But I Was Their Mom First!

Two years ago I was a divorced single mama of two amazing kiddos. I had a pretty good network of family and friends but I was mainly on my own. My kids and I were a team of three.

Then, I met my husband (insert choirs of angels singing because yes, against all my disbelief God did bring a man into our lives that actually did rescue me.). He’s wonderful and everything I always wanted (and quite a few things I didn’t know I wanted) in a spouse. Shh, I’m supposed to be gushy, I’m still a newlywed. 🙂

Our love story isn’t very ‘typical’ though. It went something like this…

Girl gets married, has two children, and is divorced. Single mom and kiddos rebuild their lives. Single mom meets Great Guy. Single Mom and Great Guy decide to be friends because Single Mom and Great Guy don’t really want to date anyone right now. Single Mom and Great Guy have lunch and see movies and talk a lot. Single Mom and Great Guy wonder if they’re actually dating. Single Mom declares her disagreement with recreational dating. Single Mom and Great Guy decide to call their relationship what it is. Single Mom and Great Guy date. Single Mom and Great Guy talk about Great Guy meeting Single Mom’s children … for 3 months. Great Guy meets the kids. Children fall in love with Great Guy because he’s great and plays with them and thinks they’re pretty neat people. Single Mom and Great Guy date. Single Mom and Kids and Great Guy date. … Great Guy pops the question to Single Mom. Great Guy pops the question to Kids. Everyone says yes. Now what?

Insert ‘Apache Attack Helicopter Mom’ panic attack of epic proportions! (Author’s note: this probably doesn’t happen to anyone else. Just me. I’ve been told I can be something of a protective mom at times. *ahem.)

Insert premarital counseling, marriage prep classes, and a whole lot of conversation … “What will the children call Great Guy?” is the first of MANY MANY questions.

Single Mom and Great Guy get married … SO Husband + Wife + Kids = Instant Blended Family … Right?

A lot of people think that is the way it should be. A lot of people who remarry have optimistic hopes that is the way it will be. In our case (and a lot of other peoples) even with a lot of discussion and understanding beforehand the “after the wedding” picture doesn’t quite match what they think it will look like.

One of the hardest things for me has been transitioning from putting my children first to putting my husband first.  Even now I unconsciously react to my children. I am faster to defend my children and respond to their needs on a subconscious level. I often don’t even realize I’m doing it. I don’t unconsciously react to my husband … yet. Putting my husband ahead of my children is a conscious choice I have to make every day. I’m hoping with time and practice (and more of the amazing grace my husband gives me) it will become second nature someday.

One of the most helpful books we’ve read is The Smart Stepfamily, by Ron Deal. It’s a “must read” if you’re navigating (or considering) the blended family journey.

We’ve decided not to “blend” our family though. We think we’re a little more like a fruit salad. But that’s a post for another day.

You might also like:

:: Placing Your Spouse in the Front Seat of Your Heart
:: 10 Survival Tips for Stepfamily Life

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9 thoughts on “But I Was Their Mom First!

  1. I am in the same situation. It happens to me all the time. I need to place my husband in the front seat 🙂

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  2. I want to hear more about the fruit salad… I suspect our views and how we’re ‘blending’ our families is similar… 🙂

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  3. So blessed to read this. You tell your story exactly how I would tell mine except I have four amazing world changers in training that know they are Princess to the King of Kings. I am not yet re-married but have been dating Great Guy for two years and we are contemplating marriage. My children know I am dating but know that Great Guy respects my wishes to hold off on them meeting him until we are ready to make the next step of just being engaged.
    My fear is I will have a hard time transitioning that placement. Thank you for being real and letting us know these feelings are real and manageable through Christ. Lord Bless you and your ministry

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    • Thank you so much Noemi! We waited until both of us were pretty sure we were on the path to getting married, although it was another 4 months before he proposed. My kiddos were 6 & 4 and we all met for lunch one day at Razoos which has a patio and a playground so it was very low pressure for everyone. (Or at least as low pressure as I could make it.)

      It’s been a daily process for me now of learning to recognize how I unconsciously react to my children. Life isn’t supposed to be about them. When you’re the only adult in the house its easy to make life more about the kids than we should.

      I think those feelings aren’t only real, they’re normal!

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  4. As a stepmom for 27 years I totaly understand this post. The transitions and learning curves are ongoing and ever new !! Even though The Smart Stepmom is written for the woman it really addrsses ALL stepfamily situations, even stepdads.
    Ron Deal (therapist specilizing in SFs) and I (SM and divorce recovery expert for 22 years) tried to cover almost every scenario inclduing how to parent your own children after a remarriage.
    The more you learn what is “normal” the easier the transitions become. Blessings, Ladies

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  5. Thanks for sharing, As a soon to be wife AGAIN, I found this very helpful and fun to read!

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  6. As single mom of 7, and after a 17 marriage with a man who was fairly uninvolved in and unconcerned for the discipline, parenting, care and daily routine of the children, I have been the one to consider and meet the kids’ needs. When dad left for a “more peaceful” life and “less cantankerous” woman, there wasn’t much change, as he had been very passive for most of our parenting years. Now I am considering marrying a man who is a strong and decisive Godly man and leader, who is big on consistent biblical training, discipline and responsibility–and whom my kids adore–but It is at the front of my mind that I must demonstrate my obedience to God’s order by putting him first and trusting this man’s decisions in all family matters, which he makes easy because he truly does serve us and considers our needs and desires when evaluating family matters. I am just not used to doing this because after “single parenting” type parenting so long, even while married, with an unbelieving man who put himself first, and being the one to take up the abandoned leadership of a family, i am having to rewrite my thought patterns to develop that “unconcscious reaction” to him instead of them. It is encouraging to see other moms remarry as well, so thanks for the encouragement!!

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