The reading that really struck me this week was Devora’s “3 Ways to Talk About Nontraditional Family Structures Appropriately”. The reasoning being that my family is pretty unmodern and sometimes it’s hard to explain to people.
We’re on the tamer side of weird, but it’s still there. In short, I have 3 half-siblings. A sister who I share the same mom with, and a brother and sister who I share the same dad with. When I was younger, it was extremely hard for me to explain to people that my dad and my sister’s dad were not the same person. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized my sister’s dad is gay and his “best friend” as our mom liked to call him, was actually his partner.
Being a child of the “Love and Accept Everyone” age, this didn’t change my views towards him at all. But as I got older, I realized that it was hard for other people to talk to me about my family.
No one really knew if they were supposed to mention Will, my sister’s dad, or Karen, my other siblings’ mom. How was I going to feel if they accidentally said something that was offensive or derogatory? Like I even knew what they were saying. A point that Devora touches on is language, and how important that is. While I never had to deal with the step-parent aspect of the blended family, all three of my siblings did. My one sister was always adamant to make sure people knew that she was with her Step-Mother, and did so by always calling her by her first name, as often as possible. It was her way of coping with this new woman her dad had married, and making sure her Biological mother didn’t feel replaced.
As Devora says, “the nuclear model will adapt into something else entirely”, and she’s right! What started as two nuclear families evolved into one giant clusterf*ck of a family that I wouldn’t trade the world for. So while it’s important to regard the differences with each family and their situation, they’re no different than any other family. We still fight, we still bitch, and we still love each other, no matter who came from who.
Devora, Shoshana. “3 Ways to Talk About Nontraditional Family Structures Appropriately”. May 2014. http://everydayfeminism.com/2014/05/talk-about-nontraditional-family/. Thursday 23 June 2016.