I vividly remember my last days in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. I was frantically packing and saying my goodbyes to my family and friends, not knowing when I would see them again or the big city I had fallen in love with.
That was over 4 years ago.
Now you'll find me in a small town in the Okanagan Valley, Canada, frantically packing for our road trip to the Oregon Coast with my husband and my two preteen stepsons.
Oh, how things have changed!
A 9 month pregnancy, the build up, the excitement, the anticipation, the birth and finally bringing your baby home wasn't how I started my family. Instead, I was introduced to two cute little boys who have two amazing parents that they spend their time with 50/50 (4 weeks on, 4 weeks off. Highly unusual, I know).
This is how my family came together. An instant-family wasn't really that instant because we needed time to bond and connect. Time to grow as a family, explore our boundaries, establish new traditions while keeping old ones intact. All the while I was trying to get comfortable with my role as a stepmom. You can't skip ahead or press fast forward.
Unfortunately, there is no 'how to' guide on being a stepmom or having a blended family. Yes, you can find tips and tricks online, read books (few and far between), turn to a counselor or listen to your friends who are more than willing to dish out well-meant advice (some might not have any experience with blended family life) but, at the end of the day, your family needs to explore what works for them and what doesn't.
I launched This Unexpected Love as a way to connect with other stepmoms when I found myself deep in the trenches of stepmotherhood as well as adjusting to a new country I now call home. I'm thrown head first into stepmotherhood for 4 weeks straight until my husband jets off for work and my stepkids go back to their mom's. It's fun and challenging with a fair share of ups and downs along the way.
Being a stepmom is empowering and has had a huge learning curve. Finding your tribe of women who understand stepmom life and have a positive outlook on everything that comes along with that is the best thing you can do for yourself and your family!