I remember lying in bed with my children trying to find the words to comfort their confused minds after I separated from their father. At the tender ages of 3 and 5, we started a new life. It was hope for a better situation for me, but for them, it was the beginning of a life filled with change and diversity. I spent many bedtimes reading a wonderful book called Love Is a family, by Roma Downey.
Roma compassionately handed me her story shortly after my divorce. I must admit, "Love Is A Family" was a book for my children and for me. It depicted the different types of pictures that all families portray. Some have single parents, some have multiple children, some have grandparents, some have adopted parents, some have an only child, some have lost a mom or dad, some have foster children, etc. The point is that families come in all different shapes and sizes. On some days, someone else’s family may look more desirable than your own. BUT…..LOVE is a family. That is what defines mine, and love is what matters most.
After a heartbreaking divorce, I found myself guilty, unprepared and in a whole lot of pain. What I didn’t realize was that my need for change and freedom was not going to be fulfilled for many years until I learned how to deal with the many changes and find a new peaceful happiness.
On some days, I feel that I will forever be mending broken hearts. On other days I know that the changes that took place in my family were necessary, and I am teaching my children important life lessons because of those changes.
There are many challenges attached to raising children in two different homes. What I have learned is that communication and patience are very important.
I turned to a child psychologist to help give me necessary tools and a language that my children could understand. She gave me the words and many answers to satisfy my girls’ minds. Some things she told me were to be consistent, matter of fact, keep things simple, and always allow children to feel that I have things under control (even when I did not).
So much of divorce is not age appropriate for children, yet they are right in the thick of it and they NEED clarity. It’s totally an individual journey, and everyone’s is different. For me it was a huge help to have a professional guide me through ways of answering my children’s many important questions. Looking back, I wish I had been better prepared for the pain and adversity they were going to experience. The conversations I have with my girls now are totally different than the ones I had with them 5 years ago. Our dialogue will continue to change as they do. Divorce is never ending for the children. It’s still hard, but love and love and love gets us through.
Raising a blended family is complicated, but it can be beautiful and rewarding as well. My blended family gave me two additional amazing children, and allowed my first daughters to become big sisters. Having more children also bonded my first two with their stepdad. Really, I have 9 people to consider in my blended family. We consist of two stepparents, my ex, my 4 children and a stepsister. That’s a lot of personalities to consider. And trust me, if you have children and an ex, you will have to deal with the ex’s new family too.
My family is kind of like a mosaic piece of art….. That’s why when I began writing my book, The Naked Mom, “I couldn’t fathom writing your typical handbook for modern moms. We’re more complicated than that. It’ll suck the soul right out of you if you buy into the popular how-to propaganda that portrays life as some giant jigsaw puzzle that you can solve if you’re just clever enough or patient enough to piece together all the pre-cut pieces. What I envision is more of a mosaic, forever shifting and changing design, color and mood. You can take the same tiny stones and create a placid lake or turbulent sea. Once you start sorting those countless little fragments, a pattern will emerge. You have to take that much on faith, then let skill and imagination fill in the rest of the masterpiece.” – An excerpt from The Naked Mom
Your family can become a masterpiece too, no matter what size it is. Sometimes you need to change your point of view and embrace it all. There will be good days, and bad days, but it’s all workable through love.