Meet Violet In The Middle
I had my first baby at 19, my second at 36. In the years between I became guardian to my niece and gained two step children. This is my experience of modern family life.
After having my son almost 18 years ago, and subsequently separating from his dad, I never expected to have more children. Although I loved being a mum and had plenty of time ahead of me, I couldn’t imagine having another child. I struggled with the idea of my son having to split his time between homes while any hypothetical half sibling spent all of their time with me.
My concerns turned out to be irrelevant anyway. I went on to be single for a pretty long time and was massively career focused so having more children was the last thing on my mind…until New Years’ Eve 2013.
For reasons I have decided not to share, that evening led to me becoming a carer for my niece who was almost two at the time. Overnight I was back to bringing up a toddler! Caring for my niece has been life changing in so many ways but that’s another blog post.
My son welcomed his cousin into our home and they developed an unbreakable bond. I co-parented my son with his dad and my niece with another relative and am proud to say that they have both grown to be two of the most adaptable, resilient, and generous children I know.
For four years this was us - I focused on bringing them up, securing legal guardianship of my niece and setting up my own business to achieve a better work life balance.
Then last year I met S. We bonded over a shared love of food, red wine and 80s music and after a whirlwind romance I found myself pregnant. We’d spent hours talking about the similar dreams and ambitions we had for us and our children so whilst we hadn’t known each other that long we knew it was meant to be.
S also has two children from a previous relationship so we had a lot of people to consider. We spent 9 months carefully introducing and blending our families. We were going against every piece of advice telling us to take things slowly because we had to. The new baby was on its way and we needed to have some resemblance of a family in place.
The last 12 months have brought every emotion - from laughter and excitement to tears and tantrums but we carried on as we believed in what we were doing.
We’re now a year down the line. Whilst there are still challenges, we’ve got a place that everyone calls home, the children tell us they love having each other around and everyone is besotted with the new baby. It’s been tough but we always knew it was worth it for everyone.
It’s been a whirlwind few years. I’ve gone from a family of two to a family of seven. I’ve experienced all the usual hurdles that family life brings plus a few that are unique to kinship care, blended families and special guardianship.
I don’t profess to be an expert in these areas - I’m learning as I go. This is me sharing my experiences for anyone with a similarly crazy modern family.