My less than “perfect” family

As a blogger, I see a lot of other blogs detailing happy, shiny, perfect-looking family lives with 2.2 kids, a wonderfully supportive husband and happy, breastfed, home-schooled kids playing outside in the fresh air. Okay, I’m generalising a bit but you get the point. But what about the families that don’t fit into this mold? Where are the blogs that represent them? I definitely fit into this category.

This week, I drove my ten year old son 200 miles to a service station where I met his father and my ex-husband. We exchanged a few tensely polite, absolutely necessary sentences with one another, I kissed Zak goodbye and watched him drive off for a week with his father. I sat and cried in Costa coffee as I do about three times a year (if we’re lucky) wishing that things had turned out differently and that my darling boy didn’t have to spend his holidays being ferried around between different houses. I know how anxious he gets on the run up to seeing his father. A mixture of nerves, excitement and homesickness which just breaks my heart. I let him go because for him, it’s the right thing to do and if I’m totally honest I still feel guilty that he doesn’t have a “perfect” family of his own. He loves his father and he wants to see him and that’s enough for me. Anyway, I digress. As I looked around that miserable, overpriced Costa coffee I realised that there were other broken families making the exact same, semi-silent, emotional exchange with their precious little ones. How had I not noticed this before? Do we all sit there feeling sorry for ourselves, crying into our lattes and wishing we had a more traditional setup?

Divorce is mostly a messy business and usually the children take the brunt of it. I speak from experience. An experience that very nearly broke me and my boy. I expect that is where a lot of my guilt and sadness stem from but six or more years on we are mostly healed and are part of a new family. For Zak, that means step brothers, a step father and a half sister as well as a whole host of extra Easter eggs from this new, extended family. We share a lot of love, we laugh, we fight and we make up just like anybody else. Families these days are diverse and colourful and can be made up of much more than just blood.  They also come with their own unique set of challenges. So come on, lets see more blogs about this – I want to read about the ups and downs of single parents, of the challenges faced co-parenting through divorce, what it’s really like to raise kids as a gay couple and all of the other varied family set ups out there. I don’t want to feel like the only one who doesn’t have a traditional, shiny “perfect”  family when I know I’m not.

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19 Comments

  1. March 31, 2016 / 3:38 pm

    I love this Fi. It’s so true, you get the instagram mums and their perfect feeds, of course if you don’t read their captions then you don’t know that they take a pretty picture but are still having the same troubles as everyone else! Its too easy to compare! H x
    Harriet from Toby & Roo recently posted…My pregnancy scare :: thoughts…My Profile

    • March 31, 2016 / 3:46 pm

      Too true H. Thanks for reading x

  2. March 31, 2016 / 5:55 pm

    Aw, I just wanted to give you a big hug reading this. It’s so easy to look at social media and think everyone else has perfect families. But behind every perfect Instagram feed is a real life that is probably not as perfect as we think. It must be really difficult for you all… but I think it is far better for a child to have two separate happy parents than two who live together and aren’t happy. Hugs x
    Cardiff Mummy Says – Cathryn recently posted…10 awesome blog posts I read this month – March 2016My Profile

  3. March 31, 2016 / 6:39 pm

    I love this. I was divorced in my late 20’s and my “perfect family” became not so perfect all of a sudden. Now we have step parents and half siblings and a whole host of new family members on both sides, and although it isn’t “Instagram perfect”, it is perfect for US. #stayclassy
    laura dove recently posted…My boys, brothers and best friends.My Profile

  4. March 31, 2016 / 8:30 pm

    You’re right, you don’t often see blogs about non-traditional families, even though it is the norm – hope this post inspires others to write about their experiences xx

  5. March 31, 2016 / 8:30 pm

    You’re right, you don’t often see blogs about non-traditional families, even though it is the norm – hope this post inspires others to write about their experiences xx

  6. April 2, 2016 / 2:37 pm

    This is a great post. My family is very traditional but far from perfect. I don’t believe in perfect families the same way I don’t believe in perfect lives. You have to do what is best for you and your children and I believe you are doing just that. Big hugs

