Couple Learns to Blend The Lines of Love
By Nichole Richardson
(Editor’s note: Correspondent Nichole Richardson discusses the roles of parenting a young child when she brings a new man into their lives.)
As a Mother, there are so many things to worry about; ranging from the most minute of things like how long those Cheerios have been on the floor, all the way through how to ensure you raise a child full of integrity, virtue, and empathy for others.
The job of Parenting is a beautifully fine line of catch and release and as fluctuating as the highest of waves.
As a single parent, these worries worsen when the dynamic of a new partner is involved. You wonder how this person will affect your child; you worry if your child will ever feel torn between the old and new; you watch closely and on baited breath, their reactions; and you wish for the best.
Recently I got engaged and the issue of blending a family has been spotlighted. Fortunately for me, my fiancé has no children of his own and my daughter is only three and still young enough that she has no resentment towards him. She doesn’t have to share a room with a step-sibling and she doesn’t have to share me either.
However, that got me thinking of how different things would be if she were older and how much harder it becomes to successfully blend a family. There are so many dynamics to consider. Each family being its own book of stories gleaning examples of trial and error; mixing kids and structures and routines until they all fold into one beautiful mess.
But I also believe, as much as people and situations are distinctly unique, there must be some common staples in this process that apply to everyone taking on this sometimes challenging process. Things like having a respectful household, open communications and a clear set of rules.
For example, parents should never make their child choose or take sides between them, and it is imperative never to talk badly about the child’s other parent within their presence. I also believe in appropriately integrating the new partner into the child’s life with much patience and with firm rules regarding discipline.
Luckily, my fiancé and I agree on all these things and we plan to include my daughter in as much as is feasible, considering her age. After all, he asked both of us to marry him and made sure to incorporate her in the engagement so I have the utmost faith that that will never waiver.
While it is still early in our engagement and no definite wedding plans have been set yet, one thing is for sure: my daughter will be decked out in a beautiful dress walking down that isle tossing petals without a care in the world. And we all can’t wait to watch her; that is if I can see through the tears.
All in all, the road is longer for some than others. We all just want our children to grow up happy, healthy, and safe. No matter what type of family one has; a happy child, is a happy child, and having a blended family just means there’s so many more people to adore them. Now…where’s that Cheerio?
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