We have survived almost ten months now as a newly blended family with little to no internal friction. A couple of small bumps in the road, but no devastating crashes. Pretty good for having a house with two teenage boys and two pre-teen girls who live in pretty close quarters.
I won’t say “tight quarters” because although the boys share a room and the girls share a room, they are unquestionably large rooms. The girls have two double beds in their room and still have plenty of extra room to lounge around and watch tv or play games. The boys have bunk beds with a sofa and coffee table set up in their room – the perfect Xbox set-up for teen boys. So they are definitely not suffering in any sense.
They do, however, all have to share the jack & jill bathroom that is between their rooms.
Four kids. Two sinks. That wouldn’t seem like a big deal, but it also means four kids and four toothbrushes. Recipe for disaster… Last week one of the kids was brushing their teeth (I will be vague so no one feels like they are being made fun of). Another child also went to brush teeth and was confused when their toothbrush wasn’t where it was supposed to be. It was quickly realized it was because the other child was using it to brush their teeth!! Ewwwwwww. Everyone was REALLY grossed out and I ended up having to give new toothbrushes to pretty much everyone in the house JUST IN CASE.
Four kids. One toilet. Thankfully this hasn’t been a big deal because two of our kids leave for school just as the other two are waking up, so different wake times usually mean different potty times. There are the occasions where I wake to hear quiet footsteps on the hardwood floors in our bedroom and see one of the kids standing near the bed with a deer in headlights expression. I then hear the whisper, “There’s someone in our bathroom. Can I use yours?” We are still trying to figure out why they don’t just go downstairs to another bathroom, but whatever.
Four kids. One shower. Fifty thousand towels. I kid you not, THEY GO THROUGH SOME TOWELS. We recently picked up 18 towels at one time. 18 towels between four kids. And Joe, the obsessive laundry guy (THANK GOD), does laundry pretty much every single day, so they were towels accumulated over just a few days. One of the kids said, “I don’t like to reuse towels because I always think someone else used the towel after me. That’s gross.” Ironically, that was the same child who had someone else’s toothbrush in their mouth. Nice try.
Being the problem solver I am, I resolved the “towel drama” by pulling out my old Bernina embroidery machine and each child now has two personalized towels to use each week. They are responsible for hanging them up and no one is allowed to use anyone else’s towel. It’s been working beautifully for a few weeks now!
Overall, the blended family experience for us all has been wildly successful. Sure we have had to institute more rules in the house – with double the family, there becomes double the responsibility. Everyone must carry their own weight, which has been a struggle for one child specifically. We’ve instituted allowance, but rather than be happy that they now get paid in addition to the new rules, they are mad at how we “handle their money.” Huh. We also have more activities with four kids, so we all go to more stuff now… which again can be a major source of angst for a teenage boy who is all about his own wants and needs. So we are working on it. Considering it hasn’t even been a year yet, we are doing just fine. It’s constant give and take… and I know that someday the kids will realize just how good we have it.
I’m thankful for every second we have with each of them because it won’t be long before they are driving and out the door… I may be a hot mess heap of hysteria at that time, so I will enjoy every single second of toothbrush/bathroom/towel drama until that day. Then Joe and I will sit in our rocking chairs on the porch in New Bern looking out over the river and we will laugh remembering how much fun each and every day was with our party of six.