There’s no such thing as EASY in a blended family. The reality is, even when things are good, blended family life can still be extremely awkward, complicated, and messy. So before you marry a man with children, here are 11 things you should know.
1. Sometimes you’re going to feel like an outsider in your own “family.”
Even if your step kids welcome you with open arms. Even if the ex likes you. You will feel left out when your husband jokes about being a parent in a conversation with friends and when he goes to school functions without you. You will get knots in your stomach every time you sit down at the dinner table, dreading what awkward or inappropriate comment is going to come out of your step child’s mouth this time. You will feel insecure when they laugh about old memories, because up until now, none of them involve you and it will take years to replace the old ones with new ones.
2. There is no newlywed honeymoon phase.
In fact, that first year of marriage can feel more like a nightmare. Your “marriage bed” doubles as a playground and your visions of waking up and cuddling with your new husband are quickly destroyed by the reality of a kid barging through your door unannounced at 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning. How romantic.
3. Your privacy is gone. Forever.
Even if you get used to a kid hanging out in your bedroom and bathroom like it’s a community space while you’re trying to get ready, you will never get used to the fact that everything that you say and do at your house will get repeated at the other house. Sometimes, it can even feel like you’re living with a spy.
4. Your brain is going to be completely and utterly exhausted.
You are going to overthink and overanalyze everything. You will replay things in your head and question yourself over and over again. And you are going to lay in bed, begging God to please tell you where the off button is!
5. Relaxing vacations and spontaneous road trips are a thing of the past.
Between work and coordinating schedules with the ex, the fun is sucked out of it before you’re even done planning it. And God forbid if you go anywhere without your stepchild. Then you’re the devil.
6. Your life now revolves around another woman’s schedule.
And when she messes with her schedule, she messes with your schedule. And this messes with your head. Unless your husband follows the visitation arrangement to a “T”, all of your plans are subject to change without notice.
7. Taking family photos will give you anxiety.
Yes, you want a picture of your beautiful blended family, but you also really want a picture with just you, your husband and the kids you have together. You will try to find sneaky ways to make this happen without hurting any feelings. You will secretly wish your family photos were like everyone else’s and didn’t include someone else’s child and then you will beat yourself up about that feeling for days on end. Maybe even weeks.
8. It will take your husband a while to figure out how to make the marriage top priority.
He will feel guilty for doing this and you will feel like he’s never going to take you off of the back burner. It will be a slow and painful transition for everyone, especially children who may feel replaced and resent you for it.
9. You’ll feel robbed when you’re finally forced to confront the reality your husband already experienced all of his “firsts” with someone else.
This usually doesn’t happen until you experience one of those firsts for yourself. By yourself. He will assure you it wasn’t special the first time, but you will still feel like you’re missing out on something that should have been yours. And yes, you knew all of this when you married him. And no, it doesn’t make it any easier.
10. You’ll feel a lot of scary things you’ve probably never felt before.
Like extreme resentment, bitterness, insecurity, jealousy, and maybe even hatred. You will think you are an absolutely terrible person and will constantly wonder what happened to the old you. If you don’t deal with them head on, these feelings will try to take over and turn you into what you fear the most—being an evil stepmother.
And last but not least…
11. You won’t regret any of it because your husband is SO worth it!
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Rachel Dunne, the Spiritual Stepmom. You can follow her journey on Instagram and her website. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
Read more from Rachel here:
‘My stepdaughter exploded a ketchup packet all over herself, me, my antique rug, and a dining room chair. If my five-year-old had done this, I would have FLIPPED.’: Woman shares realization about step-motherhood
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