Split & Torn

by mssinglemama on November 24, 2010

I haven’t been this excited about the holidays in years.

I credit our new house and everything it brings, warmth inside and out. The cozy feeling of slippers on my feet, sweat pants and a blanket on the couch with a newspaper on Sunday mornings. I am also discovering that deep inside of me there lives a cheery housewife who loves watching QVC and news about Prince William and Kate. But can my inner housewife and inner entrepreneurial work-a-holic ever be content with each other?

It’s quite the dichotomy and only time will tell. But so far, so good. Thanks to these three guys:

1. Mr. John Bear.

The man is a saint.

I can’t imagine moving in with someone and their four year old child. He loves Benjamin, sure, but Benjamin is not his own son and therefore the little things aren’t the same. It would be foolish, I think, to expect a 31 year old bachelor to form an instant bond with a little boy who is fiercely strong-willed and independent. There is a strong bond between them, no doubt, but it’s obviously not the same bond a flesh and blood father and son would have. It’s the little things, I’ve noticed, that make the difference.

For example, when Benjamin comes home smelling like something nasty. I still think Benjamin is cute but John Bear is just repulsed, like “get him into the bath already.” Only a parent can still think their kid is adorable even when covered in gunk, boogers or whatever else. And then there’s the fact that John has been suddenly thrown into the world of non-stop parenthood. Well, parenthood. We have little help from Benjamin’s father and therefore, only a few precious days a month to ourselves.

In time John will adapt but until then he’s striding through it and handling everything far better than I think most of us would. And as my sister said, “I guess he must really love you.” Yeah, I guess. And in time, he’ll love Benjamin just as much. It’s just different and hard to explain and hard to write about. But I think anyone in a blended family can relate to what I’m trying, and probably failing, to articulate.

2. Mr. Benjamin

The sweetest of the sweets. Even when he is covered in goo and smelling like – you know. I’m thankful he has the patience to forgive me for not being perfect, to love me no matter what and to accept me as the working mama that I am.

I just hope that sentiment sticks throughout his life and that I can be there whenever he needs me to be.

3. Mr. Murphy Dog

The Murph-meister. This little dog makes every day brighter around here. And don’t tell John Bear this, but the fact that they were a package deal made that deal that much sweeter.

I’m also thankful to myself for managing my expectations and learning how to accept all of my guys for who they are. It’s a circle, I suppose. We’re all learning together. Often though, I feel like I’m in the middle. Torn between Benjamin and John–trying to be a mother and also a fiance. So far I have managed not to lose myself in the mix. Luck, I suppose, and a lot of time working on my own business, which helps to keep me focused on what I love to do.

Again, not articulating any of this well enough.

So… it is the holiday season. Officially. And I have a nice little contest for all of you courtesy of Minted.com.

I always forget holiday cards. But not this year… nope, because I am now living in a real house I feel absolutely obligated to send Christmas cards from said house. To make it a little easier on your budget Minted.com is giving one of you a $100.00 gift card to buy holiday cards or one of their beautiful photo calendars.

To enter:

1. Pick out your favorite holiday card or photo calendar.
2. Come back here and leave a link to your favorite

Deadline: Dec. 1, 2010.

{ 67 comments… read them below or add one }

Juli Ruffing November 24, 2010 at 11:40 am

Oh, it has to be a holiday card? But they have the most perfect Save the Date. Okay, fine….



Suzanne (Crunchy Green Mom November 24, 2010 at 11:43 am

I understand the “blended family” thing. It’s hard. With my six kids and Dave’s one son, it’s rough.

There is a difference, no matter how hard we all try, the families are split up at times and what he finds enduring (little boy noises and throwing the ball in the house) makes me want to scream and storm out of the house.
My 5 daughters and the gossip, hormones and crazy that can come with it makes me feel like I’m in high school with all the “cool kids”. It drives Dave to the brink of insanity.

But… when we come together in the middle and look around at the chaos…. we are the one oak that can withstand it all. Only 18 more years right??? πŸ™‚


Mary November 24, 2010 at 11:45 am
Suzanne (Crunchy Green Mom November 24, 2010 at 11:45 am

Oh.. and as for Minted.com

I love the http://www.minted.com/customizer/sku/MIN-F53-HYC cards!


Rebecca November 24, 2010 at 11:50 am

love the calendars and the cards!


