As part of our Blended Family Friday series, each week we spotlight a different stepfamily to learn how they’ve worked to bring 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! Want to share your family’s story? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When Stacy Clodfelder married into the Romero family, it was already big ― and it just kept growing! At age 28, she became a stepmom to her husband David’s four kids, and the pair now have a daughter together and a baby boy on the way.
“The experience of becoming an instant parent was exciting, scary, frustrating and surreal at times,” Clodfelder told The Huffington Post. “I was 28 and suddenly I was responsible for cooking for four extra mouths, cleaning up after children and budgeting for a family of six, and then seven.”
Below, Clodfelder tells us more about her experience as a stepparent.
Hi Stacy. Please introduce us to your family.
Our family is made up of seven ― soon to be eight ― members. My husband David is 46 and I’m 33. David’s children are Alycia (17), Angelia (16), Chase (11) and Chance (6). Olivia (4) is our daughter together. David and I have been together for five years.
When you first met your spouse, what approach did you take with his kids?
When I first became part of this family, I slowly integrated myself into the mix. I was an overnight mother to four children whose ages ranged from one to 12! It was a little like playing with dynamite if I tried too hard, too fast. I wanted to be liked by everyone so I was more of a stand-in-the-background type who would voice my opinion about parenting and discipline issues behind closed doors to my husband. He would be the one to have to make the final decision and follow through.
“The experience of becoming an instant parent was exciting, scary, frustrating and surreal at times.”
What are some of the biggest challenges of blended family life?
I think we, like most blended families, have faced loyalty issues with the children. I think children always feel the burden and responsibility to protect their biological parents and uphold their loyalty to their parents. They feel like they are doing something wrong by allowing themselves to feel comfort, love and support from someone in a similar role as their parents.
What’s the best thing about being part of a blended family?
The best thing about being part of a blended family is seeing my husband happy in making memories with his children. When things are good, they are really good. There are so many laughs, milestones and memories made as a family. I’m most proud of our ability to stick together and just move forward. I would be lying if I said that everything has been smooth since day one, but we have figured out how to give space, time and support regardless of hurtful words and behavior.
“The best thing about being part of a blended family is seeing my husband happy in making memories with his children.”
How do you deal with stress in your household?
My husband and I try to talk about things openly, even if we don’t agree. We attend couples counseling and parenting therapy in order to keep on the same page and hash out differences of opinion. I have developed a step-parenting Facebook page in order to share my experiences and receive feedback from other blended families.
What advice do you have for other stepparents who are struggling to feel like part of the family?
Just give things time. Our blended family still has many kinks, hurtful words and periods of older children choosing to be with their friends rather than with their dad during his parenting time. As hard as it is to be patient, you have to look forward to the kids understanding the gravity of the whole situation someday. Always insert yourself positively in the family dynamic and stay true to your belief that you are doing what’s best for the whole family.