Our first holiday photo as a blended family of eight.

Our first holiday photo as a blended family of eight in 2012.

Post #1 – Background

If anyone had told me when I was growing up that I would one day have a blended family of six children or that my husband and I would each have two ex-spouses, I’d have laughed heartily in their face and walked away, completely confident that would never be me. And yet, here we are. Almost ten years in and everyone is still alive.

I remember my closest friends asking me before my wedding day if I was really ready to take on step-mothering three children I barely knew, along with mothering my own three children. And even if I thought I was, was I also ready to take on co-parenting with two ex-spouses/bio-moms who (more than likely) would not want much to do with me? My affirmative answers to both only illustrated just how naïve I was about how much my life was about to change. But, again, here we are, almost ten years later and everyone is still alive. I know I’ve already pointed out that fact, but I often feel like this might be our greatest accomplishment. Not even kidding. What doesn’t kill you, or drive you to murder, makes you stronger, right? (wink, wink)

Well, the past decade has taught me (and my family) a lot… like, a WHOLE lot. Some lessons were easier than others. Some lessons felt like they might pull us apart limb by limb. But here we are, and I feel as if I could write several self-help books on the topic of blended families at this point in the hope of allowing new stepparents and blended families to learn from our experiences before choosing to jump into the crazy way of life.

As a family court attorney who focuses her practice exclusively on private Guardian ad Litem work, I often find myself in the role of being somewhat of a “blended family coach” for some of the families I work with. So, why not share some of my experience and insight through the firm blog so others can benefit without the need for family court litigation.

The opinions and advice offered are just that – opinions and anecdotes that have either worked or didn’t work for our family from my perspective as a bio-mom, a step-mom, a third-wife, and a family law attorney/Guardian ad Litem. It’s not meant to be a one-size-fits-all solution for every family court case. Every family is different and every family court case is certainly not the same. What has worked for us may not work for you or your family, but I’m a firm believer there’s always something new to learn from someone else’s war stories. The hope is that by getting really honest about what life in a blended family is really like, we can start a conversation about how to manage separations, divorces, and remarriages in a better way – one which serves our children rather than destroying them.

IMPORTANT NOTE: For families dealing with serious mental health issues, domestic violence issues, substance abuse issues, or criminal activity of one or both parents, this series of blog posts won’t apply much at all. Those cases are not generally candidates for any form of co-parenting. However, I will have future blog posts that will explore some of these issues as they relate to child custody cases.

Stay tuned for the next post in the series: 5 Things Stepmoms Want Bio-Moms To Know