Melissa November 24, 2010 at 12:05 pm
Robyn November 24, 2010 at 12:07 pm
JJ November 24, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Wow these are great! http://www.minted.com/customizer/sku/MIN-I94-CHR

On another note. I think its wonderful that you are being honest and realistic about your blended family expectations. I was a step mother to my ex husbands daughter for 5 years. And I had all sorts of demons that I needed to deal with – because I struggled for quite some time on how I could love my husband so much and coming to terms with being a parent when I didnt actually have kids of my own. And by the way now that I am a parent – step parenting is a way harder job! All you can do is stand in love and let the boys forge their relationship – which is what it sounds like your already doing. Im not sure if they have it where you are but we did a step parenting course together (my ex and I) and it truely had us look together at our married life and shine a light on things that neither of us wanted to admit to one another… sometimes this work can be hard – but the rewards to our family afterward were really worth it.


Lauren November 24, 2010 at 12:44 pm

There are sooooo many to choose from, but I’m pretty obsessed with these: http://www.minted.com/customizer/sku/MIN-E97-HYC

Enjoy your holidays with your boys!


noringsattached November 24, 2010 at 1:00 pm

They are all beautiful but I β™₯ this one:


Happy Holidays xoxo


Mary November 24, 2010 at 2:17 pm

Oh my, that was hard! I love this minibook http://www.minted.com/customizer/sku/MIN-I23-HMB and this holiday card http://www.minted.com/customizer/sku/MIN-D85-HYC. So hard to choose! Happy holidays!


Ryan November 24, 2010 at 2:40 pm

That is a hard choice. The picture really makes the card, so I guess if I win I will have to find an amazing picture to go with this one:



Brenda SW November 24, 2010 at 2:52 pm

I have the *perfect* photo of my girls doing cartwheels on the front lawn of the Biltmore – “MAKING SPIRITS BRIGHT”


Danielle November 24, 2010 at 3:15 pm


It is so weird that you have this contest! I was looking through their holiday cards and this is the one i was going to order. Now I will wait and see if i win!!!


kim November 24, 2010 at 3:26 pm
Lisa November 24, 2010 at 3:27 pm
Megan Gilbride November 24, 2010 at 3:28 pm
Alison November 24, 2010 at 3:39 pm

These calendars are so hip! This is my favorite: http://www.minted.com/customizer/sku/MIN-A35-CLD


Gitte Gorzelak November 24, 2010 at 3:46 pm

I absolutely love your blog πŸ™‚ Oh! These are totally cute: http://www.minted.com/customizer/sku/MIN-B03-CLD


christine November 24, 2010 at 4:01 pm

oooh, these cards are beautiful! i think this is my favorite:


Lee Ann November 24, 2010 at 4:05 pm
Kara November 24, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Oh I have been drooling over Minteds photo cards! LOVE them all! My current favorite is this one:

SO easy and simple!


Lara November 24, 2010 at 4:43 pm


This is my favorite. Happy Holidays!!!


Katie Nordby November 24, 2010 at 4:43 pm

LOVE minted.com!!!

These are my fav… http://www.minted.com/marketplace/sku/MIN-I10-HNP



Savored Life November 24, 2010 at 5:01 pm

I love your honesty. I love that you have found love with a man that is embracing you and Benjamin. We single mamas that do find a childless man that accepts our children and puts forth the effort to be the best step-parent that they can be are truly blessed. This post has truly inspired me to pick back up where I’ve dropped off the blog planet and share my love story as well. That while there are fears of blending families, there are just as many (if not more) joys. I know that Romeo is a far better father than the munkee’s biological dad will ever be… Happy Thanksgiving to you, Benjamin and John Bear.


Jamie November 24, 2010 at 5:05 pm

I recently moved in with my boyfriend and my almost four-year-old son. I honestly think that he loves my son as much as he loves me but in a different way. But he is definitely still adjusting and he gets a million points for trying. Yeah for us for finding stand up guys!!



Mariette November 24, 2010 at 5:07 pm

I really love these:

Thanks for the opportunity.


singlemama_cc November 24, 2010 at 6:27 pm

The men in your life are handsome ones! Wishing you, John Bear, Benjamin and mr Murphy the happiest of holidays!!


Carla November 24, 2010 at 7:42 pm
Stephanie November 24, 2010 at 8:13 pm

Oh, I love so many of them, but this one sticks out especially:



Missy November 24, 2010 at 8:53 pm

OMG! I did a google search last night and I found minted.com and I upload my pic and when I got to the check out i about died…funds are a little tight so minted was out! but this one’s my fav…

Thanks again – happy thanksgiving πŸ™‚


Heidi November 24, 2010 at 9:02 pm
Bridget November 24, 2010 at 10:30 pm

I love this one! we do a photo card every year!


