Have you seen the movie Blended with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore? I freaking love that movie! I love how it doesn’t paint this perfect picture of families and everyone getting along, it shows the real struggles that teenagers deal with with, the struggles that single parents deal with, and the real struggle of blending a family. Even though its ‘hollywood-ized’, the movie gives an idea or perspective on what blending a family looks like.
When Matt and I met, Austin was 9, EllaBleu was 7 and his son Grayson was 5 almost 6. We were both divorced and living our lives as single parents. I was a single mom for 7 years! Aside from 2 failed serious relationships, I was quickly realizing maybe I was meant to be single until I sent my kids off to college, and I was totally OK with that! Matt wasn’t single for long and thank God I snatched him up when I did. 😉
When Matt and I were first introduced we talked on the phone for several hours at a time. We got to know each other on such a deeper level before we even started dating. We knew each others dreams, deepest hurts, happiest memories, each others values and our commitments to God. We actually were exclusively dating for a couple of months before we introduced our kids to our relationship. 6 months later, we were engaged! Even though this seemed quick, we knew we were committed to each other and it was really important to us to demonstrate our commitment to each other, to our children. Our kids got along great, everyone was happy and we were one big happy ALMOST family….. We moved in with each other shortly after we were engaged (we would have liked to wait until we were married but given my lease being up we felt it was the right time) and talk about reality check! Our sweet happy kids turned on us and we quickly realized it was time for some direction and guidance from a professional.
Matt and I started pre-marital Christian counseling and I’m telling you, this saved our marriage and really our lives! Rikki (our counselor) not only guided us in the direction of having God even MORE in our relationship, but she made us realized the importance of putting each other first before our kids, which was a foreign concept to us as single parents (and a lot of parents in general). I lived, worked and breathed my kids for so long. As we started implementing the tools Rikki gave us we got a little kick back from the kids, but even after just a few weeks we started to see a shift. We got married in Laguna Beach on November 10, 2012 with our closest friends and family by our side and it was so amazing (besides 55 mph winds and freezing temperatures!)! We were on cloud nine but don’t get me wrong, it was a while before everyone settled into our new lives and the changes we were faced with. Then I found out I was pregnant with Hudson on our 1 month wedding anniversary! We knew we wanted a baby together, we just didn’t think it would happen that fast. Plus going from 2 to 3 kids seemingly overnight is really flipping difficult. I’m sure you’ve heard 3 is the hardest? Well its so true! There’s always someone left out, two are always arguing, one (or two) always has to be right, one is alway instigating the others, blah blah blah! I seriously wanted (and still do sometimes) to pull every last strand of my hair out. And I was about to have ANOTHER baby?! Am I freakin nuts?!!!! Yes, yes I was. I was also pregnant, psycho, emotional and fat. I bet you wish you were a fly on the wall during those 9 months haha! As you can imagine, the kids were emotional, I was obviously crazy emotional and Matt was our safety zone, the only sane one in the house. 😉
Fast forward to Hudson’s birth. I swear it was an instant change. Our little blended family went from being pieced together, to being COMPLETE. Hudson was (as my best friend Jennie says) our cherry on top. He completed our family. Austin, EllaBleu and Grayson no longer had something that separated them, but something they all had in common; a little brother. He is equally related to all of them. We had, and still do have, trials and bumps in the road that come up, but things shifted that very second Hudson was born and they all held him in their arms.
Our kids have been faced with challenges from going through a divorce, back and forth between homes, different rules and expectations in each home and every emotion imaginable that comes with it all. But Matt and I having a consistent home base, where our kids feels safe, and most importantly secure, has been top priority from day 1. Sure we have seasons of challenges in our marriage, neither one of us are perfect and we have disagreements and fights (I mean, there’s no pretty way to put it), but we’re committed to each other and raising our kids together. Plus we have a legal Covenant marriage (you can read what that is here) so basically we have no choice but to stay married forever ;). I tell people all of the time that if we met when our kids were a little older it would have been soooo much harder, and I really believe that it was Gods perfect timing.
My heart goes out to all of the blended families out there. I know every circumstance is different and not all situations are easy (ours could have been so much harder), but it was so much easier and smoother when we put God before it all. My prayer for those families is to try and put God first in your lives and marriage, seek counseling if you need to (its ok to get help!), be a solid foundation for your children, and the rest will fall into place.
Our journey with our kids is not over yet, I know there’s still trials to come, but we are committed to looking to God for answers and guidance, He’s got us this far! 😉
Thank you so much for reading!