Showing posts with label Blended Family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blended Family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blended Family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blended Family. Show all posts

Healthy Family Advice

Can't We All Just Get Along?

The last few articles have been on the subject of mental health and the breakup of the family unit. As the family situation changes, so do the matters of family concern. Of course, how you deal with these changes affect the future mental health of your children, but don’t forget to take care of yourself. As mentioned in a previous article, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” My advice is this, self-care is a key element to a happy, healthy family, but be careful, don't over do it.

                                                  This post contains Amazon and other affiliate links.

healthy relationships how to get along self care  quote


If you’ve come off a long-term, unhealthy relationship, chances are you’ve been neglecting self-care. Self-care is key to your happiness. Newly separated or divorced individuals might choose to jump out into the dating scene. At first, it's exciting and new. If you've been in a bad situation, going out on dates and having fun can feel like self-care, but you need to be careful that all that good time fun having doesn’t lead to an even more unhealthy rebound relationship. Just like our children, we need to make healthy choices.

Practice being alone. I can’t emphasize this enough. Spend time alone. As much time as it takes for you to get over the pain. And as much time as you need to grow as a person. Learn from your mistakes and take care of yourself.  As I age, I see intelligent women jumping into relationships. Perhaps, they’ve been a stay-at-home mom. Maybe they’ve never held a full-time job. Some never had the chance to go to college. They’ve never managed their own finances. Often, they feel like they just can’t handle the responsibilities of taking care of themselves and their children. So, they go out on a man hunt. The goal is to find a better man than the last one. Some are looking for a man to meet their financial expectations, others are looking for companionship, and some are looking for a father figure for their children. Whatever the reason, they jump into a relationship too soon. Been there done that. 


Healthy Family


I got married while still in college. It was okay. Just okay. I wanted to be happy, but we were young and a lot was missing in the relationship. At that point in my life, the idea of a wedding was more important than the idea of a marriage. We were friends and companions struggling to find common ground, but something was always missing. Both of us had placed our focus on gaining knowledge and prepping for a career and little attention was given to intimacy. As starving college students, there was no money for fun things and then we jumped into buying a house, and then another house, and then it all just got way too overwhelming. There was simply no fun to be had.

Eventually, we talked to friends, family, and clergy. We attended counseling. It all pointed to the same thing, we just didn’t have the same goals or the same outlook on life. We ended the relationship in an amicable fashion. And that’s when my real troubles started. I briefly dated, but playing the field has never been my thing. Dating in your late 20’s is an experience that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Ugh. It’s a brave new world. With my thirtieth birthday looming over my head, I really wanted to settle down and start a family before it was too late. I had some great men to choose from, two were truly amazing with interesting careers. One was neither amazing, nor did he have a great career. He was lucky to hold down a job. But he had what I wanted. A little girl. My family doctor and the counselor both advised against any serious relationship or even dating after the first year of a breakup, but my biological clock was ticking. Tick tock. Having been told I likely could never have children, I jumped at the chance. 

However, that wasn’t the only thing. He was fun. Oh so fun! He loved to dance, hike, bike, play sports, cook, and clean. One day, he called me one of the “cools.” I had been feeling lost. I was never cool. I wanted to do all those things I felt I’d missed out on in high school and college. Except I didn’t. I was still that goody two shoes inside. His risky lifestyle stressed me out. We fought. Among other things, he drank. He was verbally, emotionally, and physically abusive. It was like a dark movie from one of those cable tv channels for women. That was my first rebound.

After that, I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to pick myself up again. I had a lot of counseling. I saw a psychiatrist. I took various medications. Was I suicidal? Not really, but it seemed like life had gotten the best of me. I felt like a failure in every way imaginable. No kids, no career to speak of, and no real chance to recover from all the despair because, in my head, I was old. Oh, so old. I turned to online dating. It was uplifting to have so many men interested in dating me. It was also terrifying. That was the start of rebound number two. Not only did I not wait a year to date, in only a few short months I had moved in with a man and was pregnant. At the time, it seemed like he had everything I wanted. A good job, two kids, pets, a nice home. He was a widower and that (like the alcoholism before him) fulfilled my need for codependency. I had something to do, people to take care of, and dreams to fulfill. Except, we were less compatible than the previous rebound relationship. Shortly after my son was born, I became pregnant again.

