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.