Moms and step moms do most of the parental heavy lifting
In the typical blended family, step mothers take on most of the parenting tasks for all the children in their households, bio children and step children alike. Whether this is due to societal expectations of women, or the realities of work schedules, blended family step moms tend to do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to nurturing, caring for, and dealing with step family kids.
Single parenting in a blended family
Step mothers generally assume responsibilities such as domestic household duties, transportation, calendars for visitation, dental and medical appointments, family and school events, plus they provide a sympathetic ear for social and school issues the kids bring home. While many men are happy and available to do their fair share, if her blended family partner is habitually distracted by work or other activities, or if he is a passive father, a step mother can feel like a single parent!
Stepping up to the job
Dads, please make sure you step up and fulfill your obligations as a husband, and as a father. Everyone knows that parenting works better when both adults agree on the values and expectations they convey to children. Actively show your commitment to your spouse, and to your common parenting goals. Never undermine or take sides against your wife in front of the kids; have your disagreements in private. The survival of your blended family depends on the strength of your relationship; give your marriage the full attention it deserves. And do not be afraid to take responsibility for establishing and enforcing rules your children and step children must follow! If your bio children see your wife as the problem regarding household rules and expectations, you are not only letting her down, you are letting your children down, as well.
Clear and frequent reassurance
Let your kids and step kids know that your purpose is to create a blended family environment where everyone is treated with respect, love, and consideration. Let them know that you intend to do what is necessary to achieve this important goal. From passing remarks to taking a parental position, make sure references to your marriage exemplify stability and permanence. Unless they see ongoing and reliable evidence to the contrary, many children hold on to a fantasy that their parents will someday get back together. As well, give you partner frequent understanding and empathetic assurances that you recognize and appreciate her efforts in making your blended family home a welcome place.
Hang in there
Whether you and your blended family partner fully understood the challenges ahead when you fell in love and decided to merge your two families, you know them now. Or at least some of them. With dedication, a sense of humor, patience, and lots of love and understanding, your family can achieve its goal of a stable and loving step family group. Be involved, engaged, and actively participate in your blended family. They deserve it, and so do you.