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ReachOut Parents: A story of a blended family

ReachOut Parents: A story of a blended family


– Our life is chaos. (laughing) That’s what we call it most
of the time, it is chaos. I’m Lisa, so, I’m a 42 year
old mother of four children. They’re 16, 14, 10, and 9. I’m also a stepmum to two other children that are 8 and 6. – I’m Hayley, I’m a sibling of many. (laughing) I live with my full time
and see my dad once a month. I’m a proud Aboriginal girl. – I have four children
who actually come from two different relationships, so, my oldest two, the 16 and the 14 year old, and then the 10 year old
and the nine year old. So I’ve got the four children full time, and then two children that
come once a fortnight. The biggest challenge for us, having six children in the house, is financially, how do you
plan your weekends and stuff when it costs so much money. So, no longer can you
just go to the movies and take everybody to the movies because all the sudden, the
price is just astronomical, so we do lots of things
now that are different. We pack picnics if we’re going somewhere, we’ll go out for drives and
go for picnics and exploring, so it’s a great chance for
them to burn off that energy, but also it doesn’t have
to cost a lot of money. I had to really think hard
about bringing a partner into the life of my children. But when we realised that
it was quite serious, and we were gonna stay
together, we did bring him in, and I was really concerned
for lots of reasons. Like, I had lots of concerns about would they like him, would he like them, would he be really
overwhelmed by four children, because step-parenting
can be really tough. – His parenting is the same as my Mum’s, so same rules for all of us really. – We had to talk a lot about how we would parent children together, so I was really conscious that we would need to be on the same page, we would have to have the
same ideas about how you, you know, who would
discipline the children, how do you discipline children. We had to make all those decisions. – It was just a bit different, because I used to feel like sometimes I’d have to help out Mum more, but now that we have
another adult in the house, like, I’ve been a bit more of a teenager, and a little brat. (laughing) – Hayley had been the oldest child in a big single parent
family for a long time, so she’s been a big part of my life, and almost the second adult in some ways. So she would be mothering the kids, doing a lot of things. And I always felt bad about that, because I wanted her to be a kid, I didn’t expect her to
be an adult all the time. – Maybe like the first few
times I saw him cranky, because I’m not used to it, he’s always seemed happy and that, except now I got to know him, and he’s a little grumpy after work. (laughing) But, I love him. Two years ago, my best
friend committed suicide. And so, that’s sort of when Mum was like, dating my stepdad for a few months then. So the day we found out, I
was in Mum’s room crying, and Dean came over, like,
Mum messaged him, and goes, not too sure if today is the best time. And he’s like, no no, it’s okay. I’ll come, I’ll see if she’s okay. And when he came, he was pretty much like, he was amazing, he’s like a parent. I only knew him for a few months, but we were sitting on the bed, and he was cuddling me and
all of that and he goes, look it’s all going to be okay, and just reassuring me
that like, he’s there. And when, afterwards, he
took Mom and I to the park and we shot a few hoops, like, we were playing basketball, and, he just did everything, like, he just, he pretty much got, he pretty much just helped
me like all the time, and he still does now. – I think it’s been a positive experience. I’m a lot less stressed, I’ve got somebody to share the load, so they can see the benefits, and I know Hayley in particular when we talked about
the differences for her, she definitely recognised
that I was happier. – It’s good to see her happy and all that. Like, at the wedding I nearly cried. (laughing) Because I was too happy for her and him. (upbeat music)

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