The Struggles of Blending a Family
By: Carol Rood
I live in a step family. However, the politically correct term is now “blended family”. Whatever you decide to call it, my experience is that blending two separate family entities is a struggle, to say the least.
I have written about the difficulty in merging my children with my partner and her children. One of her children resisted the “blend” and ended up going to live with her father. This was very painful for my partner, as she didn’t see it coming.
I had been struggling to connect with her child, and no matter what I tried the child would ignore me, or be rude to me. The child was rude to my children as well. It was a very uncomfortable situation, but we were talking a lot and doing our best to make it work. I thought things were getting better.
Then one day when Bluebell (my partner) came home from work, she noticed a paper on the door. It was a court notice that her ex-husband was petitioning the court for custody of her child. No notice from her ex or her child, just a notice on her door. It was a loud night in our house that night. She approached her child and tried to find out what was going on. Her child said she was so unhappy living with me and my two kids that she had asked her father to petition for custody of her. She wanted to go live with her father and stepmother. My partner was heartbroken.
Bluebell’s daughter did end up going to live with her father, and believe it or not, after she left we were able to finally blend our family. We still had bumps, but it seemed as though things went a bit smoother. Without the negative energy running rampant through our house we were able to work together to merge the boys to some sort of family unit.
It was still not completely smooth. Bluebell’s daughter would call her from school crying about how she didn’t feel well and her stepmother would refuse to pick her up. So Bluebell would leave work, and drive to get her daughter to take her home to her father’s house. That happened many times. Then there were the times she called Bluebell complaining about her stepmother. Then we had to put her daughter on our cell phone plan because she needed a phone and her stepmother wouldn’t help her.
These episodes caused tremendous stress on my relationship with Bluebell, mainly because her daughter was still disrespectful and rude to me anytime we saw her, and I had a problem with that. I could understand not wanting to be friends with me. But I never understood the blatant disrespect. I never understood why Bluebell allowed her daughter to treat me in that way.
This continued for almost two years. Then came the fateful day Bluebell got a call from her daughter stating that stepmama was “kicking her out” and she had nowhere to go. Of course Bluebell drove straight down to get her, and brought her to our house. Thus began a really difficult chapter of our family life and our relationship. It was May of her daughter’s junior year, and we lived in a town about 45 minutes from her daughter’s school. So regardless of the way I had been treated and was still being treated by her daughter I had to drive her to school every morning for three weeks until school was over. I never received a kind word, or any thanks.
We changed the living arrangements in our house so Bluebell’s daughter could move in with us to finish her last year of high school, and provide her with a stable family life.
As I am sure you can imagine, we were all in for a difficult year.