When life’s normal challenges weigh you down and make you grouchy, parenting a blended family can be harder than usual. If you lose your cool with your spouse or kids, acknowledge it, forgive yourself, and move on! Being lovably imperfect does NOT make you a bad person.
Usually when I get home from work, I am thoroughly excited to have fun with my family, make dinner and hang out. The way I see it, work is a good thing, but it’s not my top priority. It’s the support mechanism that helps keep our family afloat, and the time I have with my family is the core of I live for. I think this says a lot about how amazing my family is, because my work is hella fun. Being a writer nurtures my brain and being a floral designer is the perfect outlet for my urge to make the world pretty.
But sometimes the tangential aspects that flow from work–an unreal story deadline, a bi-polar customer or Orlando’s hideous commuting traffic–will put me in a bad mood. One day not too long ago, I arrived home to children who needed my patience and understanding, and I had none to give, or at least I thought I didn’t. I barked at one and made her cry, and then marched off to the kitchen to begin my nightly routine in front of the stove.
Todd gave me the stink-eye, but he didn’t need to. I already felt bad, and I went on to feel bad for a week. My own behavior really bummed me out. Long after everyone else had forgotten about it, I was still feeling guilty. I had to let go of that nagging weight, and the only way to do so was to apologize. Forgiveness comes readily from our kids, and what a relief it is. When I told our little sweetie I was sorry for losing my temper, she thought about it for a minute and then said, “Oh, I weememboo dat. You were mad. But dat’s okay.” And she reached out her hands to me.
Forgiveness is good for the forgiver and the forgivee. It heals the soul for both.
Our kids are small, and so eager to please and stay connected. When children get older, they can hold grudges, taking longer to forgive. As parents, we have to continue to parent in confidence and not get caught in the guilt trap when our teens hold our mistakes over us. It takes strength and maturity to guide your family even as you and they bear with your human flaws. That’s a bigger topic for another day, but what’s equally relevant to parents of children of any age is this: forgiving ourselves is the first step to moving forward, however small or large our blunders are.
Author Info: Sarah Kinbar was co-founder of Big Blended Family, Inc. She’s a proud mom in a blended family, and has two kids and two stepkids. She works at a flower shop and also freelances as a writer and editor.