This weekend, my husband, my daughter and I packed up the car and drove almost 12 hours (one way) to surprise my parents in Vancouver. Like, we basically spent 1 day driving for 1.5 days spent with my family (worth it).
My stepson lives with us every second week; our niece also lives with us a lot of the time. But over the past weekend? It was just the 3 of us. My stepson was with his mom and our niece, who is a teenager, stayed home to study and housesit for us.
In the past, I would feel guilty about having fun without the older kids. I worried that they would feel left out. It felt like we would save our fun outings and getaways for when the whole family could be together... and there's definitely nothing wrong with making sure to have fun as a family unit.
But here is what I have realized.
Would we have a blast with all 5 of us? Heck yes and we regularly do things together. But we're not doing anything wrong by giving our daughter a childhood of memories all the time. Her life should not be put on pause when they're not with us. After all, their lives certainly don't stop when they leave.
When they are with their moms, they have fun - for example, we saw pictures of my stepson colouring Easter eggs with his brother and cousins. Nobody is missing out; our lives are just a little bit different than your standard nuclear family.
We are not excluding them or showing favouritism towards our daughter. My husband misses his son every week he's not here; it's not like he has moved on and created a separate life with a "new family." Instead, we have just accepted the complications that come with having a blended family and we continue to adapt as best we can.
Which means having fun as often as possible with zero stepmom guilt.