Traditional, Schmraditional

I remember in high school getting hooked on late-night reruns of thirtysomething. Recently I thought, hey, I actually *am* in my thirties now. I bet I'll get a lot more out of that show. 

I made it through maybe a season and a half and then I had to stop. Because-- really? These are your biggest problems, Hope and Michael? A frustrating remodel? And really, Nancy? Elliot isn't responsible enough? 

I would possibly sell my soul for the problems in that show. Because we have all that regular stuff-- errands and money and homework and cancer and the kids and whatever else traditional spouses and traditional families scuffle about. But then with the bonus family comes some bonus crap, too. 

Let's take this weekend as an example. We drove out to Fresno and back; our less-than-24-hour blitzkrieg to California left us plenty of time for a family meeting today, before Miss L's flight back to her mom's. Meeting about-- chores? TV usage? Normal kid things?

Nope! Our meetings start with things like "So, your mom says you want to come here once a month instead of twice. Is this true?" 

There is no road map for this. No guiding light. There's not even a TV show.

Although they did try. 

Every single person sludging their way through a blended family frappe is doing it stone blind. 

You know how they say that 50% of marriages end in divorce? That percentage shoots up to 70% for marriages involving stepkids. And I don't think that statistic is a big shocker to any of us in those marriages. 

I am incredibly lucky. I have an amazing, wonderful, loving husband who is willing and nimble enough to navigate this minefield with me. I have a cool kid who's staggeringly adaptable to whatever new curveballs this hard-won family of ours throws her way; I have a cool stepkid whose common sense and levelheadedness is rising like a phoenix from the sheer insanity of her life. 

I have all of these things, and it's still damned hard. Not all the time. Not even most of the time. But it's no thirtysomething, I'll tell you that.

Know what though? I wouldn't trade it. The happy is happier when it's harder won. And those thirtysomething things that unseat regular families don't faze us for a heartbeat. At a certain level of crap deflection, you start feeling... well, kind of badass.

So to all of you folks out there with non-traditional challenges, or who are raising non-traditional families in non-traditional ways? Keep rockin it, guys. We're awesome, you know. Those dull cookie-cutter families got nothing on us. 


  1. I love this post. LOVE IT. I am a single momma who *gasp* has started dating. There is no pattern for me to follow. No set of directions. I found a couple flaws, and I am ready to book it. But, I will go out on another date, because we have it planned.

    1. I found single parent dating to be exhausting and depressing. I really hope you fare better. xoxo