Egads, sometimes you think life can’t get more complicated, then it does. My new husband from Sweden had graduated from BYU with an Elementary Education degree but because he wasn’t a U.S. citizen he couldn’t teach in the states. When he returned to Sweden after graduation, he couldn’t work there because his credential was from America. So, he got a job at Volvo making fenders. After we married in Utah, now he could apply for a green card and get a job in the states as that he was married to an American. That, however, took several months during which time I found myself still working, this time to support a new spouse as well as my three sons.
If parenting has no manual, step parenting has less. It’s even trickier especially if you’ve never been a parent. We tried to solve that by adding another child to our family as I became a mother again at age 42 to a bouncing baby boy. Even though my sonogram had predicted “he” would be a “girl,” another female name went unused "Anna Christina." But we were all overjoyed to have this sweet newborn join our blended family. We now had "hers" and "our" children.
Our young son when growing up loved to joke about how he had one and a half brothers because he had three half brothers. He tried to figure out what his relationship was with my ex-husband, the father of his half brothers. I kept telling him there was no connection there. Then my former spouse and his companion added two girls to their family adding to the assortment of relationships.
Stepfamilies are complex and adding another child doesn’t always strengthen a family, but can cause divisions and additional stress. With a newborn son, I felt the need to be home fulltime. I quit my teaching job as soon as my new husband was hired at Signetics to make wafers for personal computers. Struggling financially for a year, we finally decided that my spouse needed to go back to school to get a master’s degree in some better paying field like English as a Second Language or Educational Administration. That meant we needed to get a student loan since I was home fulltime raising four sons. Luckily, my husband got a job after graduation and was hired to teach first grade in our local community. So, we lived happily ever after?