Things weren’t ideal, but I always questioned myself. Why not? Maybe I was the problem. I should’ve been content. I was determined to make it work. I mean, after all, he wasn’t abusing me. He yelled a lot. It triggered old feelings from the previous relationship. I cried a lot. It made him mad. I cried more. It was an endless cycle. We barely knew each other. We met online. We were both lonely. As it came to be that he was my only friend for many years, we were really never friends. We both tried. The harder I tried, the more difficult it got. And now, there were kids involved. I didn’t want to break up the family unit. I didn’t want my kids to come from a broken home. Ugh, the damage I did to all of us by trying to stick this one out. We were the absolute opposite of compatible. I will spare you the gory details.

I had so many health issues. I spent months in bed, with nothing more to do than reflect on my past. I knew it had to end. But I was scared. Could I do it alone? Was I strong enough? I started stepping up my game, working harder from home, seeing various specialists and improving my health, and building credit. Once I knew what had to be done, I still wasn’t ready to do it. Things finally worked out in a way that made ending the relationship the most logical decision. It was difficult, but I didn’t need to seek counseling. I threw myself into my work, my writing, and the remodeling of my new house.

After years of thinking about it, deep down, I knew if I were ever to have another relationship again, I’d have to be strong. I’d have to take care of myself first, I’d need a break. I wrote down the pros and cons of dating. Months passed. I thought about what I wanted. What I needed, who I wanted and why. I realized I didn’t need a man to be happy. But I wanted that companionship that had eluded me for most of my life.


Why it's okay to Need a Man


It was always the same set of traits that had always led me to the same conclusion. But, I didn’t want to make the wrong choice with the right choice. So, naively, I  attempted to play the field again, but I didn’t date. I just talked. I talked to several old friends and acquaintances. This time no online dating, no strangers. I weaned them all out. I settled on one for an attempt at dating. We talked for weeks before meeting in person. I knew him from high school. He seemed to fit the criteria. But low and behold, it was a mistake. A big mistake, but one I wanted to cling to because I was sad and lonely. I had basically given up. I was about to turn fifty. There was no more time for mistakes. If I thought dating in my late twenties was hard - whoa. In your fifties, it’s a whole new frontier. Casual dating wasn’t an option for me. 

I took a few weeks to get myself together. I pulled out my list again, and this time, I realized what I always needed had always been there. Sometimes, you just need a friend.


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4 Suggestions for Smooth Living with Blended Families

Advice for Blending Families

Blending two families together as one can prove to be challenging, especially when different personalities and needs come into play. With children entering the equation on both sides and different parenting styles suddenly merging, it's important to make sure everyone's feelings, needs and wants are taken into consideration before moving in together. 


Read about one of our contributor’s experiences with Blending Families.


Preparing to live together as a family means discussing finances, making sure everyone has their own space, and/or preparing children for the big change in one way or another. Here are some suggestions for making the transition of becoming a blended family as smooth as possible.


This post contains Amazon and other affiliate links.


Advice for Blending Families


1. Hash Out Child-Rearing Approaches

Different attitudes on child rearing can make or break a home. Not everyone has the same parenting style. While some parents are considered "pushovers," allowing their children to get and do whatever they want (with no ability to say "no,") other parents are a bit more disciplined. When two people with different child-rearing approaches come together as one blended family, it can be difficult when an incident occurs with their children.

To keep everyone on the same page, it's important to discuss child-rearing techniques and approaches before you move in together. Indeed, it makes for a much more peaceful home. Remember, children need consistency, so try to address this important issue as soon as possible. You don’t want to have to learn your new partner's child rearing stance the hard way. 


Follow our Parenting Tips board on Pinterest.


2. Ensure Everyone Has Their Own Space

Blending d├ęcor is one of the many challenges facing soon-to-be blended families, but it's completely doable. If it's within your budget, consider letting each child have their own room, which can go a long way in helping smooth out living situations and making sure everyone gets along with each other. It can also help to let your children decorate their own space and put their own stamp on it. This can help them feel a sense of belonging. 

