Sherelle: Let’s start with an introduction. How would you describe your blended family Background? How many bio-children do you have? How many step children? Do you or your spouse share any children? Etc.
Kimberly: I’ll introduce myself first. My name is Kimberly Garrett, I was born and raised in Atlanta GA! I am the proud biological mother of 1 and I have two “soon to be” bonus children! My fiancé, Shawn, and I are tying the knot on Feb 8, 2020 so we don’t share any kids’ together yet! Our goal is to add two more children into our family dynamic!
Sherelle: Congratulations on your upcoming wedding. How would you say the children feel about the upcoming ceremony? And also, Do you think being in a blended family helped or harmed your relationship/marriage?
Kimberly: Thank you! The children are super excited about the wedding! It brings joy to my heart to see them online looking for dresses for the wedding! My daughter is an only child, so she is super excited about extending our family. More so, I’m excited to not be her playmate anymore, lol.
Sherelle: How do you think your child has adapted to having a step-parent? What was that transition like for your family?
Kimberly: The transition for the children was what I would call “typical” in the beginning! When I say typical, it was the typical work when introducing your children to someone new! We had to sort of work to make them feel comfortable and safe! I understood going in, that there would be some reservations because our children’s biological parents are very active! But children are pure at heart and respond to love! So we love on all our children!
Sherelle: What is one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your blended family? How did you make it through or overcome it or is it something that you are currently still dealing with?
Kimberly: The hardest part of blending thus far was managing adult feelings in terms of uncomfortableness and emotional healing! In the beginning, I was further along in my situation than my fiancé! Therefore, I experienced a bit more emotional turmoil from his ex than he did! On top of that women tend to be a bit more emotional than men! (Don’t get mad at me, it’s Mother Nature, lol) It stretched me a lot and forced me to remember those times I had to sort through the same feelings as she! So my reaction to her was more empathetic than frustrated!
Sherelle: What is your greatest reward being a stepmother?
Kimberly: Ironically in my prayers, before I ever met Shawn, I knew my husband would have kids! I spent my whole life, NEVER wanting to date a man with kids, and God blesses me with the most wonderful kid/bonus kids ever! On the flip side, I wanted a big family. I actually wanted 5 kids! Crazy, I know. Well that’s not going to happen, so this gives me the opportunity to have what I always wanted, a big family! God gives us what we want, although it may not be the way we envisioned it!
Sherelle: How would you describe the bond you share with your stepchild? Would you consider the relationship to be healthy for all parties? If so, how did you create that type of bond and what advice would you give to other stepmom’s trying to create a healthy bond?
Kimberly: It’s so easy to love our own flesh and blood! It literally comes naturally! I love my daughter no matter what she does and it doesn’t require work. It’s because she’s mine! Therefore, I constantly ask myself, am I being fair and giving my bonus kids the love they deserve? I also ask myself, am I making my bonus kids feel loved and equal? I think the biggest lie with blending is that you don’t have to put in work to bond with a child that is not yours! We expect a smooth flow! Sometimes there is kickback from the kids, so you have to expect to work! I make sure I play with them, talk to them, and spend quality time with them so they won’t feel the demands and pressure of a blended family! We, as bonus parents, have to make sure we are doing our best to love on our bonus kids in spite of.
Sherelle: How do you feel about the term “StepMom”? Some stepmom’s change their title to “Bonusmom” or “Mom2” etc. What titles are used in your household?
Kimberly: I talk about this in my book! I say I don’t believe in step parents! But when I say that, I mean the step mentality! Because everyone is equal in my household! I personally allowed them to call me anything that was respectable! They call me Ms. Kim! I’m totally okay with that!
Sherelle: What is your relationship like with your step children’s bio-mom?
Kimberly: Whew, it has been interesting to say the least! Honestly, we really don’t have a personal relationship, when we see each other we are respectful, but we are not friends! But I thank God we are not enemies! She’s an awesome mom and I love the kids, so I think that commonality keeps us in sync by default!
Sherelle: Do you think being in a blended family helped or harmed your relationship/marriage?
Kimberly: Before I ever met Shawn, my future was already pre destined to have a blended family because I have a daughter! I too grew up in a blended family that wasn’t always the most comfortable situation! So I vowed to never put my daughter through that! So being intentional about who I allowed in our world was very important. I was already writing my book about blending before I met Shawn! So if anything blending has made us stronger because we are able to understand the importance of maintaining a healthy blended household!
Sherelle: What advice would you give to a new stepmom entering into a blended family?
Kimberly: Don’t rush the process across the board! When I first met my bonus kids, they were very stand off-ish for a while! It was quite discouraging at times! However, I kept loving on them through those foreign, uncomfortable feelings! Even getting my daughter, who is a major daddy’s girl, to understand she would not upset her dad if she accepted someone else! Also, getting the biological parents to move past their hang ups, I had to give it time! Understand, everything and everyone has a process! Don’t rush or put a time limit on things! As long as there is progress that’s a step in the right direction! Slow progress is better than no progress
Sherelle: What made you write “Blending to Perfection”? What message are you sharing with the world through your platform?
Kimberly: As I stated earlier, I didn’t always have the best experience growing up in a blended family! Nor was I excited about “throwing” my daughter into a blended family! But I know it can be done! Without the stigma of wicked steps and baby mama/baby daddy drama! I had that talk with myself and said, I know I want to be married, and I know my daughter is important to me, so I started implementing things well before I started dating with intention! I wrote my book “Blending to Perfection” to heal and give other people (and even myself) a point of reference for blending! I think people need to see transparency mixed with a positive outcome! So the good, the bad and the ugly! I’m not perfect, but we are determined to turn the image of blending around!
Sherelle: Thank you so much for sharing your story with us! And guys click on the book "Blending to Perfection" in any photo to purchase Kimberly's new book!