Thursday, October 04, 2007

Stones in the blender

It's hard to blend a family.

The word 'blending' gives the image of something that happens in 15 seconds and creates something tasty. Blending families doesn't work that way.

In fact, when families try to blend it can seem like someone threw a load of stones in the blender. Bouncing and rocking around, sounding like everything is going to break, blended family life can get a little unsure every now and again.

Rather than blending and trying to get normal and 'tasty' in 15 seconds, rather than ending up as stones in the blender, how about trying to be stone soup?

Yes, stewing for a while, for years in fact, is the way to 'normalcy' in a stepfamily. One of the keys is to do stepfamily life for a long time. Enough time helps routines to form, traditions to develop - time offers the opportunity to do things many times such that the repetition gives the sense of normalcy.

Be patient. Be kind. Be forgiving.

15 comments:

Megan Del said...

Hi Fajita:
Your writing is so balanced, I really enjoy it. And I loved this reminder that the term "blended" can be less than accurate to describe a step-family situation. Stone soup, at least for a while, may be much better!
Megan

kdwhorses said...

Like the anaology! No step families do not blend, it is a slow stewing process and then you get a great thing! I have been a step mom for 7 almost 8 years now, we had a rocky start, but we know have a great relationship. Thanks for the post!

Anonymous said...

Stones in the blender - how true! These days however I feel there just maybe a few boulders in the mix, as well. I adore my husband and get along surprisingly well with his children. God is also central and a major part of our marriage. The struggle for me is my husband's perception and continual irritation with my children. Out of hurt, I lash back at him about his kids. I know this is wrong. My kids' dad is an addict and has not been in their lives since our divorce. Our children are also almost grown and I have always had to be both mom and dad to mine. I am newly remarried; less than 1 yr. We do have different parenting styles but I may very well be the biggest source of our conflicts. Any suggestions? Boulder-struck Mom

Fajita said...

Boulder-Struck Mom,

All of this adjusting is extremely slow. Different parenting styles means a lot more negotiation and a lot more communication.

You know your own tendancies, many of which might be right on. However, bledning parenting styles is part of blending a family.

Maybe try talking about these issues with your husband at a time when they are not the focus of attention would be good. Have a "co-parenting" business meeting in a calm moment. Put it on the schedule and then do it.

The conversation you can have at a "co-parenting" business meeting is goong to be very different than the one in heat of the moment.

Good luck and God bless.

Elaine Bateman said...

Great article. I have been a step-mom for 12 years and we began with 8 kids but we are now a family of 16. Only the Lord could have brought us so far. Rocky at first but the perseverance pays off even when you don't see it.

Thanks again,
Elaine Bateman
www.elainebateman.wordpress.com

tired said...

I am a damaged step-mom. When my husband and i started out his boys said terrible things about me to others in my church ie. church kids who in turn told their parents as you can tell it wasn't good. They went to that church thier whole lives whereas I just started-back then. Well as a result, I've become a rucluse and worked full-time till things really seemed to fall apart specially concerning my own children. I don't want anything to do with my step-sons. I've tried and tried and thier dad doesn't seem to have a clue how to discipline and I feel like I'm alone in this mess. When there's a problem like I ask them to do a chore and they refuse, get mad and yell at me my husband wants to know what (I did )to make them mad.
I'm getting to the point where I don't even like my husband anymore either.

Fajita said...

Tired, I feel your exhaustion coming through. Ther first thing I am wondering is to what extent does your husband know of your stuggle. I am not asking hw much should he know, I am asking how much have the two of you speficially talked about this?

Anonymous said...

to: Tired the damaged stepmom!

You sound just like me!! That is EXACTLY the same predicament I have. 2 stepsons who need their father's guidance from a passive father. What I have learned most is to keep the communication lines open between me and my husband/dad, and also don't give up!! And remember the your biggest battle right now is not them, it's forgiveness. Being like Jesus. He was stoned, tortured. Just like we are sometimes being tortured (mentally) by these little hooligans. The Lord brought to my mind: Forgive them for they know not what they do. It seems like a simple answer to such a complex situation. Try and find moments to love the unlovable. Great is your reward in Heaven! Stay strong... and know that your not alone in this! My prayers are with you.

