I never wanted to have children. Most people don’t know this about me. I often call myself a hesitant mother.
In 2006, I met Beth, my now-wife and she already had a one-year-old little boy. He was almost a deal breaker.
I was 22 and didn’t think I could be selfless enough to parent. I always thought my career would be the center of my life. I clearly remember meeting him for the first time and saying “It’s behind you” to her as he crawled up behind her. If you ever meet Beth, ask her to tell you this story, it is one of her favorites. Needless to say, I quickly fell in love with the sweet blond-haired blue-eyed little boy who would call me Ah-bee for years.
Our family has always been non-traditional. Our immediate family is Beth and me, our children and Beth’s ex-wife and her family. Yes, you read that correctly. Beth’s ex-wife is a part of our immediate family. A decade ago when I became Caeden’s step-mom, none of the adults wanted this blended, clear as mud family structure. It wasn’t the way we had pictured our lives. But none of us wanted to miss Caeden’s firsts, school concerts or holidays. So, we sucked it up and agreed we would parent as a unit. It’s not always easy. Sometimes it feels nearly impossible. But Caeden comes first and he knows that.
In early 2009, I began to feel the urge for another baby. We quickly decided the best way to add to our family was through foster care. So, we started the process to become foster parents. In fall of 2009, we welcomed two-day old Shay into our family. We were lucky enough to adopt him shortly after he turned two. Although I had imagined my family having two children, we decided that if the right circumstances presented themselves, we would be open to more children. So when our third little guy came along, we warmly welcomed him into our family.
My career remains a central part of my life. I am lucky enough to work in the public health field where I provide technical support and assistance to other states throughout the US. I try to balance working from home with work travel. Balancing work and family is a challenge. I always feel pressured to make it look easy and perfect but it isn’t. Being a working mom is messy and sometimes hard to embrace. I am the unfamiliar face at school activities and the colleague who never goes out for drinks after work. There are times when work gets more of my attention and definitely times where the flipside is true. Sometimes, it feels like nothing gets enough attention.
My family is a unique blend of people, from my nuclear family to Beth’s ex-wife and our children. It’s never easy for our kids to fill out a family tree project. We have a big table, drive a mini-van and always have space for one more. Life is pretty chaotic (and loud) but I would not trade it in for anything in the world. I am honored to join the MKE Moms Blog as a new contributor and cannot wait to learn and share with all of you.