Carly Moore November 24, 2010 at 10:32 pm


I found your article extremely relateable. I feel very thankful for the wonderful man whom I have found who loves me and my spirited four yr old son.


kindra g November 24, 2010 at 10:35 pm

http://www.minted.com/customizer/sku/MIN-E94-HYC I like the classic! thanks for this post, I can relate.


Brittany November 24, 2010 at 11:24 pm

I come from a blended family and can completely understand. The relationship grows best on its own and now I am closer to my step-father than anyone in the world. He is an amazing man.

After scanning the cards, FOREVER…I still love the classic one:


Erin November 24, 2010 at 11:53 pm

I love these – so cute! They have some great designs. So happy for you “slowing down” and not having as much time to post… I know you’re “out there” living and enjoying your family that much more. πŸ˜‰



melissa B. November 24, 2010 at 11:54 pm

There are bound to be growing pains especially with all the change that is going on. Just have faith that balance will be coming soon and that John is not going anywhere. I am sure that he loves you AND Benjamin more than you can imagine.

http://www.minted.com/customizer/sku/MIN-A09-CLD is so cute!!!


Jen November 25, 2010 at 12:31 am

This is my favorite:
Love, love, love it!!!

Glad I found some time to stop by the blog again…always a treat!

Happy Thanksgiving!


Kayla N. November 25, 2010 at 9:32 am

http://www.minted.com/customizer/sku/MIN-A03-CLD I love this “Float and Peace” calendar. So cute.

And for whatever its worth, I am a 22 year old who also grew up with a stepdad (my dad is also very much involved in my life, but most of my actual, physical, living time was with my stepdad.) While I obviously always love my father, I have come to value my stepfather very nearly as much, and he calls us “his kids” to other people, and I tend to believe he feels it. There was an adjustment period for sure when he and my mom were married, but he came to be one of the most important people of my life in time. Seriously, he’s one of my best friends in the whole world and we talk almost every day. I have been very blessed to have in my life, and I am sure when Benjamin is older he will also feel this way about his wonderful stepdad.


Savored Life November 25, 2010 at 6:20 pm

Heartwarming to hear a firsthand account. πŸ™‚


Another Lara November 25, 2010 at 11:22 pm

What a fun contest! I love your blog and the great new sites your bring to the forefront! I love, love, love this calendar:



Marcy November 26, 2010 at 2:26 am

Benjamin’s getting big!! Oh, and nice writing ..as always. I think you articulate very clearly and I totally get what you’re saying. This stings a bit though and is proof of what I am concerned about in the dating world and makes me want to forget the whole dating scene until my daughter is older..much older?: “And as my sister said, β€œI guess he must really love you.” Yeah, I guess. And in time, he’ll love Benjamin just as much.” I mean that’s just reality right there right. The siginificant other falls in love with *you*. The single parent package is something that is accepted as part of loving you as opposed to being loved unconditionally from the start….it’s all a gradual process obviously right just like any relationship. The idea just bothers me I don’t know why. But whatever, ANYWAY…

My fav: http://www.minted.com/customizer/sku/MIN-E39-HYC


mommybella November 26, 2010 at 4:58 pm

I have to say that especially around the holidays I get really down about being a single mom FOREVER, but you give me some hope that I will find someone too.( hopefully before I’m too old to have more children)



Emily November 26, 2010 at 9:01 pm
Elizabeth November 27, 2010 at 9:29 am

How have I never heard of that website? Those cards are SO cute. Now I’m looking forward to sending out cards this year…looks like the troops are going to be forced to take pictures this weekend!

Trying to decide between this one

And the “be merry” banner.

This is so fun! Thanks for getting me even more excited about the holidays!


Kate A. November 27, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Well, considering I have a 3.5 y/o son, it has to be http://www.minted.com/customizer/sku/MIN-D71-HYC!!! I can certainly find a great picture to fit that phrase!


Hot Rockin Sassy Single Mama! November 27, 2010 at 5:09 pm
Amanda November 27, 2010 at 6:01 pm


Learning to acclimate to a blending family can be tough and you will be caught in the middle! But the great thing is it will only get better. My husband wasn’t thrilled about my daughter’s dog coming to live with us, but now he’s our dog’s favorite person and she gives him kisses on his nose. Both him and my daughter now get along great too, much fewer bumps in the road.

Things will be great!

