by Lindy Klim
Being a mother is THE most rewarding job I have ever had but my god is it the hardest. And I am not talking about the sleepless nights, dirty nappies and the juggling act of being a chef, taxi driver, costume maker, doctor, judge and jury and best friend. I am talking about the emotional and psychological side, the constant overarching questions you ask yourself – “Are my children happy, and I mean truly happy? Do they feel safe and supported? Am I raising emotionally healthy individuals?” Multiply this thought process by about a hundred when the question of blended families arises.
When Adam came into my life, blended families and new babies was the last thing on my mind. I mean, the last date I had been on was about a decade prior and between raising three children and maintaining a career to support them… adding a new partner into the mix was hardly on my to-do list. But as all love stories go (and children, they do exist) meeting the right person doesn’t exactly wait for your timetable to approve. Whether I was looking for it or not, Adam came into my life like a breath of fresh air and accepted me as I was – past baggage and three children included. And more than accepting my children, he treated them as if they were his own. My role as a mother was to ensure they felt this in every sense of the way.
Living in the spotlight means I share a lot with my followers, so it didn’t take me long to introduce Adam to the world. Call it that giddy, new romance feeling. After a tumultuous couple of years, I felt truly safe, supported and in love and I didn’t feel the need to hide it. But behind it all was a transition period and romance of a different kind, the one between Adam and my children.
It was days and weeks filled with family outings, one-on-one dates and really getting to know each other. It was ensuring my children could be open and honest with me and express how they felt. This meant taking the time to really re-connect with each one of them on a truly deeper level. I needed them to know they still came first – and always would.
I was blessed with a transition period, which didn’t really feel like a transition period at all. All clichés aside, Adam blended into our little family like he had been there all along. I can’t really take the credit for that. Anyone who knows Adam will talk of his calming nature and levelheaded demeanor. He didn’t waltz into our lives professing to be the new dad, giving orders and setting the tone. Instead, he became my children’s confidant, friend and supporter. He listened to them, took the time to support them emotionally and provided a safe and supportive environment. Forget gifts, toys and material possessions – what he brought to the table was infinite.
When I found out I was pregnant with Goldie, the elation was one equally met with fear. Despite my children’s acceptance of Adam, the dread that my children would feel alienated by the process was always there. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t. What made the process easier was our desire to share the journey. It was as much about Stella, Rocco and Frankie becoming siblings again as it was about Adam and myself welcoming our first child. “Step” was never a word used in the equation and every little milestone was shared and celebrated as a family together.
I recognise that not everyone’s journey is the same and to some extent, I still pinch myself today. This new chapter of my life, though unexpected, feels like it was coming all along. Nothing brings me more joy than seeing Stella, Rocco and Frankie play with Goldie and bask in the same joy that Adam and I share. The bond between Frankie and Goldie, in particular, is something magic. While I credit a lot to Adam and his patience and my children and their acceptance – I truly believe choosing to focus on my children’s emotional growth has made the process so much smoother. At the end of the day, no amount of material possessions and bartering will bring your children the same joy as feeling heard, safe and supported. Talk to your children. Tell them you love them a million times a day and don’t be too hard on yourself. Your children will thank you one day.
You might also like Lindy Klim: What it means, to me, to be a new mother at 40, An open letter to all women who want to be pregnant… but aren’t, and Imposter syndrome: How to live with it and thrive.