For my part I thank all of you for your amazing feedback and DMS after posting about Mixed Family and Bonus Mom – I was doing a Q&A in Stories yesterday and realized I never posted Part 2! As a bonus mother I love being able to bring more open conversations around mixed family and motherhood.
Schedule / Lifestyle
Q: Did you stay with Cody’s ex-wife? Do you hang out?
A. I’m really grateful we all get a long.
One of the things I wanted to do when I was growing up was to be different when my parents got divorced. Were.) They lived across the country from each other, so they didn’t have to see each other very much. I flew alone when I went to visit my mom (I don’t know if they still do it, but I started when I was 5 or 6 and my parents would pick me up at the gate and then you sit in the back) by the flight attendant Row and fly yourself I have fond memories of the super kind of flight attendants who used to play games and stuff with me. I think that’s part of the reason I’ve learned to be quite independent At a young age, and traveling alone never scared me but anyway…), but yes I still felt that awful excitement whenever they were in the same room. I remember even on my wedding day I was worried about making sure that both parents received equal attention and love. And maybe that was something I made up in my head, but it made me want to prioritize it when we get married that we have a good relationship with Cody’s ex, so that the kids never feel that excitement or pressure and so we can Go to the event and it won’t be awkward. Again, it wasn’t an overnight thing, it took years to get to this point. Especially if it is a new situation, it will take a long time. But as a child in favor of divorce, this is something I really wanted to separate for our children.
Time, time, time! I think it all takes time, but I like to talk to the kids about their mom and share the excitement for the things they are doing or what they are learning or going through. In most kids games and events we all sit next to each other, this is a good place.
Q. You get a say in all the decision making about school and the like. How do you deal with that?
A. Long story short, I have no hahaha to say. Cody talks to me about it, but it’s one of the hardest parts of being a bonus mom, you love your bonus kids and help raise them but in my case I’m not really a decision maker. I mean day in and day out we’re doing what Cody and I decided, but the big decision is Cody and his ex-wife work together.
Q. Bonus As a parent, are you involved with contacting her ex or just Cody?
A. In our situation, the details work for Cody and most of his ex. Obviously there are times when Cody is still at work or out of town or something else so I pick up / drop off the kids, etc. but most of the communication is between him and Cody. We recently started a group text for sports and school schedules and sometimes share pictures of school or sports kids, but most schedules go through them.
Q. How do you manage frustration with your step kids schedule?
A. One thing that took me a while to understand and understand is that when you are an honest parent (not always, but at least in my situation) even if you all get along, at the end of the day your vacation, school schedule, really just a plan. . For me, someone who likes to plan ahead and stay in control, it’s hard at times. For example, when we were trying to plan a trip and I would ask Cody if he worked on certain days to make sure the mother of the kids texted and I wanted an immediate answer to things 😂 and she thought I hadn’t talked to her yet, and I’m calling right now, what’s up 😂😂 I finally realized that 1) sometimes you don’t get an instant answer because he has a life very clearly and you can’t expect an instant response and all the time 2) adjust things to your own kids It takes more time to do and plan, so you need to plan a little further.
Q. Do you have full custody? How often and how long do your bonus kids stay with you?
A. We have joint custody so it changes. At the moment, we have Thursday / Friday in each week and 4 days Thursday-Sunday in the following week.
Q. Do you ever travel without bonus kids?
A. I think our situation is a little different because we like to travel and also travel quite a bit for work, but when we can go together as a family we can always plan all our “big trips”. For example we usually do a big 2 week trip every summer and we always do it with all the kids. (An exception is the spring break – we change the years with their mom for the spring break so if those days die and Weiss stays with their mom, we’ll still take Beckham and Oli on a spring break). If your family usually only travels 1 or 2 times a year, I will definitely try to make it effective to include everyone. We have a lot of fun when we travel with all the kids and we like Beckham and Oli Mara and Weiss as much as we do, so we wish we could always travel together but it doesn’t always work that way. Once you have your own baby you realize it’s another thing – both parents spend as much time with their children as they want. If finding extra days or changing travel schedules is a challenge, try to keep an eye out and realize that their other guardians want to chat with them as much as possible. Not to say it’s never unhappy or they’re still not a frustrated team, but it’s kind of an “it so” situation. But to be honest, when we travel without them, there is always something missing.
