Parenting in a blended family: How Courtney Williams is making it work

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Courtney Williams is one mama that we absolutely love and adore. She has 3 adorable daughters and a stepson. She was a single mom of one when she met and married her husband who has a son from a previous relationship. Now, almost four years after they walked down the aisle, their family has grown into a beautiful blended family of six with the arrival of two daughters. We reached out to her and she gracefully shared her experience with us…

Black Moms Daily: Who are you and what do you do? How many family members do you have?
My name is Courtney N. Williams and I’m a Houston based Lifestyle/Mommy Blogger. I love sharing my testimony of how I went from a single mom of 1 to a beautifully blended family of 6. On the blog, I talk all things motherhood, marriage, blended family, fashion, faith, and so much more.

BMD: How long have you married?
I have been married going on 4 years this upcoming January.

BMD: How did you meet your husband?
Funny enough, I guess you could say we “met” through Instagram. My husband sent me a direct message that stated, “you’re so beautiful” and it’s been history ever since.

BMD: What was the attraction?
We were both attracted to the fact that we were both great parents to our children. We each had one child prior to getting married, and also that we are both believers. Those two qualities were huge for us both!

BMD: Did you and your spouse experience any difficulty in the blending process?
Oh yes for sure. Our first year was probably our toughest year. The blending process was an adjustment for sure. We both realized that it wasn’t going to be an overnight success; it was going to take WORK! Both of us had to put in time to build true genuine relationships with each other’s children. Just like any other relationship, it takes time and work to build trust and love.

BMD: What’s one specific problem you’ve faced, and how have you addressed it?
One problem we had early on was having unrealistic expectations with how quick our family would genuinely blend. I naively thought it would take place right as we got married, but I found out very quickly that it was going to take time. We told each other that this was going to take time and patience. Once we adjusted our expectations, we were less frustrated with the situation.

BMD: Do you feel things would have been different if neither of you never had children out of wedlock?
I try not to think about that. I could easily think about how easier our marriage or our family would be if we weren’t blended, but what good does that do? I just accept our situation for what it is and vow to make the absolute best of it daily. And so far, so good!

BMD: What’s the best thing about being part of a blended family?
Blended families are a great example of God’s restoration. When a family comes together that has been impacted by brokenness, it shows God works in spite of a fallen world. I love that God gets the glory out of our family! And I love that our children just have double the love from both of their families.

BMD: How do you bond as a family?
One of our favorite things to do is travel. We love taking family trips with each other. Unfortunately, in blended families, you aren’t all able to be together 24/7…so when we are, we are sure to make the most of it.

BMD: What do you think a blended family needs to survive in the first year?
PRAYER! *laughs* but seriously…a lot of prayers. And two very mature adults who put the needs of the children first. Everyone has to been on the same page when blending a family, even the other parents outside of the household.

BMD: Some say in a blended family the biological children come first, do you subscribe to this notion? Has there been any case where you had to put your biological children first?
In our blended family, we are big on treating all the children the same. When we said “I do” at the altar during our wedding, we said “I do” to each other’s children and took them in as our own. Whatever we would do for our biological children, we would do for our bonus children.

BMD: How do you discipline the children?
Just like I stated above, we treat all the children the same. So if we’re to reprimand our biological children for certain behavior, we would do the same for our bonus children. I and my husband want to be on one accord when it comes to parenting all the children so that way they won’t feel like they can play us against one another. That’s very important when blending a family.

BMD: How have you been able to manage the other families?
ALL parents, even the ones outside of our household have to be on the same page when it comes to raising the children involved. These kids didn’t ask to be in this situation, so as the adults in the situation, we owe it to them to be mature and put their needs first. We try our best to co-parent with the other parents in a respectful and mature way!

BMD: Have you ever felt like you will never do enough to please your stepchild or make your spouse feel like you are not going to treat him any different?
Yes, I’ve had feelings close to those before. My bonus son is more on the reserved side. So it took him a really long time to truly warm up to me. There were times that I would think he’s never going to fully accept me as a second motherly figure. But once I stopped trying to force it and just put in the time, along with praying, I saw his walls slowly start to come down.

BMD: What makes you proudest of your family?
The fact that we’ve been able to overcome hardships and show others that drama free and successful blended families are possible. The enemy could’ve easily taken us out the first year, but we are constantly reminded that our family is bigger than us. God brought us together to bring Him glory. We’ve been able to give other blended families all over the world hope and show them that if we can do it, they can too.

BMD: What advice would you give to single moms who are hoping to meet that special one and start a beautiful blended family someday?
I would tell single moms to hold their heads high, keep their standards high, and never lose hope if they desire Godly love and a Godly spouse to raise their children with. Don’t ever think you have to settle just because you have a child.

BMD: What advice do you have for other blended families who feel like a peaceful family dynamic is out of reach?
With God, anything is possible. Nothing is out of reach if you work for it. But all participating adults have to be willing to put all the children involved feelings before their own. When you keep the children at the forefront, it’s hard to have a bunch of drama, because you take your feelings out of the equation. You only have two options, try your hardest to create a peaceful situation or live in constant drama. I would choose peace any day.

[READ also: Interview with Nickelle Solanke: On life as a mom of twins]

BMD: How would you describe motherhood?
One of the greatest earthly loves there is. It’s been one of my greatest joys, raising my children. There’s not one day that goes by where I take being a mom for granted. Now that doesn’t mean some days I’m not completely drained and need a break. But I’m grateful for the gift of motherhood!

BMD: How do you balance family life and work?
By prioritizing, saying “no”, and using my time wisely.

BMD: What inspired your blog?
I started sharing my testimony on social media almost 5 years ago, not knowing how many lives it would end up touching. I didn’t really put much thought it to it at first, but once I saw how it resonated with so many women, I knew I had a God given assignment to spread hope and show other women that if God could take my mistakes and still use them for His glory, He can do the same for them. All the positive feedback and messages I received from women letting me know how much my story has helped them, inspired me to launch the actual blog. It allows me to share on a more detailed level!

BMD: As someone who posts and blog about your family, what would you say are the pros and cons of putting your family out in the public space?
The cons are that you open the door to people giving you unsolicited opinions about your family, marriage, children, and blended family. That just comes with having a platform, there’s no escaping it. The good thing about it is it’s really gotten me out of people bondage. I’ve gotten tougher skin due to it and I’m no longer moved by people’s opinions of me, which is huge if you want to put yourself in a position for God to use you. You can’t be easily moved by everyone’s opinions of you.

BMD: What is the most ridiculous thing someone has said to you/about your family online?
I get a lot of ridiculous things. From people talking about “Carrington’s famous toe pop” in pics to her having on nail polish. The silly things I just laugh at. But one thing I get quite often is people asking me why I don’t post my son a lot. It’s typically new followers who somehow missed that we are a blended family which means we aren’t all able to be together 24/7. So I’m constantly having to remind people that we are a blended family so that it doesn’t seem as if I’m just constantly leaving him out.

For more about Courtney and her beautiful family visit her blog or check out her Instagram.

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