Today, we are blessed to read the words of Elizabeth. She and her husband said “I do” to stepfamily life with three kids one year ago. In that time, Elizabeth learned valuable lessons about building a stepfamily that she shares in this installment of the Gift of Stepmom series. Learn from her great wisdom and gain hope from her beautiful perspective of life in a blended family.
5 Things I’ve Learned about Building a Family by Elizabeth Wood
Building a family with stepchildren while you’re a newlywed is an adventure. Sometimes, it feels like ziplining over a shimmering pond and at other times, it feels like the cable has broken and you’re freefalling into water filled with hungry alligators.
My husband and I were married last year; we have three children. I have two biological children and he has an adopted daughter, but what matters the most to me is that we all have each other.
My husband’s boss fondly refers to us as “The Brady Bunch.” Carol Brady, I am not. But I am doing my best as we build our life together.
So far, I’ve learned these five things:
- Precious memories will be made.The kids may swap stories in the backseat about their favorite memories when you weren’t in their lives yet. It will make you feel like you’ve become invisible. Give it time. The next road trip you’re taking might be the one they talk about for the rest of their lives.
- People will ask questions, or chime in with opinions. People love to compliment parents on how much their children look like them. My biological children get compliments about how much they look like their stepdad. My stepdaughter never receives any such compliments because she doesn’t look like anyone else in our family. A blended family’s foundation is love, and a family based on love is not so different from every other family out there.
- Sometimes, it’s so easy. Belly-laughing during family game night. Holding hands tighter in the parking lot when a motorcycle zooms by too close. Savor those special bonding moments when you realize they’re happening, no matter how brief they are.
- You are a parent raising a child. Encourage yourself, even if no one else (besides your spouse!) is encouraging you. Be a good role model even if other adults are not. Speak up and ask a question during a parent-teacher conference. Help with homework.
- Everyone isn’t going to like you.This is true for every person on Earth, but when building a family with stepchildren, it seems magnified. There might be exes who act like they wish you didn’t exist, and teachers or fellow parents who treat you like you don’t matter. But they don’t know your story, and it isn’t any of their business.
Which one of Elizabeth’s lessons can you most closely relate to? Which of her lesson’s are the most challenging for you to accept? What lessons have you learned about building your stepfamily?