When it comes to designing and outfitting a child's bedroom, consider any number of bedroom sets that show off your children's style and personality. Whether you decide to shop online or head to one of their stores, you'll be able to find all that you need to truly make your new house feel like home for everyone. Be sure to include the child in the process. It’s a fun family experience and can help a new parent bond with their step children.


3. Discuss Your Finances

Before you become a blended family, discuss how you'll manage your finances. Will you keep separate bank accounts and split the bills down the middle? Or, will you have a joint bank account to which you'll each contribute? Think about how you'll handle spending, especially if one partner makes more than the other. It’s always a good idea to keep some finances separate, particularly if you both have full-time careers and are used to spending your money your way. It’s always good to create a joint account for mutual household expenses.

Will one partner need to consult the other before making a large purchase? If so, what amount constitutes a large purchase? Will you have to discuss purchases when it comes to your children or will you have the freedom to decide how you spend your money on them? To avoid arguments in the future, these are some things you should think about before you blend your families together. 


4. Prepare Your Children for the Move

If you want things to go smoothly once the big day arrives, making sure your children are prepared for the move is essential. Let them know ahead of time when and what will happen, so they'll be better equipped to handle the changes ahead. Sit down with your children and discuss the move so they can express their feelings about it.

While you're not exactly asking their permission, it's important to let them know that their feelings and concerns are valid and that you'll help them sort through them if they feel overwhelmed or anxious about their new living situation. Talk about the new routine and let them know you won't love them any less with new children coming into the picture. Be sure to remind them they'll still have a space to call their own- and make sure they do, even if it is a little nook in your dining room!


You might also want to prepare your pets for a life change.


Preparing to Blend Families

Blending families is rarely easy, if ever, but taking the above steps into consideration can help make the transition a bit easier for everyone involved. It also helps keep the peace and ensure everyone is on the same page so that you can work together to create a smooth living situation for the entire family.



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Get Pregnant Calendar: Fertility Calculator and Tips

Looking for a Fertility Chart, Calendar, or Calculator?


Are you dreaming of having a family? Excitedly wishing and hoping for a positive pregnancy test? When you make the big decision to start a family, it can be exciting, scary, and overwhelming. When is the best time to try? Are their tips to help you get Pregnant? What can you do to help the process? Scroll Down for a Fertility Calculator and a Printable Calendar ChartEnjoy!
It was difficult for us. Once we made the decision, we were eager to have a little one join our family. It was not an easy journey for us and as our friends excitedly announced their pregnancies, we were thrilled for them, but anxious for it to be our turn. Maybe you are in the same boat or maybe you have just started trying.


Get Pregnant Calendar: Fertility Calculator and Tips
Get Pregnant Calendar: Fertility Calculator and Tips.
What if you knew there was an over the counter product that could aid you in your journey to natural conception? A product that was proven and safe.

Conceive Plus® Fertility Lubricant can help achieve pregnancy.



Fertility Products to help get pregnant.
Conceive Plus® Fertility Products to help you get pregnant.
Conceive Plus® fertility lubricant is an excellent product for all couples trying to conceive. This trusted and side-effect free lubricant can work for you. If you have just started trying or have been trying for a while, Conceive Plus® fertility lubricant can help increase your chances of getting pregnant naturally!



Conceive Plus® is a fertility friendly personal lubricant that is isotonic and has a controlled pH that is safe for sperm, embryos and the process of fertilization. 

Conceive Plus is different to other sperm friendly lubricants because it contains Calcium and Magnesium ions, these are essential for the process of fertilization and actually help increase the chances of getting pregnant, naturally. It is available in both convenient pre-filled applicators and also in a multi-use tube bottle. The pre-filled applicators can be used up to 15 minutes discreetly before then use the multi-use tube together with your partner.

Conceive Plus® Fertility
Recommended by hospital, doctors and fertility clinics globally since 2008 Conceive Plus is FDA cleared and now available in the United States from just $14.90. There are several retailers who carry it.

