I sent this post over to the MichMoms blog, also. So don’t be surprised when you read it over there, too!!
Crying and screaming was coming from the direction of my daughters shared bedroom.
I ran down the hall, in no big hurry, to investigate. Because really, crying and screaming from my daughters shared bedroom was quite normal around here.
When I walked into their room, I found them both tear-streaked and red-faced. They were having a tug-of-war cat fight over a cute black t-shirt. Each girl was screaming at the other, laying claim to this shirt. Which really, was about to become a dish rag if this tugging didn’t end.
My oldest, announcing shrilly, that her Mom had just bought it for her. My youngest, crying, sure that it was the same black shirt that I had just bought her.
Both of them were right. They did, indeed, each have the same black t-shirt from the same store. But keeping in mind the discrepancy of their sizes, one would have been a small and the other, medium.
I decided that it was time to risk my life, and break this fight up. So, I grabbed the t-shirt and ran out of their room. Leaving the two, still crying and screaming. But this time, it was directed accusingly at me.
After checking the size of the shirt and confirming which of the girls it belonged to. I brought it back and handed it to my youngest daughter.
Which, made my oldest daughter start sobbing like her heart was being ripped from her chest.
“How come you always buy stuff for her. But you never buy stuff for me.” She hiccup-ly sobbed, barely choking out those words.
I thought about it for a minute, before replying.
“Honey. Every time you leave our house, you come home with a bag FULL of clothing. It seems like everyone buys you clothes. Your dresser is so full.” I responded. Calm. Patiently.
“You just love her more than me.” She cried piteously. And threw herself onto her bed, sobbing.
“Oh, that’s just not true.” I reassured. Sitting next to her and petting her back. “It’s just, I’m the only one that she has who buys clothes for her. It seems that everyone is taking care of you and your brother. I’m so sorry, my love. You know it has nothing to do with how I feel about you!”
“I have NO clothes. None. Nothing fits. Nothing matches.” she screamed, hysterically.
Not believing her, I checked her drawers. And I realized, that all this shopping that everyone seems to be doing for her, she has no clothes.
So the very next morning. I took my youngest to pre-school. And I high tailed it to the mall. Where I bought my weight (which is A LOT) in clothing for this kid who thought she had nothing…
Not even my love.
And boy, is she so wrong on both accounts.
Which leads me to realize, truly, how precariously balanced love seems in a blended family setting. And whether or not an action is done through love or necessity, the non-recipients are sitting with hurt and wounded feelings.
And to me, that is THE MOST difficult part regarding the preservation of emotions in this type of family.
I’m sure as the kids get older, they will recognize more the truths in the fairness of actions versus the injustices.
Karen MEG says
You’re doing such an amazing job, Mel. You’re so, so in tune with your kids, all of them. What a wonderful Mom they have… and if they don’t realize it now, they certainly will one day. They certainly will…
This really resonates with me since we are a blended family of sorts ourselves and this issue comes up now and again. Bear in mind my daughters are 15 and 3. You’d think it wouldn’t be an issue, but it is. I love how you handled this.
Tara R. says
I can tell you that it does even out for the kids of blended families. She will grow to see that you do love all of them equally.
Woman in a window says
Balance is a struggle in any family and sometimes kids just want clothes. I remember being able to make my mom feel how I wanted her to feel. (Oh, I was not a nice person as a teen. Sorry mom.) You love her. You show her. She’ll recognize that.
It was awfully nice what you did, the shopping and the calm rubbing on the back.
It is a balancing act and I can imagine it’s difficult for all of you. I haven’t had that problem, since my daughters fathers both decided they didn’t want to have anything to do with their kids and therefore never bought them anything. Yet my youngest (with a different father from the others) claims I gave the others more, which isn’t true because I had less money when the older ones were kids. It’s difficult to get it right, whatever you do someone thinks they didn’t get enough…
Wow PH, that was a great post. I can’t imagine how hard the whole blended family thing would be in the first place, but it seems like you are doing a wonderful job at it. xoxo
What a powerful post. You really are doing an amazing job with your family. I can only imagine how difficult it is to keep cool and level-headed during those intense moments.
I can tell you we have the same fights in our house and it isn’t blended. God forbid one grow out of their clothes sooner than the other…their is hell to pay from the one whose clothes still fit. Or even better, Taylor got a whole new wardrobe for her bday in April and I had to go buy Callee summer clothes…oh the injustices! I don’t know how to stop this, but it breaks my heart.
dysfunctional mom says
Oh, this is so true in our family. We have to be so careful to make things fair and balanced. And in the case of my stepson, he doesn’t have the reassurance of a bio mother who loves him.
I’m preparing to blend a family fairly soon with a move to CA (I’m in PA). It will be my son and I moving in with my boyfriend and his daughter. Of all the things I worry about with a move this major, the one that freaks me out the most is how the whole “blending” thing is going to work out. It terrifies me. What if the kids don’t get along? What if they fight and we have to take sides against each other. It is reassuring to read your blog and see that it really can work out just fine.