Blended families – they really can work!
So far my observations from blended families have been:
- They rarely go smoothly
- Children resist change
- The different family values and lifestyles cause children to rebel
- Children fight amongst each other
- Parents bicker over who’s “day” it is to have the kids
- It’s pretty much all out war
- It pretty much just doesn’t quite work
Now I’m starting to think,
“Hey, maybe blended families really can work!”
These days I’m a nanny for a blended family. It’s chaotic, alive and bustling, bursting at the seams, noisy and incredibly fast-paced (hence the need for a nanny I guess). The best part though is that it’s happy, one big happy family.
The family breakdown:
- Miss Charlie, age 6
- The Twins, girls aged 11
- New bub, age really tiny and still cute!
- Mum and Dad,
- A cat named Mookie, a dog named Beansie, numerous fish (numbers changing depending on how often the kids remember to feed them) and a half dozen horses thrown in for good measure
…. And then there’s ME!
After careful observation, I’ve noticed that what seems to be the secret to their success comes down to one very essential factor – Communication. Yep, communication is key. It’s important for The Twins to feel loved and involved and always part of the family, no matter how many nights they may spend going from one “home” to the other. Just the same as it’s important Miss Charlie understands that The Twins are always going to be her sisters. Communication fosters a loving and caring environment for all of them, allowing them to establish a sense of self whilst understanding that they each belong to the family unit. And I guess it also helps that the parent’s relationship is strong and stable. The best part about working in a blended family is that I get to experience so much diversity, given that there’s a whole mix of ages going on.
Miss Charlie is the little academic star-achiever with so many merit awards under her belt that we almost need a bigger fridge. Well that and because feeding so many mouths means that the weekly grocery shop is no mean feat (and I’d know, I can add personal grocery shopper to my wardrobe of hats!)
The Twins keep me young and up-to-date. I’m so in-tune with my early teenage years that we can gossip about the latest swoon worthy boy on Glee and whichever boy band is on the current cover of Total Girl magazine all day long without soliciting an uncontrollable *eye roll* from me!
Confession time: Yes, I’m unfortunately prone to the dreaded eye roll. What can I say,
I blame it on the kids, they’re a bad influence!
The New Bub gives me some down time during the day to catch up from the morning school rush and to prepare for the onslaught of the afternoon “witching hour”. I also get to enjoy some one-on-one time, lots of warm cuddles and lazing around on our backs singing lullabies and clocking a mid-afternoon snooze. Yes, just to confirm – a little one that’s “easy” and allows the possibility of down time = jackpot!
Lastly, I get to work with parents that are interested in their children. They want to hear all about their children’s adventures of the day and of the fun things they did at school, the new things they learnt and of the incredibly awesome times with nanny. They even promote a regular relay of feedback between kids-nanny-parents without me having to tactfully initiate it.
Working for such a busy family means that every afternoon is filled with some kind of activity and demands that I don any number of “hats” to ensure the needs of all the children are met. Some days can be quite a challenge and you really just want to start the day over again and then other times every thing just runs like clockwork and you feel as though it was a walk in the park. As an aside, I’m quite the pro at pulling off an epic “to-do” list and juggling a tight schedule – thank heavens New Bub sleeps during the day, allowing me to pull out my “here’s one I prepared earlier” line at dinnertime.
Crazy, busy families sure can be hard work, but this blended family really is operating at it’s best!