Best Health

COVID KICK­STARTED OUR BLENDED FAM­ILY

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"In Jan­uary, my part­ner and I de­cided we would try liv­ing to­gether, start­ing in the spring. We both have kids from pre­vi­ous marriages, three un­der age 11. We knew it would be hard for them, so we planned to move slowly and take stock of their emo­tions at ev­ery step.

Then COVID-19 hit. We de­cided to self-iso­late to­gether at his house start­ing in March, which meant my daugh­ter and I were mov­ing in. And we’d be there all the time. My part­ner and I were both work­ing from home, and there were three kids who needed to be home­schooled, so it was like the de­ci­sion was made for us.

It was out of ne­ces­sity more than it was out of love, and that’s where things got tan­gled. We wanted the mes­sage to our kids to be that we chose this life for our­selves, that we’re mov­ing for­ward. But the un­der­cur­rent was that we’re all here be­cause we have to be, it’s more fea­si­ble fi­nan­cially and it’s more fea­si­ble for look­ing af­ter all of you.

In those first few weeks, his kids would say, 'They’re here all the time.' And, 'I like them, but I don’t want to see them all the time. Why can’t you just be friends?' That’s typ­i­cal for all blended fam­i­lies, but the cir­cum­stances added to my guilt. No­body was hav­ing play­dates, vis­it­ing rel­a­tives, or go­ing to swim lessons or out for ice cream — all the things that would re­lieve the pres­sure and give the kids some space and time apart to process the new sit­u­a­tion.

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