I’ve found it really hard to write anything for the past few weeks. Life since the accident has been difficult to say the least. My fiancé has a constant barrage of continuing health issues, recovery, doctors and specialist visits, and then all of the associated dealings in regards to insurance, licensing etc. On top of that is normal life – financial concerns with her out of work for a while, and now back working part time, the stresses of my job, and then of course – the kids.
The last couple of weeks has opened my eyes up to the fact that the kids are dealing with so much of their own. It breaks my heart whilst also making me proud for the way they deal with life. Very conflicting emotions. Our youngest is dealing with the dynamics of her father’s family vs our family. For such a young girl, it’s obviously difficult for her to realise her place in each family. Especially of course, because in her fathers – she is the eldest, and in ours, she is the youngest. She also has four parents with their own mannerisms, and ways of doing things to deal with. What she might take for example, as anger, because I might have a frown on my face (and perhaps when she sees that on her dad’s face it means anger), is actually me running the household, getting kids to put away their clothes while I make dinner and clean up the kitchen, or try to get us all organised and out of the house on time. She’s so young, and I know all we can do is keep talking to her, reassuring her, and know that in the long run she will realise where she fits in and the dynamics of each household and parenting teams.
She also unfortunately, is seeing relationship cracks for her dad. He doesn’t seem to do a good job of keeping their relationship issues away from the kids. From what we can tell (and yep, I admit we only have a 5 year olds feedback here), it seems her father and his partner tend to have fairly public fights in which she disappears with the other kids for a couple of days to get away from it. That has to have her wondering why her siblings are being taken away from her and why her effective “step-mum” doesn’t want to be around her. She hasn’t expressed those feeling yet, so hoping she’s not at that point. It’s a tough one, because without the full story we can really only try to assure her they will work things out and everyone fights but it’s about being able to sort it out and move on.
Our youngest boy is dealing with his new school like a trooper, forming new relationships with friends and teachers. On that side of things, he couldn’t be happier. But, as does happen, he seems to be having issues with separation from his mother now. Given it’s been so many years, I find this weird and he doesn’t seem to want to, or doesn’t seem able to talk about it. I just have to give him time I think, and keep reminding him we are here to talk and we love him.
For our eldest girl, she has moved to the extension classes in her school. We couldn’t be prouder, she has achieved so much in the last couple of years. Her academic improvement is astounding. On the whole she is dealing with high school like a champion. She is making new friends, being invited to houses and parties, and handling increased responsibility at home really well. I am just cautious because she’s so emotional like me, and I know it hurts her when things go bad, especially if she has bad experiences with other kids at school. I am trying so hard to teach her to be resilient. Fingers crossed there.
Then comes our eldest boy, or, if you think of him how he sees himself, our young man. He’s a frustrating beast. He shows such maturity in some areas, for example, he seems very able to cope with life and change, and is brilliant at school and forming personal relationships. In other areas, like responsibility (sometimes), or with his relationships with his siblings, he can act like a 5 year old boy. Very frustrating 🙂 All in all, I think he’s doing an amazing job with life, and with coping!
All of the above being said, the older three are all dealing with the ever changing and unsure dynamic they have with their mother. Our eldest is on very rocky ground and finding her way of life to be hard to deal with. They all have some serious expectations placed on them by their mother, and consequence of not meeting those (as in, punishments or being told off) weighs heavily on them. I feel so bad because one of the big issues for me in the marriage was that feeling of “treading on egg shells” with her – constantly. Living that way makes you very anxious, and the kids are expressing the same type of feelings to me, about their relationship with her. I try to offer advice, but I feel like if I couldn’t ever figure it out, how can I advise them? I’m just hoping that I’ve learnt enough from my experiences that some of my advice makes it easier for them.
Family dynamics, and different rules/lifestyles have to be some of the biggest confusing factors for children of separated/blended families. As parents, we have to remember how hard it has to be for those little humans to reconcile the differences and feel at home in both environments. As long as they feel safe, comfortable and loved in both environments, I like to think they can deal with the differences.