One Crazy Blended Family Mom
We are woman, and we’re amazing. But let’s be honest, we are cursed with a touch of Crazy. At times, we crave drama and have a tendency to stir the pot. There are many of you reading this in disagreement; thinking to yourself, “I hate drama and am certainly above starting any.” This means you are NOT a redneck.
Now before you pat yourself on the back, you should know I’m not saying this because you don’t start drama, but only because you don’t admit to it. There is a lot of be said of a redneck woman – her name almost always ends in an “i,” she appreciates a cold beer over the finest Pinot Gris and might even have her name on the back of her belt. But what I’m concentrating on here is how a redneck woman embraces her Crazy and is cognizant of it even when the word “cognizant” might not be in her vocabulary.
I was raised a redneck. I have spent the majority of my adult life deciphering what “life lessons” learned in my childhood are actually applicable to a functioning adult. I’m from a town where no one seemed concerned that my ‘Mama’, a single mother of three, drove a Camaro and it wasn’t uncommon for her to get in a verbal altercation in the check-out line at Wal-Mart. As such, I am well-aware of my Crazy.
I caught the first bus out of my small town the day I turned 18 and by the time I met my husband 10 years later, I was proud to have suppressed most of my redneck. It was only when I began building a relationship with my husband’s ex-wife and the mother of my beautiful bonus daughter that I discovered I still have some redneck left deep down inside of me.
When I first met BioMom I was immediately empathetic to her position, but that empathy was quickly overshadowed by my womanly need to claim territory and be over-all more awesome than she. Obviously, this could only be achieved through passive-aggressive comments and pointing out her every flaw. In true feline form, the passive-aggression was reciprocated by BioMom. This went on for months before it began to take a toll on me. I still didn’t understand the seriousness of it until I saw the aftershocks affecting my husband and even my stepdaughter. I could sense a struggle in her to determine which house loved her more. And I knew it had to stop.
They say the first step to solving a problem is admitting it. This is where I was thankful for that small sliver of redneck left deep in my subconscious. I was well-aware of what was happening and the Crazy being slung around. This made it easier to begrudgingly admit it. I knew BioMom wasn’t blessed with a redneck upbringing and acknowledging what was happening would only result in denials and awkward conversation. So I decided to be the change I wished to see in the world. I tried to focus on BioMom’s positives and attempted to genuinely enjoy our relationship. I even made a conscious effort to smile when I saw her. It slowly began to work. I realized that while she may do things differently than I do, she loves Ady in her own way and that can’t be bad. Her subtle bursts of possessiveness over her daughter are only natural and I stopped taking it personally. My stepdaughter and I both understood my position in her life and BioMom would one day understand and accept it, but in the meantime she deserved the time to process.
It took time, but as months passed, I noticed her smiling back. We began sending each other pictures of the little girl we both love when we missed her and had open conversations about behaviors and activities at each other’s homes. There is a sense of peace that wasn’t there before. Things are comfortable and so much easier, even simple logistics. We still have disagreements, there will probably always be a bit of push-and-pull over decision making and sometimes maybe even a bit of Crazy will slip out, but even still we almost always work together to reach a resolution quickly and civilly.
For a happier and healthier blended family home life, I challenge you to channel your inner redneck; accept your Crazy so you can check it at the door.
Author Info: Lauren Brown is an accountant-turned-full-time-blended-family-mom. She and her husband Ken have two girls: Ken’s daughter from his first marriage and his baby girl with Lauren. Closely tracking a magically-fast toddler and calmly managing stepmotherhood are just two of her many accomplishments.