The hardest task in my life at the moment is trying to figure out how to make my blended family work. Mark and I have been together for four years now. Our children have been together for two. We kept the children apart until we knew we wanted to be with each other forever. I never planned on my children meeting another man unless I knew it was the one. Divorce is hard enough on children without me putting my children on a ferris wheel,with each stop at the bottom having another Joe waiting to say, "Hey, do you want to play ball?"
I don't think about marriage again. Maybe one day I will. Divorce left a very bitter taste in my mouth. Kind of like rotten egg nogg, but not just swallowing the moldy drink, but gargling it for minutes, then swallowing and gagging until I just want to keel over and die. I do not want to go through that again.
So here we are, we have five children, three are mine and two are his. I have a sixteen year old daughter and boys that are eight and twelve. Mark has two girls twelve and nine. The kids adore each other, actually LOVE each other, and the kids love us. It is like one big playdate for them every Wednesday, Thursday and every other weekend. Our trips to Tahoe and Disneyland have been magnificient. We play tag, baseball, soccer, football, I bike ride with the kids all the time, we watch movies together, and are truly a family.
Here is the problem; Mark and I parent completely differently! I am carefree, he is strict, I am not the neatest person, he is a neat freak, I don't have a problem with kids wrestling in the house (I wrestle them), he does, Cade forgets to flush his latest bowel movement, Mark has a heart attack, scooters and bikes don't always get put away when they come in, I say "I am sure when they are adults they will remember to put their bikes and scooters away before dinner!" Basically, I have two boys, that are all boy, and he has two girls that are nice and quiet.
We go back and forth on punishments and what is acceptable. I will admit, my boys can get loud and obnoxious at inappropriate times. But I am always there to say, "Knock it off!" This is said of course, with my pointer finger on their nose right between their eyes with my teeth being held together so tight I get a headache, and let's not forget my mouth is a slit with the words coming through in such a frightening manner they step back and knock off whatever they are doing. These incidences are far and few between.
I choose my hills to die on. I won't go to extremes with my kids unless the circumstances are extreme. Mark dies on every hill. By the time he has climbed the hill of laundry on the floor, he is so exhausted, he could not possibly make it to the top of the hill where the child is running after the other one with scissors in hand.
It usually starts like this: "Heath, come on, this not acceptable!"
"Mark, it is not a big deal that they spilled milk."
"They were told to stop messing around. If they had stopped this wouldn't have happened!"
"Yes Mark, you are right. They were told to stop it. But they are cleaning it up, not having fun doing it, and they will go to their rooms after school for an hour."
"They don't get it! How many times do you have to tell them to settle down?"
And I say, "Probably, considering they are eight and twelve, I will have to tell them 1000 more times before they leave for college, calm down."
Guys, that equals about 100 times a year. You have to remember, I am close to my daughter, but I am a boy's mom. I teach them sports, I play basketball in the house with them with our little hoop, I race them on scooters, and we crack jokes all the time!
What to do! I am trying to compromise, but at the same time my boys can't be stifled! Tough situation. Especially considering I agree with some of Mark's complaints and I feel my boys will benefit from some of his rules, but other things that he thinks are so bad, I just don't agree.
I am going to start testing theory's that I have come up with on how to make this work. This is a great family, and I am going to keep trying. For there is more good than bad, but the bad is so irritating to me that I feel like walking up to a chalkboard and take my nails and scratch them down the board. I have thought about doing this with Mark tied to a chair, just kidding!
The good new is I am an optimist, that loves life, my children, Mark's children, Mark and our family. I will keep on keeping and pull the good from the bad, all the while, making sure Mark is feeling validated, and my boys are feeling loved by all! Whew!
Causes Heather Hogan Supports
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
Breast Cancer Awareness