Adding a baby to your family can put a strain on your relationship with your partner at the best of times, but what about when you add a new partner to an existing family unit?
I met Marvin – who’s now my fiancé – about two years ago, when my daughter had just turned four years old.
Things with her dad were sketchy at best, and we soon parted ways, leaving Brai and I on our own – which I quite liked, actually. We were a little team, just the two of us.
Then Marvin and I started dating, and it was apparent to both of us very early on that this was the real deal.
There was always the killer question – what about Brai?
What if she wasn’t ready? What if she didn’t like him?
It might be silly to seek approval on your life choices from a four-year-old, but her opinion was the only one that mattered to me.
Luckily Brai and Marvin got on like a house on fire; soon we were spending all our time as a threesome, then a few months later Marvin moved into our flat and we started to really feel like a proper family unit.
The early days were challenging for us all in different ways.
Brai was adjusting to a huge change in family dynamics, and Marvin and I were trying to find the balance between trying to involve him and letting things develop on their own.
Figuring out our balance has been the only real struggle for me.
I was very conscious that I didn’t want anyone to think I was trying to replace Braianna’s dad or force Marvin into raising her, but at the same time I didn’t want Marvin to feel as though he wasn’t part of the family.
I was also kind of nervous right at the beginning about how his family would react to us.
As we all know, stigma against young parents is rife – but luckily they never even batted an eyelid, and welcomed Brai and I into the fold with open arms, which obviously put me at ease!
Despite some awkwardness (it was bound to happen; I pretty much make everything awkward in some way), we navigated through this stage quite easily and there’s no doubting now that we’re basically the Three Musketeers – and soon we’ll be four!
Marvin and Brai have got a really special relationship all of their own that’s beautiful to watch developing…
…and I still think he’s pretty great too.
And now that we’ve got this family thing down, Braianna has started seeing her dad again regularly, which means we’ve got a whole new set of challenges to face in learning to co-parent with him.
I don’t want to jinx anything but I think we’re doing alright so far.
Braianna is one very happy and lucky lady to have two father figures in her life, and a rather large extended family that love her to pieces.
If I could offer any advice to single parents who are worried about adding a new partner into their family, or anyone who’s just finding their feet as a blended family, it would be to take things at your own pace, talk A LOT, and ignore other people’s opinions; different things work for different people, and only you guys will know what works for you.
It might be daunting at first, but more family just means more love…
…and you can never have too much love!
Read more advice on our blogs from young mums below: