Have you ever seen the movie Yours, Mine, & Ours? If you haven't here is a quick synopsis. High School sweethearts reunite, each toting 8-10 kids. They marry and what happens next is trying to blend two COMPLETELY different families. He is in the military and she is a free spirited artist. It is quite humorous! What makes it even more funny is that it reminds me of my life! OK, Andrew and I are not as extreme as the main characters in the movie. We are, however, polar opposites on the parenting scale.
Andrew was raised by (for lack of a better term) a "military brat." (This label is given in the most loving way since I ADORE his father! LOVE YOU, PAPA!!!) Because of this, Andrew's tendencies are towards order and rigidity. Not a bad thing mind you, but WAY different from my upbringing. I was raised.....well I was homeschooled! That should about sum it up! Homeschoolers (from my experience) are not really know for there structure and rigidity. (Get a bunch of homeschooled kids together and tell them to "line up." You will get a bunch of blank stares!) Homeschoolers are more free-spirited and creative. Probably because they have more time to BE free-spirited and creative. Also, there is a 13 year age difference between Andrew and I which may contribute to our differences. I am not 100% sold on that since he grew up in the 60's and 70's which I would say are VERY free-spirited.
Anyway, watching this movie always makes me laugh because I can see us and the many
- Homes are for free expression, not good impressions. (This would have been said at our house after Andrew came into the dining room and saw one (or both) of the girls sitting on the table. "What are they doing sitting on the table?" "Crafts." Enough said.)
- Lets just let them all run naked and wild. (or "Just let them hang from the chandeliers." Which is funny in itself because we don't even HAVE a chandelier!)
- That's it, I am putting the hammer down. (This is usually reserved for the older boys, which I agree needs to happen from time to time.)
Needless to say that our journey in combining two families has come with its ups and downs. The best advice we got was from our pre-marital counselor. She said "don't try to blend your parenting styles, instead, come up with a completely new style." Easier said then done!
In the end, we both compromise (him probably more then me). I keep the glitter to a minimum and don't let the girls sit on the table (even during crafts!), and Andrew turns a blind eye to LOTS of things. Somehow it all works out!