The biggest pitfall in combined house holds is the “your kid” “my kid” and “our kid”. I’ve been thinking about this often as there is no your kid and the our kid hasn’t happened yet, so we only have a my kid… the reason why I see this as a pitfall is simple, if you see the house as separate segments and not as one whole you will never be whole. There will always be teams pitting against each other, “don’t worry about Willy pulling your hair, his dad never showed him better” or “yes you can play outside, but Willy cant, he’s dad said no” you see the problem?
If dad said no to Willy it should be no to all the kids, if Willy is pulling Sally’s hair reprimand him, get it over with, I mean really, when you married his dad you became the mom in that house, and if dad told you not to reprimand Willy without his permission the two of you need to have a serious sit down! The way I see it there will always be a kid pulling on the short end, think about it… if there is a your kid and a my kid how much will these two like the our kid, because the our kid will be the only one seeing any form of continuity in the rules and attention received from both parents, and the our kid will not like Willy and Sally much as the two clearly (in his eyes) each have a parent who loves them just a little more than the other kids.
I came out of one of these homes, and lived this way for many years, luckily we didn’t have the additional our kid to compete with, but for us as kids we were always pitting the Dad team against the Mom team, everything became a competition of sorts. We’re going on holiday, where should we go, in land or coast…. pick your teams pick your fight lets see who rules, mom or dad! Lets go to the movies, what should we watch the boys hero movie or the rom-com… and so forth and so on.
I worried about this, tucked away in the back of my mind, will S (significant other) be able to love T(son) as much when there is a blood bond between any future children we might have and S. I know this has also been one of his worries. I cringe inwardly every time I utter the words “my son” I’m afraid that without knowing it I’m staking a claim that marks the territory know as T as mine and mine alone! I came out of a combined home and know what hell it can be, I never saw the other side of things, the married for always side, one mom one dad and all the kids are part of the whole. But S did come out of a family like that, and i watch his parents closely…
The words “My son” are used often, especially when bragging is taking place… the words “Your son” is usually reserved for the inevitable “you wont believe what your son did today!” complete the sentence by adding some form of trouble… I love this because in pride it is always “Our son”. This is exactly how i feel when I look at my two boys sitting on the floor building Lego empires. They love each other, even though there is no blood bond T is as much my son as he is S’s. because in the end its the love that makes the difference. If you can love another man’s child as your own, if you can close your eyes and not see the picture with out every one in it then blood has nothing to do with it because the heart is all there.
I no longer worry about it as I know I’m blessed with S who never talks about T as “her son” but as his boy (even when I’m not there to hear it)…
As for the rest… its all in how you say it!