I think this is an interesting question. If you google it, the literal definition is “a family consisting of a couple and their children from this and all previous relationships.”
Okay, but does that really encompass it? Blended families aren’t just throwing unrelated children together when two people fall in love. It is so much more complex.
With my girlfriend, we are definitely a unique blended family. She was married to a man for 10 years and struggled with her sexual identity. The curiosity was always there, but nothing more. She and her ex-husband had three children together. She is white, he is Hispanic. They are all from Miami.
Lets bring in me and my birth son. I had one child with my previous partner. The breakup was messy and our sperm donor decided to take me to court for joint custody. So a little boy who was born to two women now has a father. Daddy is white and I an Caucasian Latin@. I am from Spain. I am fluent in Spanish and only speak Spanish with my family.
Our family isn’t just me and my partner and 4 children. It is more than that. It is two daddies as well. One daddy that I never had a sexual or romantic relationship but is still the father of my son. And while many people in the LGBTQ community will be up in arms about a sperm donor being granted custody, it has actually worked out rather well.
He and I were friends from college, and though we were angry at each other and argued throughout the court proceedings, we have once again become friends. We are parenting together. And he is a great father. So, really, I can’t complain.
Is that confusing enough? It goes on, my girlfriend was with a man. When they decided to split, the children had no idea that she was gay. So she starts dating a girl who has a child and we move in. The kids never really asked questions and have accepted our relationship for what it is. A relationship.
In fact, our oldest daughter has demanded we get married January 1st because she doesn’t want to wait anymore. They are overjoyed at having a second mommy and a new brother.
So a “straight” woman starts a relationship with another woman. A boy born to two gay women now has a daddy. Does it stop there?
No way! It’s important to take in to account our sexual and gender identities. I am genderqueer and lean mostly to the masculine side. My partner is pansexual. We haven’t really discussed pansexual with the children, but they have picked up on my lack of femininity.
Our oldest, Sophia, sometimes gets stuck in the gender roles she understands. We often explain to her that there is no such thing as “girl” toys or “boy” toys. They are just toys. If her brother wants to play with barbies, more power to him! Our youngest girl is not feminine at all. She likes dinosaurs, hot wheels, Uglyys, and more masculine toys. We love her for it. Whether she ends up beings trans*, queer, gay, or just a tomboy, there is nothing wrong with it.
Furthermore, it is important to take in to account the blended culture within our home. While we do have a similar background with Hispanic cultures, we are still very different and have had to learn to blend what we are accustomed to. New foods, new traditions, new everything!
In essence, a blended family isn’t just a combination of individuals. It is a combination of individuals, cultures, identities, and history. It can sometimes get messy, but it definitely makes for an interesting ride.
What are your thoughts?