blended family holiday
Holidays, Parenting

Will Holidays with a Blended Family Get Easier?

Changes in a Blended Family 

As time goes by the dynamics of a blended family can change. After raising our seven kids, we now have four grandkids! As our kids start their own families, our family gatherings are growing into quite the crowd of people. With COVID, there aren’t as many hugs, which is hard for me, but we are all trying to stay safe and healthy.   

We had a couple of different weekends at our cabin with our young families. The first weekend after Christmas was really nice. Everyone got along and my husband and I were having an amazing time with the grandkids.  Many of us rode the snowmobiles and 4-wheelers in the snow and we went sledding down the large mountain that our cabin sits on. It was so fun taking the grandkids sledding and playing games in the evening.  

blended family holiday

We were still missing my daughter, who hasn’t joined us for the holidays for several years. I miss her so much and ache to be with her, but she lives out of state and doesn’t visit often, even when I offer to pay for her to travel here. Also, noticeably missing was our son who LOVES to play in the snow. He recently moved his boyfriend from out of state. The boyfriend has an old dog (apparently the boyfriend and the dog have separation anxiety? Or something?), so our son feels like he has to stay with the boyfriend and his dog all the time. We did tell them they could bring the dog, but it probably just seemed too hard with the other family dogs there. 

The Fun and Peace Never Seem to Last 

The second weekend had the same group of kids, spouses, and grandkids, but was not without drama. If you have read any of my other posts, you know that I am friends with the kids’ mom. She didn’t join us for Christmas weekend, but came for the New Year’s weekend. I don’t think she had anything to do with the drama other than I do wonder if there is something triggered in the kids when she is around. Honestly, it seems like she is just pleasant and helpful. 

One thing that I have been seeing isn’t necessarily the blended family dynamic.  It might be generational. It seems that many of our kids just cannot seem to have gratitude despite all that they have. I mean, if you were to ask them, they would say they were thankful for all that they have, but it is just so hard to hear all of their negativity.  It’s like they are hyper-focused on all of the problems in the world, which is why I say that it might be generational. Our culture has definitely taken that turn and it’s like the millennial generation thinks that if they feel bad all the time for all injustices that it will somehow make them feel better? I know that doesn’t make sense, but what I mean is that I think they feel like bad people if they carry on and try to see all that is good or getting better, which seems more prevalent in our generation (strictly based on the people that I know, which may be skewed – I do choose my friends carefully).  

Daughter Drama

Also, we have a daughter and two daughters in law that don’t do anything to earn money. Their husbands fully support the family financially and they are struggling to do so. This makes sense for families with young kids when the husband is able to bring in more income than the wife, but while all of this is happening, the wives are spending the money, wanting more, and constantly talking about feminism, divine feminine, female injustice, and honestly, it’s starting to sound pretty pro-women / anti-men. I don’t know if they mean for it to sound like that, but the I-am-woman-hear-me-roar-while-someone-else-takes-care-of-me mantra made me feel the need to pull my sons aside and thank them for all that they do and let them know that my husband and I are really proud of them. As someone that was a single mother for 15 years (even during the few years I was married to my ex-husbands) and as someone who has always worked and is now running a successful and time-consuming business, I just can’t see where they are coming from. I was anti-male when I was younger, but I was raised by a single mom, had been betrayed by my father and unfaithful ex-boyfriends and ex-husbands. To my knowledge, they all have faithful, hard-working husbands. 

Our daughter (my stepdaughter) that is negative about everything in the world (because she feels better than she ever has now that she is atheist-pagan-not really sure-but anti-Christian?) caused some drama and wasn’t speaking to her husband. I’m not sure what it was about, but it was over a game or something. What’s weird is the way she influences people around her. When she got mad and said she was going for a walk, her friend and our other daughters in law said they thought she would be mad at them if they didn’t go with her, and they abruptly stopped playing the game and left with her. She didn’t speak to her husband until later that night as she stormed around the cabin with an angry look on her face. I worry about her all the time because of the way she speaks to people and carries her unhappiness through everything and everyone. I thought she was improving once she got married and had a baby, but she is still unhappy, unkind to the family at times, and was rude to us on her way out the door as we left for home. Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence, but now, my husband doesn’t make excuses for her behavior anymore and just wants a break from her too. To be fair, I learned later that she was upset about some discussions about vaccinations and being fearful as to whether she is being a good parent, which are very real concerns, but I’m not sure how that translates to being unkind to the family around her. 

Does Family Time Get Easier?

So, will holidays and other blended family time get easier? Unfortunately, probably not. However, you do have the ability control how they affect you. I know it’s not that easy, but mental and emotional preparation is key. As the dynamics in our family change, I’ve come to realize that when it comes to being around the family, I just need to remember all of the things that I can be grateful for.  I love time with my grandkids and spending time with them also helps me avoid the drama!  I love time with my husband and I love to see the joy it brings him when everyone comes and enjoys the family cabin. I am grateful for my Savior and the power of prayer to help me get through difficult family situations. 


Interested in reading more about my family during the holidays? Check out these two blog posts on Christmas With a Blended Family and Holidays and Gratitude: The Worst Thanksgiving.


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FAQ

What is blended family?

According to Your Dictionary, “A blended family is defined as a family made of two parents and their children from previous marriages. An example of a blended family is a woman with two children from a previous marriage who marries a man with three children from a previous marriage.”

What are common problems and challenges for blended families?

Common problems for blended families include children not feeling loved or feeling left out, sibling rivalry, children manipulating parents, ex-spouses, dreading holidays, vacations, marital problems, finances and discipline (or lack thereof).

Can blended families be successful?

Although many stepfamilies seem doomed for failure, it is absolutely possible for a blended family to be successful.  While some situations are unhealthy for everyone involved, many families can be saved if there is a desire to work through the problems.

How common are blended families?

Blended families are becoming more common. According to Pew Research 62% of children in the U.S. live in two-parent households and 15% of those are living with parents in a remarriage.

 

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