The Runner Up Wife: Becoming A Blended Family
As a little girl, I always dreamed I would be a second wife, and a stepmom.
I have never heard that sentence spoken by any woman, EVER! However, blended families are becoming increasingly common in today’s society. Yet, it seems to be a dirty little secret we keep to ourselves.
I am a second wife, step mom of two, and bio mom of one. This life is not one I pictured myself being part of growing up, but I cannot imagine myself being part of any other family.
At the ripe old age of nineteen, I met my wonderful husband, Grant. I was just a baby, you would say, still wet behind the ears. I always felt older than I actually was growing up and I always found it hard making friends. I had a difficult time connecting with other people my own age. So, when I met Grant (who by the way, is older than me) we had an instant connection. There was something about him that intrigued me. I knew I had hit the jackpot with this lucky fellow! On the other hand, I like to say he hit the jackpot with me! We both did!
I quickly learned he was divorced, and has two kids. “ O.K.” I would say to myself, “ I can be a mom, no problem! I mean, how hard can this be?”
When I met his kids, I felt lost. What exactly was I supposed to be doing? The ‘mothering” thing was not exactly coming naturally through my veins, and I did not know if I was supposed to be a friend? What was my role to his kids?
The truth was, they already have a mom that they love. They did not need another one. However, that did not mean I was a doormat either. I eventually became a parental figure to them, eventually being the focus word here.
My biggest piece of advice when it comes to finding your place with your step kids is to take things slow and let them come to you. For example, do not think that when you walk through the front doors of your new home and spread your arms open wide that the kids will come running into your arms. It does not work like that. If it did, I would not be writing a book about this kind of stuff!
Always be kind towards your step kids and be respectful. Show interest in things they like to do. Give yourselves some time to build a solid relationship before you become one happy family. Respect does not mean you have to love them.
Oh no! I went there!
It is true though, some people do not feel an instant love for their step kids and that is very normal. There is no blended family rulebook that says you have to love them. It is not a natural thing to love someone you just met, unless, of course you give birth to them, then the natural motherly love is there.. That is a totally different thing. You would be surprised over time, how strong of a relationship you can build with your step kids. Moreover, just maybe grow to love them too.
We added an “ours” baby to our family in the winter of 2016. This human is the light of my life. I remember people telling me that I may love my stepdaughter, but loving your own child is different. They were so right.
I will admit that I do love my kids differently. This is because we have a different relationship with one another. I met my step kids when they were 6 and 13. I had never met them before. We needed to get to know each other and learn who each other was.
With my daughter, I knew her right from the start. I grew her inside me. She is half of me. There is nobody else on this earth right now, that knows what my body sounds like from the inside.
Instead of focusing on making sure everything is “fair”, we try to focus on making sure everyone has enough family time. This includes all of us together as well as one-on-one time. Life is not always fair, so I feel that this is a perfect opportunity to teach that to our kids.
My relationship with my husband’s ex-wife is really nothing juicy. We keep contact to a minimum, we communicate only if it has to do with the kids. Even so, she usually communicates through my husband. I am O.K. with that. It is what she is comfortable with so we just leave it at that.
The biggest thing that keeps our blended family strong comes down to the roots. You see, my husband and I have always promised that we were our number one priority, even before our kids.
Now, before you run to my doorstep with pitchforks hear me out!
The foundation of our family (or any family really) is the parents. My husband and I hold our family up. How can we do that if we have cracks in our foundation?
We make it a priority to check in with one another, to always try to be on the same page. If not the same page, at least the same chapter.
If we are not happy, the whole family knows it. We have so many exterior factors to worry about in our family (pick up/drop off schedules, ex-wife, child support, etc...) that we NEED to be a priority with one another.
Being part of a blended family is a tough gig and it is not a one size fits all. All blended families have their own story and their own ways of making it work. By sharing our journey, we hope to inspire other blended families and encourage you to keep on striving to make it work.
Hey! I am Bailey Eisenkirch. I am a motherhood influencer for my blog the Runner Up Wife. I am a second wife, step mom of two and a bio mom of one. I love sharing my journey through motherhood and blended family life. My goal is to have a place for all mothers to come to be accepted, no matter how they became a mother. After all, we are all just trying to make it to bedtime! You can find me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.