COVID KICKSTARTED OUR BLENDED FAMILY
"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.