Once upon a time there was a girl in her mid twenties who accidentally fell in love with a man 13 years her senior. This wasn’t any regular man. This man was going through a divorce and had three young (amazingly cute) children.  I say accidentally because well, falling in love with a separated father of three was just NOT in this girl’s 5 year plan!

They shacked up, got engaged, got married and popped out a sweet baby girl, all within two and a half years.  People questioned how fast they were moving, but they didn’t care. You see, they knew they they wanted to be together…  and well they knew if they wanted to have some more babies they had to get moving, this man wasn’t getting any younger!

This girl knew that the step-mom role was going to be a complicated one. She knew developing a bond with a new partner’s children could have its challenges. After all, she had chased away a few of her dad’s girlfriends as a child.

She thought… Well this is karma! I’ve gone full circle!

But that didn’t happen. The kids were kind, respectful and so much fun! Actually, she realized how empty her life had been without them around!

This girl also anticipated there being complications with well, the ex. She expected it, prepared for it and tried her best to deal with it. Because well, she knew from her job as a child protection worker and her experiences as child of divorce, that when you have two parents who have decided not to be together anymore, the outcome is not always hearts and sparkles!

Nonetheless this girl always held hope that things would eventually work themselves out. That co-parenting would become easy! She tried and tried to do whatever she could to facilitate this but well, one day, almost three years in, the girl gave up on that dream.

She learned that the reality is, no matter what you do, co-parenting isn’t a walk in the park. Divorces can be complicated, even three/five/ten/twenty years later. She gave up hope that things could be simple and easy. Not in a hopeless “I give up kind of way“, but in an acceptance kind of way.

She acknowledged and accepted that the things that are simple for “normal” families probably won’t be simple for them. Things like  doctors appointments, extra curricular activities, holidays, family vacations, back to school routines, and well… everything else you can think of.

Giving up on this dream made things easier. She decided to accept the situation as it was and learn to laugh at all the … well… craziness that comes with the blended family life.

She redefined what a happy ending looked like in her fairytale story. And well, when she did that, she realized that despite all the craziness and the stress that comes along with it, she had so much to be thankful for!

Pssssst…. I’m not sure if you’ve made the connection or not but this girl is me!

A few months ago I wrote a post titled Six Things You Should Never Say To A Step-Mom and a fellow step-mom commented   “well if this is all she has to bitch about then she is doing pretty good”

When I followed up with her, she said it seems like my situation is pretty harmonious in comparison to others.

Well, I can’t speak to others experiences, but what I can say is that I don’t blog about everything that goes on in our little world!

In fact, up until this post I haven’t said much about how hard this gig is for me.

I haven’t talked about the nights that I lay in my husbands arms crying, asking why things can’t be more simple. I haven’t blogged about the nights I sit up after everyone has gone to bed trying to figure out how I can help solve the conflict of the week. I haven’t blogged about the moments where I catch myself thinking about what it would be like to have a normal nuclear family.

Over the past month I’ve been connecting with fellow step-mom via this blog! And what I’ve learned is that even though we all have very very different circumstances, we have a lot of the same struggles!