Hi, I'm Lisa Hartman; wife, mother of one, and step-mother to five. I live out west with my hubby, Raylan, and three of "our" children. Ten years ago, I married my best friend and changed my life forever! Overnight I went from being a divorced mom of one to my hubby's last wife, mother of one and step-mother to five. Yes, you heard me right, FIVE step-kids from TWO prior marriages; three adopted with ex number 1 and two the old fashion way with ex number 2. Essentially we blended three families as the three adopted teenagers had never really meshed with my hubby's younger two kids and then came my little bundle of joy into the mix.
We faced all the traditional challenges any marriage faces, plus the ones unique to blended families; meshing of kids, homes, parenting styles and the thing you never think about until you're in it; ex-spouses and their significant others. On top of that, just to make life a little more interesting, I quit my day job to stay home and take care of our three youngest (3,6 and 7)whom we shared 50/50 joint custody and well lets face it my new hubby. The three teenage kids? My hubby's oldest was 19 and married, and ex 1 had full custody of the two younger kids. However, the 16 year old was already living with us full time and upon hearing news of our nuptials , dropped off the youngest to do the same. Did I mention that he barely knew me and well, hated me?
I would love to tell you that I settled into these new roles with the utmost ease and perfection and that we became one big happy family overnight, but I would be lying my ass off. I knew from the outset that there wouldn't be any love fest coming my way, but I completely underestimated the challenges from just one of these life changing events, let alone all of them combined together. Completely overwhelming! Things didn't go smoothly and to be completely honest, I felt hopeless a lot of the days. I wanted my new life to work more than anything and when it didn't go as I had planned and hoped for I felt like a total failure. How could we love each other so much and have such a difficult time in making a life together?
Luckily, over time I realized that my hubby and I were in this together, on the same side and a team even if we didn't always agree on how to handle a situation. I also accepted the fact that some of the people who had come into my life through this marriage and from my first marriage were never going to like me no matter what, end of story. You can only have good relationships with people who in return want relationships with you. And I learned to concentrate on the positive each and every day rather than the negative. Even in the worst of times there was always a positive note to concentrate on.
I plan on sharing our family's journey over the past ten years, as well as, the unexpected day to day joy and challenges we continue to face. There's been a lot of laughter and tears along the way. My hope is that if you're reading this you will find comfort that you're not alone; learn from, laugh, cry from my mistakes and successes and ultimately find happiness, like I have, in your own blended family! Happy blending!