The Blended Family Conundrum–Time vs. Money

This weekend over dinner the Mr. and I were discussing quite a few issues regarding the direction our family is headed in for the new year and our goals as husband and wife, mother and father.

While talking we somehow started a casual conversation regarding the disparities that exist amongst children of blended families. While these children share one parent there is indeed a difference in parenting and the method by which each child’s needs are met. I for one always hate when these issues come to the table because we are a “blended family” and I admittedly have many mixed feelings considering I was raised by a single mother, and every other weekend I was thrust into a blended family environment. Despite my past and clear understanding of the plight of the outside child and the struggling single mother, my feelings regarding the situation are almost always lopsided and most often skewed in the best interest of my children. Selfish? Yes. Human? Yes. Any mother in my opinion wants the best for her children and anything that doesn’t fall in line with that agenda in my book will undoubtedly get the *side eye*.  I digress.

So the conversation in detail was regarding the fact that the non custodial child gets less than the child that stays in the home because they don’t have access to both of their parents, so if a little extra change, doll, iPad or new sneakers are presented its okay because those things will never make up for the child not having both parents in the household.

I’m not convinced..are you?!

About the author
Mom, wife and friend. I moonlight as a cooker, baker, laundry folder and organizer. I like to think I do it in style. Unlikely Martha is my contribution to the internet in helping women "Keep House and Stay Fly!"

10 Comments

  1. No things, not time make a child feel secure, protected, and loved. I'm sure getting the ipad, sneakers, and doll will be exciting but when the gift is dropped off and then mommy or daddy leaves, there's still a hole there that can't be filled with stuff. It's hard and I grew up with a single mom and a dad that visited every Wednesday and some weekend but it always felt like a visitor came and not dad…

  2. I don't think anything but time makes up for the child not being with the other parent. My husband and I are dealing with the same thing.. we have a son together and he has a child from a previous relationship that stays with us every other weekend. Of course she never wants to leave and hubby tries to make up for her not being around with gifts – that doesn't work in my opinion..

  3. Honestly, I think that the parent who gets the less time often tries to buy the outside child more things or more expensive things because they feel guilty. This is an issue that they will have to work out themselves. Maybe they could add an extra day on to their visitation, make daily phone calls, etc. However, trying to buy your child is never ok.

    It's just going to be a given that the inside child is going to get more things and so it should be because the outside child might be getting the same amount from her mom and her mom's family. I completely understand you keeping your future children's interest in mind first that's what you're suppose to do.

  4. OMG! You must be reading my mind! Ever since you posted about waiting to finsih the holiday decorations until your step daughter came I have wanted to ask ayou how you handle blended families! long story short, I am in the midst of blending families. I have one child and my partner two children (close in age). While, the kids are happily blended the adults struggle with the details. Single mom guilt and absent dad guilt gifts are a constant in these situations. I believe in giving all the children what they need, first and secondly what they EARN. No more! However, it seems GUILT creeps in and it gets messy. So, we often buy all the children the same things for Xmas, bdays, and so on. PEACE, sometimes. Nothing is 100%, but we try! It's complicated, but we keep working on it. Good luck! Any advice would be helpful…
    besos,lynn

  5. You just gotta find a way to spend that time. Nothing is better than that. I understand that it will be more difficult but the gifts wont do it. But I can totally understand that being the instinctual thing to do.

  6. The child does miss out on a lot. However, time and making sure the relationship between the child and non custodial parents is a must. But from my life living with my mom and my dad remarried it was all screwed up! Never fair

  7. Gifts are great, but nothing can replace that time. My husband and I have a blended family, in fact my hubby's child lives in a different state. Therefore, he feels he literally has to go the extra mile to make up for the time lost. I think the parent and noncustodial child just needs to make sure they have a continual loving relationship. Maybe go the extra mile, i.e sit in on the childs basketball practices, attend all school events,etc. Also, technology makes keeping in contact very convientent now days. Skype is great tool for parents and children that don't get frequent visits.

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