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A year on – joining two families together

enter Unbelievably, it’s now a year since Ellie and I moved in with my partner and his son. A year since we moved area and Ellie changed schools. A year since we took what was a huge leap.

watch I blogged about when we decided to join our two families together last October (you can see it here) and I blogged when we later bought our new family home and really started to settle (here).

So a year on, it’s fair to say that some things have gone more smoothly than I could ever have hoped and of course some things are still work in progress.


Our new home is just that – our home. I’m slightly taken aback by how quickly it felt like home to me, I’ve moved a fair few times over the years and there was probably in all that time just one house I felt at home in, until now. Our progress on the decorating and sorting is at best steady – but life is busy and it isn’t urgent so it can wait. This relaxed attitude to the house has of course taken a year to achieve.

When it comes to Ellie, she has truly settled into the new school – she loves going, she’s doing really well and she’s made some lovely friends. When at parents evening her teacher said that it was a pleasure to meet the parent of a child like Ellie, I was speechless – something that really doesn’t happen to me very often. It would be an understatement to say that I feel both relieved and incredibly proud of my little girl.

It turns out though that it’s not just Ellie who’s made friends – I’ve made some great friends too. I’ve been blown away by how welcoming everyone has been – the other parents at school, our new neighbours – literally everyone. For this I feel incredibly lucky and it’s definitely helped me to settle.

The hardest part of our little adventure hasn’t of course been the practical aspects of moving but the emotional ones. For a start I’ve discovered that I am a) more stubborn than I realised and b) quite stuck in my ways living on my own with Ellie. Learning to live as a family of four takes a bit of getting used to. In this one thing it isn’t just me either – we’ve all had to adjust and learn where we fit in the new family and to be flexible about things we used to just take for granted. I mean the practical stuff like the how the toilet seat should be left (down and clean please), how bedtime routines work (7.00pm please), how mealtimes work (quietly and at the table please!) and so on. But I also mean our different personalities and emotions; we have different paces to life, as well as different views on families and parenting. There’s also, in my view, the fact that male brains are just wired differently to female ones, (it’s the jumping around craziness versus drawing a picture i’m talking about,) but i guess that’s for another post.

So there you have it, joining two families together really was as big a deal as I thought it would be and there’s no denying we’ve come a long way in the last year. I also know though that we will continue to grow and change over time as a family – I think every family does. The funny thing is that for once I’m not worried about how that might work…….I’m just excited.

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A fond farewell…to being a single parent

I went out one evening the other week for a drink with colleagues after work, a non-alcoholic one since I was driving, but nonetheless a sociable drink…in the week…on a school night…when I had Ellie.

Now I realise this doesn’t sound like a big deal, but this is the first time I have been out like this with colleagues from my office since I went back to work over two and a half years ago. As I sat in the bar laughing and talking, I couldn’t help but feel a little giddy. I did, without doubt, check my phone on rather a lot of occasions in the time running up to the usual bedtime of 7pm and relay some of the sweet, reassuring messages from my boyfriend to others at the table (no eyes were rolled!), but I wasn’t worrying about getting back and I really did enjoy myself.

This is a big deal because it was symbolic of the fact that following our recent move Ellie and I have joined my boyfriend and his son to live together as a family. I am officially no longer a single parent – eek and wow to that!

There’s no doubt that there have been occasions where being a single parent was tough and there are lots of things I will not miss…paying the a baby sitter so I can go to the dentist is quite frankly depressing and knowing you’re out of petrol but can’t just pop to fill up until the morning…when it will make you late – is irritating.  

Most memorable for me in recent months was when I attended the pre starting school parents evening – it was a rare occasion where I suddenly felt very lonely and really wished I had someone else there to share what I was worrying about. I ended up getting a little emotional and making a total prat of myself by crying as I left the school! I could try to explain but it would sound totally pathetic so I will save myself the blushes.

What’s strange though is that when I think about it I have to be honest and say that there are things about being a single parent that I know I really http://jenniferblyth.com/compelling/audioĂƒÂ˘Ă˘â€šÂŹĂ‚ÂŚ am going to miss. For one thing there’s something quite empowering about not having to explain or agree in any way your parenting choices to anyone else, and just being able to do it your own way without discussion or negotiation. For another thing Ellie and I have developed our own routine and pattern to our lives – adjusting this is a big change (for me probably more than Ellie!). I can’t deny that I’ve become just a little set in my ways!

Bidding farewell to being a single mum isn’t going to be easy. In our newly joined family we’re already discovering things that we do differently … the so called ‘chocolate cereals’ that Ellie eats are met with some horror, the fact that Ellie shouts about doing a poo and never closes the bathroom door is clearly a little distressing for the other half of our new family, and our really quiet time before bed is more difficult to achieve …to name but a few examples.

So there can be no doubt that as I look with excitement and anticipation to our future as a family, it is a fond farewell that I give to my time as a single mum.