Congratulations on everything. =) And happy holidays.


Kim November 27, 2010 at 9:00 pm

I was cruising minted.com and talking on the phone w a friend.
“There’s a pink card on here! Who sends a pink Christmas card?” I asked in amazement (and, let’s face it, disdain).
“Someone who loves pink the way you love purple,” was the response.
“Right! Like I’d ever send a purple Christmas card!” I scoffed.

And then I saw this…
That crunching you hear…yeah, that’s me eating my words!!!


jen November 27, 2010 at 10:05 pm
Brittany November 27, 2010 at 10:21 pm
Mz E November 28, 2010 at 3:09 pm

First off, I gotta say “Your son is absolutely adorable!” He WILL be a lil heartbreaker…watch out mama! *smile*
Your situation (between the son & the fiance) sounds like a similiar situation I knew of. I think you should talk to your son about Mr Bear and see what He says. Its ALWAYS “whats in the BEST interest of the child.”
I understand You in love & thats AWEsome, but he’s only 4….THESE are the “molding” years. I grew up in a single parent home and I ASSURE you to this day, my mom was “Super Mom” (we do bump heads at times) but I wouldnt trade her for NO OTHER mom in this WHOLE universe. She put US (2 girls) first….don’t get me wrong I’m not saying break it off with Mr Bear. I guess more like, give your Son some time before you move Mr Bear in, at least see how He feels on it….and IF Mr Bear is willing to wait then that shows maturity in his self as well as that unconditional love to do whatever it takes to have it workout for the BEST interest of You & your son (package deal)…….Now if you moving him in cause he don’t have a place to go, “then hunny, You’Ze a fool”!
Stay Blessed..

come on by ANY time..


dancingmama November 28, 2010 at 3:29 pm

As always, you have amazing style! Love these πŸ™‚



Stacy Sand November 28, 2010 at 4:41 pm

Just yesterday, my minted.com Christmas Cards arrived, and I love them! Just discovered this website, and I would love to make a calendar too! I love this one:

Thank you!


JMorgan November 28, 2010 at 5:27 pm

First time reader….love it. I am an “old” single mom, now married to Mr. Right for 34 years. And it works.


Rebecca November 28, 2010 at 8:20 pm

So many to choose from! http://www.minted.com/customizer/sku/MIN-SCH-HYC

Enjoy Christmas in your new house with your new family! You’ve earned it!


Liz November 29, 2010 at 12:12 am

I love what you had to say about John Bear and Benjamin’s relationship. I’m going through a similar thing with Bubba and my boyfriend. Seeing them together, I know I’ve found the right guy. And while they don’t have a father/son bond right now, I can see it growing and it warms my heart.

As for holiday cards – I love this whimsical one: http://www.minted.com/customizer/sku/MIN-F21-HYC


jody November 29, 2010 at 10:03 pm
kate November 30, 2010 at 10:41 am

Love the post, as always…

They are all lovely, but my favorite of the moment is: http://www.minted.com/customizer/sku/MIN-G36-CHR


Candy November 30, 2010 at 4:11 pm
Nancy November 30, 2010 at 4:55 pm

I love the colors on this calendar. Too cute!


Crystal November 30, 2010 at 5:06 pm
Queenie November 30, 2010 at 7:26 pm

It takes a special someone to stand next to the daddy spot. I can imagine how you feel. I have a four-year-old and the guy I dated for two years, well…he just kind of showed up when my son was at his Daddy’s or when he was asleep. So, it really takes some serious love for someone to step in and take on a parental role while not being the biological father. Eventually, being a mentor to Benjamin will probably become like second nature for John. With him moving in knowing the situation, it shows that he has a heart of gold and like your sister said, must really love you!! πŸ™‚

Here’s my favorite card!! Too cute!


Erin November 30, 2010 at 11:01 pm

Holiday cards are just not in the budget this year, but I’d love to see my little man’s face on these…
Love & Joy http://www.minted.com/customizer/sku/MIN-F16-HYC


Star December 5, 2010 at 7:33 am

If I lived in Florida…this is SUCH a cool card!


Thrifty Vintage Chic December 7, 2010 at 8:39 pm

OO, I am in love with this card — a classic look for an all-over hot cocoa feeling!!

the 31-year-old bachelor being thrown into (willingly) a life of 24-7 parenting, yes, that part got me. Definitely, it is a true gauntlet that acts as the perfect litmus test for determining if someone is really serious about you! And, again, bravo to John Bear for not being intimidated!


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