As part of our Blended Family Friday series, each week we spotlight a different stepfamily to learn how they successfully blended their two families. Our hope is that by telling their stories, we’ll bring you closer to blended family bliss in your own life!
Meghan Rogers and her partner Pete are new to blended family life. In fact, Pete and his two little girls just moved into Meghan’s house. The pair are in no rush to marry, though, preferring to let the kids adjust to this new normal before any more big life changes go into effect.
“Right now, I think we’re both just in awe of how well the girls interact together. They’re so sweet and kind and really value each other. It’s been amazing to watch,” Meghan told The Huffington Post.
Below, the busy mom — who, along with Pete, writes about stepfamily life on their blog Blending — shares more of their story.
Hey Meghan. Please introduce us to your family.
We’re a family of five. I have one daughter: Harper, age 3. Pete has two daughters: Charley, age 4 and Ruby, age 6.
(Photo courtesy of Sarah Brianne Photography)
How long have you and Pete been together?
It’s been just under a year now. We were shocked from the start at how well-suited we were for each other: Pete caught all of my “Wayne’s World” references and I sang along to his favorite Vampire Weekend songs. And we laughed all day long.
Within a couple of months, it became pretty clear that we had a lot more than that going for us. We were lucky too because our kids fell for each other almost as quickly as we did. Ruby and Charley were endlessly patient and loving with little Harper and she just followed them around with sparkling eyes, eager to join in on whatever they were doing.
In February, we took the girls out for a fancy dinner, handed each of them a rose and asked if they’d like to move in together. They said “yes.”
Talk a little more about the decision to live together. You mentioned that your parents have been pushing for you to marry — how do you handle that as a couple?
Well, moving in just made sense. Harper and I were roaming around in a big empty house — we called the room Ruby and Charley now share “The Makeup Room” because all I ever used it for was putting on eyeliner. And the whole time, Pete was crammed into a tiny, noisy, expensive apartment with two little girls. We would spend great, lively evenings together and then the girls would head home and we’d miss each other. It just didn’t make sense.
But yes, Pete comes from a religious family and we live in a fairly conservative community where it’s generally wedding first, then family. As much as we’d like to please everyone, that just doesn’t work for us. Pete and I couldn’t be more committed to each other but weddings are about more than commitment; there’s a festivity to it. Sure, we could go to the courthouse but we want a really special day that we’ll all remember forever. We want three little blondies lined up in matching dresses. We want them to drink kiddy cocktails and dance to “YMCA” with their aunts and uncles. You can’t rush that kind of magic.
But having to make such a bold move that goes against his family’s values has been tough on Pete and, to a lesser extent, on me. Everyone likes knowing they have the support of the people they value most. But, increasingly, I think that everyone who spends time with our little family can see that we have something really special. We’re taking our time with this.
What’s the best thing about being part of a blended family? What makes you proudest of your family?
We’re finding that the dirty little secret of blended parenting is that you gain all this reclaimed personal time. We’ve been able to sync-up our schedules to have time with all of the girls together and time alone with just one another. Not only is a little alone time healthy for us emotionally, we greet our children with an earnest excitement and appreciation each time they come back to us.
And one of the things I feel luckiest about is that the girls will have a chance to see a healthy, happy relationship between two people who love being together and who take great care of each other. I am hopeful that growing up and seeing how great a relationship can be, they’ll never settle for anything less.
How have you and Pete dealt with stress so far?
Obviously with three little girls running around, life is going to get stressful. But having a sense of humor keeps things much lighter. We laugh all the time and joke with the kids constantly.
Pete and I are also pretty unapologetic about enjoying each other’s company, so we always make sure to find each other in the crowd of kids to crack a joke, snuggle up to each other or just share a quick smile. It definitely helps my stress-level knowing that I have a great partner to share the burden with!
What advice do you have for other new blended families who are bringing their two sets of kids together?
I’m not sure Pete and I are in a great position to give advice on overcoming issues that arise. To be honest, our difficulty level has been pretty low. But I think the best advice I can give is to just delight in your kids. This is an amazing time in our lives and we want to enjoy it as much as possible.
We’ve had a great time sharing our favorite things with them and giving them that shared experience. We’ve introduced them to our favorite music — Charley knows all the words to “Bohemian Rhapsody” — and our favorite movies. We’ve snuggled up and laughed our way through “Ghostbusters,” “The Princess Bride” and “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” just to name a few. And now I’m in a house full of people who get all of my “Wayne’s World” references. We couldn’t be happier.