Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Survival Tips for Blended Families (or anyone with children)

One of my best friends tells me all the time I need to write a book.
"Seriously Sue... you need to write a reality book on "blended families".

Just call it "The Splendid Blendeds". It would be hysterical!"



Of course, this particular "best friend" just so happens NOT to have kids yet.

When your life becomes a living entertainment log,
you know you might be in trouble.
But seriously, that's the way our life rolls in this house.
And I truly think, it's similar to any other family... "BLENDED" or not.
Thankfully, my husband and I both choose to see it through humor.
Otherwise, we'd probably be praying the two of us
become the next Swine Flu Victims.

So with that, here are a few tips on

Surviving in a Blended Family:

[Or just surviving in ANY FAMILY, as these rules apply to anyone dealing with more than one child.]

1. If you have never done so, or if you're new to the whole "blended" thing, call a family meeting to solicit "family" rules. Create and post these on your refrigerator for everyone to follow. Go through each one, and discuss why for example, "Being Kind to Others" is important.

Do not be surprised that just as you're getting to Rule #2 or #3, kids everywhere during the meeting are chatting, rolling eyes, wrestling, and trying to sneak the remote control in hopes family meeting time is OVER and they can get back to better things in life. "Family Meetings" are so NOT-cool to 8-year-olds. However, "Family Meetings" are a strategic way for parents to get all kids on the same side if even for a mere 4.6 minutes. [And while that "same side" is basically "We all think Mom and Dad are boring and family meetings suck.", they are all on the same side for at least that one moment, right?]
2. Do not hang created Family Rules poster from suggestion #1 just below the ice and water dispenser of your refrigerator, as drips and left behind melting ice chips will cause rules to become illegible. This in turn only gives children an "out" when they break a rule, because they actually "couldn't read the writing" and forgot the totally UN-obvious rule that states "We do not pinch or hit other people".
3. Get used to the 7,245 ways of implementing "taking turns" between siblings. Once you've created allotted times children must rotate to take turns with various activities such as computer time, Wii time, holding the remote control time, brushing teeth time, laying with mommy at bed-time time, TV channel selection time, playing on the round swing time, playing on the green swing time, hitting the tree with the stick we all happened to find together time, and every other human movement or decision-making time that exists, they'll have hit college-age and hopefully chosen a school with a minimum distance of 120 miles from your current city of residence.
4. Spend half a day and $38 in office supplies and laminating services to create interchangeable seat assignments in your god-for-saken Mini-Van stealth of a vehicle creating the rule that with each new day comes a rotation in seat assignments. Velcro name tags are secured to backings on all four seat windows in rear of van and will be rotated every morning for change of scenic opportunity for each kid. This will minimize ten minute fight prior to each outing and reduce both adult and child tear production on a daily basis, as expectations are set and parents do not overheat prior to backing out of the family driveway.

5. Have realistic expectations that rotating name-tags will only reduce fighting for approximately 3-4 weeks. Once "newness" wears off, be prepared to implement tip #3 around implementing fair "turn-taking" as to who gets to implement daily morning rotation of Velcro name tags.
In addition, create the following rule: "If any child even touches a name-tag without being asked, that individual will be locked in the basement for twice the number of minutes of their age. With no lights on." ["No lights on" clause very important in execution.]
Then, just realize that this idea should probably just be scrapped after a month and the feeling of shame may set in with the now semi-permanent Velcro sticking laminated name tags that add one more horrific element of personality to your Mini-Van stealth of a vehicle.
6. I'm too tired to share more and of course can not give away all my secrets if I still entertain the idea of writing a book.


[Please share. I need help surviving.]


Denise said...

Hahaha, the family meetings in my first marriage were called "Come to Jesus Meetings". Now we just beat them all and send them to their rooms. J/k.

We gave up on the rotation in the minivan. We got matching car seats so the smaller ones don't bicker, and decided to have a race to see who gets in their seatbelt first, including Andy and myself. They think it's fun and we are all buckled in less than 20 seconds.

Blending is certainly difficult at times, and it REALLY helps to keep a sense of humor!

Erin said...

A survival tip, hmmm let's see how about....WINE....Lots of it! Oh yeah and a large sense of humor and sarcasm!! haha

Anonymous said...

LOL I'm just trying to survive the Teen Years. I have come to the conclusion I need Paxil or Prozac...or maybe both!

Dr Zibbs said...

And book 2 can be Splendid Blendids - Amended.

See how clever I am?

ModernMom said...

LOL I love the rotation schedule for the mini van rule! No pearls of wisdom here..except...

Swirl Girl said...

Love the name of the book! There was a restaurant in Florida called Splendid Blended Cafe which married cuisine from different regions across the globe effortlessly. The chef/owner was a crack head and a drunk.

I am not sure what to take from that....LOL!

Stacie's Madness said...

that would be a great blog name too, the Splendid Blended...but then my mind goes to margaritas...

moooooog35 said...

What the Hell is a blended family?

Does it taste kinda like a smoothie?

Carla said...

If you guys really knew this family, you would really want the book to be written. They are hysterical! And the kids are riots too!! Was Splendid Blendeds on Atlantic Ave in Delray???

Missty said...

Mini van seat rule at our house with fours kids was. Oldest in the front on mondays- followed by the other three each day. So everyone knew there day, and it was easy for me to remember. If said child wasn't going to school that day, etc. No one sat there, just made it easier. That left friday - sunday - no kids, ever! Simple. Usually on the weekend it was both parents in the front, so not a problem. Friday was just an empty seat - or the seat where if a friend came home with us they sat.

Been down the four kids road, I feel your pain. But they do grow up.... and it really is way to fast!

Instead of seats to worry about, it will be a cougar after your boy! lol

binks said...

Thank God I never had multiple kids to deal with.
Someone would've been hurt.

Katie said...

My family survival tip? Wine. Oh, and chocolate.

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