Picture two sets of parents standing over a large calendar with little figures of their children, planning out family parties, school events, and other holiday functions, it quickly becomes the floor of the stock exchange, people shouting, bartering, begging, and trying to haggle for
those precious minutes of their child’s dazzling holidays. A blended family holiday is not unlike a military campaign. You have to plan and coordinate movements for many different
troops, trying to make everyone happy and trying to fit in the most family time for each moment that the children are with you. It becomes vital that everyone gets time with the children and that no one ends up wounded from the shrapnel of harsh words or pulled apart!
With my family we have two sets of children from four different parents and eight groups of grandparents and various aunts, uncles, cousins, and other extended family members to consider. Things become even more difficult in a “his, mine and ours” family. Everyone would like to spend time with all the kids on Thanksgiving and Christmas, but that requires a lot of forethought and compromise. Family traditions sometimes fall by the wayside in an effort to accommodate everyone’s schedules. It takes a conscious effort to make sure to
put the children’s needs first, rather than the feelings of the parents.
Sometimes parents are still too hostile with each other to consider the extended families. It becomes us against them and the children are the pawns who are hurt in such a battle. While
the children are not the only ones hurt in such a conflict, they are the ones that must be considered first. Can you imagine if the unthinkable happened and because of your anger, you denied your children another holiday with their grandparents? Life is an unknown and
so we have to choose to live each moment. It can be just as hard for older children. You have so much more to consider- their friends, jobs and careers. My children and I have been very fortunate that we have been able to accommodate everyone. We get to see each other, even if only for an hour so that they have the time to be with their grandparents and other families.
No matter how you celebrate a family event, remember that the children are what is important. There are many challenges that blended families face as they struggle to make everyone happy and divide their children’s time. Holidays just seem to add to the stress.
There is an added pressure to creating those perfect holiday memories, especially with the time limits of 24 hours in a day! But with the proper mind-set and planning- maybe even a little humor, blended families can have wonderful holiday events too!
Musings from Michigan