Martin said...

IMNSHO- A couple semesters ago I learned in geology that everything is made up of elements which are the basic building blocks of the earth.

There are a whole different group of rocks and minerals that came to being because different elements were combined together.



The changing of the elements was not just superficial but actually changed them on a molecular level.

(OK OK lay person speak... the change wasn't just on the outside, it was on the inside!)


The combination of two elements morphing into another only comes after years of prolonged, intense and extreme pressure and heat- I'm sure if elements could feel, it would hurt !! Sort of like the God induced act of becoming one flesh with your spouse.

Martin said...

A couple semesters ago I learned in geology that everything is made up of elements which are the basic building blocks of the earth.

There are a whole different group of rocks and minerals that came to being because different elements were combined together.


The changing of the elements was not just superficial but actually changed them on a molecular level.

(OK OK lay person speak... the change wasn't just on the outside, it was on the inside!)


The combination of two elements morphing into another only comes after years of prolonged, intense and extreme pressure and heat- I'm sure if elements could feel, it would hurt !!

Sort of like the God induced act of becoming one flesh with your spouse but this can also apply to step family bonding.

My wife and I will be attending your Augusta GA seminar in a few weeks, God will have to meet us there for sure as our marriage is quite tense at the moment.

While I have no thought of divorce, she sees it as the path of least resistance.

I know God will and can heal our marriage so we can help others struggling as we are at this time.

Anonymous said...

I feel Tired's pain, I am a mom to one dd 11 and step dd11 and step ds 14. My Husband and I have been married almost 3 years. All the kids live with us and have visitation every other weekend. To top that off, I have always homeschooled my daughter, when we married my husband brought his daughter home for school as well--she has several severe learning disablities. Anyway, his children especially his daughter say things to her mom about me that are twisted truths (to make me look bad) she does the same to me about her mom (to make mom look good) and is very disrespectful (when her dad is not here). My husband only sees it when I bring it to his attention and then he blows up and the kids resent me even more--I am totally exhausted(physically, Mentaly, and emotionally) by being in the middle this way and am afraid I'm reaching my limit!
Please tell me there is hope--I'm sure that there are things I'm doing wrong as well--I have spent the week in prayer specially for these issues. Help me get my head on straight!!

Fajita said...

Anonymous,

I am not so sure your head i on crooked. You have your hands full with a bit of overload as well. Perhaps a conversation with your husband not during a crisis would help to get the ball rolling. Let him know the pattern you see.

If this kind of conversation is difficult, some people find that speaking (as a couple) with a therapist helps a lot.

Got a marriage and family therapist can really change the context of the conversation and help people get clear in their thinking adn ears open up.

Prayer is certainly god too. I would continue that as well.

Kimg said...

I have been married for 2 years and in the second year we seperated for 6 months. This is our second marriage with 2 children of my own and him 3 children. The blender describes our family to the "T". I have become resentful and bitter toward my husband. I feel most of our arguments are due to how we feel the other parent treats our biological children. I feel second a lot of times in my husbands life and I am tired of being treated as if I can be thrown aside. We have talked about this, but this seems to be only my problem. We are both Christians and my strength to continue in this marriage has been because of God. This stone of a problem is churning in this blender and I have hope of a better future. Its comforting to know that others struggle and have made it through. I pray for those who struggle and lose hope. Hang in there because God knows our struggle and He can be our strength.

Ruth said...

Sometimes, your stomach hurts from the blending, doesn't it? I just have to believe that it is all worth it, and as Ron Deal says, there is a promised land for stepfamilies! Keep blogging!

The Blender-Mom said...

I have always said that the term "blended" wasn't quite accurate either. I even mention it in my blog www.thesuperfamily13.blogspot.com. The term tries to give the impression that you put two families in a mixer and we come out this nice fruity blended smoothie...how NOT true...