I hate the phrase “blended family.” I mean I REALLY hate it. It is hideous. It is a lie. It is a euphemism. I wish people would see what BS it is and stop using it.
And think about the analogy: a blender is a device that uses sharp blades to chop and cut at a rapid speed in order to liquefy. Who would consciously choose to have their family life patterned on that concept?
It’s such a farce. When I see a “blended family” photo this is what I see:
“Hey look at this cute photo we took that makes us look like the kids’ first family! You can safely ignore the fact that the kids’ other parents are not here in the photo. That’s what we’re doing, and we assume the kids are doing it too. They’re smiling, after all, so that proves they’re OK with having their other parent chopped out of their lives for half the time. We didn’t have to live like that when we were growing up, but oh well! Our sex lives are more important than maintaining a unified home for the children. Kids are resilient but adults are SO fragile, after all.”
Yep, that’s what it looks like to me.
I’m not alone in my disdain for the phrase:
It’s hard to imagine a more harmful concept [than ‘blended family’]. Because re-partnership with children or adult children is anything but an ambrosial smoothie. The dad who wants his kids to love his new wife as much as he does quickly realises they don’t. The step-mother with good intentions often becomes a target for resentment about all the changes in their lives, and is frequently blamed for their mother’s unhappiness, too.
Reaching out to the kids (or their mum) to bridge the gap can backfire, creating feelings of failure and disappointment that in turn stress the couple. Indeed, it may come as a surprise to the general public (and a relief to stepfamilies) to learn that conflict is the rule, rather than the exception, in the first years of step-family life.
These “family” members are more likely to argue, seethe with jealousy or simply distrust one other than they are to meld into a happy mix right away. It’s normal. But thanks to the “blended” paradigm, they are bound to wonder, “What are we doing wrong? Why don’t we feel like a first family?” Why aren’t we blended yet?
So not only is it a lie about what is actually so, it is a lie that lulls people to sleep about what they can expect if they create a step-family after divorce.
Or maybe “blended family” not a lie after all. Maybe it is the truth about what it feels like to live like that as a child, chopping off half of yourself in each home you live in so your parents can be happy, and doing this for the rest of your life. I’ve lived it and so my vote is yes, it is like that.
Would that make “blended family” a Freudian slip?