As part of our Blended Family Friday series, each week we're spotlighting a different stepfamily to learn how they successfully blended their two families together. Our hope is that by telling their stories, we'll bring you closer to blended family bliss in your own life!
This week we're introducing you to Meg Leslie's blended family. The mom of five is also an artist who's documented the process of blending her and husband Jeritt's family in video form -- it's well worth a watch.
Below, Leslie explains why blended family life is a constant learning experience and shares the reason she and her husband hauled the kids along on their honeymoon a few years back.
Hi Meg. Please introduce us to your family.
My husband, Jeritt, and I have five kids all together. My husband has three kids from his previous marriage: Bella, 5; Hunter, 13; and Logan, 14. I have two kids from a previous marriage: Tait, who's 15 and Thomas, who's 16.
And how long have you and Jeritt been a couple?
We met online dating, chatted for about six months and finally met in September of 2010. We were certain about each other by date three and we married in August of 2011.
What are some of the biggest challenges of blended family life so far?
I would say our living situation is the toughest part. My two teenage boys live with my husband and me. My husband's three kids live with their mom, stepdad and new baby sister. There was an adjustment all around with the living situation and the visiting situation, and sometimes I see my husband really sad, missing his kids. For me, the biggest challenge is trying to help everyone enjoy their time with us, and with seven people ranging in ages, it is not always possible. It's my hope that our family situation teaches our kids flexibility and compromise.
What's the best thing about being part of a blended family?
I personally love that we are not "traditional." We are bonded by marriage and love and it is strong and real this time around. I am dedicated to wanting to make this work. That dedication was tested right from the start as we did have many difficulties with our kids, especially right around the time of our wedding. We were getting married in Arizona and then Jeritt and I were going to go to California for our honeymoon. We had imagined a two-seater sports car with the wind in our hair as we drove to the beach in bliss. Due to the fact that the kids were already struggling, we decided that leaving them after the wedding wasn't going to be fun or easy for anyone. In the end, we rented a seven-seater van and baby seat and took them all for surf-lessons in California instead! I honestly couldn't have asked for a sweeter honeymoon. It was a great way to show all of the kids how important that they all are to us.
What makes you proudest of your family?
I am an artist and I really don't mind problems. I know that problems are just opportunities to learn and grow. I see how our family has adapted and adopted that attitude as well. I am proud that we can live in different houses, but the bond we hold is just as strong, and I see that the kids have become more flexible in their thinking and more accepting of different solutions. I tell them that having more adults in their lives who love them is definitely a good thing.
Lastly, what advice do you have for other blended families who are struggling to keep the peace in their home?
The "blending" will test the bounds of your compassion, but you want to come out of this feeling like you did the very best that you could. You are helping the children to write the story of their lives. You want it to be as positive as possible.
I would suggest that you consider that there is ALWAYS a way through difficult times and that maybe you just haven't found your way yet.
Click through the slideshow below the see photos of Meg and Jeritt's family!
If you'd like your own family to be featured on a Blended Family Friday, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We're looking forward to hearing your story!