Mommy Talks – Janice Lim

Mommy Talks

Our guest for this week is a mom with a blended family. Let us welcome Janice Lim!

Chris: Hi Janice, can you share a brief background about yourself?

Janice: I am Janice, a 32-year old mom of three. My two eldest children are Zoe (9 years old) and Ziya (8 years old). They are my kids from my first marriage. My youngest is Zeth, who’s 5 months old. He’s more popularly called by his nickname, Ziggy. He’s my son with my current boyfriend, Jon.

I used to be a full-time working mom and I have worked in the fields of marketing, events management and CSR. However, I decided to resign last year when I found out I was pregnant with Ziggy. I am presently enjoying the ups and downs of being a SAHM. I have been blogging for years but only in Multiply. Late last year, I finally decided to take blogging more seriously and that’s when I started Roller Coaster Ride.

Chris: How did you family become a blended family?

Janice: I met Zoe and Ziya’s dad during my college years. We were together for five years when we decided to get married. I was only 22 years old then. We immediately had Zoe the same year we were married. Ziya was born only a year and two months after Zoe was born. I guess, our life then was just like any other family life. There were a lot of happy times but a lot of challenging ones as well. In the end though, I guess we just could not keep it together because of so many complications in our life. The girls’ dad and I finally decided to separate when we were almost 7 years married already. It was a very tough decision, one which we definitely struggled with for a long time. Ultimately, it was the best choice to make because we realized that the best way for us to raise our kids is to raise them in a good environment where there was no fighting all the time.

I have single mom friends and so I knew when we got separated that it will take me a long time to find someone else to spend the rest of my life with. However, to my surprise, I met Jon soon after the separation. I guess it’s true that when a door closes, a window opens. Maybe I should have waited longer to get into a relationship with Jon but he was too great a person for me to let go. In my mind, it’s not that often that a single mom meets a great guy, who not only loves her but also accepts whatever past she’s had and understands that she comes as a package deal. I wouldn’t have decided to be with him if I wasn’t sure he would accept and love my girls as well. A year after we first got together, Jon and I finally decided it was time for us to be a family. So, we started to live together with my kids. Two years after, here we are now with a new addition to the family, baby Ziggy.

Chris: How did your daughters adjust to the situation?

Janice: Zoe and Ziya were only 5 and 4 years old, respectively, when their dad and I separated. We talked to them about it and tried our best to explain the situation to them. If there was one thing that my ex-hubby and I agreed on it was that we would continue to raise our children together the same way we always have and to this day we still abide by that. I don’t think it was really difficult for them to adjust because we made sure that although they lived with me, they still get to spend time with their dad. They know that he will always be there for them.

When I met Jon, I decided to wait for about six months before I introduced them to him. However, they kind of know about him already because I would talk to them about him already. Jon also did special things for them such as help with their school projects even when they haven’t met each other yet. So, when they finally met it wasn’t really difficult. The girls were initially shy around him but that’s normal for them when meeting anybody new. The more they spent time with him the more they relaxed and eventually became comfortable. I was also very open to them and talked to them about what could happen in our future. So, when Jon and I finally decided to live together it did not come as a surprise to them anymore. They were also actually very excited to have a new baby in the family and specifically wanted a baby brother. So, having Ziggy now is really a dream come true for all of us.

Chris: How about the in-laws?

Janice: One of the special things about our family situation is the fact that everybody involved co-exists peacefully. The girls’ dad is also happy with his girlfriend, who also happens to have two kids from a previous marriage. They also have a new baby, who was born five months before Ziggy. We don’t all hang out together but we are all civil. I feel comfortable whenever the girls’ are with their dad and his family. I like the fact that my girls have two families who love and care for them.

Jon’s family is another special thing. They have been very accepting of me and the girls from the very beginning. Jon’s parents and siblings have treated me and the girls well. I came from a family that was very complicated and chaotic. It has been a while since I really felt part of a family. Having Jon’s family now makes me feel that I finally have what I’ve been missing for so long.

Chris: Is the relationship of the girls with their dad affected?

Janice: The kids’ relationship with their dad has been more or less the same except for the fact that they don’t get to see him everyday anymore. However, they are free to communicate as often as they want. Their dad can just call or text them whenever he wants. He also gets them sometimes so that they can hang out with him and his family.

Chris: Do you have any special message for moms or dads in blended families?

Janice: I don’t claim to be an expert in blended families as we have been one for only two years now. However, it has been working really well for us and so we must be doing something right. I guess, one thing I learned is that communication is really very important. Children are very accepting and can adapt well if you also prepare them well. Communication with your new spouse is also a key ingredient in making things work. In our case, Jon didn’t have children of his own when I met him so dealing with my kids took some adjusting for him as well. So, I made sure to talk to him a lot about them so he could get to know them better. It also helps that he’s very observant and very willing to know them well. It’s also important to do things as a family in order to strengthen the bond. One of the greatest fears I have is that somebody will end up feeling left out or out of place. So it is very crucial for me to make sure everybody knows that they are loved and that they are important in this family.

Chris: Many thanks for sharing your life and experiences with us. I am sure we all learned something from your story.