Q. Do they go to school 30 minutes away? How does it work?
A. They lived 10 minutes away from us like 8 years old and recently they moved a few cities away. I’m so glad they’re still within driving distance because it wasn’t like that when I was growing up, so I’m glad we still get to see them. But it certainly makes it a bit more challenging, especially now that they are in multiple sports and Mara and Wes attend two different schools (junior high and elementary) at different times. Everyone has a different practice and schedule after school, so it gets busy but we’re glad they’re still close.
Q. Are they open to talking about what they do with their mom around you?
A. I think they are very open with us, but I guess I don’t really know how much they like to share. I know as a kid, sometimes I was nervous to tell another parent what I was doing when I was with my other parent (even now sometimes, actually hahaha) because I didn’t want to make the other parent feel bad, so I hope Mara and Wes do it that way. Don’t feel bad but I guess I don’t know 100% sure because we don’t have 24/7 with them.
Q. How do you split the first or special time with their mom and you guys?
We didn’t have many firsts where we both couldn’t show up anywhere to support them. For their first time at Disney, we asked the kids’ mom if we could take them, but other than that, there weren’t many times when we needed to share first.
Q: How do you guys manage holidays / birthdays?
It’s kind of changed year after year. We always split Christmas – I know it’s not popular. I think a lot of people do it every other Christmas. Thanksgiving and Spring Break we alternate every year. Sometimes Easter falls on spring break, etc. Birthdays have changed – sometimes we have alternate years and sometimes we stick to the schedule When they were younger, one person received the night before and half of their birthday, and then another received the rest of the day and night. At first I think everyone was hypersensitive and micromanaging time and since then things have relaxed. I get in the mood to try to make sure everything was ‘fair’. But in a mixed family, it is impossible to make everything 100% fair.
We will also have traditions that we do with the kids every year, such as carving pumpkins and decorating gingerbread houses. And we will wait to do those traditions until we have Mara and Weiss with us so we can do it together as a family. I think it makes the holidays feel more special and we are more intentional about our time together at that time.
Q. Do you think you need to know your other bonus mothers for help? There is no one in my life.
A. I know like one or two bonus moms but now that I’m thinking about it, I don’t know if I’ve really talked to them about a ton. My stepmother and I must have talked to her 🙂 we have 2 stepfathers in our extended family, but otherwise I think my bonus mom’s physical circle is quite small. If you join an online group of other mixed families, I will look for one that aims at a positive family environment – there are many that can become very negative and that energy will only diminish. But I think bonus moms can be a great support for each other.
Discipline for a mixed family:
Q. Did you do any discipline when they were little?
A. Yes, but not big.
Q. How do you keep your feet on the toes / do you think you can discipline them? Do you ever set boundaries or is it Cody’s ‘job’?
A. I never want Mara and Weiss to be treated differently, so we try to be consistent through everything and that includes discipline and rules. For example: If they mess with Beckham in the living room, I won’t just clean Beckham. And if they don’t listen, which they are kids and sometimes they don’t haha, they’ll get a different job. But I think that’s the right thing for all kids.
Although 10000% of the time I will tell Cody, will you be an enforcer this time, I don’t want them to hate me. And sometimes she will, and other times she’s like you’re still a mother to them, they love you and it’s okay to be their consequence. I think he’s in my mood haha. I’ve been in their life for over 10 years, and I know they love me, but sometimes they still think “if they think I’m a bad honest mom!” So I think determine what you feel is most normal and comfortable for you.
Q. Do you give your bonus kids jobs?
A: 100%, but all kids have a weekly job (Cody and I both feel strongly about teaching our kids work ethic so that it clearly goes for all kids). For us it wouldn’t make sense if only Beckham and Oli worked weekly and Mara and Wes just sat on the sofa. We are a family and we all have responsibilities.
Do I ever feel guilty about it? There are times when Mara and Wes last one or two hours after they return to their mother’s house and Cody tells them they have to clean up a mess and pick up the house and I tell her they have only 1 hour left and just let them have fun. He said they are still our children, they need to take care of their responsibilities, which we will really do with Beckham and Oli. So when I’m a little too relaxed about work or before the pick-up times are gone, but on a regular basis every day, they do what my kids do. (And Cody is really good at staying consistent no matter what the situation.)
Okay wrap up this post! Many of you have questions or suggestions about how to treat biological mothers or establish a bond with your bonus children – I really want to be an open book and share as much as possible, so I’ll save it for the next few posts, tips for bonus mothers And with tips for organic mom, since I got some questions from you too