    • Fi
      April 2, 2016 / 3:06 pm

      Thank you lovely, that made me smile X

  7. April 3, 2016 / 6:20 am

    Reading this takes me back a lot of years when my ex & I did exactly this, never as glamorous as Costa, by 26 I was divorced twice. 2 kids. 2 fathers. My first husband was killed in a motorbike accident, my second adopted my eldest. We did the swap for a couple of years, then he stopped seeing both children and has seen them once in 11 years, he is married with a daughter now, my eldest is almost 20 and our son is almost 16, iv had tears many of them because iv done it alone with no help. Because my. Kids will never have a dad mainly, but they are both amazing children and despite the hard teenage years. We are ok now & im glad I havnt had to share them and go through all of this. It’s hard handing your kids over , but don’t worry I was a kid of divorce and kids will say if they really don’t want to do it, my son told me when he was 5 he didn’t want to stay with his dad anymore, so he didn’t. Stay positive and things will work out how they are meant to. He has a stable home life and that’s what is important he comes home to that.

    • April 3, 2016 / 2:01 pm

      Thank you for sharing your story, it does make a difference knowing I’m not the only one with struggles but also that we can come through them! So sorry to hear what you have been through though. You must be an incredible and strong Mum to those boys to keep it together like that. x

  8. April 3, 2016 / 10:40 am

    I must confess that my family is not perfect either and we are the traditional 2 parent 3 kid family. But with 2 of those kids with special needs, we are far from normal or traditional either.

    • April 3, 2016 / 1:59 pm

      I’m guessing nobody really has a perfect family life, we all have our own struggles and challenges. I would just like to hear more bloggers open up about them so thanks for sharing yours hun x

  9. April 3, 2016 / 2:23 pm

    Some of the most “normal” families are different in their own ways. My family looks “normal” however we are mixed also. My husband has two sons from two moms and we have our daughter together. The kids all look like dad so when we are all together people think we are a “normal” dad/mom and 3 kids, dog and picket fence family. As complicated as the whole step parent part of my life can be, I would not ask for anything different! Well less drama, yes that I would ask for!
    crossingnewbridges recently posted…Healing Through HopeMy Profile

    • April 3, 2016 / 3:36 pm

      Yes agreed on the drama lol xx

  10. April 5, 2016 / 7:45 am

    I hear you (we have one child and that child is autistic, not the trad set up I dreamt of I can tell you). But I have to say there are tonnes of blogs out there dealing with real life. I find the ‘perfect’ life ones to much to bear and I usually avoid them. Partly because I also know most of them are fabricated for the PR guys. Hope your guy had a good trip xxx

  11. April 5, 2016 / 3:35 pm

    I love this post. Completely agree, I would like to read more about both the good and bad from bloggers. I come from divorced parents so I know exactly what your son is going through, and to be honest, it was hard but I turned out alright. ; ) You are doing the right thing, it’s good that he gets to see his father, even if it’s only a few times a year (similar to my experience). Plus he has a big new family now which is awesome! Families now a days are from all walks of life, just because he is a “step” Dad doesn’t mean he is any less of a father. My father figure during high school was actually my best friend’s Dad, they don’t have to be blood-related! : ) Thanks for linking up with #StayClassy!

    • April 5, 2016 / 5:14 pm

      Thanks – you’re absolutely right! x

  12. Laura
    April 5, 2016 / 7:01 pm

    What a great blog! As a child of a divorced family I can understand how your son feels, my dad lived close by but it was still hard. All you can do is your hardest for your son sounds like your doing a fab job!

    A yes more blogs in not normal families ! Xx

    • April 5, 2016 / 7:13 pm

      Thank you so much 🙂 It always makes my day to get good feedback – if you enjoy my posts I would love it if you subscribed to my blog. You just enter your email address on the left hand side of the page if your on a computer or at the bottom of the page if you are on a mobile x

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