a man in the house, sleeping in the bed with mommy, being there in the morning, etc.
At first, we made it a party. “Yay! Mick can spend the night now that he is Mommy’s husband.”
He stayed with us for one or two nights at a time, and then would head back to his place. It was fun. It was like extending our engagement a bit, without all the daily pressures and realities of marriage.
The truth is, it allowed us as a couple to slowly adjust as well.
Ten weeks later, it was time to move and officially become a “blended family”.
Looking back, I can see all the things we thought would be issues, weren’t at all. And all the things we thought we had all figured out? Well, they created expectations that weren’t met and all sorts of drama, and all sorts of “You are not doing what you said you would,” and “This is not at all what I thought it was going to be.”
Suffice to say, there were no books or parenting experts that actually prepared us for the “blending“.
It just had to be lived through, prayed through, cried through, and worked through.
Three years later, here is how I would describe the reality of blending our family:
It is weird to be a newlywed and have two kids.
It even looks weird reading it, but it is true. My husband entered into a crash course on bedtimes and meal requirements and kid games and playdates and noise levels, at the same time he entered into the crash course called “I am married now and this person is around me all the time and always wants to talk and doesn’t she get it?”.
At the same time, I was working through how to be a wife again and I was trying to parent my children going through a significant life change and I stopped working and we started homeschooling and “Doesn’t he get it?”
To say our lives changed, is putting it mildly.
To say it was strange to go through all the newlywed things and parent two little boys at the same time, is also putting it mildly.
We were a hot mess for the first six months. I don’t think we would’ve called it that at the time, but looking back, it’s clear.
Being newlyweds and learning about each other requires time and commitment. For us, doing it with kids in the middle meant lots of deep breaths and remembering why we thought the other was such a great partner in the first place. It required grace and humility and sometimes staying up late to fight and sometimes just going to bed to get some sleep. Most all, it required a lot of prayer (usually the desperate David in Psalms crying out kind) and a lot of conversation with each other about what we really wanted and how we thought we might be able to get there.
No matter how many books you have read, or how much wise counsel you have received, you really don’t know until you are in the middle of it.
We were so confident (and prideful and arrogant). We both had read almost every book on marriage available. We went to premarital counseling. We consulted wise, married friends. We studied, prepared, took notes and thought we had the whole marriage part down. We thought that we would just need to work on the co-parenting part, and then we would be great.
I wish I was kidding.
We really believed this crazy version of so not reality.
So you can imagine how surprised we were when the parenting part was the least of our concerns. Mick apparently was not the perfect husband and I apparently was not the perfect wife (gasp!).
The worst part was, we spent way too much time clinging to how we thought it was going to be, instead of embracing the way it was, and moving on.
Once we finally let go of all the expectations and book learnin’, that is when we started to truly blend – as a married couple and as a family.
It just takes time.
I am not sure that any of the above angst realistically could have been entirely avoided. No matter what we believed, or how we prepared for the blending of our family, most of it just took time.
It took time to get to know each other – children included.
It took time to figure out a daily routine – parents included.
It took time to settle in and feel normal – for all of us.
It took three years to be able to say it went by so fast. It took three years to be able to say we are exactly the family God meant for us to be. It took three years to feel like we are all on the same team.
I think we are so blessed to say it only took three years to blend this family.