Our family is a wacky bunch. A Jamaican queen, a Polish king, two teenage girls from my previous marriage, and our wild and crazy preschool son. We are what most would call a blended family.

Being in a blended family isn’t just about blending children and (step)parents, in our case it’s also about blending cultures. Having a strong partnership is key to making sure the health of our family relationship remains a top priority.

Before I met my fiancé M, I was a single mom to my two daughters K and C. I went to school part-time for both HR and PR studies, worked full time in HR and ensured that my girls were in as many extracurricular activities as I could afford. I took care of all of the finances, planned family vacations, purchased my car, secured my first mortgage for a condo apartment then moved on to a house etc. I was mom and dad to both girls. Thankfully they had a strong father figure in my dad.

Did I date? Yes. Clearly not successfully during that time period, however, I realize now that it takes a very special man who can appreciate who I am and what I’ve done for my girls. A man who appreciates the strength and determination it took to accomplish many things outside of the social stereotypes of a young single black woman. A man who was accepting of the fact that I didn’t need to be completely dependent on him.  A man who loved my daughters regardless of their biological status. M is that man. I thank God for him every single day and I can’t wait to be his wife.

As M and I dated, it was clear that we were meant for each other, we were head over heels in love after a short period of time. It’s hard to explain, I don’t want to be cliche, but the word soulmate does come to mind.

We’ve been together for about 8 years – known each other for 10 years next year (2016), the year we plan to get married. He was a single guy living the bachelor life and became an insta-parent not long after we started dating. Imagine having no parenting experiences to being the “dad” of two young girls. I had to learn to let go some of that strong independence and control I was so used to. It was an adjustment for all of us, yet it felt so right.

Being an interracial couple definitely has its challenges.  Two very different cultures coming together was seamless for us but difficult at times for others around us.

With every challenge our family faces, we make it easier to manage through:

Education 

– We constantly talk to each other about traditions and share them with our kids whether it’s Polish Easter traditions or Jamaican Christmas morning traditions. We are in a constant state of learning.

Communication

– Having an openness in our house about our differences, not just about cultures but genders as well. We have some pretty fiery discussions about many items and we encourage the kids to participate.

Humour

– We joke about many things as it relates to our family because we have an amazing level of comfort with each other and our children.

Quality Time

– Life gets so busy! We make sure to plan awesome road trips, vacations, movie nights, game nights etc that are valuable, irreplaceable and pertains to all of us.

Even though others might label our family, we don’t. We are happy to just BE.

Natalie is an energetic and enthusiastic Winnipeg blogger who happens to be a) mom of 3 (toddler son, two teen daughters), b) solves HR issues by day, c) dabbles in PR by night, d) loves her new blogging side gig and e) is proud to be from the ‘Peg!