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If you haven’t read our about us page yet, you should! Go get all of the juicy details here.
But if you don’t have time…I’ll give you the short version. We are a blended family of eight, us plus 6 kids, 4 girls and 2 boys ranging in ages of 7-16.
We have 3 ex-s between us. The ugly reality is we have to work together with those ex-s to raise our kids. I am NOT going to lie to you; some days feel impossible and like I might end up in prison. When others feel like we totally have it all figured out and I could run my own TV show on how to co-parent. Like, I could seriously put Oprah to shame. But thats for a different blog, yet to be posted.
Six Little Hearts:
When we met, we took our “blending” very seriously and carefully. We dated for almost 6 months before we introduced kids and felt the gravity of the six little hearts we were protecting. I do have to say, we both take a lot of pride in the fact that out of all the people we dated we never introduced the kids to any one else.
What made this different:
I think we both were at a point in our lives that we were looking for someone to really make a relationship with; not just someone to date. This is where our relationship based itself from the very beginning, we didn’t waste time. We knew that if we weren’t looking at our relationship as something that could last forever why even bother. We had the conversations from the very beginning that were about where we were going in life. What kind of life we wanted, our real, deep beliefs were, our real, deep struggles were not only with the people around us but with ourselves. Now, I completely get that not everyone is there and it takes some serious honesty with yourself and the person you are dating to be at that level.
One reason we were able to achieve this is because of the way we dated. The nights that we had kids (before we did the introductions) we spent hours on the phone after the kids were asleep. And if I’m totally honest, that is one of my favorite things about our relationship, I seriously felt like a teenager again. I would hear his ringtone and my heart would leap, and my smile would take over my entire face…but again thats a different blog yet to be posted.
We had that time to really get to know each other and that allowed us to know where this was going from very early on and in turn protected those little hearts.
How we did the Introductions:
We threw a Super Bowl party. It worked out perfectly. It was a party; other people were there, and other kids and there was so much food. We had fun watching the game and commercials and we had something to focus on that wasn’t just each other. It was truly the perfect situation. To this day Super Bowl is a big day for us; we have a party every year and we call it our Blending Day.
Shortly after, we started spending weekend afternoons and some evenings for dinner together but we always went to our respective homes. By that summer we decided to go on vacation together. We thought it would be fun but it was also for me to meet Brian’s parents who live in a different state. I remember having many conversations about how this was such a monumental trip for us as a future family. We had to drive two cars for 14 hours! Yes, two cars! And it was a 10 day trip. I remember thinking to myself, well this will either destroy us or strengthen us. Well if it isn’t obvious it did not destroy us! I must also tell you that when we got home, which was on a Friday, I was shocked and pleasantly surprised that two of his kids wanted to stay with me and my son wanted to stay with him.
After vacation, we definitely spent more and more time together doing more “family” things like going to church, kids sporting events, cooking dinner together, watching movies, and playing games. But even at this point we still would go home at the end of the evening.
Taking the next step:
I don’t know exactly when, but at some point Brian had discussions with each of the kids about marriage. He had asked each of them individually about how they would feel about us getting married. Now, even though we had talked about it many times, I didn’t really know when or how it was coming. He actually even snuck in a secret dinner with my father and asked for his blessing, he’s such a traditional boy and I love it! He involved the kids in the ring, the proposal, everything. It was absolutely perfect and I was completely SHOCKED when he officially asked me to marry him. Again, I can completely do a post on how he did all of this….later. But we involved the kids in as much of the wedding planning as we could. The kids were our only “wedding party” they had so much fun and it was truly the happiest day of my life. In fact our youngest asks us almost weekly if we can do the wedding day over again.
The things I learned through this:
- Online dating works if you can muddle your way through the awful dates.
- Give yourselves 5-6 months before you introduce kids to the other person or to their children.
- Talk on the phone! Its so much fun! And if you are a child/teenager of the 90s it will bring back so many memories. Oh,and use your headphones instead of holding your phone, trust me, it helps.
- When you are ready to do the introductions; throw a party. If you don’t have an excuse like we did, make one up. Kids love parties! Have mutual friends and if possible other kids there too.
- Don’t be surface. Take the time to really have honest conversations about real things.
Just My Opinion:
The above statements are just my opinion based off my personal experience. I am not trained as a counselor or advisor in any way.