Moving in together, combining two households and two families,
while living down the street from the ex-wife!
Mark and I knew right away that we had finally gotten it right. With this knowledge came eagerness to move things along but also with our pasts came caution to guard our hearts (and the hearts of our kids) just a little bit more than we probably would have before.
After my split from my ex, I had rented an apartment close to my parents so I would have them near for helping out with Addison as needed and lets face it when you’re going through a separation you really do need to surround yourself with people who love and support you because those are some dark days. As the legal bills kept climbing, due to the nature of our messy and complicated separation, it got harder and harder for me to afford rent on top of all that so Miss. Independent here had to ask what no grown woman wants to ask of anyone, “Mom, Dad, can I move back home” Trust me folks this was the absolute last thing I wanted to do. I had been out on my own for over 10 years. The thought of going back to living under my parent’s roof as an adult was less than thrilling to me but you do what you have to do sometimes. They were ok with the arrangement and I assured them it would just be temporary.
Mark’s arrangements post split looked quite different from mine. Him and his ex managed to stay living under the same roof for a year after they had decided to split (kudos to him, there aren’t many that could have done this) He made arrangements that allowed for his ex to stay in their matrimonial home to not disrupt the kids as much. He did everything in his power to ensure the kids and his ex were well taken care of, he’s pretty much a Saint! He found a condo near by to rent and made that work for a bit until he found a condo he could buy. Shortly before we met he decided it was time to buy a house. When we first started talking he was telling me all about house hunting. He finally found something great, three streets down from his old house! His exes house! What a great idea that sounded like, makes it easier for the kids, right. Yes….so great!!! (please tell me the sarcasm can be picked up on!) His ex is a nice person, but there is a thing we like to call boundaries and living that close can sometimes blur those lines. Now again, all this had been arranged and secured when we had just started dating so it wasn’t like Mark and I were house hunting together.
After we had been seeing each other for about 9 months we talked about moving in together. We knew it was the right thing for us, we had been spending all our free time together up until that point and Addison and I had been spending our weekends there at his place already. The kids were on board so away we went. The house he picked out for 1-person full time, and 3 kids part time now became permanent residence to 6 of us!
We got the girls setup in one room together which took some getting used to. You really see how vastly different people are when you start sharing space. Addison had always been like me, very organized and loved keeping things neat and tidy. Alyssa was more into everything goes everywhere a product of what she was used to. Time has worked this out some. I’d love to say that Addison’s influence won out but now it just looks like a bomb has hit that room no matter when you walk past it. I used to get on them about fixing it,keeping it nice and clean and I quickly realized I was wasting very valuable energy on a battle I was never going to win. Every once in awhile we do a big clean up, but the everyday status of tidy is just not happening and it’s ok. Pick your battles right!? The funny thing is the boys room is kept nicer!!
We’re doing the best we can in the space we have. We’ve all had some growing pains in getting used to one another always around. This is another area where compromise and learning to let the little things go is so important. Being type-A, you can imagine how much of a learning curve this whole thing has been for me. Going from 1 kid to 4…..yikes! I like structure and organization, I hate clutter and constant noise makes my head spin. I realized at the start that the harder I tried to change things around me to suit me the worse it was. The only thing you have control of in life is your reaction, and life with kids, your own and someone else’s, is not something that can be changed and maneuvered to suit just one person. This is 6 different people with 6 different ways and mindsets and we are all working together at living harmoniously under one roof. One day at a time….