September 18, 2012

The family smoothie


If current research is to be believed then step or blended families are the fastest growing family type in Australia today. The increasing divorce rate, the search for happiness and meaning and a woman’s capacity to say no when it isn’t working might all be contributing to this emergence of a family group that doesn’t look as white bread as it used to. Nuclear families be gone.

My family is a blended one. The word blended always sounds like a smoothie to me, the type of smoothie that exists when you have a few odds and ends left in the fruit bowl and you pop them together whizz them up and find that, despite the colour and texture, they all taste pretty good when mixed together.

Last year I joined the P&C at my daughters school. One of the men, who had been on the committee when my husband had joined five years prior (when his girls had started at school) came and introduced himself to me. I pointed out that we had met, that he knew my husband. His response ‘oh that’s right you’re his other wife’.

Glad to see polygamy is alive and well in the burbs.

On the weekend my husband dropped one of his girls to a birthday party – he bumped into a woman who had recently separated from her husband. My husband isn’t one of those people that likes public disclosures, he’s not good at chitchat and I had a bit of a laugh when he came home to tell me the story. “What did you say?” I asked “did you offer her some words of wisdom?’. He didn’t but he said that when he pointed out that he needed to get home to take my daughter to buy her first bike sans training wheels she said ‘oh that’s right, you have another family now’.

Another family?

Blended families with their new kids are not additional families they are just an extension of the ones already present. When families welcome new siblings we don’t say ‘oh its your new child’ as if we replace the children that have been born before. Im always flumoxed at the phrases we apply to those that move on with life. My husband and I and our four kids (yes four – not steps, not halfs, just small people with big attitudes) are happy and settled with life, we are one of the one in two couples that have lived through a divorce and yes we survived to tell the story. Most people do.

What’s a family faux pas that’s been thrown at you? Do you laugh at people’s foot-in-mouth-itis?

Im linking up with #ibot today…pop over for some great reads.

Join the conversation! 6 Comments

  1. My husband and I both come from previous marriages, and the first time I met his *ahem* strongly opinionated grandmother, who I was terrified of, I said “It’s lovely to meet you”, she looked me up and down for the briefest of moments before sneering “I suppose I had to meet you sometime”. Everyone else laughed her off. Me? Not so much! I think any of those well meaning P&C folks just need to catch a glimpse of that gorgeous photo of you and your girls, crossing the finishing line on Sundays Bridge run to know that what you’ve got going on is priceless.

  2. My MiL calls me by the ex-girlfriends name a few times when she’s had a few drinks…

  3. I had the phrase ‘real dad.’ Donating your sperm to make a baby does not qualify you as a real dad. Being a dad does.
    Plus, what does that make the step dad? A fake one?

  4. People can be so clumsy, with their words and their loose thinking. I think you’ve put a beautiful spin on the blended family.


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