This year before Mother's Day we took my Step Son out to get his Mom a gift. He's 8 and to the point where the schools no longer send home those cute projects the preschoolers do and he's old enough to that he can begin learning how to show he cares on holidays. Blended family life is tough, let me tell you sometimes I want to pull out all my hair and be like "NOPE I'm out."
However as I've stated a lot on this blog, Kail didn't ask for his parents to break-up. He didn't ask for any of this. So, we sit together at his soccer games and school programs and do our best to make things work. It was Mother's Day and my husband had already taken the kids to do something for me, but he and I had a talk. Kail has me as his step-mom but then he has his Mom. She deserves to be recognized and Kail deserves parents who care about him enough to take him and help him do this. Kail got to go out and pick out a gift and card. We got him hyped for it and let him know we were excited to help him.
Even if you don't like your ex, love your child. Love your child enough to demonstrate to them how to care about all their parents. Realize that you wouldn't have your child if it weren't for that other person. While I support my husband and we did this together, Kai and I discussed how in the future this will be a Daddy and Kail activity. The reason being is that Kai and Kelly are his core parents. Kail is going to grow up to be a man, and it is the responsibility of the most important man he has right now, to show him how to treat women. You know the women that begins with: His Moms, very specifically his bio-mom. It's goes somewhat without saying that Kail would see the example of how his Dad treats me and that's all well and good but acknowledging his Mom in this way is bigger.
} Real-talk: Do we always get this right: no. Are we some mushy happy blended family that is all loving all the time: nope. Does Kail see how to treat his Mom well even without things like this: yes. However, that doesn't make it less important. You do your child a disservice if you can't see past disagreements to realize that how they grow, respect their parents, and feel supported in loving their parents is critical. If this does nothing else, it reiterates to Kail that his Dad and his Stepmom support him loving his Mom. In all the craziness a blended family can bring, you can never send that message too much and most likely it's always needed.
We have tried do so some of this in the past, we've made some birthday cards for his Mom but we certainly haven't been consistent. This year, hubs and I sat down and made the conscious choice that it's important we be consistent with this. Kail's Mom graciously thanked us and let us know she loved the gift Kail got her. She has also at various times reached out to our family as well; like taking Kail to get birthday presents for his brother, bringing us a blanket and gift her family made when we had Elena. All of these are small things but we hope they will add up to showing Kail that while this isn't perfect, we try to support each other- for him.
It's equally important that my children see this too. I can't predict the future they will have. As much as I hope a blended family isn't in their future because it's never the easy or fun route- it's best they see how we can do it smoothly- now. No matter how we try to shelter them, they are going to see or feel the conflict. We try very very hard when that happens to let them know that things are also going to be worked out and that everyone it trying to put them first. The same way we deal with conflicts in our marriage. We don't fight in front of our kids but they can certainly be aware that it happens. We try very hard for them to then witness the resolutions and apologies. Let your kids see you care about ALL of their family. When you do that, there are no losers, and your kids will only gain.