Conceive Plus® has been available since 2008, and there are thousands of user reviews and success stories from couples trying to conceive. Visit their website to find out more. Follow them on: Twitter Facebook Pinterest

We love being parents and are so thankful for each of our kids. While our journey to parenthood wasn’t as easy as many of our friends, it was totally worth it. Wishing you the best on your journey to parenthood.
We found this helpful fertility calendar chart to help you on your journey. Hop over to TheBump.com for a free printable PDF.


free printable fertility chart get pregnant calendar
Free printable fertility calendar
 chart to help you get pregnant.

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If you have just started trying or have been trying for a while, Conceive Plus® fertility lubricant can help increase your chances of getting pregnant naturally! Now available from selected online retailers from just $14.99. SASMAR Conceive Plus® sponsored this blog post. The opinions and text are all mine.




Schedule Dates with Your Children: Mommy and Me Days Make Lifetime Memories

Tracey Thomas is the Chief Elf at Santa's Elves of Indy. She is a frequent guest blogger for Kids Creative Chaos. This week, she shares her insights on the Mommy Share. Do you take your kids out for special alone time with Mommy or Daddy? Here are some ideas for mommy-dates with your children.

Mom and Me Day


We have a large family, which means busy schedules and lots of group interaction. Don’t get me wrong, I love our big family, but sometimes the craziness that is our lives leaves little room for individual time with the kids. With my oldest son, “mommy and me” time wasn’t scarce at all, because he had no competition, but after baby #2 came along, it started becoming evident that I would need to build in time to spend one-on-one with him. It is now 12 years later and, not only have I acquired 4 children of my own, but also 2 step-children and I still try to build in that individual time with the kids.

things to do with kids ideas for mommy and me time orchard trip
A trip to the orchard is a special treat that doubles as edutainment.

In a perfect world, I would have an endless bank account to pull from that would allow me to take each child on an exotic weekend excursion, but here in the real world, this isn’t exactly the case. Ok, so it isn’t the case AT ALL. So to preserve the budget and to help keep our time special, each month a different child gets to have their day. Sometimes, it’s something as simple as driving to the nearby frozen yogurt shop and sometimes, when the funds allow, we will plan something a little more expensive, like going to the movies, or out to dinner, etc.

things to do with kids ideas for mommy and me time movies
What kid doesn't love the movies, even better when you only have to share popcorn with  Mommy.
For my son’s 12th birthday, he opted to combine his birthday present with his “Mom & Me” day and was able to have an afternoon downtown with his friends. To date, this was actually one of my favorite “Mom & Me” days with him because, even though I had to share it with four other 12 year old boys, the extra-sweet bonus was when he still wanted to sit by good ole Mom during the basketball game at the end of the night.

things to do with kids ideas for mommy and me time orchard trip
Too cool for Mom... not this boy!
As our kids get older, make new friends, and gain new freedoms, they will have less time for Mom. Until that time, and as far into it as I can get, I will always try to maintain the one-on-one visits with the kids. It’s our time to catch up, hang out, and stay connected. And I hope that “Mom & Me Day” will become as important to them as it is to me. 

Check out her other posts in the boxes below and on the sidebar.  She is the author of "Slurpin' for Worms".

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Introducing Tracey and her Tempo


Tracey's Tempo

His, Mine, and Ours 
Our Life as a Big Blended Family   
Every parent knows that raising a family of any size and structure is a challenge. Every child has their own personality and the bigger the family,the more of a Master Schedule/Juggler you become.Then there are mixed families; couples that marry, or remarry, partners that have children from a previous marriage or relationship. This is the case for our family. In fact, in our case, things are even a little more complicated.


When I was introduced to my (now) husband, Mark, I had two young children, a five year-old son, Garrett, from a previous relationship (one of those short-lived “what was I thinking” relationships that change the course of everything), and a three year-old daughter, Ainsley, from a previous marriage.


Mark also had two children of his own, eight year-old daughter, Emma, and six year-old son, Alex, both from a previous marriage. Almost six years later, we now have a four year-old daughter, Olivia, and one more on the way, due in late September.


As you can imagine, schedules often overlap and clash and it is just something we have to work through. Sometimes it is asking for help from one of the kids other parents, sometimes it is Mark leaving work early to help, and sometimes we just have to let something slip through the cracks, which is always a disappointment but sometimes just needs to be done.