When my kids (especially my oldest) were little, I acted very deliberately when it came to raising them. I made choices that supported the bigger picture that I wanted to cultivate.
Then, life changed. I became a single mom. I went back to work full time. The boyz got bigger, and the decisions didn't seem quite so monumental. It's not that I didn't think about parenting, or do my best, it's just that I got busy and distracted. We had a routine, we had the support of my family, and most of the time, things seemed to be pretty good.
Then, life changed again. When people say blended family, it implies something like a smoothie: sweet, evenly textured, completely combined. On a good day (and we have pretty many of those) it's more like a fruit salad. It's yummy, but lumpy. The bananas are really squishy and the apples are crisp; the mangos are sweet and the yogurt is tart. On a bad day it resembles oil and vinegar, with two groups of people refusing to combine without vigorous shaking.
At any rate, we got a little off track, in terms of parenting. While I wasn't doing a terrible job as a parent, I wasn't doing a great one. I had lost sight of the big picture when making decisions just to get through the day. Luckily, Will and I are in agreement about the need to do something different. I knew he was a keeper, but the last several weeks have really proven it. Together, we're working through a program called Parenting on Track (the name is apropos, is it not?) We chose it because the philosophy aligns perfectly with our ultimate goals, and we're sticking with it because we are starting to see little glimmers of progress.
This isn't an infomercial, and I'm not a paid endorser, but if I'm blogging about our life as a party of six, I've gotta blog about PoT right now. The coolest part of it all, though, isn't the program. It's that doing it with Will reinforces why all of the challenges are worth it. I love, love, love having a partner in all things, one who is willing to hash it out, put in the time, and figure things out as a team, to stand up to me, to make compromises, then follow through on what we decided.
We just started another program for family budgeting/money stuff and the experience holds true. Yeah, I know: what were we thinking!? "Let's tackle the two hardest things, parenting and money, all at once!" But what better time to start doing things right than right from the start? And I gotta say, so far being married rocks!
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